Tag Archive | 1930′s

From Steamy Siren to Sophisticated Spouse – Happy Birthday Myrna Loy

Myrna Loy 08/02/1905 - 12/14/1993

Myrna Loy 08/02/1905 – 12/14/1993

Today is the birthday of one of Hollywood’s finest of ladies – Myrna Loy. Myrna started off her acting career in silent films playing “exotic” roles – typically femme fatales of oriental descent.

Isn’t this pearl tassel back necklace fabulous?

Myrna Loy in a floral velvet gown with a tasseled pearl necklace.

Myrna Loy in a floral velvet gown with a tasseled pearl necklace.

Her big break came in 1934 when she was cast as the female lead in The Thin Man. She played Nora Charles , the resourceful and dutiful wife opposite William Powell.  The chemistry in the their onscreen marriage, combined with Myrna’s good looks,  earned Myrna the knickname “the perfect wife.”  Men must Marry Myrna Loy clubs formed all over the country after the film’s release.  The studio released six Thin Man movies in all from 1934 – 1947.

Myrna Loy in a bias cut striped silk ciffon gown by Dolly Tree for the Thin Man. 1934

Myrna Loy in a bias cut striped silk chiffon gown by Dolly Tree for The Thin Man. 1934

Myrna often worked with successful 1920s and 30s costume designer Dolly Tree. Tree was the queen of glamorous detail – as featured in the elegant evening wear  worn in The Thin Man series. Including one of my favorites :

I think this coat is TDF!

 

Myrna Loy in a ruffled blouse under a silk coat with black trim by Dolly Tree in The Thin Man. 1934

Myrna Loy in a ruffled blouse under a silk coat with black trim by Dolly Tree in The Thin Man. 1934

 

William Powell, Jean Harlow,, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy in Dolly Tree creations for a promo shot for Libeled Lady. 1936

William Powell, Jean Harlow,, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy in Dolly Tree creations for a promo shot for Libeled Lady. 1936

Myrna Loy was able to successfully change her image from one extreme to another – something that is almost impossible to do in Hollywood. She is still remembered today as one stylish lady and a true class act.  Mark you calendar for September 30th when Turner Classic Movies  airs Best Years of Our Lives (1946) starring Myrna Loy and Frederic March.  Shown at  1:30 am (or for those of you who aren’t night owls – set your DVR!)

Have a glamorous day :-)

alison

 

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Happy Birthday to Barbara Stanwyck and Ginger Rogers!

Today I’d like to feature the fabulous style of two of Hollywood’s most famous , and glamorous, actresses.  Both born on this day, July 16th,  Barbara Stanwyck   in 1907 and Ginger Rogers four years later in 1911.

Barbara starred in over 80 films throughout her career – in addition to her television roles on The Big Valley and The Colbys.  In 1944 she was the highest paid woman in the United States.  She was an amazingly versatile actress. But when I think of Barbara Stanwyck, I can’t help think femme fatale,  as she excelled in film noir roles, one of my favorites being Double Indemnity.

Femme Fatale Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity

Femme Fatale Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944)

And I highly recommend watching Lady of Burlesque, especially for the sensational costumes.

Barbara Stanwyck Lady of Burlesque 1943

Barbara Styanwyck in Lady of Burlesque (1943)

Not only was she known  for her outstanding skills on screen, but also her kind manner offscreen. After working with her  in the 1952 film Clash by Night, Marilyn Monroe said she was the only one in Hollywood’s older generation who had been nice to her.

 Barbara Stanwyck, in a dark green suit by Edith Head for the 1940 film 'Remember the Night'.

Barbara Stanwyck, in a dark green suit by Edith Head for the 1940 film Remember the Night.

She often worked with designer Edith Head in her professional and personal life, who understood and designed for her long waisted figure using waist embellishments and focusing on the bustline.

Another Edith Head creation for Stanwyck in 'The Great Man's Lady 1942.

Another Edith Head creation for Stanwyck in The Great Man’s Lady (1942).

She took home an Emmy for her work in television but is often called ‘ the best actress who never won an Oscar’.

Our other birthday girl , Ginger Rogers ,  was asked by a reporter who should win an Academy Award in 1942 – and she named Barbara as her frontrunner. Ginger Rogers,  herself,  was no stranger to the Academy Awards.  She took home an Oscar in 1941 for her role in Kitty Foyle.

Ginger Rogers and her Academy Award for Best Actress in 1941.for Kitty Foyle

Ginger Rogers and her Academy Award for Best Actress in 1941. Photo: © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Cliff Wesselman

Her character in the film also created a big fashion trend in the 1940s  , the Kitty Foyle dress. The dress was a shirtwaist style with short or elbow-length sleeves ,  made in dark fabric with a contrasting light collar, typically black or navy with white.

The original Kitty Foyle dress.

