Showing posts with label Walter Plunkett. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Walter Plunkett. Show all posts

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fashion Friday: Scarlett's Red Dress

Today's Fashion Friday post is about Scarlett's scandalous, red ball gown. Rhett forces her to wear the dress to Ashley's surprise birthday party. Earlier in the day, Scarlett and Ashley were caught hugging by India Wilkes. Scarlett doesn't want to go to the party, but Rhett won't have anything to do with her cowardice.

Rhett (Clark Gable) embraces Scarlett (Vivien Leigh)

Rhett: You're not ready for Melanie's party.
Scarlett: I've got a headache, Rhett. You go without me and make my excuses to Melanie.
Rhett: What a white, livered, little coward you are! Get up. You're going to that party and you'll have to hurry.
Scarlett: Has India dare--?
Rhett: Yes, my dear, India has. Every woman in town knows the story and every man, too.
Scarlett: You should have killed them, spreading lies.
Rhett: I have a strange way of not killing people who tell the truth. No time to argue. Now get up.
Scarlett: I won't go. I can't go until this, this, misunderstanding is cleared up.
Rhett: You're not going to cheat Miss Melly out of the satisfaction of publicly ordering you out of her house.
Scarlett: There was nothing wrong. India hates me so. I- I can't go, Rhett. I couldn't face them!
Rhett: If you don't show your face tonight, you'll never be able to show it in this town as long as you live. And while that wouldn't bother me, you're not going to ruin Bonnie's chances. You're going to that party, if only for her sake. Get dressed.

GWTW Publicity Photo

Rhett: Wear that. Nothing modest or matronly will do for this occasion. And put on plenty of rouge. I want you to look your part tonight.


Scarlett and Rhett arrive at Ashley's birthday party

Rhett: Good night, Scarlett
Scarlett: But, Rhett, you've-- 
Rhett: You go into the arena alone. The lions are hungry for you.
Scarlett: Oh, Rhett don't leave me. Don't.
Rhett: You're not afraid? (and then walks away)

As most fans of Gone With the Wind know, all of Scarlett's costumes were designed by the amazing Walter Plunkett. David Selznick, the film's producer, brought Plunkett on board as early as 1936. Walter was a native Californian, who'd been designing costumes for the movies since 1926. The imdb website credits him as costume designer on almost 300 movies.

For his research on Gone With the Wind, Plunkett traveled to the Southern U.S., visiting Atlanta, Savannah and Charleston, in search of inspiration for his costumes. He met with Margaret Mitchell, who gave him a list of books to help guide him in his fashion search. He also met with the Daughters of the Confederacy, where one of the ladies gave him fabric samples of dresses worn during the time of the Civil War (1861 to 1865).

Walter Plunkett and Vivien Leigh

In the book, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell imagined Scarlett's dress of shame as jade green. [Rhett] drew out her new jade green watered silk dress. It was cut low over the bosom and the skirt was draped back over an enormous bustle and on the bustle was a huge bunch of pink velvet roses. However, the final product was re-imagined in red.

In a memo to Raymond Klune, the production manager, David Selznick wrote: ...The third part of the picture should, by its colors alone, dramatize the difference between Scarlett and the rest of the people-- Scarlett extravagantly and colorfully costumed against the drabness of the other principals and of the extras. ...This picture in particular gives us the opportunity occasionally-- as in our opening scenes and as in Scarlett's costumes-- to throw a violent dab of color at the audience to sharply make a dramatic point.

Front of Scarlett's Red Ball Gown (from the HRC)

The red ball gown recently went through a restoration by the Harry Ransom Center. The conservationists discovered that additional feathers had been added to the gown, which they subsequently removed. There were also weights in the gown's hem, (which is pretty common in skirts and dresses to keep hems from flying up on windy days and to keep trains in place), which over the years had caused damage. They were removed to prevent further tearing of the dress.

Detail of the glass beading on the bodice (from the HRC)

This sleeveless, silk velvet gown is embellished with glass teardrop beads and round, red faceted beads at the neckline and a profusion of ostrich feathers around the shoulders. Rhett's choice of an ostentatious gown in an immodest burgundy-red color is intended to humiliate Scarlett. -description of dress from the Harry Ransom Center.

Back side of Scarlett's Red Ball Gown (from the HRC)


Thanks for joining me for today's Fashion Friday post!





Friday, July 7, 2017

Fashion Friday: A Top Ten List

Vivien Leigh loved fashion. She enjoyed clothing and all the accessories associated with dressing like a true star. She had a great sense of style and had a lot of fabulous fashion moments throughout her lifetime. To celebrate her style during the 50th anniversary of her passing, I've put together a top ten list of my favorite fashions that Vivien wore in real life.

