Hollywood Glamour


The 1930s era of Hollywood is experiencing something of a renaissance in popular culture at the moment. It began earlier this year with the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind, for which The Harry Ransom Center in Austin mounted an exhibit of the extensive archival materials and costumes in its collection: The Making of Gone With the Wind. The exhibit is on view through January 4, 2015. I was really hoping to see it in person, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Thankfully, there is a fantastic coordinating web exhibition.

On the east coast, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston presents Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen, on view through March 8, 2015. It’s a gorgeous exhibition of gowns, baubles, and accessories galore! Also featured is photography by the iconic Edward Steichen (true story: I once found this book of his photographs at the dollar store!) and film clips and stills from the 1930s and 40s.

One of the most fascinating pieces in this exhibit is a pair of ingenious platform shoes worn by none other than Mae West.


“I used to be Sbow White, but I drifted.”–Mae West

Like most movie stars, she appeared taller on film than she was in real life, although she apparently wore these shoes both on and off the screen.


“If only those who dream about Hollywood knew how difficult it all is.”–Greta Garbo

TASCHEN, publisher of fine art books, has just released Hollywood in the 30s by Daniel Kothenschulte. It’s chock-a-block with mesmerizingly gorgeous illustrations by Robert Nippoldt in a unique graphic-novel-meets-history-book format. This book is the perfect gift for any film buff or collector of books about Hollywood (that would be me, in case anybody’s wondering…). Nippold’s illustrations bring the 1930s era to life in a wholly unique fashion.

Finally, while I was doing some research for this post, I happened upon an article about Joseff of Hollywood, the company that made pretty much all of the most well-known costume jewelry in film. Rhett Butler’s cigarette case? Cleopatra’s snake belt? All made by Joseff of Hollywood.


Joan Castle Joseff, wife of company founder Eugene Joseff, posing with a few pieces of finery.

You can read more about this venerable company, that’s still in business, in this article from Collectors Weekly.

Do you have a favorite film from the 1930s? A favorite actor? I love Gone With the Wind and Vivien Leigh, of course, but the 1930s is actually an era in film that I need to catch up on. I would love to hear your suggestions!




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