Joséphine Baker, how to make your do-it-yourself handmade rag doll

Bambola di pezza fai da te: Joséphine Baker
Joséphine Baker, how to make your own handmade rag doll

The idea of ​​creating a do-it-yourself rag doll stems from the desire to retrace his life, a continuous search for art and beauty.

One of our MadameDolls is Joséphine Baker, the great black artist, the woman who received 1500 marriage requests. Her doll wears the costume she is mostly famous for, which was designed for her in the 1920s by Austrian costume designer Paul Seltenhammer.

If you are looking for an unusual hobby this do-it-yourself rag doll depicting the great dancer is the one for you! Its kit will be delivered to your home in an eccentric package consisting of 6 pieces ready for you to be sewn, stuffed and assembled during your spare time. With this kit you will be able to make both the body and the extravagant piece of clothing consisting of the jewelled bra and the famous banana skirt.

This iconic artist has become a do-it-yourself rag doll. But why her?

Freda Joséphine McDonald, alias Joséphine Baker, was born in St. Louis (Missouri) in 1906 and soon became one of the most famous performers in theatre, song and variety of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Her costume, consisting only of a golden fabric skirt with bananas and a jewelled bra is recognised as an iconic symbol of the interwar period.

When she arrived in Paris from the States in 1925 Baker’s refined exoticism, flamboyant sexuality and undoubted musical talent enabled her to sell out entire seasons, first at the Champs-Elysées theatre and then at the Folies Bergère where she performed in the company of a cheetah.

The Black Venus, as she was nicknamed for her charm, was loved by the famous George Simenon and desired by hundreds of men, one of whom committed suicide at her feet. Baker’s greatest successes included Yes, we have no Bananas, which she sang naked, La canne à sucre and J’ai deux amours.

Her artistic activity had a strong influence on the aesthetic trends of the period, with which she was very much in tune. The idea of creating a do-it-yourself rag doll came from the desire to retrace her life, a journey in which she pursued the search of art and beauty.

Her success in Europe, particularly in Paris can be traced back to the drive for innovation that swept through art and culture of the old continent during the 1920s and 1930s. Strong criticism was waved against everything that had to do with the destruction left by the first world war and artists directed their gaze towards essential, primitive elements that many recognised in the figurations coming from Africa. Pablo Picasso, among others, was greatly influenced by the trend and painted many works inspired by Joséphine Baker.

Beloved and desired by men Joséphine married four times, with two marriages ending in divorce before she was 20 years old. The artist had a strong political and social awareness: she was active in the French resistance during the German occupation and later was involved in the black liberation movement in America, participating in the great march organised in Washington in 1963 by Martin Luther King.

During her lifetime she adopted twelve children. She died in Paris in 1975 at the age of 68.

With a contemporary outlook, irony and a capacity to participate in the social and cultural tensions of the last century, Vittoria Valzania has dedicated one of her most successful creations to this roaring and transgressive personality. The dress in which she chose to interpret her could only be the sixteen bananas costume designed for her by Paul Seltenhammer.