Red in a Black and White World

By: Belle Wilmot

Would you believe that an actress who was once known as “box office poison” became one of the most renowned actresses of Hollywood in the 1940s? Well, such is true for the spirited and headstrong Katharine Hepburn. The Philadelphia Story, Katharine’s first non box office flop after a two year slump, is a romantic comedy, which I’ve got to say is belly-laugh funny, in which she plays Tracy “Red” Lord an elite Philadelphian on the eve of her second marriage. This movie’s success had her powerful mastermind behind it after its triumph on Broadway. Katharine being the fiery and business minded woman she was, bought out her contract from RKO Radio Pictures and obtained the rights to The Philadelphia Story and sold it to MGM with the stipulation that she play the starring role.

Now, lets talk about fashion. If you were to Google, or use Bing if that’s your thing, 40’s fashion for womPicture8en the majority of what would pop up is dresses and skirts. And yes, the majority of the memorable outfits in The Philadelphia Story are exactly that, but Red wears some killer outfits revolved around pantPicture9s. With the awesome styling and costuming and Katharine’s fashionable notoriety, The Philadelphia Story helped popularize and make pants stylish for women; something that I will be forever grateful for because I am one of those girls who prefer pants or shorts over a dress or skirt any day. Adrian, the Madonna of costume design apparently, only one name needed, described the costumes of this movie as “glamour, goddess, independence and self-possession”. The epitome of that being the floor length, white silk gown, with art deco sequin beading party dress, Red wears the night before her wedding.

Now, if you have been keepinPicture7g up with fashion week shows, you may have noticed that gingham has found its way back on the runway. I was one who found it whimsical and fun and loved the exaggerated size of the gingham found on the Oscar de la Renta runway. While watching this movie I noticed that Oscar must have recently done his research on Katharine Hepburn and stumbled across this movie because he took on the playfulness of it and used gingham just like two of the dresses Red wears in the movie and enhanced the size and included many of the flirty and feminine shapes of her dresses and incorporated them into his collection.

So, the next time your professor assigns you to a movie you have never heard of don’t grovel and roll your eyes because what you watch may surprise you. Your movie may be full of hilarity and gorgeous costumes that you would have missed out on without that push to become the forecasters that we are learning to be.

Reference:

The Ancient Greek Motif in “The Philadelphia Story” (1940): Katharine Hepburn as the Modern Goddess. (2013, September 2). Retrieved September 23, 2014, from http://theartofilm.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-ancient-greek-motif-in-philadelphia.html

Loomes, V. (2013, April 1). The Philadelphia Story: Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from http://girlsdofilm.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/the-philadelphia-story-katharine-hepburn-as-tracy-lord/

 

All Gray But Never Dull

By: Hailey Sands

Before Ryan GoslingPicture6, Channing Tatum, and Justin Timberlake, Hollywood had a heartthrob by the name of Cary Grant. And he was, for lack of a better word, a total babe. His attractiveness was like a fine wine it only got better with time. Cary Grant processed the kind of attractiveness that the members of One Direction do not and will not ever hold a candle to. I mean this man was a superhuman stone cold fox. This foxiness was exemplified in Alfred Hitchcock’s, North By Northwest.

         Picture2   This 1959 film centers around a suave New York advertising executive whose identity is mistaken by a gang of men planning to smuggle government secrets. Like any Hitchcock film, the film is suspenseful, intelligent, and packed with sex appeal. The sex appeal comes from the gorgeous, Eva Marie Saint. During a time before Instagram filters distorted appearances, Saint’s beauty unlike any other. The sex appeal comes from the sharp tongue one liners that both Saint and Grant deliver scene after scene, like, Christian Grey take note please, this is romance. But for those interested in fashion, the sex appeal comes from Grant’s iconic gray suit.

This suit is worn by Grant wore almost the entire film because it’s the greatest suit in cinematic history. Like, Kanye West is gonna let you finish, but he wants everyone to know that this suit is the greatest of all time, of all time. This blue/gray suit made from lightweight wool was a, “single breasted suit, ventless, with three button fastening and notched lapels. Trousers with forward pleats. ‘Oxblood’ leather derby shoes worn with grey thin ribbed socks. White medium spread collar shirt with double cuff; light blue initialed cufflinks, [and] grey silk tie. The suit was tailored so impeccably that could possibly be a second skin of Grant’s. The credit for it has been confusingly given to Kilgour, French & Stanbury, of Savile Row, and Quintino, of BevPicture3erly Hills. According to the biographer, Richard Torregrossa, Hitchcock, “made everybodyPicture5 in the picture dress in a classic style… He didn’t want the picture to date because of the clothes.” This suit is accomplishes this goal ten fold, and we can see that Christian Grey definitely took note based on his staple gray suit, as did Tom Cruise in Collateral, Ben Affleck in Paycheck, and Daniel Craig in 007. EvePicture4n Matt Bomber who’s notorious for looking dapper 100% of the time pays reattribute to Grant in White Collar. This suit is copied by stylists for films and television for its timelessness even 55 years after its making. The most impressive aspect of this costuming is that Grant chose his wardrobe himself; talk about the total package a man with talent and taste.Picture1

Next time you’re in a movie and you see a man wearing a suit you swear was sewn by the hands of angels, give thanks to Cary Grant for making the grey suit an iconic staple in a man’s wardrobe.

Reference:

  1. Chambers, R. (2010, July 17). Cinemode: North by Northwest. In On This Day In Fashion. Retrieved September 24, 2014, from http://onthisdayinfashion.com/?p=2872
  2. Fletcher, M. (n.d.). Why it works: Cary Grant in North By Northwest. In The Telegraph. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/mens-style/6647/why-it-works-cary-grant-in-north-by-northwest.html
  3. Hahn, G. (2012, September 25). Cinema Style: North by Northwest. Retrieved September 24, 2014, from http://georgehahn.com/2012/09/25/cinema-style-north-by-northwest-1959/
  4. North by Northwest: Cary Grant’s Kilgour Suit (2009, May 13). In Clothes on Film. Retrieved September 24, 2014, from http://clothesonfilm.com/cary-grant-grey-kilgour-suit-in-north-by-northwest-1959/844/