Feb 26, 2017

#69 Dateline Paperdollwood - Paris Couture, Silent Stars, Queen Elizabeth II, Singing and Dancing Stars, Red Carpet

Smorgasbord of Styles in Paris Couture Shows

The Haute Couture collections for spring 2017 whipped up a fashion feast to satisfy a variety of tastes, and sometimes absolutely no taste. No definitive new look debuted. In fact the multiplicity of looks underscored the lack of fashion direction from the hallowed salons that once housed talented dictators of style like Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga. Options aplenty prevail. Hemlines, once a seasonal issue, no longer matter as they go from thigh high to floor length. Clouds of sheer fabrics, often glittered or flowered, did not even try to modestly veil panties and bodysuits. Feathers flew, sequins sparkled and jewels glittered on evening gowns galore, some sweet and others sexy. Only the venerable House of Chanel recognized reality and showed a few new versions of the famed tailored suit. A few designers dared to ape the intentionally crazed cutting edge of style that mixes, mismatches and misfits, defying the artistry and elegance that once defined the Paris Haute Couture. 

Armani Prive, Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Valentino, Giambattista Valli and Ralph Russo.

Givenchy, John Galliano for Martin Margiela and Elie Saab.

Schiaparelli, Versace Atelier and Viktor & Rolf 

Silent Screen Stars - color comes in first!

In the December issue, #67, I asked for your help in deciding whether the cover of my forthcoming Silent Screen Stars paper doll book should be in full color or in black-and-white. Since the subject is silent movie stars and most silent movies were filmed in black-and-white, I thought perhaps a monochromatic cover might be interesting, black, white and shades of gray. I was wrong! Not a single person responded with no-color as the preference. Every vote was a vote for color. So here’s what the cover will look like when the book is published by Paper Studio Press later this year. 

Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Lillian Gish
Colorful cover for “Silent Screen Stars” paper doll book. 

Costumes speak louder than words

Researching costumes from the silent movie era is not easy. Those early cinematic efforts were not as well documented as they are today. Vintage photos, many a century old, are seldom accurately credited as to the film’s title or giving credit to the costume designer. That’s a shame because so much talent and craftsmanship were devoted to the splendiferous wardrobes that contributed so much to a silent star’s image. My Silent Screen Stars book will contain ten pages of costumes worn by the six star dolls; Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks and Lillian Gish. Shown are two pages of pencil roughs, costumes of extreme glamour and fabulous fantasies. 

Lavish costumes worn by stars of the silent screen. 

Coloring Jeanette MacDonald

This month, my coloring book is the beautiful 1941 treasure that depicts many of the gorgeous costumes that Adrian designed for Jeanette MacDonald. The lovely soprano with fiery hair was born for Technicolor, but sadly, most of her fairy tale operettas were filmed in black-and-white. I think this book was meant for me as it was published the year I was born! You can imagine how thrilled I was to find it on a dealer’s table at a recent convention…and best of all, not a single page had been colored. 

Classic Hollywood Coloring Book
Coloring book cover and costume. 

Coloring Book, Vintage Coloring, Classic Hollywood
Adrian costumes worn by Jeanette MacDonald.

Future Paper Doll of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

The next project I shall be creating for Jenny Taliadoros’ Paper Studio Press will be a paper doll commemorating the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Four dolls will depict the monarch’s life, starting with Princess Elizabeth as a child, then a royal bride, a lovely young monarch and finally, the enduring and admired, dutiful Queen. The royal wardrobe will include outfits for a truly iconic (a word misused these days) woman greatly admired the world over. 

Researching Her Majesty’s regal style. 

Singing and Dancing Stars All Dressed Up and Ready to Go

My two new books in the “History of Hollywood Fashions” series are available to purchase at paperdollreview.com. Six “Singing Stars” in Volume 3 and six “Dancing Stars” in Volume 4 with dozens of costumes from many of the greatest musical movies made during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Here they are, all dressed up and posed as groups as they appear on the back covers of the new collectible books. 

Left-to-Right: Doris Day, Lena Horne, Alice Faye, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Jones, Judy Garland.

Left-to-Right: Ann Miller, Cyd Charisse, Betty Grable, Eleanor Powell, Leslie Caron, Rita Hayworth.

The Red Carpet rolls on and on!

Wake me when it’s over. The so-called “Awards Season” continued with the Screen Actors Guild presentation (most of the winning talents already have won a Golden Globe and are going to win an Oscar, too.) Fashion-wise, the SAG show used to be less fabulous than the Oscars, but now all the awards gowns are on a pretty level playing field of good, bad and in-between looks. The SAG story is easy to understand: lots of yawn-inducing black, noteworthy number of white gowns, a couple of noticeable stripes and a few fun clinkers like Nicole Kidman’s twin parrot shoulders. Stay tuned for the Oscar fashion free-for-all in next month’s Dateline: Paperdollywood. 

White of Way! Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep.

Yipes! Stripes: Michelle Williams, Yara Shahidi, Michelle Dockery.

Too Much! Taraji P. Henson, Nicole Kidman, Janelle Monae.

Tune in next month for Oscar fashions!