Saturday, May 26, 2007

Around Town

Today, I ran into a gal at the bank who was wearing a lovely vintage inspired outfit. I thought her look was a bit 40's and somehow convinced her to allow me to photograph it for my blog! I was so pleased to see this kind of dressing while out and about and am hoping to capture some more!

Her blouse was sheer ivory with a lace mock collar and pearlized buttons, and her matching linen vest and pencil skirt were chocolate brown. The vest had a cutaway neckline and was cinched at the waist with a belt, while her knee length skirt had ruffles on the sides. She completed her look with sheer ivory stockings and the cutest 40's style ankle strap, peep toe pumps. The shoes were ivory but the trim and flowers were tan. She kept it a bit modern by unbuttoning the collar and leaving the blouse untucked, but nevertheless a cute 40's style!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford is my absolute favorite~ I prefer early 30's Joan. Flawless! Her brows are severely arched and thinned out and she was going through her spidery mascara phase. This was also after she was advised to drop weight to thin out her face. By doing so, it emphasized her delicate and sculpted bone structure and huge, round eyes. If you ever notice in early photos, she usually posed with her head tilted down to minimize her lower face and draw attention to them. Lips were shaped, but a few years away from the 'smear'~ in which Max Factor ran a smear of lipstick over her top and bottom lips which then became her trademark. Here are some publicity photos for Letty Lynton (1932) shot by George Hurrell, costumes by Adrian. These were taken on the set of Grand Hotel (1932)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Three Stooges

Disorder in the Court (1936) Curly on the stand is one of my favorite parts; he talked that way in real life too! I love Gail's dress with the ruffles on the collar. She wears a pretty hat and wrist length gloves~ divine! Of course she must unzip her outfit to dance, revealing a low cut mini jumper with boy cut bottoms. This is one of the Stooges' best shorts. If you laugh out loud during any part of this, I want to be your friend.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Hollywood Blvd.

On Hollywood Blvd. between Las Palmas and Cahuenga, stars of the past come out everynight to overlook the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Metal doors come down over storefronts at closing time and each one reveals a mural of an entertainer from 20's-50's. I love driving by and seeing them and wonder if anyone else notices them too... maybe they have noticed but have no idea who they are. How sad! These stars were fuel for many a dream and should not be taken for granted. Hopefully they will remain for a long time to inspire and remind us what was once great about Hollywood during this glorious era!

John Barrymore, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Betty Grable, Jimmy Dorsey, Myrna Loy, Edgar Bergen, Bing Crosby, Vivien Leigh, Boris Karloff, Errol Flynn, George Burns & Gracie Allen, Lucille Ball, Cesar Romero, Peter Lorre, Angela Lansbury, Orson Welles, James Cagney, Buster Keaton, Johnny Weissmuller & Maureen O'Sullivan, Gene Autry, Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Hope, Marlene Dietrich, Abbott & Costello

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Petey, or Pete the Pup, was the constant sidekick in Hal Roach's Our Gang & The Little Rascals comedies during the 20's and 30's. The original Petey had starred as the Buster Brown dog and had a unique quality that got him the job~ there was part of a ring around one of his eyes. A then unknown makeup artist named Max Factor used black hair dye to paint the rest of the ring. Hal Roach had to take the dog as is for his Our Gang shorts and couldn't wait for the dye to wear off, so he continued the look which proved to be an invaluable decision. He could use different pit bull terriers and no one would know the difference due to the fact that the audience only focused on the ring around his eye! If you watch any of the Our Gang & The Little Rascals shorts, you will notice how almost every dog is different with exception of that iconic ring. Thanks to legendary Max Factor, Petey is one of the most recognizable dogs in history!

If it wasn't for Max Factor, this guy would be out of a job...

Nat Pendleton

Nat Pendleton (1895-1967) is the latest addition to my Dead Celebrity Boyfriend Club (DCBC). I found out about him earlier this year while watching The Thin Man series where he plays Lieutenant John Guild. He seems to be typecast as a tough guy, boxer, cop, street wise thug... characters of a brawny nature. His build and flawless Brooklyn accent make him perfect for saying things like "Hiya, Muggsy!", "Oh yah? What's it to ya!", "Listen, you!" and "Why I oughta..."