The original Kitty Foyle dress.worn by Ginger Rogers

And when it comes to spectacular evening gowns how can you not think of Ginger Rogers? In the 1930s Ginger Rogers wore some of the most beautiful evening dresses in her dance scenes with Fred Astaire. Bernard Newman designed many costumes for Rogers, including her infamous ostrich-feather dress in Top Hat.   She collaborated with Newman on the gown and Fred Astaire hated it because the feathers shed all over the place when dancing their “Cheek to Cheek” number . But after she walked out on the set, they finally allowed her to wear it, but only after a seamstress did a better job of anchoring the feathers to the gown.  It now resides in the Smithsonian.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing to Cheek to Cheek in Top Hat

Fred Astaire dances with Ginger Rogers in her ostrich feather gown in Top Hat (1935)

Below is one of my favorites – a white art deco inspired gown designed by Newman for the 1936 film Swing Time.

Ginger Rogers in Swing Time . (1936)

Ginger Rogers in Swing Time . (1936)

Check out this gown from our Blue Velvet Vintage store  that reminds me a lot of Ginger’s look in Swing Time .

Click on image for more info.

30s style ivory sating deco evening gown

1930s Style ivory satin Swingtime gown

Happy Birthday to two of Hollywood’s most talented and fashionable style icons!

Do you have a favorite Ginger Rogers or Barbara Stanwyck film?

 

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Jean Harlow-How To Get Her 30s Hollywood Bombshell Look

Since  Jean Harlow’s birthday just passed by (March 3rd)  I thought I’d do a post on her iconic 1930s style and how you can put together a similar look for a vintage themed wedding.   Known as the  “Blond Bombshell” , this sex symbol of the silver screen was known for her  slinky,  curve hugging bias cut gowns designed by famous costumer, Adrian.  She claimed to not wear undergarments, so as not to ruin the lines of the dresses.  You know there were no Spanx back then!   She personified classic glamour, and her distinctive style still influences fashion till this day.

These are some great quotes I found from a  Jean Harlow interview in a 1933 Modern Screen Magazine.   Reading this article , you also get some serious  insight into her fashion sense.

“I’d rather have a few dresses of very fine material, than a whole closetful of fussy cheap looking things.”

“You have to have faith in your clothes, just as you have to have faith in yourself, to be successful in dressing.”

Coming from a very young woman, that is some pretty sage advice about  personal style!

Below are some photos to inspire you.  Jean very rarely wore colors, preferring white or black. But silver or champagne could work for you just as well for capturing her look.   Furs, sparkly jewels, T strap or Mary Jane pumps and  opera length gloves are the perfect finishing touches!

Thin eyebrows and red cupid bow lips.

Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow in Fur

Notice the satin, bias cut and draping.

Jean Harlow William Powell Reckless

Jean Harlow and William Powell in Reckless

Here is a collage I put together with pieces you can purchase from our website  that will give you that glamorous Harlow look!

channel your inner Jean Harlow

Channel your inner Jean Harlow

Ivory satin draped back gown

White opera length gloves

Deco rhinestone cuff bracelet

Silver sequined T strap heels

Faux sheared beaver jacket

Thanks for visiting!

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Gilbert Adrian-Hollywood Costumer Extraordinaire

A while back I did a post about desginer Gilbert Adrian, and his  fabulous fashions from the 1940s.  And it’s not surprising women were drawn to his creations.  Because  from 1928-1941 he  was the couturier for some of the most famous stars in Hollywood.   His unforgettable costumes epitomized the glamour of the Golden Era of films.  Known  just as “Adrian” this man certainly had the talent  for making a woman look sensational and beautiful!

He was solely responsible for the signature looks of Jean Harlow in her clinging bias cut gowns and  Joan Crawford. whose  narrow waisted, broad shouldered suits became a huge fashion trend in the 40s.  He also designed for Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn and Norma Shearer, just to name a few!

A slinky Adrian gown for Jean Harlow, who played Kitty Packard , Wallace Beery’s wisecracking wife,  in Dinner at Eight. Her evening dresses from this movie became the  fashion rage in the 30s.

adrian harlow dinner at eight 1933

Jean Harlow in Adrian gown-Dinner at Eight 1933

Adrian designed this glittery gown for Joan Crawford, who played Crystal Allen, the husband stealing hussy in “The Women”

 

Gilbert Adrian-Joan Crawford -The Women 1939

Joan Crawford in shimmery evening gown by Adrian-The Women-1939

A goddess like Adrian gown for Helga, a.k.a. Susand Lenox, played by Greta Garbo who co-starred with Clark Gable in this film.

Gilbert Adrian-Greta  Garbo in  Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise 1931

Great Garbo in Adrian gown- Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise 1931

This costume Adrian designed for Greta Garbo in Mata Hari cost $2000.00 to make and weighed 50 pounds!

