Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jeanne Carmen

From AP News:

Pinup Girl Jeanne Carmen Dies
13 hours ago

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Jeanne Carmen, the "little country girl" who became a 1950s pinup and actress and hobnobbed with Frank Sinatra and other stars, has died. She was 77.

Carmen died of lymphoma Thursday at her Orange County home, said her son, Brandon James.

Born on Aug. 4, 1930, in Paragould, Ark., Carmen picked cotton with her family before running away at 13.

"I was just a little country girl that wanted to be a movie star," she told the Orange County Register in 1996.

Carmen was still a teenager when she came to New York and, despite having no show business experience, immediately became a dancer in a Broadway show called "Burlesque," with comic Burt Lahr.

She later went into modeling, gaining a measure of success with a series of cheesecake shots in men's magazines. One gig turned into a new career as a trick golfer. On tour with golfer Jack Redmond, she would perform stunts such as hitting a ball out of a man's mouth.

Carmen claimed that she later hustled golfers with Las Vegas mobster Johnny Roselli.

She came to Hollywood while still in her 20s, where she appeared in low-budget movies with such titles as "Guns Don't Argue" and "The Monster of Piedras Blancas."

Carmen also claimed to have had affairs with Sinatra and other celebrities.

She moved to Orange County in 1978.

In addition to her son, Carmen is survived by daughters Melinda Belli and Kellee Jade Campo, and three grandchildren.

I happened to see Jeanne Carmen two years ago at Michael Buble's concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. She was beautiful~ hair piled high, knockout figure and stiletto heels. She was best friends with Marilyn Monroe and it's sad that Jeanne's career was mostly B movies. Supposedly there is a movie in the works about her life; would like to see who they get to star.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vintage Inspired

I have been to many different vintage stores in the LA area, but one boutique in particular stands out~ Vintage Inspired in Mission Viejo, CA, about an hour from Los Angeles. I had gone in to check out their Besame Cosmetics collection, but got easily sidetracked with the other merchandise, the displays and the atmosphere.

The owner Laura wasn't there the day I visited but I did have the pleasure of chatting with Lindsay who is a real doll, and a vintage clothing designer as well! Lindsay took the time to tell me about the store and the collections they carry such as the ubiquitous Stop Starring! as well as modern labels. She also informed me of the many different events they host such as book signings, cocktail parties and performances. Lovely ladies such as Dita Von Teese, Jami Deadly and Bernie Dexter have all graced the store with their presence~ be it shopping or performing. The store is a go to for all the local Pin Up models and Burlesque performers as well as the retro and vintage enthusiast, men and women.

The store itself is a homey enclave, set up like your dream dressing room. What I think I adored the most, were the framed pictures of stars of the past, and even some modern pin up gals scattered about~ this made it feel so personal, like it was your own room. The coveted Besame Cosmetics are displayed and stocked on a beautiful vintage vanity. Every nook is filled with shelves or wardrobes bursting with the finest frocks and accoutrements or fun things for your home. There is a handsome gentlemen's area in the back that would make any man enjoy shopping! Thanks to Lindsay and Laura for being so welcoming and creating such a great shopping experience! Make sure you check out their sites and try to drop by if you can. Here are some photos to entice.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Disney's First Studio

I was looking for a notary in my neighborhood, and was directed to a small unassuming printer and copy place at 4647 Kingswell Ave. in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. I began to notice a large amount of Disney artwork on the walls so I inquire about it. The woman at the desk explains to me that the store was Walt Disney's first studio in 1925; apparently he lived upstairs as well. I am not a huge Disney fan, but I love stumbling upon these little historical treasures!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Can't Get Enough of Joan

Donna, one of my readers, alerted me to her website The Films of Joan Crawford. By far, one of the most passionate and respectful sites dedicated to Joan. This highlights her film career as well as showcasing wonderful photo galleries~ many of which I have never seen before, trivia and other fascinating Joan-isms. Please check it out~ Thank you Donna!