Nat was raised in New York and had a career as a professional wrestler, even competing in the 1920 summer Olympics, before he found his way to Hollywood in 1927. His early roles were mostly uncredited and really didn't get much exposure until he played opposite the Marx Brothers in Horse Feathers (1932). His 40 year acting career also included the Thin Man series, The Great Ziegfeld and the Dr. Kildare series.

In the movies, I love these average joe types who like dames, booze and a scuffle now and then. Sometimes they're a bit dim, and are charming when the ocassion calls for it. They call each other "pal" and even though they are a little rough around the collar, turn to mush when they see a baby kitten or get flustered when they talk to a pretty girl~ then they get mad when you call 'em a softy and threaten to flatten you if you don't let up. Check the horse track, pool hall or local speakeasy and there they'll be. Nat is perfect in these roles! Of course, they are always dressed in a suit and hat. I think that makes these characters more endearing. Put a classic wise guy in a suit and I'm done for!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Betty Grable

Can this picture be any more perfect?! Pincurls, flawless eyebrows, luminous skin and red, red lips! The dove grey tuxedo blouse is so lovely. This looks like a studio portrait or makeup/hair test although I'm not sure.

Betty is one of my favorites for many reasons, one of them being her signature red lips. Most people associate a matte red lip with vintage style makeup, but I love the creamy texture of lipstick she always seems to wear. The best example of this is her look in How to Marry a Millionaire.

The ultimate pinup girl was not considered a classic beauty, (which I find hard to believe!) but her girl next door appeal, charm and talent helped make her the highest paid star at the end of the 40's. Alright, I believe her million dollar insured legs also had something to do with that~ but I'll always remember the red lips!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tamara de Lempicka

Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980) is my favorite artist of the Art Deco period. I never got this far in my Art History classes, so after doing a little research I found she is one of the most famous painters of this era and her work is well recognized in the art world. Art Deco spanned from 1920-1939 and can often be classified by geometric motifs, bright, bold colors and defined outlines. This popular design was seen as elegant and modern and drew its style inspiration from such serious art movements as Cubism and Futurism.

Like most artists of this style, de Lempicka's works reflected the time period and movement she took to and what she was most interested in: artifice, affluence, ornamentation, and superficiality that bordered on surreal. She was always a stand out in her personal style and demeanor and captured her liberation and zest for life in the self portrait "Self Portrait in the Green Bugatti" (1925). Her figurative portraits consisted of decadent, stylish and if I may add, rubenesque women immersed in the new found freedom and sexuality of the roaring 20's and glamourous 30's.

de Lempicka was born in Poland and later started her career in Paris where she became part of the bohemian culture. Apparently, she led a scandalous life; physical and emotional seductive elements to which she incorporated in her art. She was beautiful and uninhibited and capitolized on that. Ah~ what one does for one's art! She worked through the Depression and after WW2 went to Hollywood where she was wildly popular- no doubt partly due to her wealthy second husband's influence over the cafe society set- and set up house in director King Vidor's old digs in Beverly Hills, and much later retiring to Mexico.

I'm not sure why I am drawn to her distinctive portraits with their deep set haunting eyes. With the use of black and white (for shade and contour) and the almost three dimensional use of vibrant color, I think that they resemble stained glass windows! So elegant. Everything seems to be slightly exagerated without being overdrawn and avant garde. How can something that looks so elementary actually be socially and politically relevant? Even today it seems so modern. Her work was admired by the wealthy, but the bourgeois found her slightly arrogant. You may recognize her paintings as they are highly sought after and some of the best examples of the Art Deco era.

Here are some of my favorites!

"The Young Girl"
"Woman in Blue with Guitar" (Femme a Guitare) 1929
"Portrait of a Young Girl in a Green Dress" (Young Girl With Gloves) 1929
"Portrait of Ira P. "(Portrait de Madame P.) 1933
"La Convalescente"
"Self Portrait in the Green Bugatti" (Auto-Portrait) 1925
"The Green Turban" 1930
"Dormeuse" 1931