Belle Brezing: “Dressing Lexington’s Most Notorious Madam”


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 10, 2017) Next week, one of Lexington’s most notorious citizens will get her moment on the big screen as Kentucky Theatre debuts a new one-hour documentary on Belle Brezing. Helping bring the story of this infamous madam to life is University of Kentucky’s own Nelson Fields, associate professor of theatre and dance, who served as costume designer and associate producer of “Belle Brezing and the Gilded Age of the Bluegrass.”

(Excerpt from Dressing Lexington’s Most Notorious Madam)


5 thoughts on “Belle Brezing: “Dressing Lexington’s Most Notorious Madam”

    1. It will show up on PBS, but I enjoy these premieres at the Historic Kentucky Theater on the big screen (like the one you and I went to about Marion Miley–“Forgotten Fame.”


  1. What an interesting clip. I especially noticed the difference between the rather garish garment the senior designer made and the garments his student made. The latter evoke the Belle of the photographs, don’t you think? In those old photographs, it seems she wore plainer dresses and stood out in them because of the force of her nature, as opposed to the more stereotypical flamboyant dresses “wearing her.” I hope the student stays true to his innate design talent.


    1. Maryjean Wall’s (author of Madam Belle) research shows that Belle and her girls dressed conservatively when they went out in the community, but wore “fancy” evening gowns when the house was open to customers. Men were expected to wear evening dress, too. Belle was picky about who she let into the house. Her place was characterized as a $5 house on a $2 street. (But, like you, I appreciated the student’s recreation of Belle’s dress in the studio portrait. I thought it was interesting that the senior designer used the gown from Gone With the Wind–the Belle Watling connection–for his inspiration; it was probably quite true to the time in color and style.)

      Liked by 1 person

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