Style: Myrna Loy in ‘The Thin Man’

Two irresistible and original characters, Nick and Nora Charles, played by lifelong friends William Powell and Myrna Loy, who have a fantastic chemistry together, wonderfully witty dialogue, a concoction of screwball comedy and mystery, a sophisticated setting, the cutest dog, Asta, and … the fashion, of course. The Thin Man, based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett and the first of a series of six (which means multiplied by six gorgeous costumes), is one of those movies that gets better every time you watch it. Although this post is dedicated to Myrna’s style in the movie (Nora is radiant, smart, beautiful and wisecracking), it’s not just her style that is worth remembering, but William Powell’s as well, so elegant, both in looks and wit, and charming, always with a drink, a dry martini most frequently, in his hand and a way with words like no other, and Maureen O’Sullivan’s too, but on a future occasion.

Myrna’s wardrobe is fabulous in my opinion and I am surprised that it has been so overlooked over time, just as the work of the designer responsible for it, Dolly Tree: England’s leading stage designer during the ’20s, the first woman to design for the Folies Bergere and one of Hollywood’s major screen designers. And she was one of the first designers to promote the strapless evening gown. How impossibly simple and impactful is that millinery piece? As opposed to the dramatic fur collar and cuffs of the coat.

This is my favourite dress in the film. I would love to see a spring 2012 evening gown inspired by it. Cascading ruffles and layers of stripes (what colours I wonder?). The under layer’s stripes go in the opposite direction creating a checked look and a beautiful visual impact, especially if you watch how it moves in the movie.

This is such an extravagant in a playful way ensemble. Note the pierrot neckline and the highly elaborated sleeves. The ’30s were so luxurious!

This is one of the many funny moments of the film, on Christmas morning.
Nick: “Aren’t you hot in that?”
Nora: “Yes, I’m stifling. But it’s so pretty.”
Nick: “Is that another Christmas present?”
Nora: “Yes.”
Nick: “Did I give it to you?”
Nora: “Yes.”

Doesn’t she look great in the sharply tailored suit? Love the use of plaid, and again, the little statement hat adorned with feathers, nodding to the English countryside tradition.

The first time I saw The Thin Man I was fascinated by this clothing engineering. That stream pleated part always takes me by surprise.

A halter neck little black dress. It just couldn’t miss from a talk about style.

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images: stills from “The Thin Man”, captured by me; kindly link back to classiq if you use any of thees images / production credits

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