Mrs. Parker enjoying the sun in the South of France.

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy—Ira Gershwin

Hello all you jazz babies. I hope your summer is turning out to be quite the berries.

Here in New England, the muggy waves of summer have descended on our small corner of the land, and I’m dreaming of spending my days by the sea, lying on a beach with a good book and a pitcher of some cold giggle water close at hand. You know, a while back, women weren’t allowed to sunbathe. In fact, going to the beach involved being covered practically from head to toe. Finally, during the Roaring Twenties, women were allowed to ditch the black stockings of yore and saunter into the sea in a fig leaf. And getting their gams along with the rest of their body parts tan was actually fashionable thanks to Miss Coco Chanel (Love her! She had real flapper spirit even though she was a rock of ages).  

Antibes, Mrs. Parker's idea of heaven.

No one knew how to enjoy the sun in style better than the expatriates who spent the summer months in the South of France. Sarah Murphy, the den mother of the Lost Generation, famously sunbathed while wearing her long strings of pearls (they needed to get their sun too, she announced). In fact, Sarah spent most of her sunning on the beach at Cap d’Antibes, one of Mrs. Parker’s favourite spots (most places in the South of France are fine by Mrs. Parker but Antibes is tops). There the air is just a bit sweeter, the sun a bit warmer, the water a bit more refreshing. In short, heaven. Sarah’s husband, Gerald, used to greet their guests after their morning dips with glasses of sherry, my type of welcome.

It’s hard to talk about fun in the sun without thinking of Mack Sennett’s Bathing Beauties. Although they came in all shapes and sizes, the one thing the beauties had in common was fun—in photos they always seem to be having oodles of laughs, even when they’re being pounded by waves or hanging off a moving car. In this issue of Flapperjane, we’ll look at Marie Prevost, one of Sennett’s most beautiful and tragic beauties, and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, the original inspiration and model for the flapper. So have a swell summer and remember to drink plenty of liquids (Mrs. Parker recommends gin and tonics as a perfect antidote to too much sun).

 

Mrs. Parker