Elizabeth Needham: Needham, depicted here in William Hogarth’s “A Harlot’s Progress,” ran Park Place, London’s most exclusive brothel in the early 18th century. Hogarth described her as a “handsome old procuress…well dressed in silk.”
Libby Thompson: Thompson, called “Squirrel Tooth Alice” due to a gap in her front teeth, ran a dance hall as a front for her Sweetwater, Tex., cathouse in the 1880s. She was described as unglamorous with a penchant for eccentric clothing.
Polly Adler: Equipped with hidden stairways and secret doorways, Adler’s Manhattan bordello drew the upper-crust customer: bankers, politicians and mobsters alike. Newspaper reports described her as “dressed fashionably and well tanned.”
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Belle Watling: Portrayed by Ona Munson, Watling, the practical madam with a heart of gold from “Gone With the Wind,” was partial to flamboyant gowns, elaborate headwear and ample doses of rouge.
Hattie: Played by Susan Sarandon, Hattie peddled her daughter, “Pretty Baby,” played by Brooke Shields, out in Belle Epoche New Orleans. This mother-of-the-year’s fashion often veered into provocative lingerie territory — when she was wearing clothes.
Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection
Miss Mona Stangle
Miss Mona Stangley: No doubt Dolly Parton’s predilection for poof helped her in playing Stangley, the kind-hearted proprietress of the Chicken Ranch in the 1982 film “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”
Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection
Heidi Fleiss: Madam to the stars, Fleiss boasted an elite clientele made up of the biggest Hollywood bigwigs of the Eighties. She dressed the indiscreet part.
Anna Gristina: From the looks of her no-nonsense court outfit, mother-of-four Gristina appears not to have spent much of her alleged millions on fashion.
Jaynie Mae Baker
Jaynie Mae Baker: Baker, who insists she is employed by a legitimate matchmaking service, chose casual chic for her court ensemble.
JB Nicholas/Splash News/Corbis