The Wearable Style of Marlena in Water for Elephants

20 Apr

Another article from our series highlighting Water for Elephants

By Open Book

This is our last week highlighting the Sara Gruen novel Water for Elephants. It’s been fun discovering various facts about the novel. The film open’s in theaters this Friday April 22nd, 2011. However, costumes (which helps to tell this story) is the last area we have yet to uncover.

Costume designer’s can be described as visual storytellers who use texture, silhouettes and color as their means of communication. As some of you know Jacqueline West  (the costume designer for Water for Elephants) not only shaped the characters personality in the film but also illustrated (for audiences) Hollywood’s influence over this period. To help us understand what may have inspired the look for  Marlena played by Reese Witherspoon, we are going to look back at the social customs, magazine articles and costume designers of the 1930’s.

During the great depression, America looked to costume designers to help empower the average woman.  Jacqueline West, in a recent interview revealed she referenced film actresses from the 1930’s to help Reese Witherspoon prepare for the role of Marlena.  Why? In 1930, magazine articles communicated to women, “if clothes can accent a character in a movie why can’t they do that for you?” In a book called Screen Style in 1930’s by Sarah Berry, she states:[1]

By the early 1930’s, it had become clear that fashion display was a significant aspect of female box office appeal, and Hollywood costume publicity began to emphasize films’ display of “wearable” styles, in addition to the ongoing use of costume for characterization, spectacle or drama.” Pg. 16

Many women were told in-order to be successful they had to add dramatic flair to their wardrobe. Travis Banton the costume designer for Paramount tried to design costumes, which would appeal to women in every class. He wanted women to see the theatrical potential in their wardrobe rather than downplay it. In Water for Elephants, West transported the audiences back to the 1930’s by showing us how the character Marlena would have maximized and embellished her wardrobe, according to the social customs of the day.

In 1930, the costume designer for MGM Adrian refused many offers and proposals to manufacturer his designs from films. However, other costume designer’s like Edith Head, Orry-Kelly, Walter Plunket and Howard Greer joined Carolyn Modes to design and manufacture their costumes for retail. It was considered good publicity for Hollywood to illustrate their growing influence over ready-to-wear.  In the 1930’s Hollywood designs were considered more innovative than Paris due the depression era “Buy American” campaign promoting the garment industry.

In Berry’s book Screen Style she also discusses the types of articles written in magazines from the 1930’s:

“The article “Finding Your Type in the Stars” suggest that a favorite movie star could function for the reader like “a sort of finishing school,” claiming that “we can all learn much, not only for the benefit of our appearance, but much in the way of the little niceties of life………. “ pg. 27

As you can see Marlena in Water for Elephants would have been exposed to all of this during this period. And West, highlights this very well by fashioning Marlena’s look after the most popular film actresses of the 1930’s.[2] It’s hard to imagine costumes having that sort of impact on American culture today. However, every now and then you see it occur but not because of the clothing itself. In fact it’s typically a good film and performance that inspires audiences to emulate a characters look in a film.  Can you think of a film character that has inspired your everyday wardrobe and why?

Please join us for a discussion Thursday: 4/21/2011@7pE/12UTC


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119 Responses to “The Wearable Style of Marlena in Water for Elephants”

  1. 4string April 20, 2011 at 8:55 AM #

    Yay! An article on the fashion!!

    • Open Book April 20, 2011 at 2:08 PM #

      LOL!!

  2. Littlebells April 20, 2011 at 11:13 AM #

    4string: hahaha! my first thought was you! :)

    Open Book: Great article! I love the 30s fashion. Not just clothes, but hair, architeture, cars, HW, etc…It’s so interesting that the 30s had so much influence and it was during the Great Depression. Coincidence?????

    • Open Book April 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM #

      LB!

      U Said: “It’s so interesting that the 30s had so much influence and it was during the Great Depression.”

      My Response: I could not agree with u more. It’s strange how it takes extreme circumstances to spark peoples creativity. Why do u think that is?

      • ozzie20 April 20, 2011 at 4:58 PM #

        Great article!