Monday, September 17, 2007

George Westmore Research Library & Museum

UPDATE 5-19-09 The president of the Westmore Museum had me remove my tribute MySpace page, Westmores of Hollywood; as well as any licensed Westmore photos from this post.

The Westmore name is legendary within the makeup, hair and motion picture industry. George Westmore (1879-1931) founded the very first makeup and hair department at Metro Pictures in 1917. This was unheard of at the time as all actors applied their own cosmetics, wigs and costumes. He started off a wigmaker and hair stylist, but quickly added makeup artist to his repertoire. George was so in demand by the production agencies that he enlisted the help of his sons~ Mont, Perc, Ern, Wally, Bud and Frank~ who in time themselves would head up departments for every major studio in Hollywood! George's dedication and techniques set the standard for all artists working in the film industry, including the 4th generation of Westmore artists who still carry on his tradition of commitment, passion and excellence.

In 1981, Marvin Westmore (Mont's son) established the Westmore Academy of Cosmetic Arts in Burbank, CA. Billed as the 'First Name in Makeup Education', this couldn't be any more true. Marvin told me that he started working at age 16 for his uncles' House of Westmore Salon during the heyday of Hollywood's Golden Era (his mother made him do it!). Marvin grew to be an award winning artist like most of his family and is currently on the board of the hair and makeup artist's union, I.A.T.S.E. Local 706.

Nestled within the school, the George Westmore Research Library & Museum is in it's infantile stages of what will be an invaluable tool to all artists (and probably my new favorite hang out). I had the honor of taking a preview tour and chatting with Marvin about the history of his collection. Some of the memorabilia included many books and manuals on application and vintage cosmetics from the House of Westmore line, Max Factor and Marvin's own line. The products and tools were so beautiful, especially the packaging~ now that is glamour at it's finest! Adorning the walls were priceless family photographs and original advertising for the House of Westmore Cosmetic line. Also impressive were the tools for hair and wig styling. As aged and delicate as some of them looked, Marvin assured me they still work and demonstrated how they were used. He stated that back then, everyone had to learn both hair and makeup artistry. Another gem of information he shared with me was that he was planning on remaking a specific face brush, something that isn't used a lot today and that I will be first in line to get!

Marvin stated that he, and especially his niece Christy are working very hard to make sure the museum comes together. I could tell he was proud of his collection, and even though he is retired, he is still working running his sucessful school and family museum. Always a Westmore... I want to thank Marvin Westmore for being so charming and generous with his time, and to kind Christy for all her hard work on the Westmore projects! For additional history on the Westmore family, the 'Westmores of Hollywood' by Frank Westmore is a terrific read. If you are on MySpace, check out the page I made for them as well.

Sign for George Westmore's first shop, 1901

Hair-Dressing Saloon
(Next Door to the Baptist Chapel)

Begs to inform the inhabitants of Newport and neighbourhood, that he has opened the above
premises as a FIRST-CLASS

Hair-dressing, Shaving & Shampooing
establishment and hopes by careful and prompt
attention to business, combined with moderate charges to merit a share of support.



Ladie's Combings made up to any convenient design.


82, HIGH STREET, next door to the Baptist Chapel.
Opened 1901.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tamela D'Amico

Recently, I had the pleasure of doing makeup for chanteuse Tamela D'Amico. It was for her debut CD release party at the Catalina Jazz Club here in Hollywood. Tamela and I had met due to our mutual love of Old Hollywood Glamour and I had worked with her before, but I was most excited to see her perform live!

The Catalina was the perfect setting for this event~ a lovely supper club. I am not sure how she did it, but Tamela managed to squeeze her amazing big band onto the stage which did not deter their performance. She has worked with the best in the business and all of their hard work paid off that night! The place was packed full of friends, family and industry insiders out to show their support.

