Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Draffir Sisters Take Center Stage at Red Poulaine

We love sister acts! We love ruffles! We love sequins! Les Soeurs Draffir (the Draffir Sisters) provide us with all three. So charming! Now, by special arrangement, Les Soeurs Draffir are appearing here, on Red Poulaine's stage!


We so love what we do. We've booked a troupe of jugglers, and hope soon to make space for a dog act, but always of course, the ladies, the beautiful ladies.

We know only a little about the Draffir Sisters, not even their given names. However, we do know that they  were a box office draw, appearing in such diverse settings as the Folies Bergere and in operettas such as  La Petite Bohême ("The Little Bohemian,” which could also be translated as “The Little Gypsy”) by M. Henri Hirschmann in the spring of 1912. As you can see in this newspaper ad, their performance in the operetta was given top billing.

We were lucky enough to find this great image, photographed by Louis Martin of Paris, on a postcard originally destined for the offices of the Impressario, Raoul Pitau, a very important Parisian theatrical producer in those days. Now, by many strange twists and turns of fate it has arrived here, at the "offices" of Red Poulaine, some 100 or so years later, and still in fine condition.

Les Soeurs Draffir postcard back, showing the address of Raoul Pitau
By the way, we learned of Raoul Pitau, the "Impressario," that he was "bald as an ostrich egg," and that once, at a charming hotel in Nice, after plying a woman he had met on the train with wine and rum all through the night, that just at the moment of grand consummation an earthquake struck the city and the couple, along with many others, ran to the town square to be safely away from tall buildings, walls, etc. Well, the story goes that when things seemed to have returned to normal, the two lovers' fiery passions still unquenched, they returned to the hotel post haste in order that they might resume their play of affections. But, once again, at that most critical of moments, a second shock wave struck the city, driving them again out into the street, at which point they bowed to fate inexorable, bid one another fair adieu, and parted company forever.*

* We found this little tale of romance a la Belle Epoque in a page out of a journal by someone named Paulus (see translation), a theatrical personage in his own right. Paulus was a cafe concert performer who apparently benefited over many years from the talent management and close personal friendship of Mr. Pitau, who he said, "writhed" with frustration at the recollection of this incident.

Another sister act: Alice and Fanny de Tenders dancing La Matchiche.
Alice and Fanny de Tenders dance La Matchiche
The sisters de Tenders are currently making their way around the world on the way to our shop, so keep an eye out for their arrival!