        I think it is due to not having the money to buy new things. It forces people to create new things out of the material that they already had. Also, it’s a form of escapism from the harsh reality and symbolises hope. All is not lost if there is a way to carry on with a normal life and gives hope to a possible rebirth after the destruction. Phoenix from the flames kind of thing.

        • Littlebells April 20, 2011 at 5:49 PM #

          OB,

          Everything that Ozzie just said.

          Ozzie,

          You Phoenix you!!!! :)

          Yes, I think with such a devestating new decade, there was a much needed escapism. HW is what society looks to (unfortunately) for how well we are or should be doing. I think the style did bring a lot of hope and happiness. Women wanted to do their hair like the starlets. Men wanted to look suave and debonair.

          And OB, interesting how even then, we were making cheaper items of the real deal so people (mostly women) could buy them? Even now, in our difficult economy, we still want nice things so we buy knock off items at a much cheaper price. That way we still feel like we have it all.

          I’m honestly not one for name brands. I can’t keep track, but I do like nice things. I can’t shop at Pottery Barn, but I look at their adds and buy things at Kohl’s or Target. Same goes for clothes.

          Anyway….enough rambling….

          • Open Book April 20, 2011 at 10:18 PM #

            Hi LB & Ozzie!

            All I can say is well said!! Standing O!

            Have any of u seen this program on PBS called Fixing the Future? It’s very inspirational to see how creative people have become. I think it’s fitting for what the two of u are discussing and I wanted to share it with u. Enjoy!

            http://www.pbs.org/now/fixing-the-future/

            • ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 5:41 PM #

              Lol. *bows* I thank my grandparents for that insight. I’m constantly told about how things were like during WW2. Well, actually I also grew up surrounded by WW2 things but that is a long story! :)

              That link is very interesting too.

  3. Littlebells April 20, 2011 at 10:50 PM #

    Thank you OB!

    I will watch it tomorrow when I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

    Q: I founds lots of images of the 30s I’d like to post. Is there a way I can do that or do I just put up the link?

    • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 1:32 AM #

      Hi LB!

      Actually that’s a Q for Lurker regarding putting up images!

      U certainly can post links. That’s o.k. Can’t wait to see what u found!!

      • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM #

        I’m so confused right now!!! aaahhh!!! Whose article are we discussing this evening? I just saw the one for Lurker this morning.

        • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 1:53 PM #

          LOL!!

          See message below!

  4. Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 11:18 AM #

    Just found this great tumblr! I love the old pictures!

    http://historiful.tumblr.com/post/2391992021

    • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 2:01 PM #

      I like these photos as well.

      O.k. U and 4strings are quite astute regarding this era. So I have a Q for you? Of the photos of actresses. Who are your favorite featured on this site?

      Who designed the costume they are wearing? And what character design were they most famous for?

      • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM #

        I wouldn’t say astute, just totally obsessed. :)

  5. 4string April 21, 2011 at 11:57 AM #

    Here’s a site that has some info on era clothing: http://www.fashion-era.com/stylish_thirties.htm

    • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 2:04 PM #

      Hi 4strings,

      See message above. This site sort of reminds of Costume Manifesto.

  6. Open Book April 21, 2011 at 1:50 PM #

    Hi Everyone-

    We are going to be discussing both articles tonight.

    We will begin with this article first then switch over to Circus Business.

    We thought we mix things up a little tonight. It will be fun!!

    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM #

      awesome! I’m off to do some serious research!!!! :)

      • ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 5:26 PM #

        I was just about to ask about that!

