In 1897, the legendary Canadian-American filmmaker and pioneer of early cinema, James H. White turned the lens of his Edison camera on New York’s beau monde. In his 30 second film, he captured “the famous parade ground of Metropolitan fashion,” otherwise known as Fifth Avenue.
“Exquisitely gowned women, club men, actresses, millionaires pass by on their afternoon stroll,” reads the description in the Edison Catalog.
It’s often said today that we are living through a second Gilded Age. But watching the rich and famous parade up and down Fifth Avenue, festooned with feathers and beaver skins, for crowds of onlookers, it becomes quite clear that even today’s gaudiest rappers have nothing on the peacocks of yore.
Check out the video below: