Star and Garter reintroduced burlesque to Broadway in 1942 and featured tall dames and low comedy in a production carefully designed to avoid the censorship of Mayor LaGuardia’s watchdogs. Mounted at the prestigious Music Box Theatre, it starred the brilliant comedian Bobby Clark, Carrie Finnell, who could whirl her huge breasts in opposite directions to the delight of all, and Gypsy Rose Lee, all surrounded by lavish sets and costumes. Kermit Love describes the show as One of the most sumptuously understated things I’d ever seen and I thought, ‘Boy, if this is burlesque I’ll spend the rest of my life here.’ He was not alone in this opinion and the show sold out for almost two years.
Sharaff and Karinska devised some memorable and very innovative costumes: one for Georgia Sothern had to be in multiple parts that would fly away into the wings at perfectly timed moments in the choreography. As for Gypsy Rose Lee:
She shed several crisply starched petticoats and finally stood in a small G-string made of flowers crocheted in wool of pastel colors, with an extra flower on the tip of each breast . . . She had invented a trick of pasting the crocheted flowers on her nipples in such a way that the tightly woven stem of each flower untwirled at a light tap of a finger. This gave a fillip to her curtain call and of course the audience applauded wildly.
The stripper adored Karinska and felt that she understood her body, her style and her attitude. She was not the first or last female performer to feel confident of Karinska’s ability to enhance her looks; and Gypsy’s extreme lack of clothing somehow underscored the crucial importance of every stitch.