We wrote about this commanding adaption of Tennessee Williams’ play a few weeks ago here on Classiq. It is now time to talk about Elizabeth Taylor’s style in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Her costumes were designed by talented Helen Rose, who was also a close friend of Elizabeth’s. Maggie’s wardrobe resumes to only three outfits, all in shades of white, but due to Helen’s smart choice of clean lines and her crafty, shrewd use of fabrics, are more than enough to conjure up a timeless style and a harmonious standard of beauty, that, 55 years on, would still be able to fit the modern woman. Elegance is achieved by balancing proportions, colours and accessories, and helped by Elizabeth’s famous figure (made for form-fitting shapes), innate confidence and sexiness, it reveals femininity and seduction.
Silk shirt, cream wool skirt with side pockets (a favourite element of mine at this ladylike style), orange belt, kitten heels and striped tote. The orange belt and the stripes in the bag are two details skillfully used by Helen Rose to infuse a casual, summery feel into this outfit.
Rolled up sleeves, even when it comes to short-sleeved shirts. It’s simply a style note. Always look to change the rules just a bit.
Smouldering, in a white négligée.
The gorgeous waist-cinching white chiffon dress, with a Grecian bodice and short full skirt, which became known as “The Cat”. Once again, a costume in a film set the trend in fashion in America and copies were made for women across the country. Elizabeth herself liked the dress so much that she wanted replicas for her own wardrobe. It’s again simplicity and the attention to details that make a dress stand out. That, and, as with the other outfits too, Elizabeth’s beauty, forms and body language: she’s so feline in her movements. Both the director and Helen Rose wanted the dress to be white and unobtrusive so as not to distract from the impact of the party scene.
Looking at the jewellery, Maggie keeps the bangles and necklace from the previous outfit and only replaces the gold hoop earrings with a pair of pearl and diamond earrings with a shape resembling a little a grape cluster. They’re beautiful, and sparkle along with Maggie “The Cat”‘s passion and impatience.
Have you noticed the pearly silver sandals? The ideal choice if you ask me, when it comes to accessorising a white gown. By choosing silver over white, the look gains even more style points.
The classic trench has its place in every wardrobe. Love the length of this one: mid-calf.
I had to include a photo of Paul Newman too: so classic and as nonchalant as ever in a button-down white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, how else? This is a film to watch over and over again: for the superior talents of the actors, for the story, for the style, and for the fantastic chemistry between Paul and Elizabeth.
PS: I am taking a short break from blogging, so I’m wishing you a wonderful rest of the week!
photos: stills from the film, captured by me from this DVD edition of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof / credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer