2012 07 Real Weddings Rachel tims Whimsical

STYLED BY HOLLYWOOD. Hollywood became a big fashion influence in the 1930s. Movie-going was a major hobby and alluring movie outfits provided escapism from the Depression and the war in Europe. Animal prints flourished after the Tarzan movies; while bias-cut, satin, Jean Harlow-style evening wear and Katharine Hepburn’s casual look found numerous admirers. A white cotton organdie confection stole the show in the 1932 movie Letty Lynton. Worn by Joan Crawford, the gown’s huge sleeves helped popularize the padded-shoulder line, promoted by Schiaparelli, of the 1930s and 40s. New York department store Macy’s was said to have sold thousands of copies.


The Letty Lynton gown was designed by legendary Hollywood costumier Adrian (Gilbert Adrian, 1903–59); other influential contemporary Hollywood designers included Edith Head, Travis Banton, and Walter Plunkett. For The Women (1939), a hit movie about Manhattan socialites, Adrian gave each central character a distinct look. The movie was shot in black and white but with a short Technicolor fashion-show sequence featuring avant-garde Adrian designs that caused a stir. Small, jauntily angled hats like those worn by the cast became very popular in the US at this time, while Adrian’s pill box, slouch, and trenchcoat styles were already much copied from Garbo movies.


His square-shouldered look for Crawford became a popular 1930s and 40s silhouette. Hollywood’s ascent in the fashion industry was helped because designers had to create outfits that looked ahead of the trend by the time the movie was released. The fashions were then copied by retailers and American design started to move away from Paris—“historical” couture styles of the 1930s, for example, borrowed from Hollywood costume.