Fashion in Film…and Hollywood Costumes

These iconic film fashions and more were spotlighted in Kimberly Truhler’s first class on The History of Fashion in Film, a webinar held on November 17 that examined the onscreen style of The 1920′s – The Jazz Age

Clara Bow in It (1927), costume design by Travis Banton

A little black dress - revolutionary!

A little black dress – revolutionary!

Fashion forward: casual knit top, pleated skirt…

Louise Brooks in Pandora’s Box (1929), costume design by Jean Patou

A “black widow” look for a courtroom scene

A bare back with slim, jeweled strap

These Hollywood costumes are among those to be featured on December 6th, the first  installment of Turner Classic Movies’ month-long Friday Night Spotlight showcase on Hollywood Costumes and costume designers…

Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932), costume design by Travis Banton

Fur and sparkle (and Cary Grant)

Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca (1942), costume design by Orry-Kelly

Warm weather wear for travel in Morocco

Warm weather wear for travel in Morocco

Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina (1935), costume design by Adrian

Aristocratic elegance

Aristocratic elegance

Click here  for more on Kimberly Truhler’s History of Fashion in Film webinar series and TCM’s December Friday Night Spotlight on Hollywood Costumes.

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Some Favorite JFK Pictures…

JFK died 50 years ago today and I posted personal recollections of him, that infamous day and the weekend that followed on my primary blog this morning…click here to read that piece. Here, I thought I’d post some of my favorite images of him.

Jacqueline and Jack Kennedy

Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy

Jacqueline and Jack, again

Jackie and Jack, again

Caroline and Jack Kennedy

Caroline and Jack Kennedy

Father and daughter, again

Father and daughter, again

Jackie, Caroline and Jack Kennedy

Jackie, Caroline and Jack Kennedy

JFK, Jr., and JFK

JFK, Jr., and JFK

Father and son

Father and son

JFK portrait by Jamie B. Wyeth

JFK portrait by Jamie B. Wyeth

JFK, official portrait by Aaron Shikler

JFK, official portrait by Aaron Shikler

Caroline and Jack

Caroline and Jack

The Kennedy brothers - Jack, Bobby and Ted

The Kennedy brothers – Jack, Bobby and Ted


Jackie and Jack

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Gladys Cooper, a Pictorial…

The What a Character! blogathon hosted by Aurora of Once Upon a Screen, Kellee of Outspoken and Freckled and Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club ran from November 9 to 11, and  my tribute to Gladys Cooper is up at my other (primary) blog, The Lady Eve’s Reel Life. This post is a pictorial tribute to her.

Best known for her performance as Bette Davis’s monstrous mother in Now, Voyager, Cooper enjoyed a long, varied career in the public eye – as an actress she was honored with Oscar, Emmy and Tony nominations. But in her earliest days she was admired for her beauty (her intelligence and incipient talents were yet to be recognized)…

the most beautiful woman in England...

the most beautiful woman in England…

Gladys Cooper, picture postcard model

Gladys Cooper, picture postcard model

another picture postcard pose

another picture postcard pose

on stage

on stage

with her daughter Joan

with her daughter Joan

a still striking woman

a still striking woman

ageless beauty

ageless beauty

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Deck the Halls with Holly Golightly…


Holly Golightly arrived on the scene in 1958 when Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s was first published in the November issue of Esquire magazine. The novella soon appeared again, included in a Random House collection along with three Capote short stories. It has been in print ever since, most recently paired with Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms in a Modern Library volume published just last month.

When the inevitable screen adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s got underway in 1961, the diminutive author had his own ideas about who should portray his stylish-but-kooky heroine onscreen. But Marilyn Monroe either turned down or was passed over for the role. Instead,  gamine Audrey Hepburn was cast and her unique turn as Holly Golightly came to be her signature role.

Since then,  there have been a variety takes on the Manhattan madcap…

natalie as holly_opt

Natalie Portman as Holly

anne h as holly_opt

A Holly-ish Anne Hathaway

Christy T as holly_opt

Supermodel Christy Turlington as a post-modern Holly

OOAK holly doll_opt

One of a kind Holly doll

Holly brooch_opt

The Holly brooch

mini holly


holly - people as pixels by craig alan

People as pixels: Holly (by Craig Alan)

Several years ago the iconic ‘little black dress’ (the most famous lbd of all time)  worn in the film was sold at auction for more than $900,000. In keeping with Audrey Hepburn’s commitment to philanthropy, the proceeds went to a children’s charity in India.

The emulations, imitations and homages will continue, but there will only ever be one Holly. And her name was Audrey…

Audrey as Holly

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Francoise Dorleac

French actress Francoise Dorleac was born in Paris on March 21, 1942. Her father was Maurice Dorleac, a stage and screen actor. Her mother, Renee Deneuve, re-voiced Hollywood movies (including Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz). Both Maurice and Renee were lead players at the Comedie Francaise. Francoise’s younger sister, Catherine, was born October 22, 1943.

