Hello vintage vixens! I am so excited about the Holidays that I have another festive post! Today, I would like to look at fashion in 2 vintage holiday films! Now don’t be vexed with me, but these films do not strictly fall into my 1950’s – 60’s theme, but give a girl a break, the clothes are heavenly! Let us peruse…
First out of the gate we have White Christmas; a very beloved movie set during the WWII era. One interesting thing I have noticed over the years is that there seems to be a definite “White Christmas camp” and a “Holiday Inn camp” and ne’er the twain shall meet.I’ve never been entirely sure why that is. But I am neutral. Switzerland. I dear friends, am just here to observe the clothes, and what clothes they are! The clothes for this film were designed by none other than Edith Head!
Below we have Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen looking lovely in lace. What make these dresses standout are the lace overjackets. The dresses themselves are simple “sundress” styles with full skirts and spaghetti straps, but when you add an elegant and slightly naughty see-though lace with rhinestones… Viola! Amazing cocktail dress! The fans are part of their movie nightclub routine and might be a bit much for everyday wear, but I’ll leave that up to your abiding good sense.
Here is a terrific evening dress from the film, below, photo courtesy of LIFE Magazine. I’ve always been a sucker for a mermaid silhouette (dress is form-fitting down to the knee after which it expands into a full low skirt creating a tail-like effect) and this one is a stunner! I also just love the irregular jagged detail on the straps. It makes the dress a bit more dramatic and lets it stand out from many others like it.
And then… the grand finale! The elegant “Mrs. Claus” dresses complete with white mink trim! I must be honest and confess that these are a wee bit….ummm, overwhelming for me personally. But they were created for actors that were playing nightclub singers soooo, one has to keep it in perspective.
Next we have Holiday Inn; the other heavy-hitter for most beloved holiday movie. Like White Christmas, Holiday Inn is set during the WWII era and the costumes were also designed by inimitable Edith Head. Another confession; I am much more fond of the dresses in this film. It just seems to me that Ms. Head was much more inspired and consequently the dresses are highly drool-worthy. Of course, it never hurts when you are as ridiculously adorable as Marjorie Reynolds. Below we see one of the first gowns that she wore during the initial New Year’s Eve scene. Gold! Sparkly! Gold AND sparkly!! Ooooo! You can also tell that this was heavily beaded. When Reynolds dances with Fred Astaire in the dress the skirt moves in a particular way with all that beading. Pay attentions to the small details on this dress; the quasi-sailor collar, the drop-waist, and it is backless which offsets the demure feel of the front. Sweet young woman meets va-va-voom! Brilliant!
Here we have one of the most dream-like dresses in the movie. This is worn during a romantic dance scene in the film and floats around Reynolds and Astaire in a gorgeous billow – divine! This also has a slightly naughty aspect in that it is very sheer and the under dress is flesh toned. In other words, it looks as if Reynolds wasn’t wearing anything underneath; especially around the waist. Like all of the dresses in Holiday Inn, this dress is very form-fitting and shows off Reynolds’ youthful figure (she was only 25 years old when she made the film).
Holiday Inn also features the lovely and sophisticated Virginia Dale shown here dancing with Fred Astaire. Dear readers, I tried and tried to find a better photograph of Dale’s dress in this “Easy to Dance With” scene to no avail. It is stunning; entirely sequined, sports an a-line skirt that is just past knee-length with a faux wrap top and sassy little peplum. Relatively simple but it’s all in the details, which is typical of designer Edith Head.
I invite you all to watch these films, even if you have watched them from infancy (like me) and really look at the clothes. I assure you it will bring a whole new appreciation to your holiday movie watching! Ho, ho, ho!