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!
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!
Merry Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it also happens to be “Pink Wednesday!” We’ve found it hard in the past to come up with pink outfits for the holiday season, but while our mom was watching White Christmas earlier this month, we realized there was a perfect rose-colored dress for December 25th! Vera Ellen dances with Danny Kaye in the 1954 film in a stunning pale pink chiffon frock. The dress has sequined details, really cute matching shoes, but the full skirt is just perfect for dance number she performs, which reminded us of Liesl’s famous dress in The Sound of Music. It’s no surprise here, the lovely outfit was created by famous 20th century costume designer, Edith Head. Another blogger whose site is called Ip & Audrey put it perfectly when she said Ellen looks “like a cream-puffed sugar plum fairy!” Here’s hoping you have a wonderful Christmas! <3
Audrey Hepburn has donned the most famous little black dress, so it’s no surprise she’s probably worn the most iconic red dress, too! For our final Valentine’s week post, we’ve chosen Hepburn wearing this legendary strapless, column gown by Givenchy in the 1957 film, Funny Face. Her character, Jo Stockton, goes from a mousy bookworm to an international model, and this is her infamous arc – running down the steps of the Louvre in Paris, coming into her own, just like her sister statue at the top of the staircase, The Winged Victory. (FYI, it’s really hard to recreate this shot when visiting Paris, because this place is always crawling with tourists… Hehe.) The gorgeous clothing in this film is from the often-paired Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy. Who knew their partnership, and sometimes rivalry, would appear in so many historical cinematic moments?! <3
It’s the first day of February, which means theSkinnyStiletto is featuring fashion from some of our favorite romances, in honor of Valentine’s Day! Here, the magnificent Audrey Hepburn plays Princess Ann, a girl who is fed up with being told what to do every minute of the day, and flees the Italian palace she’s staying in during her European tour for a little Roman Holiday. The majority of the film, she’s donning an adorable button-down shirt, skirt, scarf and gladiator sandals, but at the start of the movie, she’s a stunning and regal royal. Longtime collaborator and famed costume designer Edith Head won one of her eight Oscars for her work on the 1953 romantic comedy (her sketch for this dress is shown below). At the beginning of the film, she puts Audrey in this long, white, beaded and brocade off-the-shoulder ballgown, adorned with ribbons, medals, a red sash, and probably the prettiest tiara of all time. (This editor attempted to go as Princess Ann for Halloween one year, and guess what? I couldn’t find a gown or fake jewels that looked even remotely like this – no kidding! Audrey’s lucky she always had Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy by her side!) Hepburn looks lovely as a prim and pretty princess, accessorized with beautiful jewels, delicate long white gloves, and a pair of conservative pumps that she can’t seem to keep on, after spending so much time on her feet greeting other dignitaries! Her character is elegant, but she’s also trapped by her own fate. As gorgeous as she looks here, you can see the longing behind her eyes just to break free (even for a little while) to experience the world on her own terms. She does escape and enjoys her own short holiday, but honor and duty lead her back to the life she was destined to lead. It’s our favorite romance of all time. <3
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!
One of our favorite holiday movies is the 1945 classic Christmas in Connecticut, and for this Sunday post we’re featuring Barbara Stanwyck as a journalist posing as a housewife in the post-WWII film. She plays Elizabeth Lane, a happily single girl from New York City, who pens a fake column about being a happy homemaker in the suburbs. Renowned costume designer Edith Head outfitted Ms. Stanwyck for this screwball comedy. Here, Elizabeth’s friend and chef Felix, played by S.Z. Sakall, shows her some kitchen basics while she dons a gingham dressed adorned with a clean white collar, but we all know she’d much rather be in her new mink coat in front of a typewriter instead…
Happy Holidays! We here at theSkinnyStiletto have been on hiatus since September. In the past few months, one of our editors moved across the country and has been in the midst of looking for jobs, and the other has been swamped with work, lost power to Hurricane Sandy, crashed a computer and had two weddings in two weeks, making it difficult for either of them to post. Now we’re back for our second edition of the “12 Days of Christmas Countdown!” For this “Fancy Friday,” we’re featuring Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney as sisters Betty and Judy Haynes in White Christmas. In this 1954 film, the sisters, along with a pair of G.I.s, start a singing and dancing group at a Vermont Inn. This iconic holiday image shows the four famous faces adorned in Academy-Award costume designer Edith Head’s Christmas creations. Red satin and velvet gowns trimmed with white fur bring to mind some classy versions of Mrs. Claus costumes. It’s not our favorite Christmas movie, but it’s certainly one of the most famous.
“Each, in its own way, was unforgettable. It would be difficult to – Rome! By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live,” Audrey Hepburn replies when asked what her favorite European city is, in the final scene of Roman Holiday. The 1953 classic made Hepburn, Italy and Vespas wildly popular following its release. Hepburn plays Princess Ann, a young girl feeling trapped and restless in her life of patriotic duty. While visiting various countries on a European tour, Ann decides to go AWOL in the historic city of Rome. During her journey, she falls in love with an American journalist (played by the dashing Gregory Peck) and grows into an independent adult along the way. Princess Ann knows the fairy tale can’t last forever though, and after returning to her regal responsibilities, this sophisticated woman has appeared, leaving behind her youth and long locks. Legendary costume designer Edith Head created Audrey’s outfits for this film (and won an Academy Award for it – as did Hepburn’s performance). Here, Princess Ann demonstrates her poise in this mature, belted, white lace wrap dress with dainty gloves and a pearl choker. Roman Holiday was the first American film to be made entirely in Italy, and it ended up being one of the most romantic movies ever made! <3
We’ve mentioned that one of our editors was almost named for this 1954 classic, but we’re amazed that we’ve only featured Sabrina one time over the last year, when nearly every look in this film could be walked down a runway! Here is our idol, Audrey Hepburn, playing the title character, with the object of her affection, William Holden as David Larrabee. Sabrina is the daughter of the Larrabees’ chauffeur on Long Island. After studying culinary arts in Paris (and becoming a woman along the way), Sabrina returns to New York barely unrecognizable to her childhood crush. David invites her to a party at his home, and she sports this stunning strapless black and white gown with long white gloves and black pumps. The column dress has a detachable overskirt with an underlay of black tulle, and was hand-embroidered with silk thread and jet beads. Hubert de Givenchy personally created most of the outfits for Hepburn, yet Edith Head went on to receive the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (which was not without controversy, since Givenchy did not receive due credit for his spectacular work. Although Givenchy has been the one forever associated with the gorgeous wardrobe in the film.) Fun Fact: The relationship that developed between Hepburn and Givenchy on the set of Sabrina resulted in a lifelong friendship, and Audrey became the French designer’s muse! This work of art has to be one of our favorite fashion moments in history, and the perfect “Fancy Friday” tribute to romance this February.