Louise Brooks

Sexy looks from a vintage vixen

BY: Liz MacDonald

Louise Brooks is unquestionably the queen of the silent movie era. Her trademark sleek bob, luminous gaze and mysterious pout are instantly recognizable as symbols of the liberated 1920s flapper. And to this day, she’s considered to be one of the sexiest stars of all time. But before Brooks rose to stardom on the silver screen, she had already made her name as a professional dancer. In fact, it was her showgirl career that led Brooks straight to Hollywood fame.

Brooks left home by age sixteen, first to attend the prestigious Denishawn School of Dance in New York and then tour with their dance company (then the leading troupe of the day). At age eighteen, she found herself work at the newly opened Café de Paris in London, and is thought to be the first person who introduced the Charleston dance craze there. By 1925, she was a showgirl with the Ziegfeld Follies in New York, her last dancing gig before signing on with Paramount Pictures later that year.

During her time as a dancer, Brooks thought nothing of posing for “art photography.” Theatrical photographers of the ’20s worked with all the professional dancers and Brooks was, from the beginning, an independent and sexually liberated individual, never afraid to experiment. These images of Brooks are fascinating, showing (along with a lot of skin) a personality unwilling to accept a restrictive role, quite comfortable with her sexuality—and very happy to share it with an appreciative audience.

We’ve chosen a selection of Louise Brooks’ most charming and seductive images here, above and below, plus a video montage of her hottest hit, Pandora’s Box. We think she has every bit of sizzle today as she did in back in the 1920s.












louise brooks 1929 - by james abbe