Tamela sang songs from her self titled CD such as "The Gentleman is a Dope" and "He's a Tramp" along with other standard favorites such as "Route 66". She also peppered the show with stories of her life and was quite charming. Her voice is powerful and lush and has a unique style that makes the standard classics her own. You can tell she is obviously passionate about her craft and has a genuine love of this genre of music and the era. Tamela has a stage presence that rivals the great songbirds of the past and has the pipes to go with it!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

To Powder Your Nose

May I direct you to one of my favorite sites, It'll Take The Snap Out Of Your Garters! Amy Jeanne did an amazing job compiling images of lovlies making themselves up~ heaven.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Satin Shoes

I adore satin shoes! They add glamour to any ensemble, be it a bathing suit, chic dress or nothing at all.

Betty Grable chooses satin pumps with her swimwear for the most famous pinup in history.

Elizabeth Taylor has always exuded luxury, so it's no wonder she wears these satin slides with flower appliques.

Joan Crawford poses for an early film still in strappy satin heels and marabou finery.

Jean Harlow pairs her satin shoes with a ravishing ballerina inspired gown.

Gloria Swanson and Marion Davies party the night away in their satin shoes, Charlie Chaplin smiles in approval.

"It" girl Clara Bow shows us that sporting can be sexy with satin pumps and satin ribbons.

Rita Hayworth smolders in satin platforms.

Mae West doing what she does best in her satin shoes~ alluring.

Silent film's first comedienne, Mable Normand dines in satin shoes with Fatty Arbuckle.

Louise Brooks wears satin shoes to highlight her dancer's frame.

Monday, July 2, 2007


Veronica Lake peeking out at passersby along Beverly Blvd. Who would know it was her if it wasn't for that trademark hairstyle?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Edith Head Fashion Show

Last month I was asked to do makeup for an Edith Head fashion show that was part of the LA Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats Film Series. Edith Head was one of the most talented, well known and influential designers of Hollywood's Golden Era and was responsible for creating glamorous and decadent costumes. The film partnered with the fashion show was Roman Holiday (1953) in which she won her fifth of eight Academy Awards. This was held at the gorgeous Los Angeles Theatre where collector Greg Schreiner of Hollywood Revisited was gracious enough to showcase a few of his Hollywood treasures~ some of Edith's most memorable designs. I must tell you that when I saw the gowns prior to the show, I almost died! They are spectacular!! It's one thing to see them on screen, but another to see them in person, up close. I didn't dare touch them except for the Bette Davis dress worn in All About Eve (1950). The colors, fabrics and workmanship are impeccable. If you ever get a chance to attend one of Greg's reviews, it's a must for the costumes alone! He states that we "will never see an era like this again" and that's why it's so important to bring these costumes back to life for all to enjoy once more.

There were 11 models but because most of them are professional retro and pinup models and dolled themselves up, I was only able to get my hands on Karie, Joya and Mather. Every single one of the ladies were lovely and charming~ Ginger, Mather, Sherri, Jessica, Marsha, Angelique, Karie, Sharlene, Joya, Anna Marie and Heidi. Maxwell DeMille produced the show and did an amazing job, Christine Hensley did a fabulous job on hair and Greg Schreiner was the Master of Ceremonies who was dressed in Bob Hope's gold mariachi costume from Here Come the Girls (1953). Brilliant! Thanks to all of you!

First picture left to right:
Sharlene in Debbie Reynold's gown from Pleasure of His Company (1961)
Ginger in Bette Davis' gown from All About Eve (1950)
Karie in Joanne Woodward's gown from New Kind of Love (1963)
Marsha in Jane Wyman's gown from Lucy Gallant (1955)
Maxwell DeMille
Angelique in Hedy Lamarr's gown from My Favorite Spy (1951)
Jessica in Ginger Rogers' gown from Lady in the Dark (1944)
Heidi in Shirley MacLaine's gown from What a Way to Go (1964)
Mather in Jill Clayburgh's gown from Gable & Lombard (1976)
Joya in Kim Novak's gown from Vertigo (1958)
Missing from the first picture:

Greg in Bob Hope's costume from Here Come the Girls (1953)
Sherri in Jill Clayburgh's gown from Gable & Lombard (1976) (red dress)
Anna Marie in Shirley MacLaine's gown from What a Way to Go (1964) (yellow & blue dress)