A 100 years ago this month Ella Fitzgerald was born. The legendary jazz star soon turned to music, as a means of escaping her troubled childhood, and debuted her talent in a contest at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theatre in 1934.
Following her victory at Apollo Theatre she would go on to perform with Chick Webb, the American jazz drummer whose orchestra would bring life to the sparkling evenings at the ballroom of the Savoy Hotel. Following Webb’s death, Fitzgerald led the orchestra for three years before pursuing her acclaimed solo career. In 1958, she would also become the first African-American woman to win a Grammy Award.
The relevance of Fitzgerald’s work and contribution to jazz is both profound and eternal, a fact celebrated by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery who will, this month, display her photograph (taken by William Gottlieb whose renowned for capturing the essence of the jazz era) for the very first time.
In comparison to her musical career, Fitzgerald’s influence in fashion has often been overlooked. Nevertheless it remains a dominant source of inspiration for countless women. Her trademark style included cheetah printed jackets, circle skirts and waist-cinching dresses that would accentuate her voluptuous figure and she continues to play a vital role in the visual dialogue of designers who celebrate the golden era of Jazz.
In honour of what would be her 100th birthday on April 25th, we look to the best silhouettes in fashion to give you the #FitzgeraldLook.