  7. Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM #

    Ok, so I’ve gone nutso over here. I have no idea if any of these links or pics will work. If they don’t, well, there’s always google! :)

    First, you gotta love Mae West because she is the epitome of “fierce” (unlike some people). She had pizzazz and new how to use it! I found a designer, Dolly Tree, who created costumes for her in 1928. Once Mae started dong movies, it was Tree’s designs that were used in the films: hour glass wasit, busty corsets, and frills and fluff with feather boas. Some great photos of Mae can be found here. I also noticed as I googled images of her, that she was pre-Cher in the risque. One gown barely covers her lady bits but she still looks classy and sassy!

    http:/allaboutmae.com

    I also love Lucille Ball because she has the best comedic timing as well as being beautiful. I loved her as a blonde, but love her as a red head too! Her favorite designer was Eloise Jenssen. I believe she was used later when Ball was doing her TV show.

    http://www.hissandpop.com/celebrities/b/lucilleball/

    Ginger Rogers is next because I love dancing and did it up until 8 years ago when RL took over and I didn’t have time and began a family. I miss it. A lot. Anyhoosers, I love pretty much every single gown she has ever worn. The head designer for RKO pictures was Bernard Newman and he designed her costumes. His most famous one was a blue gown made with ostrich feathers that shed everywhere! She demanded it and eventually became known as “Feathers.” haha!

    Love this dress and would probably wear it around the house. Also, I love this duo and I included a comment from one of the viewers because I agreed with what they said.


    “I agree completely. For one thing, we don’t have the inspiration they had back then, and it shows. We also don’t have artist with the level of expertise they did back then. Many of those artist could sing, dance, and act, and do all of them superbly. Art was very important up till the past few generations, and artist were willing to devote countless hours to their craft. I’m not saying there are not good movies being made, because there are. But many of them so violent, their depressing.”

    And lastly Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind. Duh. Walter Plunkett was the costume designer and he did other films such as Singin’ in the Rain, showboat, and everything else under the sun. Amazing designer. I mean seriously, it’s ridiculous.

    My favorite costumes from GwtW
    http://www.catwalkqueen.tv/iconic%20red%20dress%20-%20vivienne%20leigh%20gone%20with%20the%20wind.jpg

    http://www.fashionofgoodwill.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/scarlett-ohara-225×300.jpg

    followed by Bob Mackie’s masterpiece
    http://www.visit-gettysburg.com/images/carol-burnetts-gone-with-the-wind-curtain-dress-21360861.jpg

    and lastly (takes a deep breath),
    http://soultalk777.blogspot.com/2009/02/tonner-scarlett-o-hara-repaint-waiting.html

    • ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 5:53 PM #

      The green curtain dress in GWTW was my favourite growing up. I had dreams of tearing down our curtains and making them into dresses! I have no idea why I like it though. Maybe it’s because my Mum and Gran made alot of clothes for me growing up.

    • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:04 PM #

      WOW!

      LB This is AWESOME!! You did great!! Love Ginger!

      • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:14 PM #

        Thanks OB,

        Blame it on that being my grandma’s generation! haha!

        Ozzie,

        I was a GWTW-aholic FOR EVER!!!! I love that Carol Burnett sketch too. I howl every time!

        • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

          YES! Love CB and LB!! They are my alltime favorite female comedians.

          • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:59 PM #

            I own several DVDs of the CB show….My husband had to put the kabosh on that. Boo.

  8. Lurker April 21, 2011 at 3:51 PM #

    Would you guys absolutely die if I told you I can get the pattern for the red feather dress from GwTw?

    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 3:59 PM #

      GET. OUT!!!!!! That is like my all time freakin’ favorite dress!!! I have no IDEA where I would wear it, but I would FIND a way! :)

      • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 4:01 PM #

        I would be freakin Sarlett O’Hara every dog gone Halloween!!!!!!!!

        • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 4:06 PM #

          http://roadsidegeorgia.com/tours/gone_with_the_wind.html

          I live surrounded by the history of this book.
          In fact, I worked in a bldg that directly opposite the Margaret Mitchell house on Peachtree street.
          The house Bulloch Hall in Roswell, I have a sketch of in my office, along with the other home across the square Barrington Hall.

          Its incredible to realize how much Margaret Mitchell put into her story.

          • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 4:13 PM #

            Oh and did you know the scandal?
            Apparently Doc Holliday (that one who ran with Wyatt Earp)
            He was a dentist in what is now Fayetteville Georgia. Apparently he was in love with his cousin (Mary Melanie who became a Nun) and left Georgia. Doc Holliday and Margaret Mitchell are cousins by marriage. MM supposedly based her character Melanie and Ashley on these two cousins.

            They say he haunts this house

            http://www.hdfhouse.com/galleries.htm

            • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 4:34 PM #

              That is so fascinating and sorta nasty! haha!

              I will definitely check out that site!

            • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM #

              Interesting!

            • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:07 PM #

              i love haunted houses. sorry that was so OT.

      • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 4:08 PM #

        I think it would have to be the right kind of velvet to get the look. So OB, we’ll come back to fabric!

    • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:02 PM #

      omg i love that dress. that is the one where rhett butler carried her up the stairs right?

      • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM #

        No that would be the red robe.

        No the dark red dress with the feathers that sparkled – It always looked sort of wine colored on TV.
        Gorgeous.

  9. 4string April 21, 2011 at 4:42 PM #

    If you’re into retro style clothes (like I am) http://www.stopstaringclothing.com is one I’ve bought a few dresses from, and here’s some more http://www.daddyos.com/ http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com http://www.bluevelvetvintage.com/ http://www.jbrclothing.com/

    I lean toward tailored, feminine silhouettes.

    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 5:14 PM #

      Thank you 4string! Those are great! :)

    • Open Book April 22, 2011 at 1:21 AM #

      Great sites 4strings!!

  10. Lurker April 21, 2011 at 6:58 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

  11. Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM #

    Hi!

  12. Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM #

    Hi

    I’m Here

    Let me get caught up! This looks fun tonight!!!

  13. ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 7:02 PM #

    Hello!

  14. Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:07 PM #

    This will be fun tonight. :-)

  15. Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:11 PM #

    O.k.

    So there are a few designers that are my favorite. Adrian is my all time favorite from 1930’s and 1940’s. After u have checked this out tell me what u think?

    http://www.latimesmagazine.com/2010/02/send-in-the-gowns.html

    • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM #

      I love Rita Hayworth’s dress and Audrey Hepburn’s black dress. I love a classic look.

      • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:20 PM #

        Argh! me too! I loved doing musical theater because I got to dress up in these gorgeous gowns. Well obviously not as fabulous, but I still got to glam up. :)

        I would love to throw dress up parties……but I don’t know anyone who would do that around here. I’ll just keep living in my fantasy world.

        • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM #

          omg if i lived near you. you and i would party all the time. in a good way.

    • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:21 PM #

      Wow I just read thru those!
      I felt like I was rewatching movies!

      I might have to be partial and say Edith Head are the one’s I come back to.

      However, I noticed that the Atonement dress on Keira is in there. Same concept of ‘unstructered draping’

      I might have to go look. When did Coco Chanel come into her own with the ‘unstructured look?’

      • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:27 PM #

        Yes! Bias cut dresses in the 1930’s were Adrian’s signature. Cutting fabric on the bias hugged the curves on womens body and made them look sensual. U had to be very confident to wear these dresses. Reese talks about that in one of her interviews. She said these evening gowns demand confidence because they are so revealing.

        • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:30 PM #

          Getting the fabric cut correctly on the bias is not as easy as it looks. Especially not sewing it when it wants to stretch!

          Also, I can’t imagine how different the fabrics were back then compared to today with all these ‘blends’ that include lycra for stretch.

          • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:37 PM #

            Yes! All this is true.

            That’s why it’s better to drape directly on the body or use a dress form, as oppose to create paper patterns. Paper patterns were created for mass-market.

            • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:39 PM #

              I have done enough sewing to know that it’s also easier to get the fit right if you have one of those sewing dummies! Sort of the same concept. My mom’s always used to freak me out.

              • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

                Yes! Exactly Lurker!

                Draping allows for u to really customize and get the fit right. However, today theres a tone of technology to assist in accuracy but there’s nothing like the real thing.

              • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

                O.k. Lurker we have to stop because I can easily talk to u about this all night and it would bore everyone to death. LOL!

