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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!