“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!
One of our favorite leading ladies is back for this 2012 holiday edition of “Fancy Friday.” In Christmas in Connecticut, Barbara Stanwyck pretends to be an all-American housewife playing hostess to a returning sailor after World War II in her fake suburban country home. In reality, she’s a single city girl with no domestic skills – but she can certainly dress! Costumed by legendary designer, Edith Head, Stanwyck sports several gorgeous outfits in this romantic comedy. Here, she’s wearing a black gown with a diamond-plaid jacket tied with an oversized black bow while attending a community dance with the dashing Jefferson Jones. Good thing he doesn’t mind the scheming and lying just to give him a good holiday vacation – he gets the girl instead of some home-cooked meals – and she gets a pay-raise! Everyone wins!
It’s a Wonderful Life is our favorite holiday movie, so it’s no surprise we featured it twice last year in our “12 Days of Christmas Countdown.” Here are James Stewart and Donna Reed as George and Mary Bailey before they’ve officially become a couple.
George has been working at his father’s Building & Loan to save money for college, and is now four years behind his peers. He tags along with his brother Harry to the local high school dance, and gets to cut the rug with his future wife, Mary, before famously falling in the swimming pool together! Mary is sporting a beautiful, frilly dress adorned with a small rose at the collar paired with adorable peep-toe pumps. In the colorized version, the dress is bright blue, but I’ve always pictured it cream-colored or soft yellow. Donna Reed is also stunningly gorgeous in this scene, so it’s hard to take your eyes off of her. (Honestly, she could be wearing a burlap sack, and we would have featured it!) Head costume designer of RKO Studios, Edward Stevenson, outfitted the film, but is probably best known for dressing Lucille Ball for the last eighteen years of his life. His work ended up being historical as part of this iconic Christmas classic. <3
It’s a family tradition to watch It’s A Wonderful Life every Christmas, and a personal favorite of both our editors. (Fun Fact: We love it so much that it was worked into the maid of honor speech this editor gave at the other’s wedding!) Here is the gorgeous Donna Reed as Mary Bailey in a beautiful, long-sleeved black dress with a white lace collar, a strand of white pearls and a pair of black heels. All dressed up for Christmas dinner, Mary doesn’t realize that her husband, George, may be going to prison if he doesn’t sort out his uncle’s financial mess… but she figures out something is wrong pretty quickly! Thankfully a pretty slick angel and the townspeople of Bedford Falls come to George’s rescue, after Mary gathers friends, family and neighbors to aid the man that’s worked hard for them all their lives. It’s one of the most touching films of all-time, and Reed saves the day as one adorable heroine in this Christmas classic.
This “Fancy Friday” happens to be 1940s screen legend Barbara Stanwyck from the romantic comedy Christmas in Connecticut. This editor’s sister pulled this movie off the shelf at their local library years ago, and it was surprisingly hilarious! Stanwyck stars as Elizabeth Lane, a single writer from New York who pens a column about traditional cooking and housekeeping from the point of a view of a housewife, even though she doesn’t do a stitch of physical labor… When an injured sailor returning home from WWII is interested in visiting her fictional home in Connecticut, she realizes it’s her patriotic duty to… well, lie to him! It doesn’t help that he’s drop-dead gorgeous, and Miss Lane is supposed to be a Mrs! Here, Elizabeth wears a beautiful, long black gown and a cropped, white jacket with fuzzy trim, while she gets distracted trimming her fake Christmas tree. Fun Fact: The legendary costume designer, Edith Head was actually borrowed from Paramount Studios to outfit Ms. Stanwyck, alongside Warner Brothers costumer, Milo Anderson. Below, we’ve included the link of Dennis Morgan as the handsome serviceman singing to Stanwyck. You can imagine why “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was our favorite holiday song for quite sometime…
We’ve talked about several of our favorite Christmas movies this past week, but It’s A Wonderful Life still remains our all-time favorite holiday flick. There’s no other film on Earth that can make this editor choke up not once, but usually four times in one sitting – and that’s after seeing it dozens of times. Originally panned by critics, the 1946 Frank Capra movie was completely insulted and ignored when it was released following the end of World War II. James Stewart and Donna Reed play George Bailey and Mary Hatch, a pair of friends who have known each other since childhood. All George wants to do is flee his one-horse town, but Mary actually misses Bedford Falls when she goes away to university and interns in New York City. The above scene is when the two are reunited after Mary’s college graduation, and George is frustrated after finding out some news that may cause him to never escape their hometown. Mary dons on a lovely full-skirted dress with an embroidered collar, princess sleeves and a ribbon tied around her waist. She looks adorable waiting for her crush to admit his feelings, but he’s certainly in a different kind of mood… After arguing and yelling, the two answer a phone call from a mutual friend that leads to one of the most romantic scenes in cinematic history, and causes the future Mr. & Mrs. Bailey to realize they’re meant for one another.
