Saturday, November 29, 2014

EXHIBITIONS: Hollywood Glamour dazzles at the Boston MFA

Reposted by popular demand:
Glitz and grace from the golden age of Hollywood are now on display at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, through March 8, 2015. The dazzling exhibition Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen showcases shimmering, beaded and bejeweled designer gowns, shoes, and statement jewelry from the 1920s, 30s and ‘40s. It also includes a small exhibition of luminous portrait photos of the period's stars by the great Yousuf Karsh.  

The gowns' color palette of black, beige, sand, wheat, silver, and gold creates an aura of otherworldliness and grace, and captures the glistening light emanating from two chandeliers above. Designer Tomomi Itakura's spot-on room setting, with its wide cascading steps and restrained sensibility, evokes the essence of silver screen elegance.  All in all, a delightful confection -- enjoy your visit!

 silver lamé gown designed by Travis Banton leads the
parade of dresses at Hollywood Glamour.
Banton was the star costume designer at Paramount during the studio's heyday.

Chanel haute couture dress worn by Ina Claire, 1926
Silk netting embroidered with sequins; silk lining: plain weave w/crepe yarns  
Edith Head gold lamé evening gown, 1937 
Worn by Betty Grable

Satin, velvet and chiffon were popular in Hollywood costume design for their 
innate chic, but also because these fabrics didn't make a 
swishing sound when they brushed against a microphone. 

                                                                              Coco Chanel gown in black chiffon

Black velvet gown by Adrian
worn by Greta Garbo in Inspiration, 1931

              Ascending the steps to fashions of the 1940s ...
           The purple dress was designed for Mae West, and
              is the only boldly colored one in the exhibition.
Travis Banton design for 
Marlene Dietrich's costume in Desire, 1936

Accessories: Gloria Swanson's fan and dress clips (left) 
and Mae West's aquamarine baubles, diamond bracelet and shoes

The five-foot-tall actress added 8 inches to her height by 
wearing these double-decker platforms. Silver leather, c. 1948

Multi-use necklace worn by actress June Knight, late 1930s
Platinum, sapphire, and diamond
This could be taken apart and reconfigured as
bracelets,  rings, brooches and dress clips.

Trabert & Hoeffer Mauboussin brooch, white gold & diamond, c.1950
In the 30s through the 50s, jewelry was far more noticeable in films than it is today. 
"The bigger the better," says MFA fashion curator Michelle Finamore.


Grace personified in this Karsh portrait,

"Some films are a slice of life;
mine are a slice of cake." 
... Alfred Hitchcock

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