Classic Hollywood Style by Caroline Young is the latest addition to my costume design books collection. I like to have my cinema style articles carefully documented and I hardly find the information I need online. It’s usually the same, copied endless times, and the source is never credited.
Back to the book, the title covers thirty-four films spanning from the 1920s through the 1960s. The golden era of Hollywood, when behind every screen appearance was a costume designer: Adrian, Travis Banton, Orry-Kelly, Irene, Jean-Louis, Edith Head. They shaped the image and created the wardrobe to not only suit the stars, but mold the characters and blend into the scene. And this is exactly what I love the most about the book: it doesn’t take the fashion out of the context. You learn about how the clothes were created to fit the story, about the collaborations between stars and costume designers, about the times and about the fashions of those times and about how the styles in the movies changed mentalities and sparked fashion trends.
Although I did come across a few inaccuracies (for example, Elizabeth Taylor’s tulle and taffeta dress in a Place in the Sun was pale yellow, not white), the book is a good source of inspiration, a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most iconic costumes of the silver screen: Greta Garbo in A Woman of Affairs, Marlene Dietrich in Morocco, Claudette Colbert in Cleopatra, Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not, Ava Gardner in The Killers, Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief, Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. Think of the stars, the movies, the styles!
photos by me