Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Golden Age of Fashion

So Jilly beansTALK is both a fashion blogger and loves working with textiles at the museum. She specifically loves loves loves 1930s fashion. This is the blog post I've been promising her for over a month!

I decided to go with all Hollywood stars, rather than Real People, as the focus here is more High Fashion than what everyday people wore. You will notice that everything is sinking: the bobs of the 1920s reach their halfway point before hitting shoulders in the 1940s (which is basically the same hair as the 30s, just longer), and the dresses have become slightly less outlandish (though shinier...?) and much longer. Slits may go all the way up, but hem lines have gone all the way down. Fashionwise, it's almost like the rebellious teenagers grew up and realized that they had to put away the midriff baring tops and put on a business suit- the clothes are much more recognizably formal and plain (decoration comes from accessories), with an emphasis on the lines of the body.

And now, without further ado:

The Blond Bombshell, Jean Harlowe in 1937. Classic white (as far as I can tell) No frills. No fuss. Just a rich satin dress and a lot of curves. Sadly, she died at the age of 26. But let's not dwell on the tragic, shall we?

Adele Astaire (Yes, THAT Astaire) in 1933, rocking the knitted look and some serious shiny!

Alice Faye in her little black dress in 1935, mid-transformation from black swan to human!

Some serious jealousy and clinging fabric and ruffles starring Alice White and Myrna Loy in their 1931 film The Naughty Flirt! I love Myrna's sleeves, but that bow MUST go.

The sophisticated Anna Mae Wong (the first Chinese movie star) in 1937. While I'm not terribly fond of the disco-ball of a jacket, I really don't think I'd like the dress by itself. So I approve of her wardrobe decisions. ^_^

Claire Trevor wearing a dress in 1937 that could pass (I think) on any red carpet (or at least a wedding) today. And some really interesting hair. She also appears to have picked up a mysteriously shiny jacket... I suspect an invasion.

Fred Astaire (Brother to the above) with Claire Luce in The Gay Divorcee in 1933. Simple. Streamlined. Room for dancing without showing any leg. Oddly fluffy sleeves. She's very pretty though.

The stunning Ginger Rogers in (what is possibly the worst photograph I have of her, but it suited my purposes the best) Shall We Dance in 1937. A fine example of fashionable outerwear. Again, very plain fabrics and with little decor. But the fabrics themselves speak of money and glittering diamonds, and the accents (the bow, the belt, the little cap with the veil) all scream Fashion!

The Vamp, Gloria Swanson, in 1932. A prime example of a beautiful woman who can not only hold a strenuous day job of acting, but can also hunt and skin a tiger without getting a drop on her white dress. The locked chain around her waist is open to interpretation.

1931. The Dietrich. Also known as Marlene. Lovely, fashionable, famous. All made possible by her amazing Gold Arms. (She was related to the original Oscar statue - the resemblance is all in the bow). I really wish this photograph was clearer so that we could better establish what exactly is growing out of her left shoulder. Whatever it is, I don't recommend it try to take on those cheekbones.

Norma Shearer in 1935. I've always found the resemblance between her and Marlene Dietrich confusing. At least Norma knows that Large Obnoxious Poufs of Fur compliment one's puffy hair much more than skintight shiny gold. I love the way her skirt gathers. I'm a bit concerned about that head in the background though...

1 comment:

Jill said...

LOVE this post! thanks for using it as a subject :) it only makes me love this era more for it's style!! you're the best!