Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fashion and Film in the 1930s

The 1930's were a tough time. The depression was on full force and the clouds of war were gathering, but in Hollywood the sun was shining and everyone was glamorous. Here we find Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Barbara Stanwyck, and Carole Lombard just to name a few. These magnificent women were the style leaders of the day and although most of the nation couldn't even afford food, everyone wanted to go see the latest picture. At the pictures you were taken out of ugly reality and into an enchanted world of high drama or slapstick comedy with the players all beautifully dressed.

It was the biggest picture of the 1930's, Gone With the Wind, that made me want to become a fashion designer. There is a certain red dress that Scarlet wears to Ashley's Birthday party that has entranced me since I was a tiny child. I remember watching the movie over and over just to see the red dress. Scarlet O'Hara's red dress is what made me want to design beautiful clothing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Downward Flow Theory

In my opinion "Downward Flow Theory" is still applicable in fashion. Those in the lower rungs of society have always wanted to look more affluent in an attempt to be more socially acceptable. I think "downward flow" is most greatly illustrated with Dior's 1947 "New Look". This dramatic change in style after WWII at first only touched those with access to Dior, but by the late 40's and early 50's the "New Look" shilouette was everywhere. Everyone from Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy" to the Queen at Ascot and Mothers the world over, wore the "New Look".

Sunday, July 12, 2009

North African dress and the 1960's Jet set

The tribes of North Africa, specifically Morocco, have worn the same garb for almost a thousand years. In the 1960's with the rise of jet travel wealthy people began to visit Morocco and were intranced by its new and exotic feel. As Marrakech and Tangiers grew in popularity so did the traditional dress of the region. It was here the reigning queen of the Jet set, Talitha Getty, was famously photographed in modernized Moroccan dress. Here she entertained fashion designers, musicians, artists, socialites, movie stars, and everyone who was anyone. By the end of the decade this North African "look" was seen in the collections of almost every designer and it was due to her influence.

Diana, Princess of Wales

In 1981 Lady Diana Spencer married HRH the Prince of Wales, it was the wedding of the decade if not the century. She was the first royal to become of global interest and her youth and beauty was deamed a breath of fresh air to the stuffy House of Windsor. She becme a fasion icon and was instrumental in reviving several styles in her short life.

Her first triumph came at her "fairy tale" wedding that was broadcast worldwide. She wore a giant skirted gown with large puffy sleeves and a deep scoup neckline that would have been appropriate in 1860. The design by the Emanuels was copied the world over and was "the" wedding gown of the 80s.

Another historical revival from Diana, Princess of Wales was the tiara. Although never really out or in fashion the tiara was generally left to the upper echelons of royalty. But as Diana became a style leader, tiaras again became of interest. Socialites from New York and Palm Beach to Paris and London began to pull out their family tiaras. These amazing pieces of jewelry had not really been used since the 1890's and more than a century later they were seen again, glittering in ballrooms and gracing the pages of tabloids.