Carole Lombard may have been a natural beauty, but she would have admitted that she had plenty of help in raising her glamour to ethereal heights. One of Carole's secret weapons was Travis Banton, the Paramount fashion maven who transformed this already attractive woman into a human goddess, uncovering qualities she never knew she had.
One of Banton's secrets in elevating Carole, according to Bee Wilson of the Manchester Guardian, was weighting her gowns "to drag backwards, giving her the elongated stature of a star." And if you're in London this fall, you'll get a chance to view one of those legendary gowns -- it's from "My Man Godfrey," and while the gown itself isn't pictured, its description appears to match what is pictured above. Wilson writes, "It is built from thousands of tiers of golden glass beads, so fragile that it had to be draped on a reclining mannequin, with padded underpinnings in the chest area to approximate Lombard's figure."
The exhibition is called "Hollywood Costume," and opens Saturday at the Victoria and Albert Museum, running through Jan. 27. More than 100 famed costumes will be on display, from famed cinematic characters such as Dorothy Gale, Indiana Jones, Scarlett O'Hara, Jack Sparrow, Holly Golightly and Darth Vader. (Anyone with a rudimentary grasp of film history should be able to name the films, and the actors who portrayed these icons.)
Renowned costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis, who hosted a showing of "Nothing Sacred" last April as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival's salute to style in the movies, is the exhibit's senior guest curator. There will be all sorts of related events, many of them geared for young people. Learn more about the exhibit by visiting http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-hollywood-costume/. For Wilson's perceptive piece on costume design, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/oct/12/hollywood-costume-dressing-part-films.
As autumn and winter creep up on the UK, a little Hollywood glamour can help warm things up...even in the midst of a madhouse.