If I say Cabaret, you will immediately think of Liza Minelli, who gave Christopher Isherwood‘s irresistable character, Sally Bowles, a face, a body and the most marvellous voice in the famous movie by Bob Fosse.
Recently Sean and I have picked up the vintage edition of Goodbye to Berlin again, a book we both adore. In the novel Sally appears as a goodlooking, half talented and amazingly cool young actress with her fingernails painted in emerald green (before uslu airlines even existed), who posesses the rare ability to laugh at herself and her own dramas.
As we know from Christopher Isherwood, who lived in Berlin, in the Nollendorfstraße 17, between March 1929 and February 1933, not only Sally had a strong personal style and was well aware of it: “she sang badly, without any expression, her hands hanging down at her sides, yet her performance was, in its own way, effective because of her startling appearence and her air of nor caring a curse what people thought of her” – but also, she was a bohemian par excellence and possibly the inventor of the Berlin shabby chic look:”Everybody stared at Sally in her canary yellow beret and shabby fur coat, like the skin of a mangy dog”.
Being, as usual experimental, we have imagined to meet Sally Bowles for an Interview in Bar Jeder Vernunft, a place that keeps alive the glorious Berlin Cabaret tradition of the twenties. The questions are ours, the answers are original Sally’s quotes from Christopher Isherwood‘s novel Goodbye to Berlin and the terrific cabaret looks are a creation of Sean Saint Lewis. They’re put together from the new collections sold at Galeries Lafayette and duly mixed with a bit of vintage and H&M accessories.
So, now we will let Sally speak for herself:
BSS: Hello Sally!
BSS: You look marvellous today. How are you?
“I am most terribly tired. I didn’t sleep a wink last night. I’ve got a marvellous new lover”
BSS: You must be hungry. Would you like to order something to eat?
“No Thanks ..I just don’t want to eat anything at all. I feel all marvellous and ethereal, as if I was a kind of most marvellous saint or something. You’ve no idea how glorious it feels”
BSS: New in Berlin, aren’t you? When did you arrive?
“Let’s see, that was two months ago…”
BSS What are you doing here?
“Heaven knows. This job only lasts another week. I got it though a man I met at the Eden Bar. But he is off to Vienna now. (…)
“….if only I could get a really rich man as my lover. Let’s see..”
BSS: If you had to choose between love and career…?
“I’d never let love interfere with my work. Work comes before everything….but I don’t believe a woman can be a great actress who hasn’t had any love-affairs.”
BSS: How do you feel about German men?
“I think the men in this country are awfull. They’ve none of them got money, and they expect you to let them seduce you if they give you a box of chocolate”
BSS: How do you see yourself as a woman?
“I believe I am a sort of Ideal Woman, if you know what I mean. I ‘m the sort of woman who can take men away from their wives, but I could never keep anybody for long. And tha’s because I’m the type every man imagines he wants, until he gets me; and then he finds he doesn’t really, after all”.
BSS: Have you got any children?
” my dear what do you imagine would happen to the unfortunate child if it was born? Do I look as if I’d make a good mother?
BBS: Sally, it was awfully kind of you to answer to all these personal questions. May we ask you where you are off to?
“I am supposed to meet a man in Adlon at five. And it’s six already. (…)
Oh, by the way, could you be a perfetct angel and lend me ten euro? I haven’got a bean for the taxi”.
CABARET FASHION THEME
Full fur coat, Yves Salomon. Fur collar Coat, Tara Jarmon. Boucle wool cooat,D&G.Green dress (vintage), Nolita. Metal blue mini dress, Patrizia Pepe. Pale pink dress, Turnover. Silk top, Roberto Cavalli, Tricot mittens and scarf, Shokay, Pearl gray handbag, Gretchen. Fucsia Clutch, Angel Jackson, Grand dame bag, Chloe. Croco bag, Lanvin (vintage), Shoes, H&M.
Hair and make-up, Simon Henn (MU Berlin)
Nails: ONE green, uslu airlines
Model: Pilvi Mutka
Location: Bar Jeder Vernunft
Stylist: Sean Saint Lewis
Fashion editor: Berlinsixsenses