Tag Archive | Old Hollywood glamour

Hollywood Glamour Fashion Exhibit-MOFA Boston- Part 2

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Last week’s blog was Part 1 on my visit to the Hollywood Glamour Exhibit at the  Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, including photos of beautiful movie costumes, info on the famous designers who created them and the actresses who were lucky enough to wear these beautiful outfits. Today is my second installment of photos and facts on these iconic fashions from Hollywood’s Golden Era.

Travis Banton hostess gown worn by Marlene Dietrich

Travis Banton hostess gown worn by Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich in Desire (1936)

Marlene Dietrich in Desire (1936)

In 1936 Marlene Dietrich played a jewel thief in Paramount Pictures, Desire.  She steals a valuable strand of pearls named “tears of the mermaid.” Love that name!
Travis Banton, whose imagination and designing skills were directly responsible for the mystique of Ms. Dietrich’s character, incorporated chiffon, fur and feathers for probably the most glamorous hostess gown I think I’ve every seen!

Edith Head design for Betty Grable

Edith Head design for Betty Grable

Betty Grable in gold lame gown designed by Edith Head

Betty Grable in gold lame gown designed by Edith Head for This Way Please (1937)

I have to admit, I do love me some shimmer!  And shimmery fabrics, like the gold lamé  used in this fabulous halter gown, were used quite a bit during the early eras of cinema as the fabric translated beautifully on black and white film.  Edith Head designed this for Betty Grable in the movie This Way Please (1937). 

FUN FILM FASHION FACT- Aside from looking beautiful on screen, with the advent of  the  “Talkies” ,  soft, flowing fabrics like chiffon, lamé and satin were often used because they didn’t make any distracting noise that could be picked up by microphones.

Two piece outfit designed by Irene for Greer Garson

Two piece outfit designed by Irene for Greer Garson

Greer Garson in Julia Misbehaves (194*

Greer Garson in Julia Misbehaves (1948)

Above is Greer Garson in a photo from Julia Misbehaves (1948) wearing a blouse and skirt designed by Irene Lentz.  Usually referred to as just  Irene, she was a California fashion designer who ended up working for MGM in the 1940s after Gilbert Adrian left there.  She is known for her evening gowns and exquisite tailoring.  I absolutely love this two piece ensemble. Though it is not as formal as some of the other outfits in the exhibit, this is one I could totally envision myself wearing to a fancy cocktail party or dinner. That is if I were fortunate enough to to find something even remotely as lovely as this!  The embroidered design around the neckline and down front of the blouse along with the shimmery satin overskirt adds just the right amount of interest to take simple separates to a whole new level of glamour.

Schiaparelli gown for Mae West

Schiaparelli gown for Mae West

Mae West in Every Day's a Holiday (1938)

Mae West in Every Day’s a Holiday (1938)

Famous Paris couture designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, created this rich purple silk embroidered wool twill dress for Mae West in Every Day’s a Holiday (1938).  Set in the Gay Nineties the costumes from this movie inspired Ms Schiaparelli’s 1939 clothing line, which was sold in department stores. Even back then women wanted to wear celebrity fashion!

FUN FILM FASHION FACT-  Mae West’s curvaceous figure, which measured 35-25-35, was the inspiration for Elsa Schiaparelli’s “Shocking” perfume bottle.

Mae West's custom platform shoes

Mae West’s custom platform shoes

And last, but not least, these fascinating platform shoes made of wood and leather, were specially designed for Mae West.  Because she was only 5 feet tall, these shoes within a shoe added another 8 1/2″ to her height.  Heck I thought the platform shoes I wore in the 70s were tall!   In all her movies she always had on long dresses, so all you could see were the silver shoes peeking out from beneath. Ingenious, yes?  I wonder if it took much practice for her to get used to walking in them.

Which oufit is your favorite?

Have a glamorous day!

 

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Fabulous Old Hollywood Fashion at Museum of Fine Arts- Boston- Part 1

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Hollywood Glamour exhibit at MOFA Boston

Hollywood Glamour exhibit at MOFA Boston

Back from a recent trip to New England where I was  very fortunate to catch the Hollywood Glamour  exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  On display were gowns designed by some of the early movie industry’s most famous costumers.  I can’t begin to describe how excited I was to be so close to such amazing creations, outfits that were actually worn by legendary actresses of the 20s, 30s and 40s.   And since cameras were allowed, I was able to take photos to share.   I’ve broken the post up into two parts since I got a little carried away with the picture taking.  So come back to see the rest of these beauties!

Travis Banton gown for Mary Ellis- Paris in Spring 1935

Travis Banton gown for Mary Ellis- Paris in Spring 1935

This lamé gown was front and center of the exhibit and was simply breathtaking in person.
Attributed to Travis Banton, who designed this for actress Mary Ellis in the movie
Paris in Spring (1935).

Mary Ellis-Paris in Spring 1935

Mary Ellis-Paris in Spring 1935

FUN FILM FASHION FACT - In the very early years of film, designers had to experiment with ways to make the costumes really stand out on black and white film.  And some designs were problematic for the camera, such as dresses heavily embellished with jewels. So often they used cold cream to dull the finish on stones so they would not cause camera glare.

