Classic Hollywood Style tells the story of some of the most iconic looks from the golden era of Hollywood, covering 34 films from the 1920s to the end of the 1960s. Caroline Young explores how some of cinema’s most glamorous costumes were created, describes their enduring influence and offers tips on how to 'get the look' today.
While we celebrate the glacial elegance of Grace Kelly and the skin-tight sexiness of Marilyn Monroe, behind every look on screen was the costume designer who shaped the image. In the golden age of Hollywood, designers like Adrian, Edith Head and Travis Banton became stars in their own right. Women queued up to see the latest Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo release simply to lust after the costumes the stars would wear on screen. Department stores shamelessly mass-produced copies of gowns, film magazines previewed the new looks and women ran up their own versions on sewing machines at home. Even today, an article on the little black dress will inevitably make mention of Audrey Hepburn.
Through archived records and memos, costume designer sketches and notes, censorship records and articles from magazines of the time, this is a behind-the-scenes look at the classic costumes of the silver screen. Whether it is Rita Hayworth's strapless dress in Gilda or Garbo in a trenchcoat in A Woman of Affairs, Joan Crawford's shoulder pads in Mildred Pierce or James Dean's red windbreaker in Rebel Without a Cause, Caroline Young shows how each of these looks captures a bright moment of fashion zeitgeist, and has become an indelible image of cinema.