Style Icon | Anita Berber

Immortalized as a symbol of Berlin's decadence between WWI and WWII, Anita Berber was Germany's infamous dancer extraordinaire during the Weimer Republic days. She was born in Leipzig in 1899 to Felix and Lucie Berber, who were both artists as well. They divorced shortly after her birth and sent their daughter to be raised by her grandmother. 

At 16, Anita left her grandmother's home in Dresden to pursue dance and theater in Berlin. She enrolled in acting classes upon moving to the city and was soon spotted by the avant-garde choreographer Rita Sacchetto, whose dance troupe she joined the following year. Fiercely independent, she eventually gravitated toward the cabaret scene and began dancing nude, very much pushing the societal limits of dance at the time. 

Although she came to fame as a dancer, it was her scandalous lifestyle that launched her into the spotlight. Her nude dancing, for starters, sparked gossip and intrigue, as did her unabashed vices, among them alcohol, cocaine, hashish, opium, morphine and absinthe. She was openly bisexual, taking lovers from end to end of the availability spectrum, and was in fact named in several high-profile divorce proceedings throughout her life. 

Her beauty and unique style made her a muse for poets, artists and photographers, as well as a mark for journalists. She wore heavy dance make-up, which on film appeared to be nothing more than jet black lipstick and heavily charcoaled eyes. Does her style look familiar? If you're a fan of Marlena Dietrich, you may be aware of the fact that the two dated for a spell during Marlena's early Berlin days. Dietrich drew a lot of inspiration from Anita, adopting not only her fashion sense but her self-assured demeanor as well. 

Anita Berber's life was so brief that her style is easily encapsulated in a moment. I love how naturally she seems to exude confidence, personally. Her style was most definitely all her own, binding the feminine sexuality of the iconic 1920's vamp with the androgynous attire of the experimental Dada movement. What are your thought on her story and style?

Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber
Vintage style icon, Anita Berber