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

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 FACTThis 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!

By | 2014-09-20T08:13:47-04:00 September 20th, 2014|Fashion|Comments Off on Fabulous Old Hollywood Fashion at Museum of Fine Arts- Boston- Part 1

About the Author:

Theresa
Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.