Francoise Dorleac made her first stage appearance at age 10 and debuted on film in a short, Mesonges, in 1957. Supporting herself as a model for Dior, she studied acting at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique. From 1960 – 1967 she appeared in 16 films, notably:

Philippe de Broca’s That Man from Rio (1964), co-starring Jean-Paul Belmondo

francoise color_optFrancois Truffaut’s The Soft Skin (1964)

Roger Vadim’s remake of La Ronde (1964), with Jane Fonda and Anna Karina

Genghis Khan, with Omar Sharif and James Mason (1965)

Where the Spies Are, co-starring David Niven (1966)

Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-sac (1966), with Donald Pleasance

Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), co-starring her sister Catherine

Her final film, co-starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, was Ken Russell’s Billion Dollar Brain (1967)

Francoise Dorleac and Michael Caine in "Billion Dollar Brain"

Francoise Dorleac and Michael Caine in “Billion Dollar Brain”

Francoise’s love life was emblematic of the 1960s, ever-changing. She was engaged to Jean-Pierre Cassel (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Murder on the Orient Express), father of actor Vincent Cassel (A Dangerous Method, Black Swan, Ocean’s 12), for a time in the early ‘60s. She had an affair with Truffaut briefly in the mid-‘60s and was involved with photographer’s agent Albert Koski at the time of her death.

Francoise updo

As her star quickly rose, Dorleac’s onscreen mystique was likened to that of Garbo and Dietrich. Her film career was thriving when she was killed in a horrendous car accident near Nice in 1967.

Many years later, an interviewer asked Catherine Deneuve what had been the lowest point of her life. The actress answered quietly, “When my sister died. She was a lovely actress, Francoise Dorleac,” and added, “My sister was a beautiful woman, my closest friend…”

francoise and catherine 3

Catherine and Francoise

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1958: Marilyn Monroe Poses for Life Magazine and Richard Avedon

In 1958, Life Magazine invited Marilyn Monroe and photographer Richard Avedon to recreate images of five celebrated actresses of different eras.  Entitled “Fabled Enchantresses,” the piece was part of the magazine’s December 22 “Christmas” issue and included an article by Marilyn’s playwright husband, Arthur Miller, entitled “My Wife, Marilyn.”

Avedon found in Marilyn an easy subject to work with, “She gave more to the still camera than every other actress – every other woman – I had the opportunity to photograph…” He added that she was more patient with him and more demanding of herself than others  and that she was more comfortable in front of the camera than when not posing.

For my tribute to the luminous star,  Marilyn Monroe: Out of a Dream go to:

Marilyn as Lillian Russell, turn-of-the-century American actress

Marilyn as Theda Bara, silent film star from 1914 – 1926

Marilyn as Clara Bow, the silent screen’s “It Girl”

Marilyn as blonde bombshell Jean Harlow

Marilyn as Marlene Dietrich

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June 30 on TCM: Directed by Preston Sturges

Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda in “The Lady Eve”

R.D. Finch of The Movie Projector is hosting a wonderful blogathon in honor of American auteur William Wyler and I have been so busy finishing up my piece on The Letter (1940) that I’ve paid little attention to anything else. Meanwhile, Turner Classic Movies is about to pay tribute to one of Wyler’s great friends, writer/director Preston Sturges.

Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake in “Sullivan’s Travels”

Wyler and Sturges had collaborated on The Good Fairy (1935). Wyler directed the film for which Sturges had written a script with the starring role tailored for actress Margaret Sullavan. Wyler and Sullavan clashed on the set constantly – and then eloped just a month before the film wrapped. The Wyler/Sullvan marriage didn’t last, but the Wyler/Sturges friendship did.

Wyler had very fond memories of Preston Sturges: “He was a genius. He was also a tremendous egomaniac. I mean this in the most friendly sense because I loved Preston. We always spoke French together, funny enough. He wrote everything, directed everything, played everything out for actors. He later had a table at luncheon at Paramount where he held forth. As long as you didn’t open your mouth but let him do the talking, everything was fine. He was a marvelous friend and a great companion.”*

In 1959, after completing principal photography on Ben-Hurin Rome, Wyler and his wife Talli attended the opening of his most recent film, The Big Country, in London and passed through New York on their way to California. It was while in New York they learned of the death of Preston Sturges at the Algonquin Hotel. Wyler had last seen his friend in 1956 in Paris where Sturges was living at the time.

In his late years, when his career as a filmmaker was essentially over, Preston Sturges was involved in a variety of projects. In 1958 he took a supporting role as a French playwright in a Bob Hope vehicle, Paris Holiday. Here is a clip of  Preston Sturges, the actor…scroll down for the schedule of films to be featured during TCM’s tribute, Directed by Preston Sturges.

TCM presents Directed by Preston Sturges beginning at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific on June 30:

89m/5pm Sullivan’s Travels (1941) starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake

9:45pm/6:45pm Christmas in July (1940) starring Dick Powell and Ellen Drew

11pm/8pm The Great McGinty (1940) starring Brian Donlevy and Akim Tamiroff

12:30am/9:30pm The Lady Eve (1941) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda

2:15am/11:15pm Hail the Conquering Hero starring Eddie Bracken and Ella Raines

4am/1am The Palm Beach Story (1942) starring Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea

Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Preston Sturges, Claudette Colbert and Rudy Vallee during the making of “The Palm Beach Story”

*from William Wyler – The Authorized Biography by Axel Madsen, Thomas Y. Crowell Co. (1973)

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