The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about Las Vegas is glamour. And cash. It has been standing still for more than 90 years being a symbol of resilience to mainstream entertainment. Until it has become one.
Little is known about the history of the city itself. What we know nowadays is that Las Vegas was connected with Los Angeles and Salt Lake by railroad at the beginning of the 20th century. Shortly afterward, gambling was forbidden in Nevada, but the activities continued and eventually in 1931 the casinos were legalized.
In 1941 the first hotel casino “The Ranch” was opened at part of the highway 91. It soon gained the nickname “The Strip”. Five years fast forward, the notorious Bugsy Siegel opened the “Flamingo” which revolutionized the industry and the visual identity of the casino world. While the previous casinos exploited the theme of wild West, Flamingo took its inspiration in Hollywood glamour, and influenced the latter casinos greatly, developing into a brand of its own. The forties glamour drew millions of visitors back in the 50ies and 60ies, while some of the top entertainers were Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley.
Glamour and popular names from showbiz became the synonym for Vegas. We asked ourselves why do we all love glamour and luxury, and all things artificial. Well, the simple answer could be that we strive to glorify the luxurious parts of our reality, because it is in human nature to admire something greater, or in this case – more sparkling and valuable. Hollywood glamour bears the certain unique feature, even today. Hollywood stars often manage to look glamorous without putting too much effort in their looks. Or so we think. Laid back image has never been so popular as it is today. Perhaps, because easy-going and effortlessness are the aspects we idealize in this extremely dynamic reality. Back in the days of “Flamingo”, the stars were idealized for their mysterious lifestyle and demeanor. However, this distance between Hollywood stars and regular people was still reachable. We may remember Ava Gardner’s breathtaking silhouette, the what-was-then-known-as groundbreaking Dior style, Rita Hayworth’s sex appeal, Bette Davis’s eyes or Barbara Stanwyck’s curls… All these stars were taught how to behave and adapt to glamour. Teamed with Sinatra’s or Presley’s image of bad boys, they introduced the new dimension of luxury and concepts we strive for in entertainment.
On a more-darker side, Nevada was also the place where nuclear probes were conducted in the 50ies and the beginning of 60ies. Paradoxically, this was also the time when some of the most famous casinos were opened: the “Sahara”, the “Sands”, the “New Frontier” and the “Riviera”. Everyone was playing slots and table games.
In years that followed, the old casinos were taken down and mega complexes were built, with Mirage being one of the most notable. Newly established trends incorporated an homage to ancient civilizations and glamorous cities: Rome, Egypt, Paris, Venice, New York …. However, many think that nothing can compare to the glamour of the 40ies, 50ies and 60ies.
What do you think?