This week the world lost one of the greatest musicians of our lifetime, David Bowie. He and his supermodel wife, Iman, were one of the long-lasting celebrity couples and one of the most stylish pairings, as well. Here is the lovely couple leaving their hotel in Paris in 1991. Iman looks amazing – she’s rocking her natural curls, perfectly Parisian black ballet flats and a matching purse, with oversized houndstooth printed pants and a matching jacket in black and white gingham. She is the definition of a chic model, while Mr. Bowie looks classic in white pants, a mock turtleneck and a navy blazer. Both manage to look preppy, without looking stuffy, and still maintain their personal styles. Mr. Bowie’s effortless cool was one of many elegant attributes. He will surely be missed. RIP Ziggy Stardust.
Happy New Year! For the first “Fancy Friday” of 2016 we’re featuring Gloria Swanson in her iconic role in Sunset Boulevard. She stars as a washed-up actress in Hollywood named Norma Desmond, who is slowly losing her grip on reality more and more each day. What a dazzling way to start the new year! We picked this look more for the way Norma looks in the photos below – definitely how we usually feel the day after December 31st! In the 1950 film, she throws herself a New Year’s Eve party with a full orchestra for her kept man of sorts Joe Gillis (played by William Holden). She buys him a tux, dolls herself up in this fabulous creation by costume designer Edith Head, and then informs Joe it’s just the two of them at this gala… Oh, boy. It obviously goes great – don’t worry Joe! Norma seems totally fine… Head’s outfit is the perfect analogy for Norma Desmond’s mental state: she sports a dark glamorous chiffon gown, but varying pieces of fabric are sticking out and trying to hang on (much like Norma and her career), while she saturates herself in accessories – a creepy black veil and headpiece, doused with dozens of diamonds, attempting to cover up her age and the fact that she’s done for. Her look is beautiful, but clearly crumbling. The night goes about as well as can be expected – Norma attempts to kill herself because Joe goes to a different party. Here’s hoping your new year is better than Norma’s!
The last time we featured Meg Ryan also happened to be a New Year’s Eve post – guess America’s sweetheart gets kissed a lot! In the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, Ryan plays an uptight New Yorker whose best friend happens to be a man (played by Billy Crystal), and the two spend years together without realizing they’re absolutely perfect for each other. The movie laid the groundwork for a lot other rom-coms, and while Meg Ryan’s clothing is preppy and pristine throughout the whole film (outfitted by costume designer Gloria Gresham), the dresses she sports are actually pretty dated. Doesn’t mean she’s any less cute in them! Here, Harry & Sally spend New Year’s Eve together, which foreshadows the importance of the holiday for them later in the movie… Our editors had trouble finding a photo of the final New Year’s scene, but we did find these cute pics from Mirror80, which did an adorable feature on Sally’s earlier NYE dress and how to update the off-the shoulder, ruffled look! Later, these two realize they’re right for each other on Dec. 31st, which is probably why this holiday is so over hyped – everyone’s waiting for a declaration of love that doesn’t come lol! Have a very Happy New Year’s anyway! <3
“Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas…” Judy Garland swoons in Meet Me in St. Louis, which ended up becoming a very popular holiday carol. What better dress to feature than Miss Garland’s gorgeous red gown from the 1944 classic for a “Fancy Friday” that landed on December 25th?! Judy Garland stars as the main sister of a large St. Louis family who attends a local Christmas ball in this stunning scarlet velvet gown. After returning home from the party, she sings the beautiful carol to her baby sister, Tootie (played by Margaret O’Brien). To be honest, I never saw the film until falling in love with the 2005 flick The Family Stone, in which oldest sister Susannah watches the movie alone on Christmas Eve. It’s a melancholy scene in both films, as both leading ladies reflect on how their next Christmases will sadly not be like their past holidays. It’s heartbreaking, but a thoughtful reminder of how seasons really do change, for better or for worse. Merry Christmas! <3
“I believe… I believe… It’s silly, but I believe.” On Thanksgiving, our editors eat turkey, watch football, pound pie, but we also always watch this 1947 classic – Miracle on 34th Street. Last month we lost one of our all-time favorite tough girls, Maureen O’Hara. In this film, she stars as Doris Walker, mother to Susan (played by the late Natalie Wood), a smart and mature little girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. Doris is a no-nonsense Manhattan woman who works for Macy’s Department Store. The movie opens on the Thanksgiving Day Parade (Fun Fact: The footage in the film was actually from the 1946 Macy’s Parade! According to imdb.com, “retakes were obviously out of the question!”) An older gentlemen who looks suspiciously like Kris Kringle and a handsome lawyer (played by John Payne) try to change the two Walker ladies’ minds about Santa Claus and the Christmas spirit. It’s adorable, and much better than the horrible remake. O’Hara sports some very sophisticated clothing in the film, but this little buttoned black dress with a matching white collar and cuffs is a particular favorite of ours. Costume designer Kay Nelson outfitted the film, and did a wonderful job capturing an elegant NYC girl in the post-WWII era. Maybe our editors love it so much, since it reminds us of our own mother, who appeared in the Macy’s Day Parade 30 years later. <3
In the 1942 flick I Married A Witch, Fredric March’s character Wallace Wooley states, “Mere physical beauty isn’t everything.” That may be true, but did he even LOOK at this dress? In the classic film, Veronica Lake plays Jennifer, a Salem witch who’s been stuck in a tree for hundreds of years, until a bolt of lightning sets her spirit free! She’s put a curse on the family of the man who burned her at the stake, and after wandering around the modern world, accidentally drinks her own love potion meant for one of her enemy’s descendants! It’s the definition of a screwball comedy from that era, and an adorable one to boot! We had always pictured Veronica Lake as a tall, sultry actress, but she was barely 5’0, and the little cutie runs around this movie creating all sorts of havoc (apparently, not far off from the real life set either!) In the book Vintage Fashion, Ottilie Godfrey describes in detail how Jennifer’s infamous black dress was made: “For Lake’s wardrobe in I Married a Witch (1942), Edith Head and her fellow costume designers were allowed to use acres of extravagant fabric to enhance the actress’s glamour and help boost public morale. This black chiffon over nude silk evening dress with Guipre lace bodice detail and bishop sleeves is a perfect foil for Lake’s smoldering beauty.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Happy Halloween to all our bewitching beauties!