Great Garbo-Mata Hari-Adrian costume 1931

Adrian costume for Greta Garbo in Mata Hari 1931

Adrian designed this dramatic  gray Persian lamb outfit for Norma Shearer in Idiot’s Delight, where she played a fake Russian countess.  I love the suede platform boots she’s wearing!

Norma Shearer-Gilbert Adrian-Idiot's Delight  1939

Gray Persian Lamb ensemble by Adrian for Norma Shearer in Idiot’s Delight 1939

In the 1930s the movie studios produced many musical extravaganzas.   So Adrian often designed costumes for  the whole cast,  including all the chorus girls. Below is one of his costumes from “The Great Ziegfeld”.

 

Adrian costumes- The Great Ziegfeld 1936

Adrian costume for The Great Ziegfeld 1936

Adrian also designed all the costumes for the “Wizard of Oz”, including the famous ruby red slippers worn by Dorothy/Judy Garland.  Several pair were made during the filming of the movie, and  each shoe supposedly was covered with 2300 sequins.  One pair is on permanent display at the Smithsonian in Wash, D.C.

When Hollywood decided Garbo needed a new, more modern, American look for her last film “Two Faced Woman” , that was pretty much the end of Adrian’s costuming career.  Garbo left Hollywood because she didn’t like the clothes the studio was trying to foist on her, and Adrian followed right after,  saying that “When Garbo walked out of the studio, so did glamour, and so did I.”

Do you have a favorite movie that features designs by Gilbert Adrian?

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For a Polished Look-The Vintage Moon Manicure

My latest issue of InStyle magazine is touting the “moon” manicure as a hot fashion trend for fall.  Also, referred to as a “reverse French” manicure, it originally became popular with movie actresses in the 1920s.

Black and white half moon manicure is very polished look!

Black and white half moon manicure is a very polished look!

In the 1930s women  often painted just the center of the nail, leaving the moon and tip bare.  Filling in the whole nail with color was considered an extreme look. Nice girls didn’t do it!  A whitening pencil was used on the back of the nail tip as well, like this one  from Sally’s Beauty Supply.

1930s manicure.

1930s manicure.

Of course, Dita Von Teese, the queen of vintage glamour, has been sporting these pretty retro nails for quite some time.

Dita and her signature vintage nails.

Dita and her signature vintage nails.

And here’s a photo of Joan Blondell someone posted at the Fedora Lounge. Those classy dames at the Lounge have a whole thread dedicated to vintage manicures!

Joan Blondell and her marvelous manicure.

Joan Blondell and her marvelous manicure.

According to this very informative site on vintage makeup, common nail polish colors in the 30′s included red, pink, deep coral, lilac, emerald green, cornflower blue,  gray, gold silver and even black!

There are two ways to re-create this vintage moon manicure.  Leave the half moon,  or moon and  tip,  completely bare, or paint a lighter shade on the whole nail, let it dry, then apply the darker shade over it.

According to what I’ve read on several blogs, the easiest and cheapest way to get the perfect moon shape is to mask the area with those little round reinforcement circles for notebook paper that you can buy at the office supply store.  Just cut them in half , stick on the bottom of your nail, then apply the top color. When almost dry, peel off and voila, perfect moon manicure.

I think the look is very chic and the possibilities are endless for yummy color combinations.  What do you think? Would you do your nails like this?

red, deep corals, lilac, emerald green, mother of pearl gray, pale pink, cornflower blue, mauve, gold or silver

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Romantic 1930′s Heart Print Dress

I am loving this heart print vintage dress from the 1930′s. It even has sweet little heart shaped buttons. So utterly feminine, romantic and best of all—RED!  Offered at  Dorothea’s Closet

Heart_pritn_dress

Heart_print

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Heirloom Vintage Wedding Cake Toppers

June is the traditional month for tying the knot, so I thought I’d feature some wedding related vintage goodies.  I just happened to stumble upon this spectacular collection  of restored and redesigned vintage wedding cake toppers from a company called Gulden and Brown.    The perfect touch to a vintage themed wedding, these beautiful recreations are sure to be a treasured memento of that special day.

This cupie doll 1920′s cake topper is, without a doubt,  one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen!  Meticulously embellished with tulle, venetian lace, pearls and organza. The porcelain bride and groom are wearing their original chemise and tuxedo.

Cupie_cake_topper_4

1930′s porcelain couple decked out in their deco finery beneath an arch with three silverized mercury glass bells.

1930s_cake_topper_2

1940′s Hollywood glamour from the Coast Novelty Co. of Venice, California, meticulously decorated with hand cut embossed velvet flowers, corded sequins and pearls.

Hollywood_cake_topper

There are several other heirloom quality toppers, including one in a magnificient gothic style. Unfortunately I was not able to copy the picture of that one.  This website also offers stunning vintage wedding gowns and accessories. 

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