And All That Jazz

Dmitri Ruwan

April 11th 2017

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 portrait that will be available to view from the 13th of April to May 14th
The portrait that will be available to view from the 13th of April to May 14th pictures the artist in performance, alongside Ray

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.

Designers allude to the golden era of jazz through silhouettes governed by icons like Ella Fitzgerald.

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.

Elsa Fitzgerald
Elsa Fitzgerald

Array

Louis Vuitton autumn/winter11

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Louis Vuitton autumn/winter11

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Lanvin spring/summer16

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Lanvin spring/summer16

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Dries Van Noten autumn/winter 16

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Dries Van Noten autumn/winter 16

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Oscar de la Renta autumn/winter16

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Oscar de la Renta autumn/winter16

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Miu Miu spring/summer17

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Miu Miu spring/summer17

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Simone Rocha spring/summer17

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Simone Rocha spring/summer17

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