classic hollywood style
Classic Hollywood Style (Frances Lincoln, buy on Amazon now for £12.80) explores the impact of film costumes and movie fashion on everyday style. From Claudette Colbert’s fringed, exotic gowns in Cecil B DeMille’s Cleopatra which sparked a craze for Egyptian jewellery, hair styles and make-up to 1967’s Bonnie And Clyde, which replaced the Sixties’ obsession with the mini skirt with a fashionable midi length, Caroline Young covers 34 films exploring how some of cinema’s most glamorous costumes were created and sparked a lasting influence on fashion.

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. Much like today, department stores shamelessly mass-produced copies of gowns while film magazines previewed the new looks and women ran up their own versions on sewing machines at home.

Through archived records and memos, costume designer sketches and notes, censorship records and articles from magazines of the time, Classic Hollywood Style examines iconic costumes from Rita Hayworth’s strapless dress in Gilda or Garbo’s trenchcoat in A Woman of Affairs to James Dean’s red windbreaker in Rebel Without a Cause.

This is a well researched book jam-packed with wonderful behind-the-scenes images, costume sketches and intriguing quotes by the actors, designers and directors who made these films so iconic. Hitting just the right balance between film gossip and historical information, Classic Hollywood Style is a slick, fascinating insight into film fashion, which will make you spend hours watching classic films and (re-)discovering vintage Hollywood.

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