The NY Times tells us that Kay Thompson, the creator of Eloise and general entertainer, is the subject of a new biography. She had a troubled but exciting and multi-faceted career from author to cabaret singer, movie actress and adviser to other stars. In her time at least, she was considered magnetic. In the film clip below, she is immersed in a culture most of us and are readers are happy is gone, and so her power may be hidden. Nonetheless, the NY Times tries to explain it in this remarkable passage:
The things that made Thompson magnetic are difficult to get across, the society photographer Cecil Beaton observed in 1950. But Beaton’s description of Thompson is shrewder than most. “The facts about her are that she sings and prances in cabaret between Los Angeles and Istanbul; that she is skeletal, hatchet-faced, blonde and American; that she wears tight, tapering slacks and moves like a mountain goat,” he wrote. “The proper language in which to review her is not English at all but Esperanto. Or possibly Morse code.”
Why, we can wonder, did the NYT consider Beaton’s comments as shrewd, rather than shrewish?
In the clip below, Thompson is the fashion editor with the advice, “Think Pink.”
The clip raises a lot of questions for me about that time. One of them is whether pink was as omnipresent in girls’ culture as it is now. Dim memory suggests not. Another more vivid sense is the horror of the demeanor of these women being a very dominant model for women.
What do you think?