                U are my weakness beacuse u sew, love history etc..!! LOL!!

                • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:59 PM #

                  I stick to sewing drapes now.
                  My sewing machine and serger are gathering dust in the closet.

                  I don’t have time anymore, plus if I hear my mother complain about fabric stores in Atlanta one more time….

                  • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM #

                    Keep talking OB, I’m listening/reading. I have no concept of sewing aside from stitching up holes and sewing on buttons. I find the art of creating an outfit that works well on a body so fascinating.

      • Open Book April 22, 2011 at 8:03 AM #

        Yes! Coco Chanel creator of the LBD!! (Little Black Dress). The LBD’s became very popular during the Great Depression because of their affordability. She also made everyone see wearing an all black dress for something other than mourning. She introduced the LBD in 1926 and the rest is history!

        Also, CC the creator of simple jersey dresses was innovative, practical, yet classy!!

  16. Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:12 PM #

    Hi everyone!!!

    • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:15 PM #

      Hi LB!!

      Great job up above!!

  17. Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:15 PM #

    What attitude do these women convey when u see them in these costumes?

    • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

      Confidence, sexuality. basically they got it going on. :-)

      • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:18 PM #

        You beat me! heehee! :)

        • ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 7:21 PM #

          I agree with Paris!

      • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:20 PM #

        Now what makes her elude confidence & sexuality the silhouette, fabric or both?

        • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:21 PM #

          both. however, they have to elude it confidence and sexuality themselves. The dress just tops it.

          • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:22 PM #

            I would agree, the dress enhances what’s already there.

          • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:31 PM #

            That’s true costumes, hair and make-up only help actors embody the characters they ultimately need talent to sell it. It’s all a collaboration costume designer’s, make-up artist and hairstylist are an actors greatest ally.

            • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:38 PM #

              omg that’s so true.

        • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:24 PM #

          I think both. I think for some once you put on the clothes, the confidence goes up several notches. For others it’s always there, but now they get to accentuate it. But honestly, if you already have built in confidence you could dress like this and still be sexy:
          http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_h3HborB6LT8/S1vopRukTbI/AAAAAAAAFrQ/Tn5QWHCtPMc/s1600/EthelLucy.jpg

          • Open Book April 22, 2011 at 1:17 AM #

            LOL! I loved that episode….

    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

      Thank you!

      Confidence. They look gorgeous, dress divinely, are sexy, but it all comes down to that inner confidence. They own “it”!

      I think another reason why this age was so enamored was that the style was ultra feminine and in time of such a dark, depressing, poverty moment in time, one could still glam up and feel like a princess.

      • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:27 PM #

        For example, and this is an example. LB you said it perfectly about owning “it” You can put an actress in a gorgeous dress who doesn’t own “it” and all that the public gets is the same s*** in a nice dress. The actress can’t own “it”

        • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:29 PM #

          Exactly! (Oh man, i as about to go somewhere with that statement, but better not! :) )

          BTW, that is one of my favorite I Love Lucy episodes. :)

          • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:30 PM #

            you know who i’m talking about right? ;-)

            • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:31 PM #

              SWSNBN!

              • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:31 PM #

                LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! high five!

            • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM #

              http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wACQ0HeUW-w/TZ2fp9hw9vI/AAAAAAAAAjo/Zngq8giiTdE/s1600/kristenmet.jpg

              I have no idea who you are talking about……;)

              • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM #

                LOL

              • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:36 PM #

                where is the rest of that black dress? That looks horrid. The green dress was pretty but needs to be longer imo.

                • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:37 PM #

                  I couldn’t get past the face….

                  • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:40 PM #

                    LOL she doesn’t own that either.

                    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:41 PM #

                      SNAP!!!! :)

                  • ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 7:43 PM #

                    I just cover the left side with my hand. Ta da, only Lily is in the photo! I love her dress. I like the Chanel one but only on the model who wore it on the catwalk. Fugging up Channel is a crime in my opinion!

