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The Icons of Vintage Film Fashion

Updated: Jan 1

The Icons

When we think about iconic moments in fashion that seems to transcend time, we have a few images in our head. The "Icons" we'll focus on are 6 actresses and their looks that helped us remember era's long passed, but never forgotten.

The Film; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

The Year: 1953

The Icon:

Marilyn Monroe

Born June 1, 1926 - August 4, 1962 (born as Norma Jeane Mortenson)

An American actress and singer, famous for her roles as the comedic "blonde bombshell". A popular sex symbol of the 1950's and early 60's.

The Most Memorable Muse: Marilyn Monroe & The Pink Dress

What was the film about?

The film was a 1953 musical comedy based on the 1949 stage musical of the same name, focused on two American show girls and best friends. The film is largely about their misadventures in love and the pursuit of success.

Little known fact; Jane Russel who you'll see images of below was actually supposed the be "star" of the film, being paid significantly more than Marilyn Monroe.

Iconic Images

The "red sequin" dress has been a staple of ultra womanly appeal, it was even apart of another iconic movie & "actress" (albeit animated) Jessica Rabbit.

Gold Lame & Sequin body suits

And of course the pink satin dress with matching arm length gloves and yes, diamonds!

The Film: Alfred Hitchcocks "To Catch A Thief"

The Year: 1955

The Icon:

Grace Kelly

Born; November 12, 1929 - September 14, 1982 (Grace Patricia Kelly, later the Grace "Princess" of Monaco)

She often was depicted/cast as a demure, elegant princess in films.

The Most Memorable Muse: Grace Kelly, The White Grecian Goddess Inspired Gown

What was the film about?

Grace Kelly plays the role of a wealthy socialite beguiled by a former cat burglar who is being framed, in the most of him tryin to clear his name and prove that he was not responsible for the theft of her mothers jewels the two characters flirt with romance.

Iconic Images

I have a video on Youtube dedicated to the designs of "Madame Gres" Who was known for her drapery and pleated designs, reminiscent of the grecian goddess.

Grace Kelly as a style icon is relevant even today, as her wedding gown was said to be the inspiration for the gown Kate Middleton wore for her wedding to Prince William.

The Film: Carmen Jones

The Year: 1954

The Icon;

Dorothy Dandridge

Born; November 9, 1922 - September 8, 1965

An American actress, singer, and dancer. She was one of the earliest African American movie stars & the first women of color to be nominated for the Academy Award, for best actress in the film "Carmen Jones"

The Most Memorable Muse: Dorothy Dandridge, red skirt and black v neck blouse.

What was the film about?

Dandridge plays the role of a fierce and confident women beyond her time in this 1954 musical, who falls for a GI about to attend flight school, she also becomes the object of affection of a wealthy prize fighter who wants to sweep her off her feet. Conflict ensues.

Iconic Images

The signature single red rose and red tulip style wrap skirt, served as the cover art for this film Ad became iconic in its own right.

Other images from the movie

The Film: Breakfast A Tiffanys

The Year: 1961

The Icon:

Audrey Hepburn

Born May 4,1929 - January 20, 1993

A British actress and humanitarian. A film and fashion icon, ranked by the American film institute as the third greatest female screen legend in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The Most Memorable Muse: Audrey Hepburn, the black dress and diamond accessories

What was the film about?

Based on a novel by Truman Capote, Audrey Hepburn plays a "lady of the night" in search of wealthy men.

Iconic Images

Black dress without pearls by Hubert Givenchy

The Film; Zou Zou

The Year: 1934

The Icon;

Josephine Baker

An American born French entertainer (also noted as a French resistance agent, free mason and civil rights activist)

Born; June 3, 1906 - April 12, 1975

Most known for her dance performances, including the famous 1926 "Banana Dance"

The Most Memorable Muse: Josephine Baker, the feathered off-the-shoulder gown and long sequin sleeves.

What was the film about?

Josephine Baker plays Zouzou who performs in the circus along side her, what is falsely reported as her brother for the sake of the act. However, the actress had real feelings for her co performer. When their time in the spotlight seem to fade and she's working as a laundress, everything changes when he helps her grab a major spot in a Paris dancing theater. Although this rockets her character to fame, she still harbors a secret love for her former co star who is in love with her best friend.

Iconic Images

The Film: Shanghai Express

The Year: 1932

The Icon;

Ann May Wong

Born January 3, 1905- February 3, 1961

An American actress considered to be the first Chinese American actress movie star, her career varied from silent film, sound film, television, stage and radio.

The Most Memorable Muse: Anna May Wong

What was the film about?

Anna May Wong plays Hui Fei the travel companion to lead character "Shanghai Lily", who are on board a train during the mist of a civil war.

Iconic Images

(I could not find many images of her in the actual film)

Was there anything that surprise you about this list? Let me know in the comments

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Fashion Design Blogger
Jasmine Terry-Ankobil

Jasmine Terry-Ankobil owner and operator of LAIDIECLOTH fashion house, where I create custom designs and perform alterations for formal occasions. &Online Couture Sewing School LAIDIECLOTH U. Please feel free to share this article and/or visit my site 

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