September 10th, 2014

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Carole's costumes, coast to coast

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carole lombard my man godfrey gown v&a museum london 00

Can't make it out to Los Angeles to see Carole Lombard's "My Man Godfrey" gown when it's part of the upcoming "Hollywood Costume" exhibit sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ( You're in luck, especially if you enjoy lobster and the white version of clam chowder.

That's because the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has just kicked off an exhibit of its own, entitled "Hollywood Glamour" (it began Tuesday and continues through March 8, 2015) and representing Carole is another glittery gown designed by Travis Banton -- this one made for a film at her home studio of Paramount, "No Man Of Her Own":

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The MFA website doesn't specifically identify the gown, but from an article by Jill Radsken of the Boston Globe (, it's pretty certain this is the one. She describes it this way: "My eyes immediately found their favorite, a Banton gown designed for Lombard ('No Man of Her Own'). The plunging neckline hits the navel, and the overt sexiness is striking."

Yep, I think that's the one.

Carole's not the only legend the MFA celebrates; other costumes on display were worn by Betty Grable, Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlow, Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo and Mae West. Here's a gown Banton designed for Anna May Wong about 1934...

mfa anna may wong gown travis banton 1934

...and one Ina Claire wore in 1926:

mfa ina claire gown 1926

One notable difference of the Boston exhibit from its West Coast counterpart is the presence of jewelry worn by West, Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers and June Knight, among others. (Ginger's set includes diamond and emerald earrings, bracelet, dress clips and ring.) As an example, some Joan Crawford jewels from about 1935:

mfa joan crawford jewelry 1935a

Film clips showing the clothes and jewelry in movies of the era accompany the exhibit.

The MFA is at 465 Huntington Avenue; phone 617-267-9300. For more information, visit, which includes a link to a video previewing the event. A talk on the exhibition is scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18; learn more about that at
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