By Siobhan O'Brien
Florence Broadhurst, the one-time chanteuse of Shanghai, Bond road salon proprietor, world-renowned wallpaper fashion designer and Sydney socialite lived a existence steeped in subterfuge and deception. the following for the 1st time we get a glimpse on the interesting girl in the back of the hand-printed brocades.
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Additional info for A Life by Design: The Art and Lives of Florence Broadhurst
And like many events in Florence’s life, Bobby’s timing was perfect. • Western-style dancing such as ballroom and jazz took Chinese society by storm after World War I and by the twenties dance and cabaret culture had become intrinsically linked with Shanghai itself, which by now had earned the nickname ‘Le Paris de L’Orient’. Tea dances, charity balls, professional song-and-dance troupes (called gewutuan), ballet, dancing schools and social gatherings for student associations, government, military and professional organisations were all the rage—but it was cabarets that had the greatest impact on the Shanghai elite.
Inner-city streets were a tangle of rickshaws, cars, trams and cyclists dodging businessmen in smart suits, women with boyish bob haircuts, sailors on shore leave, wharfies, street hawkers and itinerants who carted their wares across their shoulders in backbreaking baskets. Opium dens, prostitution, gambling, extortion and violence were just part of the scenery. QX5 3/9/04 10:10 AM Page 41 Bookhouse The Orient, 1922–1927 riates. Russians also lived in Shanghai but they had arrived under different circumstances—as refugees.
According to family friend Ted Bettiens, sport—including football, rifle shooting, horseracing, wood chopping and cricket—meant a lot to the Broadhursts who ‘always got fired up about competition and about winning first prize’. Since early settlement, tennis played a pivotal role in the community, and by the early 1900s there were three public tennis clubs in Mount Perry. When Florence and her sisters were older, they spent hours pinning their hair, painting their faces and fitting their frocks for the Race Ball that, since 1872, was a high point on the Mount Perry social calendar.