1. Vivien's Wedding Dress

Vivien Leigh married her first husband, Leigh Holman, in a Roman Catholic ceremony on December 20th, 1932 at St. James Church, in London. Vivien's father, Ernest Hartley, walked her down the aisle. For this special occasion, Vivien wore a gorgeous, long-sleeved gown made from white satin. She carried a bouquet of roses mixed with baby's breath and fern leaves. Her hair was styled in the latest fashion, covered by a crocheted Juliet cap with a floor-length veil attached. Vivien's wedding band was an eternal ring of diamonds.


2. Tennis Match

In late fall of 1939, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier stepped up their fashion game at a tennis match in Hollywood. Vivien wore a hat with a swooping scarf, while her hair was caught up in a fetching net a la Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. Olivier looked quite debonair in a stylish suit.



3. Hollywood Premiere of Gone With the Wind

On December 28th, 1939, Gone With the Wind finally had its premiere in Hollywood. The premiere was held at Fox's Carthay Circle Theater. For this special night, Vivien chose to wear a fuchsia colored evening gown. The gown's bodice and matching purse were both studded with matching fuchsia sequins. More sequins decorated the hood and its veil. Vivien Leigh's dress was designed for her by Walter Plunkett, who had also created her Atlanta premiere outfit. It's a shame there are no (known) color photos of Vivien in this dress. The fuchsia color would be amazing against her dark hair.


4. The Oscars, 1940

Vivien wore a stunning, floor-length gown by Irene as she attended her first Oscar ceremony, in February, 1940. Irene Lentz was a fashion designer, whose salon was located inside the Bullocks-Wilshire department store. In addition to designing costumes for the movies, Irene also designed for private customers, which included many of Hollywood's top stars such as Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert and Loretta Young. In the fall of 1939, Irene held a fashion show for one of her collections. The gown Vivien chose for the Oscars was listed as item number fourteen with the simple description of red poppy evening gown. The green printed chiffon dress featured the aforementioned red poppies with hints of yellow, gray and blue mixed into the gown's color palette. Vivien won the Best Actress Oscar for her role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. Vivien's chiffon gown featured spaghetti straps, side cut-outs and a low-cut bodice. Her topaz pendant, set in yellow gold, hung from a slender chain around her neck, drawing attention to the deep V of the dress. Vivien chose costume jewelry to complete her look, a bracelet and large ring, to match the tone set by the pendant.


5. Vivien's Head Scarf, 1946

In 1946, Vivien and Laurence Olivier travelled to the United States. Olivier was coming with the Old Vic Company to perform in New York City. For the trans-Atlantic journey, Vivien swept her hair up into this nifty head scarf, which was then dubbed the Bedouin Bonnet by the press.

Vivien and Larry image from Frivolous Whim on Tumblr


6. White Sunglasses

Vivien owned at least two pairs of white sunglasses. In this first picture, Vivien and Laurence Olivier are seen in Tasmania, in 1948. How cute does Vivien look all wrapped up? The second picture, containing a slightly different style of sunglasses, is of Vivien in Portofino.





7. Australia

The Oliviers, along with the Old Vic Company, traveled to Australia to perform in several plays, in 1948. Vivien and Larry were treated like rock stars. Crowds lined up to see this British couple in person. After arriving in Perth, they attended a reception held for them by the British Council. Vivien wore this charming dress to the party. I'm not 100% positive, but I believe the dress was designed by Hardy Amies. The dress was made from white muslin and featured a blue floral motif. The lapels of the dress were pinned together by a brooch, featuring rubies and diamonds in a platinum setting. Vivien's large hat, belt, purse, sandals and gloves with a scalloped trim, were all in corresponding white. Check out that bow!


8. Suzanne's Wedding, 1957

Vivien's only child, Suzanne Holman, was married in December, 1957. For her daughter's wedding, Vivien chose to wear a silk coat.  But not any silk coat. This coat featured a leopard pattern, which had been hand painted onto the material. Vivien topped it off with a matching hat and fur scarf. Her outfit, according to one newspaper, put all the mink coats and smart costumes in the shade.


9.  Gone With the Wind's 21st Anniversary

Gone With the Wind celebrated its 21st anniversary in March, 1961. The celebrations were held in Atlanta, Georgia, in conjunction with the Civil War Centennial. Newspapers around the world ran headlines such as Scarlett turns 21. The three day event took place from Wednesday, March 8th to Friday, March 10th. On Thursday, March 9th, a costume ball was held at the Biltmore Hotel. Vivien wore an original ball gown, specially created for her, for the 21st anniversary gala.