In this bewitching edition of “Fancy Friday,” we’re showcasing Miss Lena Duchannes (played by Alice Englert) in Beautiful Creatures. The box office bomb debuted on this editor’s birthday (Valentine’s Day), and she absolutely loved the 2013 flick! Based on the novel of the same name, it tells the story of an ordinary boy who falls for an extraordinary girl. Set in the deep south, the two fall in love, while spending copious amounts of time cracking sardonic jokes and reading lots of books – I mean, what’s not to like? The characters also wear some killer clothes! Without revealing too much, this scene happens to be the climax of the film, and Miss Duchannes sports this mystical ballgown. Costume designer Jeffrey Kurland explained to Entertainment Weekly, “I designed the top of the gown as a man’s shirt might look, open and loose, which I felt was more her style.” The open shoulders on the belted corset, paired with the grays and lavenders in her layered skirt create a mesmerizing look. These photos don’t even do the dress justice – you have to see the film to really appreciate it! It’s also the outfit Lena wears when she finally learns to stand on her own and defend herself; and there’s no better accessory than STRENGTH!
When this editor was a little girl, she loved witches so much, she formed a “Witch Club” with her best friend. (Thankfully, those days are behind her!) She also loved old movies and Jimmy Stewart, so her parents rented her Bell, Book and Candle. Honestly, I was so bored I couldn’t even tell you what happened, but it does make me feel nostalgic! In the 1958 film, Kim Novak plays a Manhattan girl and a modern witch who falls in love with James Stewart! She sports some stunning costumes by Jean Louis, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the film. Here is the best: a simple, long-sleeved black peplum dress, with silk gloves and the most elegant hooded cape to match. Bewitching is an understatement.
“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Glinda asks Dorothy, upon her arrival in the wonderful world of Oz. Who else would we feature on “Pink Wednesday” than the most famous good witch of all? Billie Burke played the witch of the north in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, and dons an enormous soft pink, sparkling ballgown, with poofed sleeves and a matching crown and scepter. The film’s costume designer was the legendary Adrian. When Dorothy is surprised at how lovely Glinda is, she responds, “Only bad witches are ugly.” In The Wizard of OZ FAQ, by David J. Hogan, our editors were shocked to learn Glinda’s gown was featured previously in the movie, San Francisco (1936) on Jeanette MacDonald. Hogan also mentioned that Billie Burke once joked of her costume, “I look like a refugee from German opera.” Burke wasn’t far off, but it’s a cinematic look that has gone down in history. Good thing no one dropped a house on this dress!
This “Tuesday Twosome” is a “Tuesday Trio,” and who better to feature during a week dedicated to witches than the Witches of Eastwick? In the 1987 film, the beguiling ladies are played by everlasting beauties Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. They play Alexandra Medford, Jane Spofford, and Sukie Ridgemont, respectively – three friends who are drastically different, but all face the same issue: men trouble. While lamenting and bonding one night, the women accidentally and unknowingly form a coven, and conjure the “perfect man.” Unfortunately, the so-called perfect guy happens to be Satan! And who better to play him than devilish Hollywood bad boy, Jack Nicholson? Here, the three ladies play around in some gorgeous frocks. Cher looks stunning in a black evening gown, with a subtle sequined detail; Michelle Pfeiffer’s character is sporting a slick black hat and a large-printed pajama set; and Susan Sarandon’s character, Jane, goes from nerdy music teacher to a voluptuous redhead in a gold lamé gown. The film’s costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers mentioned in a 1990 article in the LA Times, she’s featured jewelry of her late mother in all of her work. (Fun Fact: Rodgers is also the costumer from Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, who designed our favorite black-and-white striped pattern the lead character wears!) The witches look absolutely lovely here playing around, but things take a dark and dangerous turn, and they have to figure out a way to get rid of the once perfect boyfriend they all use to share! (P.S. If you couldn’t tell from the details mentioned already, this movie is super weird!)