Chanel 20s beaded dress

Chanel 20s beaded dress

 

Actress Ina Claire in Chanel dress-1926

Actress Ina Claire in Chanel dress-1926

Chanel designed for stage and screen. And in the early 1930s she created costumes for a few films at  Metro Goldwyn Mayer.  But according to the studio her design aesthetic of simple, elegant silhouettes didn’t translate well on the silver screen. So, though she is one of the most famous fashion designers of all time, her Hollywood costume design career was short lived.

Travis Banton dress for Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own (1932)

Travis Banton dress for Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own (1932)

Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own

Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own

Another Travis Banton beauty.  This silk chiffon gown is completely embroidered with bugle beads and silver metallic thread.   The tiny beads created a luminous, shimmering effect on film.  Plunging necklines and backs were a hallmark of 1930s fashions, and the figure hugging silhouette could only look its best with no undergarments worn beneath.  Being as it was pre-code, racy dresses like this were still allowed on the screen.

Adrian black velvet gown designed for Greta Garbo in Inspiration  1930

Adrian black velvet gown designed for Greta Garbo in Inspiration 1930

Great Garbo publicity photo for Inspiration 1930

Great Garbo publicity photo for Inspiration 1930

This luxurious black silk velvet gown with bejewelled neckline that Greta Garbo is wearing was designed by the famous Gilbert Adrian for her role in Inspiration (1930). Adrian began dressing Garbo when he came to work for MGM in 1928.  The style of clothing he designed for Ms Garbo helped form her onscreen persona, which was often that of a mysterious, devastatingly alluring, femme fatale.

Gilbert Adrian gown for Jean Harlow in Bombshell (1933)

Gilbert Adrian gown for Jean Harlow in Bombshell (1933)

Jean Harlow in Bombshell

Jean Harlow in Bombshell

In the movie Bombshell Gilbert Adrian was going for a good girl/bad girl look for Jean Harlow.   Sensuous silk satin was used that would caress the actresse’s curves, a low neckline and plunging draped back combined with the flowers and multi tiered peplum is a wonderful contrast of sexy and sweet.

FUN FILM FASHION FACT- This is the gown Jean Harlow wore when she added her hand prints in the wet cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1933.

Robert Kalloch deisgn for Noma Shearer in Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

Robert Kalloch deisgn for Noma Shearer in Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

Close up of evening jacket designed by Robert Kalloch

Close up of evening jacket designed by Robert Kalloch

Norma Shearer and Robert Taylor in Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

Norma Shearer and Robert Taylor in Her Cardboard Lover (1942)

This stunning evening jacket, designed by Robert Kalloch for Norma Shearer to wear for Her Cardboard Lover (1942), is made of a rayon twill with silver metallic threads and embroidered with intricate bugle beads and sequins.   Robert Kalloch was not quite as well known as some of the other Hollywood designers like Adrian, Banton and Orry Kelly, but he did have an impressive career in fashion, which began  with him designing extravagant evening gowns for royalty, the social elite and costumes for stage actresses.  Eventually Columbia Pictures brought him to Hollywood to add some style and class to their films.  He also designed for MGM studios from 1941-43.

That’s all for now! Part 2 coming soon…..

Hope you enjoyed my little show and tell on Hollywood fashion history!

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Midnight Lace- The way to wow at your next special event

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You need an outfit for an upcoming formal affair.

The mission~ Find something classy that exudes sex appeal in an understated, yet tantalizing way. Like something  Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth would wear back in the day.  You want to show off your womanly figure, but not in a Kardashian kind of way, if you know what I mean. And you want to dazzle every male at the event!

Also, has to be easy on the wallet!

The solution~The gown below. Because you can’t go wrong with what I call the “Midnight Lace” classic glamour look.  The combination of black lace and a curve hugging silhouette evokes images of femininity, lingerie, the boudoir, everything that gets a man’s neurons firing at the speed of light.  Yet this evening dress does not  have a high slit that barely covers, nor is it cut too low at the neckline, which leaves plenty to the imagination. And if there is one thing that piques a guy’s interest it’s bit of mystery.

Just think about it, they’re born problem solvers.  After gazing at you in your devastatingly demure dress, they’ll be trying to figure out all night how to make the proper approach, all the while fantasizing about the treasure that lies beneath!  A technique burlesque dancers refer to  as “The Art of the Tease.”  Show just enough to make them want to see more. And it has worked for ions.

Curve hugging midnight lace over teal jersey evening gown

Curve hugging midnight lace over teal jersey evening gown

The gown has flattering ruching down the front, a pretty scalloped lace neckline that dips to a provocative V in back, hugs your curves to the lower thigh, then flares out beautifully below.  It has a seriously sensuous drape because of the jersey fabric beneath. As you saunter across the room (you should practice your sauntering before the party), the fabric undulating hypnotically as you walk is sure to have a mesmerizing effect!

1 Lace gown   $110.00  2. Gloves $28.99  3. Evening Bag $24.99 4. Heels  54.95  5. Earrings $10.99 6.Bracelet 29.99

But to really pull off a seductive classic glamour look, you also need the right accessories,  makeup and hair.  The proper heels,  long satin evening gloves,  glitzy vintage inspired rhinestone jewelry, red lipstick and wavy or curled hair  parted to the side will complete your tantalizing vintage look.

Marilyn in Black lace over red dress

Marilyn in Black lace over red dress

Image source

Rita Hayworth publicity photo

Rita Hayworth publicity photo

 

Have a glamorous day!

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Dressing for 1920s Gatsby Themed Prom Night

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Not only are vintage themed weddings a growing trend, but vintage themed proms are  becoming very popular as well!  How fun for young ladies to dress up in a glamorous Old Hollywood Style for prom night.   It really does my little vintage loving heart good to see this, rather than some of the more “modern” prom fashions that leave so little to the imagination!  And our customer Jenny Pless Houser was kind enough to send us photos of her daughter Katelynn in the vintage inspired evening gown she purchased from us for her Gatsby Themed prom.    Check out how beautiful  and classy she looks!

katelynn houser Gatsby Themed Prom

Katelynn and handsome friend decked out for their Gatsby Themed Prom

When you love old school glamour and have an online vintage style special occasion wear  business, you can’t help but wonder where all the dresses being shipped out are being worn, what special events and celebrations will our dresses make an appearance,  how the customer is going to look in their purchase and how they’ll accessorize it. So it’s such  a special treat when we get to see pictures of our classy customers glamming it up in clothing they purchased from us!

katelynn houser

And the vintage car just completes the look perfectly!

katelynn houser prom

Katelynn chose a gown that is elegant, sophisticated and classic.  A timeless style that would flatter a woman of any age.

katelynn houser gatsby prom night

And Katelynn’s mom actually took these pictures and did a fantastic job of capturing the romance of the Gatsby Era Theme.

Katelynn Houser Gatsby Glamour

Everyone at Blue Velvet Vintage was so thrilled to see Katelynn’s prom photos and we’re all very appreciative that Mrs. Houser and her lovely daughter were kind enough to share them with us.  We hope these pictures inspire other young women to opt for a vintage inspired look like this when prom time rolls around!

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You’re Never Too Old for Your First Pin Up Shoot!

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to partake in a pin up photo session, but felt too shy and self conscious? Do  you love the sassy look of vintage pin up girl images and the glamorous photo stills of classic actresses, but think you’re too old to give it a whirl yourself?  Well, think again!

Recently I decided to surprise my husband because he always says he doesn’t have any good pictures of me.  He’s a yacht captain and when he is out to sea he always wished he had a nice framed photo of his wife to look at while he’s away. Isn’t that romantic?   Yeah, well, it hasn’t happened in all these years because  I never actually had the nerve to have any “nice”  professional photos done. I feel very awkward in front of a camera and never enjoyed being the center of attention.

Then one day I was down in Miami  at the fabulous Terribly Girly Photo Studio, with  Janette Valentine and her talented crew , watching them do a Gatsby style photo shoot for our 20s style dresses.  That’s when the lightbulb went off!   My husband wants a picture of me?  Then why not give him one that totally represents what I love and also do for a living?

But could I pull it off? The whole idea seemed kind of fun, but scary too. Plus I thought, really, this is for  younger gals.  But Janette talked me into it, explaining to me that many of her clients were  over 40!   She assured me they could make me look glamorous and presentable.  So I decided , why the heck not? I would welcome the personal challenge of overcoming my fear of the camera.  And I really wanted to do an “Old Hollywood Glamour”  themed shoot because I love the pin up photos of  1940s actresses in their elegant gowns.  So I immediately started planning  the look in my head!

First off, let me just say, hair and makeup artist, Marilyn San German is a miracle worker!  Below is a before photo of me sans makeup.  Believe me, I don’t let many people see me like this! But I had to show you what a seriously talented HMUA can achieve.

Before photos of my pinup shoot

Before photos at my first pin up shoot

And here are a couple of the after photos, once Marilyn and Janette worked their magic!

My first Old Hollywood Glamour style pin up shoot.

My first Old Hollywood Glamour style pin up shoot.

Old Hollywood Glamour pin up shoot-Terribly Girly Photography

Lying on a sofa surrounded by red tulle!

I really felt weird and self conscious at first, but Janette and Marilyn were so easy to work with, that they helped relax me.  And I have to say I was very pleased with the results and so was my husband. Though at first he didn’t even believe it was me!  Frankly, I couldn’t believe it was me either!  Those girls did a great job.

It really ended up being a fun day once I got over my nervousness. So, to those ladies who have been hesitant to try it,   I highly recommend a pin up shoot as a special treat to yourself,  no matter what your age.   You get to hang out with funny, super creative girls, talk about hair and makeup, play dress up and get pampered. It’s truly a fantastic way to celebrate being a woman.  Oh did I mention?  I’m already planning my next theme!

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