As it turns out, I had a similar photo in my collection, p1202-813, featuring Lombard in the same dress and hat:
P1202-825 also features a snipe that's kind of confounding:
THE AIRPLANE TREND -- is quite apparent in this dashing model of stitched black taffeta, created for Carole Lombard, Paramount player, appearing in "Now And Forever" with Gary Cooper. Designed by James Hopkins.
Perhaps it's completely escaping me, but where in this outfit is an "airplane trend"? Carole doesn't look like an aviatrix.
And who is this "James Hopkins"? On that I may have an answer. Also known as George James Hopkins, he was a set decorator and costume designer, among other things, whose career in industry spanned nearly 60 years -- from "Cleopatra" with longtime friend Theda Bara in 1917 to "The Day Of The Locust" in 1975. (Below is Bara in Hopkins-designed attire for her 1917 film "Madame Du Barry.")
Hopkins won four Oscars for set decoration between 1951 ("A Streetcar Named Desire") and 1969 ("Hello, Dolly!").
Hopkins, a Pasadena native, was gay, and his close ties to ill-fated director William Desmond Taylor led to temporary ostracism from Hollywood before Warners picked him up in the late thirties. He died in February 1985 at age 88.
You can buy the Lombard portrait for $69.95 straight up or make a bid beginning at $59.96. The sale/auction concludes at 10:32 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday. To bid, buy or learn more, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/GREAT-CAROLE-LOMBARD-PORTRAIT-NEAR-MINT-COND-1934-PHOTO-NOW-AND-FOREVER-/170732211590?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27c06ecd86.
Meanwhile, if any fashion historians can figure out this "airplane trend," please let us know.