In the spirit of the Zodiac’s creative Scorpion, one who burns down in order to rebuild, the phoenix who would rise from the ashes, a renegade traveler, a woman synonymous with sensuality and scandal, Mata Hari, the quintessential femme fatale inspires this month’s Scorpio Beauty story. And. in the bloody tradition of those who wore the Scarlet letter, she was judged by the powerful for both her ambitious double-dealings and her sexuality.
In the fall of 1917, the French state would reel in its “big fish”, accused double agent, exotic dancer and the world’s most famous spy, Mata Hari. Her legendary last moments before execution by firing squad would paint her in death much like the headstrong way she lived. She asked for a pen to scratch down two goodbye letters.
“ ‘Then she drew on her stockings, black, silken, filmy things, grotesque in the circumstances. She placed her high-heeled slippers on her feet and tied the silken ribbons over her insteps.
Her wealth of black hair was still coiled about her head in braids. She put on a large, flapping black felt hat with a black silk ribbon and bow. Slowly and indifferently, it seemed, she pulled on a pair of black kid gloves. Then she said calmly:
‘I am ready.’” ---The Washington Post, October 2017
During her career, the press could hardly contain their excitement for her erotic performances in which she tantalized the well to do in Eastern ankle bracelets, beaded bras and nothing else. Her seductive powers to illicit state secrets from military men would be the subject future Hollywood movies starring big screen darlings, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Mata Hari’s fur trimmed brand of espionage would inspire Ian Flemming’s Bond girls and depictions of the female spy archetype to come.
SEE ALSO The largest ever Mata Hari exhibition - Mata Hari, The Myth and the Maiden - through April 18 2018 at the Fries Museum, Netherlands.