                    • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:46 PM #

                      who is lily? the girl in the green dress?

                    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

                      The other Snow White, yes.

                    • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:49 PM #

                      omg that’s lily collins?

                    • ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 7:49 PM #

                      Yes. The girl in the girl dress is Lily Collins (Phil Collin’s daughter). She’s actually Taylor Lautner’s co star in his new movie.

  18. Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:27 PM #

    Ok, so I was talking with a friend a while back and we were talking about photo shoots. I said that if I were to do a professional photo shoot, I would do something out of the 30s, for obvious reasons. I love the headshots and the body shots. Classy, classy, classy.

    What theme of photo shoots would you do?

    • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:29 PM #

      I like classic, clean, fresh looks. For example think princess di before she died and that’s what i like.

      • ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 7:39 PM #

        Hmm, that’s hard for me to decide. As an art lover I like most styles. However, I can tell you what I don’t like. Basically any style of the 80’s even though I was born in that time period!

        • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:41 PM #

          oh come on now the 80’s? LOL what was wrong with it?

        • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:41 PM #

          No Desperately Seeking Susan look then??? haha!

  19. 4string April 21, 2011 at 7:31 PM #

    no chatroom tonight?

    • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM #

      Not yet!

    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM #

      Hi 4string! :) I checked out your websites and I’m addicted. Of course, I don’t know how I could possibly explain to my husband why I bought a dress for over $100. haha!

  20. Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:36 PM #

    Ok, OB must be off researching something…..

  21. Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:42 PM #

    Sorry! Ladies u had a head start on me tonight.

    O.k. So looking at all these costumes are u most attracted to period, contemporary, fantasy or futuristic costumes?

    • Parisienne April 21, 2011 at 7:44 PM #

      i think contemporary for me. :-)

      • ozzie20 April 21, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

        Comtemporary.

        • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM #

          What are some contemporary films where u thought the costume defined the character well?

    • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:45 PM #

      I think I might have to say period. However, I might go one step further and say that I liked the pieces that make women look feminine – like women!

      • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:46 PM #

        Ditto.

  22. Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:43 PM #

    OpenBook,
    So even though ready to wear was available why did they choose the custom route back in the 30’s and 40’s for Hollywood?

    Do you think that might be because during that time period women were actually doing a lot of sewing at home so it’s wasn’t as big a deal as it is today?

    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

      That’s a great point, Lurker. Sewing stopped with my grandma, so I would not have thought of that.

      • Lurker April 21, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

        30 years ago, if you wanted a custom dress it was cheaper to make it then buy one in the store. That trend has reversed. On top of that, really good dress fabrics are no longer available all over the U.S. They are only in select markets (like NYC, Paris, London)

        So even if – you wanted to make something custom getting the fabric is a nightmare.

        I read that JW had to go to Italy to get the silk charmeuse for the dresses for WFE for Reese!

        • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:52 PM #

          Holy crud!

        • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 7:56 PM #

          I just read that Rayon was introduced in the 1930s and it was Chanel who introduced cotton as something more than just uniform material.

          The zipper also became popular but up until then, it had only been used on tobacco pouches and shoes.

        • Open Book April 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM #

          Well in my article I talked about Adrian who did not allow for his designs to be mass marketed because he thought it was impossible for them to be recreated. In order for them to be affordable a lot style lines will get lost in transit. LOL!!

          Couture design allows for greater detail, creativity and specificity to an individuals body.

  23. Open Book April 21, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

    So I know I did not get to everyone’s Q tonight. Sorry!

    This was fun!! I will have to come back and answer some of your Q later.

    Now we are going to head over to the Circus Business article!

    • Littlebells April 21, 2011 at 8:08 PM #

      Great, I just posted my first couple of questions over there. I didn’t know when we were making the switch. :) Thanks again OB for a fantastic discussion. Now all I want to do is sit at home and watch all these old films.

      • Open Book April 22, 2011 at 2:12 AM #

        Yes! I know what u mean.

      • Open Book April 22, 2011 at 8:14 AM #

        LB! U are welcome!

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