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Brilliantly colored drawing costume design of a portly gypsy woman by Freddy Wittop for Bajour, a Broadway musical that ran for 232 performances from November23,1964 to June12,1965 at the Shubert Theatre and Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York City. Bajour was based on a series of short stories about gypsies published in the New Yorker magazine. A signed companion work by Wittop, depicting a young man and two girls in patchwork gypsy style clothing, is available from our gallery here. Wittop’s adaptation of so-called gypsy motifs is typical of 1960s fashion trends influenced by the ethnic clothing adopted by hippie culture; Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent and Ossie Clark were among the fashion designers known for producing gypsy-influenced apparel in that decade.
Bajour starred Chita Rivera, Herschel Bernardi and Nancy Dussault --who was nominated for a Tony for her performance -- and was written by Ernest Kinoy with lyrics by Walter Marks. The original cast album was reissued on CD in 1992.
Freddy Wittop was born Federico Rey in Holland and raised in Paris. When he was eleven years old, he began his career as a costume designer for the Brussels Opera. Later he worked for the Folies Bergere in Paris. He immigrated to the United States in 1942 and designed costumes for the French Casino in New York City, and was a professional dancer as well. After World War II, he became one of the leading Broadway costume designers, his credits including George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House, Holiday on Ice, Carnival, Subways are for Sleeping, The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd, Bajour, and, most notably, Hello Dolly! for which he won the Tony Award for Costume Design. He was nominated six times for the Tony for his designs.
The largest collection of Wittop’s works belongs to the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia, comprising a collection of 27 of his scrapbooks with sketches, photographs, and personal memorabilia from 1927 to 1988.
Condition: Generally very good, the colors bright, with minor overall toning, wear and handling. Some faint dampstaining in margins, not obtrusive, can be matted out.
“Bajour.” Internet Broadway Database. 2001-2004. http://www.ibdb.com/show.asp?ID=1803 (31 July 2003).
“Freddy Wittop.” Internet Broadway Database. 2001-2004. http://www.ibdb.com/person.asp?ID=24874 (11 May 2005).
“Freddy Wittop and Dear World.”Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. 20 September 2001. http://www.libs.uga.edu/hargrett/pexhibit/wittop.html (31 July 2003).
“Some Leading Designers and influencers of Sixties fashions.” Sixties City. http://www.sixtiescity.com/Fashion/Design.htm (11 May 2005).
Wright, Adrian. “CD Reviews: Bajour.” Musical-Theatre.Net. http://www.musical-theatre.net/html/cdreviews/bajour.html (31 July 2003).