theSkinnyStiletto has been on a bit of a hiatus, because our main editor was on a work stint in Washington, DC for the last six weeks, but she’s so glad to be back home! (And back to writing! Which is pretty difficult when you don’t have a computer in your apartment!) Today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the event which would eventually draw the United States into World War II. A movie by the same name was made 10 years ago starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and this beauty pictured above, Kate Beckinsale. The three play friends and lovers in a dramatic triangle set to the background of the attacks in Hawaii. Beckinsale plays a nurse in the US Navy, and sports some stunning 1940s looks (which we’ll definitely compile in a future article…), but we just couldn’t take our eyes off of this still! Beckinsale is just stunning in her bright white nurse’s uniform and matching cap, with luscious brunette waves and a dark red pout. This English rose looks right at home as an American sailor! It’s important to remember this day, and the men and women who sacrificed their lives on this fateful day in 1941.
“It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” No, it’s Lois Lane. She’s the only girl we’ve featured this week that doesn’t have some enormous secret identity, costume or superhuman strength, but she’s one of the most recognizable comic book characters of all-time. Lois Joanne Lane is the love of Superman’s life. She was created in 1938 in Action Comics #1 by Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Lois was based on a model named Joanne Carter (just like her middle namesake) who would later marry Siegel! Carter went on to work as a ship builder during World War II and unfortunately died earlier this year, but that is one romantic tribute! It’s no surprise Lois Lane is such a strong-willed lady, considering she’s based a real-life wonder woman! Lois was born to Sam and Ellen Lane who were originally farmers from Pittsdale, and in later comics were depicted as a military couple who taught Lois hand-to-hand combat. They also have another daughter named Lucy Lane. Lois works as a reporter at Metropolis’s Daily Planet, just like Superman’s alter-ego, Clark Kent. She is tough, intelligent, hard-working, and the top reporter in town! Although, for being an extremely bright writer, she’s a poor speller and… well, she hasn’t noticed that the love of her life also works with her everyday, despite a pair of glasses. After Clark admits who he truly is, he proposes and he and Lois are married, although she keeps her maiden name. (Can’t imagine why this was my ideal when I wanted to grow up and become a writer… a well-dressed, dark-haired feminist whose sister has the same initials as she, and dates the strongest and best-looking man on Earth! Gee, I wonder why I wanted to be her…) Onscreen, Lane has been portrayed by a bevy of different ladies, including Margot Kidder and Teri Hatcher, but her best clothes were in the 2006 Bryan Singer version Superman Returns. Played by Kate Bosworth (who probably wasn’t the best choice – she looks far more comfortable surfing the shores of Hawaii…), but still had a fantastic look. Costumed by Louise Mingenbach, who has alsoworked on the X-Men films, The Hangover and The Usual Suspects, she did a gorgeous job of maintaining the classic look of 1930s and 1940s Metropolis without looking too costumed. Mingenbach stated that she wanted to incorporate the prime decades that Lois Lane was around for. Her go-to items in this version are strings of white pearls, sophisticated leather handbags, a camel-haired trenchcoat, tailored skirted suits, black stiletto pumps, high-waisted pinstripe pants and the most stunning silk blouses. Our favorite item is the beautiful gown Lois gets to wear during the story arch (pictured, above left), which was today’s “Look-of-the-Day.” Bosworth got poor reviews for her performance as the most famous fictional reporter in modern history, but at least she got to dress well while doing so. The new reboot is set to premiere in 2013 with British hunk Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel with the perky Amy Adams playing another girl with an alliteration for initials – Lois Lane! Let’s hope she gets a wardrobe as accurate and fabulous as Mingenbach’s terrific job on this 2006 film! Lois Lane is one of the most popular pop culture characters of all-time and definitely our favorite human comic book girl! We can’t wait to see her reappearance in two years on the silver screen!