Stellar Vintage #417: Adrian sketches a design in a wide peak lapel suit and white tie.
Classic Film Fashion #292: Veronica Lake proves she’s more than a pile of wavy hair in The Glass Key (1942).
Some may argue that Lake’s iconic fall of soft blonde locks is as definitive as Gable’s moustache, but in this scene, with her hair tucked inside a hat and veil, Lake proves her acting chops extend beyond a peek-a-boo glance or hair flip. It’s like she’s acting with her hands tied back since she has no way to hide or use any stock mannerism. We can see Alan Ladd’s character is lying through his teeth when he says he’s too good for her, as if he wouldn’t jump through flaming hoops at Lake’s suggestion.
Classic Film Fashion #291: Robert Taylor appears as suave in too large pajamas as he does a tuxedo for Personal Property (1937).
Is it the widow’s peak? Does it bestow some magical symmetry factor which lends a pleasing harmony to any ensemble? Where other men would seem undone, boyish, absurd, somehow Taylor looks debonair. Or, as filthy mouthed Jean Harlow puts it, ‘now you’ll look like a stick of peppermint candy.’
Stellar Vintage #416: Virginia Mayo takes over the real estate section in a shiny one-piece and wedges.
Stellar Vintage #415: Grace Kelly turns up her sleeves and cuffs to go with penny loafers. Betcha she wants to play a new record for you.
Things Joan Says with Her Eyes #58: ‘With the usual Goddess discount, right?’
—Joan picks up a bauble or two, 1955.
Classic Film Fashion #290: Forty Shades of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).
Instead of the obvious saccharine pink, the candy colour tint of princess dreams, Vivien Leigh’s spoilt girl dons a pragmatic sartorial aspect for her bid at social mobility. Scarlett’s taste in green registers significance to her character’s interior life. The love of land—of Tara—will come to hold importance because she’s Irish, her father says. Georgia’s verdant hills offer a cinematic stand-in for County Wicklow, birthplace of Mr. O’Hara. During the BBQ, surrounded by would-be suitors, viewers see that Scarlett is as fertile and desirable as the land all the dudes go to war to protect. Then there’s the green-eyed girl’s jealousy over not getting the husband she wants. The green dress she wears to the BBQ mirrors her envious scowl at Melanie (Olivia de Havilland). A velvet drapery gown in emerald is the last of familial wealth, a shabby raiment of mouldy gentility, but all that remains for Scarlett to charm the tax bill from Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Later, on the land at Tara or in the lumber mill, Scarlett’s industry turns a green profit. After marriage to Rhett (a man lousy with sex appeal in addition to money) Scarlett’s draped in bright green and gold, signifying new wealth. She finally strips poverty from her life as though it were a moth eaten dress. Taffeta and brocade with no expense spared, she wears green with abandon, a shade as mercurial as the character.
Classic Film Fashion #289: Kill-joy colour does not the belle of the BBQ make, as witnessed in Gone With the Wind (1939).
Were saltpetre (the fabled anaphrodisiac or libido killer) assigned a hue on the Pantone colour wheel, it might lodge closest to what is deemed ‘burnt sienna,’ for the anti-romance properties seem best realised in a frock of this hue. Actually, burnt sienna might be too kind or exotic a name for a shade that appears to be a cross between burlap and potato. I mean really, this dusky tan is a rebuke to style and fun. It reeks of sermons, drudgery, joyless obligation. Add in the Puritan-grade lace collar and you have a look that all but assures some other lady will be accused of witchcraft before the end of the party.
Alicia Rhett’s character India may feel as though she has first claim on belle status, since the affair is in her own home, but she couldn’t be more mistaken. Colour wins out. Even a simpering peach looks refreshingly chic next to sackcloth brown.
Stellar Vintage #414: Joan Crawford in a popped brim hat with netting, pansy boutonniere and fab sunnies at the races with Franchot.
Stellar Vintage #413: Fritz Lang directs Frau im Mond wearing a monocle, plaid jacket, wool knickers, waffle knit socks.
Stellar Vintage #411: Rosalind Russell in an origami hat, skirt suit, chamois gloves and oversize clutch, 1939.
Stellar Vintage #409: Preston Sturges throws you the stink eye in a cashmere scarf, button down and jacket, 1946.