Isadora Duncan, considered the mother of modern dance, was Born in San Francisco California on September 14, 1877. Her father was a California senator Thomas Gray. Her mother left Thomas due to public scandal and moved to Oakland, California with her mother & two sisters. Isadora’s mother worked as a music teacher and piano player. Isadora dropped out of high school in her teen years and taught dancing to younger children in order to help support her family.
Isadora moved to New York and soon found herself in London and then Paris where she had achieved notoriety, by 1895 at the age 18. She was noted for her avante garde free form dance style, performing in flowing, draped Grecian inspired wear and often barefoot. Her style was expressive and free form. In 1924 she moved to Moscow and worked for two years but found the Soviet Republic restrictive of her open spirit.
With the fruits of her name, success and labor , she founded three schools of dance. The most famous in Grunewald Germany. There her pupils were nicknamed “The Isadorables”. She tried the school for boys but it floundered.
Isadora gave birth to two children out of wedlock “Deidre” born September 24,1906 and “Patrick” fathered by Singer Sewing Machine founder Isaac Singer born May 1,1910.
Isadora’s life was soon fallowed by scandal when the chauffer driven car was occupied by herself, the nanny, and her two children. The chauffeur stopped the car for engine trouble when it broke into gear and surged down an embankment into a river. There the nanny and two children died tragically in the accident. Isadora took time to recover but was followed by scandal once more when touring in the United States and exposed part of her chest to the public audience and announced that she was bisexual. Her notorious affairs were publicized in private letters and poetry to several notable women of the time.
Towards the end of her life, Isadora had become financially indebted and relied upon support of friends and contributors. She was friends with Zelda and her husband, famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald whom encouraged her to write her autobiography but it never came to fruition.
On her 50th birthday September 14,1927 she was leaving a party with her Italian lover of that time, “Benoit Falchetto,” and her last words as she left were “I’m off to love”. Benoit had given her a beautiful long flowing silk scarf that was hand painted by Russian Artist Roman Chatov. The scarf was very long and able to be wrapped around her body. They drove off together in a 1924 Almicar GS, also known as a “Bugatti”. The car was going full speed and Isadora’s flowing scarf was blowing out the window when it wrapped around the rear axel of the luxury auto. It pulled her from the car where her body was dragged several feet and she died instantly.
Isadora’s spirit still lives strong today in many forms. Here I have shown two vintage perfumes inspired by Rene Lalique, famous French glass maker. In the 1920’s he designed the perfume on the left in her image and sold the design to Eroy perfumes of Paris, and the perfume bottle was released in 1927. Upon the 50th anniversary of her death in 1977, the same bottle was reproduced and actually named “Isadora”.