Tag Archive | Old Hollywood glamour

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

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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The California Elegance of Irene Lentz

The legendary fashion and Hollywood costume designer, Irene Lentz-Gibbons, began her career as an actress in the early 1920s and soon moved onto designing and opening a small dress store. Her designs were so popular that Bullocks-Wilshire, a luxury department store catering to the  Los Angeles elite, asked her to open up a boutique and design for them, making her the first designer to open their own salon within a department store.

Suits for Irene’s ready to wear line. Left is from her collection in the 1960s. Right from 1955 collection. Very clean lines and some great button detail!

Irene Lentz suits

Suits for Irene’s ready to wear line. Left from her collection in the 1960s. Right from 1955 collection.

Her day-wear consisted of impeccably well-tailored suits that flattered a woman’s figure, nipping in at the waist. Her evening wear upped the ante and was often lavish and dramatic yet always timeless and elegant. All of her designs were of the utmost quality, made of the finest materials and perfected down to the tiniest detail.  British vogue called her designs “California elegance”.

Sapphire and emerald taffeta gown by Irene. (1955) I would love to see a photo of this gown in color- I’m sure it was absolutely stunning!
Image source: IreneLentz.com

Gowns by Irene Lentz

Sapphire and emerald taffeta gown by Irene. 1955

After gaining many A-list clients from her time at Bullocks-Wilshire, Irene’s designs became in demand on-screen, as well as off. Her first on-screen success came when she designed for Dolores Del Rio in Flying Down to Rio in 1933 at the actress’s request. She went on to dress some of the biggest stars of her time and design for over 50 films.

Below are just a few of my favorite on-screen Irene designs.

 Ginger Rogers in a metallic gown by Irene for Shall We Dance. (1937) The gowns Irene designed for Ginger in this film really put her on the map.

Ginger Rogers wearing an Irene gown.

Ginger Rogers in a metallic gown by Irene for Shall We Dance. 1937

 Constance Bennett in a beautiful Irene gown and overcoat for the film Topper Takes a Trip 1938

Constance Bennet wearing an Irene gown.

Constance Bennett in a beautiful Irene gown and overcoat for the film Topper Takes a Trip 1938

Marlene Dietrich wearing a gown by Irene in The Lady is Willing. (1942)

Shortly after designing for this film, Irene took over as Executive Designer at MGM when Gilbert Adrian left.

Marlene Dietrich in an Irene gown.

Marlene Dietrich wearing a gown by Irene in The Lady is Willing. 1942

 Irene designed Lana Turner’s (in)famous white short shorts for The Postman Always Rings Twice. (1946)

It was the first time an actress wore this style on the big screen and is one of Irene’s most well-known designs.

Famous Movie Outfits - Designs by Irene

Irene designed Lana Turner’s (in)famous white hot pants for The Postman Always Rings Twice. 1946

Irene left the MGM in 1949 to work on her own line. She stayed out of Hollywood until Doris Day requested her services for the 1960 film Midnight Lace. Irene earned her second Oscar nomination for the film. Sadly, Irene took her own life only two years later. But her legacy lives on. Just this year, Greg LaVoi,  a brilliant Hollywood designer in his own right and huge Irene fan, relaunched the House of Irene. His debut show featured original Irene designs with some modern details and only the finest of materials. Lavoi is committed to ‘reviving and preserving Irene’s exacting, couture-standard practices’.

Below are some of the designs from the Irene by Greg LaVoi 2013 Fall runway show.

Irene by Greg LaVoi

Irene by Greg LaVoi Fall 2013 Runway show

I love that purple gown! And I think Irene would be happy to know her vision lives on. To see the full collection – click here. What do you think of these designs?

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How to Dress in “Old Hollywood Glamour Style” this Holiday Season

The holidays are a perfect time to step out in classic old Hollywood glamour style! Timeless, elegant and sexy, an old Hollywood glamour look will ensure you are the belle of the ball at all your holiday events. In the past year or so we have seen a return to classic beauty with many of  today’s Hollywood stars taking a cue from silver screen sirens like Liz, Marilyn and Rita. With classic silhouettes and a few sparkly accessories you can also recreate the sophisticated and feminine looks of the golden age.  Below are some photos to use for inspiration and some of our favorite gowns that are inspired by the era of silver screen sirens.

Jean Harlow was the epitome of Old Hollywood Glamour in her slinky bias cut evening gowns.

So if you want to show off your curves in a sexy yet elegant way  look no further than, the original blonde bombshell, Jean Harlow, for inspiration.  Her bias-cut, curve-hugging gowns in liquid satin epitomized the style of the 1930s. This slinky, body conscious silhouette is sure to make you the star at any fancy holiday soiree.

Jean Harlow was the epitomy of 1930's glamour in her signature silky bias-cut evening gowns.

Jeans Harlow in signature bias cut gowns.

Beautiful satin draped back gown will have you looking elegant coming or going! Also available in black, red, ivory and silver.

30s Inspired Gold Satin Draped Back Harlow Gown

Champagne/Light Gold Satin Draped Back Prom Gown/Wedding Dress

A slinky, sultry bias cut evening gown  in a rich garnet shade.

Garnet Red Satin Old Hollywood Style Halter Evening Gown

Garnet Red Satin Old Hollywood Style Halter Evening Gown

Silver satin and rhinestones- 30′s inspired evening gown. Also available in ivory, midnight blue, black, champagne and garnet red.

Old Hollywood Glamour Silver Satin Evening Gown w/Rhinestones

Old Hollywood Glamour Silver Satin Evening Gown w/Rhinestones

 And Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth and Audrey Hepburn prove that classic black evening gowns are anything but boring!

Vintage inspired black evening gowns are a sophisticated way to pull off a classic glamour look!
Pair with long black opera gloves and some glittery chandelier earrings and you will ooze “old Hollywood” style!

Famous Black Evening Gowns

Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth and Audrey Hepburn prove that classic black evening gowns are not boring!

 

Channel your inner Rita Hayworth in this 1940s inspired black chiffon evening gown with glittery draped shelf bust.

 Strapless Black Chiffon Draped Sweetheart Bodice Evening Gown

Strapless Black Chiffon Draped Sweetheart Bodice Evening Gown

Form-fitting goddess style black jersey evening gown will hug your curves in all the right places!

Black Jersey One Shoulder Goddess Gown

Black Jersey One Shoulder Goddess Gown

This full-skirt jewel neck gown will twirl fabulously across the dance floor! Also available in burgundy and champagne.

Vintage Inspired Black Halter Style Evening Gown

Vintage Inspired Black Halter Style Evening Gown

Rock the shimmer! Below  Jeanette MacDonald, Marilyn Monroe and Kay Francis exemplify iconic Hollywood glamour in these glittery gowns.

One way to make sure all eyes are on you while capturing the Old Hollywood Look is to cover yourself in shimmery beads and sparkly sequins! Many starlets were fans of embellished evening gowns and I can see why! You’ll outshine everyone in the room in these eyecatching styles.

 

Old Hollywood Glmaour Gowns

1930′s star Jeanette MacDonald, Marilyn Monroe and Kay Francis ooze old Hollywood glamour in these beaded and sequined gowns.

This bedazzling vintage style silver evening gown is certainly something Marilyn would have stepped out in!

Old Hollywood Glamour Gown

Curvy Silver Sequin Old Hollywood Glamour Gown

This strapless gown mixes sweet and sexy with lace and sequins!

Beaded gold lace and satin gown

Beaded strapless gold lace and satin gown

This sequined black mermaid style gown has a classic film noir vibe.

Strapless Black Sequin Lace Tulle Classic Glamour Evening Gown

Strapless Black Sequin Lace Tulle Classic Glamour Evening Gown

Add opera length gloves, a faux fur shrug and a handsome date and you are all set for a night on the town  in showstopping old Hollywood glamour style!

Have a glamorous day!

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Don Loper-From Ballroom Dancer To Fashion Designer

Fashion designer Don Loper with mannequins of his Hollywood clients- including Esther Williams and Ella Fitzgerald.

Fashion designer Don Loper with mannequins of his Hollywood clients- including Esther Williams and Ella Fitzgerald.

Ohio native Don Loper started off in show business as a ballroom dancer- and a darn good one! In the 1930′s he and his partner, Maxine Barrat, started off on Broadway and eventually became one of the most respected dance teams of their time. He designed Barrat’s clothes on and off the stage. Loper was even paired up with his good friend Ginger Rogers for a dance in the 1944 musical “Lady in the Dark”.

Fashion designer Don Loper and his ballroom dance partner Maxine Barrat.

Fashion designer Don Loper and his ballroom dance partner Maxine Barrat.

Dancer, choreographer, producer, director, costume and set designer – why not do it all? But Loper eventually focused his talents on designing clothing. He dressed many of Hollywood’s leading ladies including Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, and Lana Turner. His lavish gowns oozed old hollywood glamour.

Below is a photo of Marilyn Monroe modelling a blue chiffon evening gown designed by Don Loper in 1951.

Marilyn Monroe in a Don Loper gown . 1951

Marilyn Monroe in a Don Loper gown in 1951.

One of Loper’s most well-known performances is the 1955 “The Fashion Show” episode of I Love Lucy – in which he played himself. The episode involves a very sunburned Lucy in a very scratchy tweed suit along with some beautiful Don Loper originals modeled by real-life wives of famous stars of the 50s including Mrs. Dean  Martin and Mrs. William Holden.

Don Loper and his designs in the 1955 episode 'The Fashion Show' of I Love Lucy.

Don Loper and his designs in the 1955 episode ‘The Fashion Show’ of I Love Lucy.

Loper’s designs were feminine and elegant, but simple. He believed simplicity was key to being well dressed. ” If I go to a dance and scream ‘Gad, what a botch of a dress! Eek! It’s Zsa Zsa.’ Then I have failed. You must notice the woman first, the dress second, ” Loper said in a 1956 interview for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Back in 1956, actress and singer Edie Adams wore a beautiful sequined evening gown designed by Don Loper.  She liked it so much she had him make an exact replica in black! It is also rumored that this gown was the inspiration for the iconic “Barbie” mermaid dress.  One of my all time favorite dresses for my Barbie doll!

Edie Adams in Don Loper 1950s lace Mermaid Gown

Edie Adams in Don Loper 1950s lace mermaid Gown

 

Loper was one designer who sure had range – his creations appealed to Hollywood’s finest and the girl next door. His ready-to-wear line was just as successful (and much more affordable)  and included nurses uniforms and neckties.  Recently we had the good fortune of acquiring  a 1950′s Don Loper winter coat in a beautiful cream wool/angora/silk blend – complete with dolman/batwing sleeves.

Vintage Don Loper 1950s Winter Coat

 

You can also catch some of Loper’s designs on the silver screen in the films Rancho Notorious (1952), Not as a Stranger (1955) and The Big Combo (1955).

Have a Glamorous Day!

alison

 

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday Lauren Bacall-One of Hollywood’s Classiest Dames!

Lauren Bacall and her perfect pout  c. 1940s

Lauren Bacall and her perfect pout c. 1940s

Today we celebrate the 89th birthday of the sultry Lauren Bacall.  She was born Betty Perske in New York City in 1924 and began modeling at an early age.  Her husky voice and smoldering good looks made her the perfect fit to play film noir femme fatales and she was whisked off to Hollywood in 1944 to start a career that would last decades.

Lauren Bacall's March 1943 Harper's Bazaar cover that launched her into fame.

Lauren Bacall’s March 1943 Harper’s Bazaar cover that launched her into fame.

Hollywood director Howard Hawks was looking for his next “it” girl when his wife spotted Lauren Bacall on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar – she suggested the young model to her husband.  Hawks’ was hooked and decided to take Bacall under his wing,  casting her as the starring female role in the 1944 “To Have and Have Not” opposite heart-throb Humphrey Bogart.  Bacall and Bogart (25 years her senior) fell in love on the set of the film and began an affair that would only end with Bogart’s death.  Their relationship would be considered one of the great Hollywood romances.

Lauren Bacall wearing a fabulous zebra blouse and pencil skirt.

Lauren Bacall wearing a fabulous zebra blouse and pencil skirt.

Bacall was so nervous on her first film that she couldn’t stop shaking. To steady her head – she would tuck her chin low and then cast her eyes up to meet Humphrey’s gaze.  Little did she know that this little trick would become her signature and dubbed “The Look”.  She also styled her own hair for the film and her shoulder-length waves became a popular look in the 1940s.

Lauren Bacall in a floral print summer suit. c. 1945

Lauren Bacall in a floral print summer suit giving “The Look”. c. 1945

Ms. Bacall  is a great example of a strong, confident women who still manages to exude femininity at the same time.  She is one of the last remaining stars from that golden era – what stories she must have!!  I’d love to sit down with her and get the old Hollywood scoop!  If you could ask Lauren one question – what would you ask?

Have a glamorous day!

alison

 

 

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Happy Birthday Claudette Colbert!

Claudette Colbert 9/13/1903 - 7/30/1996

Claudette Colbert 9/13/1903 – 7/30/1996

Today marks the birthday of one of Hollywood’s most stylish stars – Claudette Colbert.  With her signature bangs and enviable legs, french born Claudette ruled the silver screen in the 1930s and 1940s.  She was known for her sleek and classic style on and off screen and often ended up on best dressed lists.  She played her most famous roles in 1934 alongside Clark Gable in  It Happened One Night  and as the lead in Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra.

Claudette Colbert in a stunning white tulle gown with gold leaf applique.

Claudette Colbert in a stunning white tulle gown with gold leaf applique.

She was well-liked in the business, if a bit of a perfectionist.  Famed gossip columnist Hedda Hopper described Colbert as “the smartest, canniest, smoothest 18-karat lady I’ve ever seen cross the Hollywood pike.”

Claudette Colbert in a collared print dress. c. 1940s

Claudette Colbert in a collared print dress. c. 1940s

Costume designer Travis Banton worked on Cleopatra with Colbert and she hated his original ideas.  She supposedly pricked her finger and bled all over some of his wardrobe sketches so he would be forced to rework them!

Claudette Colbert in a Travis Banton dress designed for Cleopatra. 1934

Claudette Colbert in a Travis Banton dress designed for Cleopatra. 1934

The film’s sleek and sexy costumes ended up being some of the best in movie history!  Colbert worked hard to control her image – whether it be her wardrobe or her ‘flaws’.  She insisted on only being photographed on her left side because she had a ‘bump’ on the right side of her nose and was known for her ‘peter pan’ collars that she wore to elongate her short neck.

 

Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night. 1934

Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night. 1934

Today we remember her strong spirit and fabulous style.   Claudette had her ideas of what worked best for her style wise – and she stuck to them.   It certainly paid off!

 

Have a glamorous day!

alison

 

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Customer Spotlight – Ella’s Divine Deco Style

When  Ella Macedo, our customer from New Zealand, shared a photo of herself wearing one of our gowns at her engagement party – everyone here at Blue Velvet Vintage was blown away by how well she pulled off  her deco inspired  “Old Hollywood Glamour” look.   Ella ordered our 30s style  blue chiffon evening gown  for her cocktail party in June where,  in her part of the world, it was the dead of winter!

We had the open fires going and old favourites like Sinatra, BB King and Ella Fitzgerald playing. There was no theme, but it was a cocktail party and since it was our party, I thought it was a great excuse to get dressed up!”

Ella said she chose the blue gown because of it’s classic shape and color.  We definitely think she made the right choice!

The lovely couple at their engagement party. Ella is wearing our 1930s style blue flutter sleeve gown.

The lovely couple at their engagement party. Ella is wearing our 1930s style blue flutter sleeve gown.

Ella not only dresses up in vintage style glam for special events – this classy  swing dancer and hairstylist wears vintage inspired fashion every day!  Shortly after her successful engagement party she started looking for an outfit for her boss’s  Great Gatsby themed party.   And, once again, she  turned to Blue Velvet Vintage for her perfect party dress!

From Ella-  “…I was aware of the fact that the classic flapper styles would not suit my figure…”

A very smart lady!  It’s always good to know which silhouette is the most flattering for your body type.

Ella (right) and a flapper friend at a Great Gatsby themed party. Ella is wearing our Silver Beaded Sequined Lace Chiffon "Old Hollywood Glamour" Gown.

Ella (right) and a flapper friend at a Great Gatsby themed party. Ella is wearing our Silver Beaded Sequined Lace Chiffon “Old Hollywood Glamour” Gown.

So instead of going for the straight, sheath type style so popular during the 1920s, she opted for our silver beaded chiffon gown,  and accessorized it with long necklaces and a headpiece (that she bedazzled herself!) to complete her 1920′s Gatsby  inspired  look.

Ella's award-winning Great Gatsby inspired look.

Ella’s award-winning Great Gatsby inspired look.

And Ella actually took home the prize for Best Dressed! Well deserved, for sure.

Thanks, Ella,  for sharing your divine deco inspired photos, courtesy of Caron Nicole Photography and Ataahua Talavou Photography.

Have you dressed for a vintage themed event lately?  Please feel free to contact us, we love sharing customers’ photos and stories.

Have a glamorous day!

alison

Photos courtesy of Caron Nicole Photography and Ataahua Talavou Photography

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Happy Birthday Lucy!

Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball  8/6/11-4/26/89

Today marks what would have been the beautiful and talented Lucille Ball’s 102nd birthday. Lucy  is often remembered for her flair for comedy – and rightfully so! But because of that – we often overlook her elegant side. Her look below is the epitome of class!

Lucille Ball in a glamour shot in 1944.

Lucille Ball in a glamour shot in 1944.

Rumor has it her mother sent her off to acting school in New York City to discourage a budding romance between the then 15-year-old and a much older gangster’s son. After school, where she was classmates with Bette Davis, the funny lady actually began her career as a very glamorous model (for Hattie Carnegie!) and a Broadway star.

Lucille Ball modeling for Hattie Carnegie. c. 1930s

Lucille Ball modeling for Hattie Carnegie. c. 1930s

It didn’t take long for Lucille Ball to break into films. The natural brunette, who had dyed her hair blonde when starting out – debuted her soon-to-be signature shade of red in the 1943 film DuBarry Was a Lady with Red Skelton and Gene Kelly. The costumes in this film, by Irene Lentz and Gile Steele, were fabulous. Check out this stunning pink gown and cape from the film :

Lucille Ball in a promo shot for DuBarry Was A Lady. 1943

Lucille Ball in a promo shot for DuBarry Was A Lady. 1943

Irene Lentz, who oftentimes just went by ‘Irene’, was an American designer who worked on many Hollywood films in the 30s.   Her dramatic gowns were worn by Ginger Rogers, Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner – to name only a few!

 

Lucille Ball in a gown by Irene Lentz. 1946

Lucille Ball in a gown by Irene Lentz. 1946

Lucy was one heck of an actress and comedian – she could bring a smile to just about anyone’s face – and she sure looked great doing so.  So today on her birthday, let’s remember how much we all  Love Lucy!!

Have a glamorous day :-)

alison

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Happy Birthday Clara Bow-Hollywood’s First ‘It’ Girl

Clara Bow

Clara Bow 7/29/1905 – 9/27/1965

Today is one of my favorite silent film stars birthdays. She had that rare superstar quality: sexy, sweet and sassy all at the same time. Clara Bow was named the “It” girl of the 1920s. Her most famous movie is centered around that mysterious quality – and appropriately named It. All the women wanted to be her and all the men wanted to be with her!  Plus she was a redhead – and I’ve got a soft spot for fellow gingers :)

“You think of Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish, all those great names, great actresses. Clara Bow was more popular in terms of box-office dollars, in terms of consistently bringing audiences into the theaters, she was right on top, ” said film historian Leonard Maltin. She worked with the cream of the crop in the industry, including famous costume designer Travis Banton.

Clara Bow in a stunning silver evening gown.

Clara Bow in a stunning silver evening gown.

In a 1936 interview with reporter Julie Lang Hunt  for Photoplay magazine, Banton described what it was like working with Clara.  He claimed her taste in clothes was noxious, she thwarted every move he made to improve it, and she “jazzed up” his most beautiful creations. And yet he continued to indulge her.

Clara Bow in a costume designed by Travis Banton for the 1929 film The Wild Party.

Clara Bow in a costume designed by Travis Banton for the 1929 film The Wild Party.

Clara Bow was apparently not a fan of the straightlaced, boring military costumes she wore in much of the film Wings. And neither was one of the designer’s apprentices.   “Putting Clara in a drab uniform was like bridling an untamed horse . She loved wild colors, the wilder the better. They reflected her personality.” That apprentice was none other than Edith Head, who went on to become one of the most famous Hollywood costumers in history.

Clara Bow in the 1927 film Wings. Costume designed by Travis Banton and Edith Head.

Clara Bow in the Academy Award winning 1927 film Wings. Costume designed by Travis Banton and Edith Head.

Clara Bow’s makeup also inspired huge trends in the 1920s and  have become a popular look once again with the resurgence of 1920s themed parties and events. Her famous lips – the red cupid’s bow lips defined the look of her era, along with her kohl lined eyes and pencil thin eyebrows. When her fans found out she was redhead,  not readily apparent in a world of black and white film, the sales of henna tripled!

Clara Bow 7/29/1905 - 9/27/1965 Color by DreamPinups.

Clara Bow’s signature make-up look.
Color by DreamPinups.

Clara Bow’s career in Hollywood was relatively short and often plagued with scandal – but no one can deny that whatever ‘It’ was, this gal definitely had it!

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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