Saturday, 25 September 2010

Reel to Real #10: Barbara Stanwyck in "The Lady Eve

I'll start the second year of "Reel to Real" with one of my all-tome favorite performances, that of Barbara Stanwyck in my favorite romantic comedy, "The Lady Eve" (1944). Forties gowns in films tend to be lovely, wrought with flowiness and beautiful draperies, but Stanwyck's in this film are special because they require a ton of confidence. Stanwyck plays a self-assured con artist, comfortable enough with herself to wear a killer two-piece outfit made up of a sparkly, midriff-baring bolero and a floor-length skirt. As the combination of a short top and long skirt is a big trend, her look here is especially prescient. Forties clothes weren't as demure as you'd think!:
Stanwyck also rocks an assortment of clever headpieces such as scarves and wide-brimmed hats:
When pretending to be an aristocrat, Stanwyck wears a gorgeously embroidered dress seen below:

Her outfits, like in many films of the forties, are made to create dreamy, floating shilouhettes. To this end, she wears a gorgeous cape:
So how can we apply Stanwyck's decades-old look to the modern day? She shows us to wear our clothes, no matter how daring, with extreme confidence. Just bearing a sliver of skin (like the little peek of her stomach we see in the cropped bolero, and in the sheer look pictured below) can be the most flattering and mysterious look. Her character always has fun with her outfits, showing us how important it is to do the same.

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