This week our Vintage Librarian, Claire Pursglove, is reviewing a book on Hollywood costumier Travilla – famous for dressing the  biggest stars including such legends as Marilyn Monroe and Joan Crawford.

Hollywood Costume Design by Travilla – Maureen Reilly

Available from: www.bushwoodbooks.co.uk UK postage is £2.50, overseas postage is £7.50

I found this book incredibly hard to read. It wasn’t the text that I struggled with, but more the fact that every page is covered with such beautiful illustrations that it’s really hard to concentrate!

If the name William Travilla isn’t familiar to you, his work certainly will be: during his illustrious Hollywood career he dressed stars such as Joan Crawford, Jane Russell, Errol Flynn, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward amongst others.

His most famous designs were for Marilyn Monroe, whom he had the honour of working with on eight of her films. Costumes for Monroe include the infamous white billowing number for The Seven Year Itch, the pink dress in the ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ number, and the red sequined crepe show-girl outfits used by both Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

In later years he also worked on The Thorn Birds and won an Emmy for his costume design on Dallas. Whatever era floats your boat style wise, you can look to this man for inspiration, making this book a coffee table must-have.