The gown was based on the barbecue dress Vivien wore as Scarlett O'Hara in 1939. Vivien's modern day, white gown had a billowing skirt, which trailed behind Vivien when she walked. The dress featured a green velvet waistband, with flowing ribbons down the backside of the skirt. The very fitted bodice showed off the gown’s gorgeous embroidery. Green-blue sprays of flowers were embroidered onto the gown and peppered with pearls and rhinestones. Vivien’s accessories for the evening included a three strand pearl necklace with a diamond drop pin around her neck, while diamond hair barrettes adorned her coiffure. She topped the gown off with long gloves and a fox fur wrap, both white to match her dress.


10. Shakespeare's birthday

To mark William Shakespeare's 400th birthday in 1964, Vivien Leigh attended an outdoor celebration for the Bard. The party took place on an overcast day at the partially finished Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. For this special occasion, Vivien chose to wear a hot pink, two piece outfit. The boxy shaped jacket featured five buttons down the front, pocket flaps and side buttons. Vivien accented her outfit with a fur stole around her neck, gloves and a black velvet hair band a la Alice In Wonderland.




Thanks for joining me for today's Fashion Friday post!



Friday, April 28, 2017

Fashion Friday: Gone With The Wind's Honeymoon Necklace & Lovebird Dress

In Gone With the Wind, Vivien Leigh's costume jewelry was created by Eugene Joseff. Joseff worked with his longtime friend, Walter Plunkett (Gone With the Wind's costume designer) to create the perfect pieces for Scarlett to wear. Joseff began his Hollywood career in the 1920s, creating some of the most gorgeous pieces of jewelry ever seen on the silver screen. After his death in 1948, his wife, Joan Castle, took over the business, creating jewelry for the movies until 2006. Besides Gone With the Wind, their work can be seen in hundreds of movies such as The Shanghai Gesture, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Cleopatra, The Virgin Queen, Cover Girl, High Society, That Hamilton Woman, Anna Karenina and the list goes on!

For today's Fashion Friday post, I thought we'd look at one of the costumes and necklaces from Gone With the Wind. Rhett and Scarlett have just been married and are currently enjoying their honeymoon in New Orleans. Scarlett wears a sumptuous, midnight blue gown, adorned with lovebirds.


In the movie, we only see Scarlett sitting down, while wearing this dress. The Butlers are eating at a restaurant with CanCan dancers as the entertainment. I really wish I could find a full-length photograph of Vivien Leigh in this dress.

Scarlett eyes the desserts! 
Walter Plunkett's sketch of the lovebird dress
Around Vivien's neck is this gorgeous diamond and amethyst necklace. The diamonds are really iridescent stones, which set off the simulated amethysts. Joseff certainly knew how to deliver the Wow factor!

Image is from the SFO Museum's website
Scarlett's necklace is set to go on the auction block in November. Since it's from one of the most iconic and beloved movies of all time, I think the selling price will be quite high. In addition to the necklace, Vivien wears a matching bracelet, which is stunning with its intricate detail.


Besides Gone With the Wind, the necklace appeared in three other films.

It's first appearance after Gone With the Wind is in the 1948 movie, Let's Live A Little, starring Hedy Lamarr. 


The next time we see the necklace, it's adorning Ginger Rogers in The Barkleys of Broadway, in 1949. It appears that the strands were tightened to give it more of a choker look.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire

The last leading lady to wear the necklace is Linda Darnell in Blackbeard the Pirate, from 1952. The necklace now appears to have been returned to its former Gone With the Wind glory. 

Torin Thatcher and Linda Darnell

Thanks for joining me for today's Fashion Friday post!




Friday, February 5, 2016

Fashion Friday #8: Hollywood Premiere of "Gone With the Wind"

On December 28th, 1939, Gone With the Wind finally had its premiere in Hollywood. The premiere was held at Fox's Carthay Circle Theater, which had opened in 1926. Sadly, the theater was demolished in 1969 to make room for an office block.


“Scarlett” in fucshia and white: Vivien Leigh wears an ermine coat over sequin sprinkled souffle with its matching veil and sequined bag.  Note that on the latter she carries Laurence Olivier’s orchids for a corsage effect fated for popularity.


Vivien Leigh's dress was designed for her by Walter Plunkett, who had also created her Atlanta premiere outfit. It's a shame there are no (known) color photos of Vivien in this dress. The fuchsia color would be amazing against her dark hair. Note how on top of her sequined hood, Vivien attached one of her brooches.


The gang's all here, well almost all of them... Jock Whitney, financial backer of GWTW, stands next to Irene Selznick, followed by Olivia de Havilland, David Selznick, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier at the Carthay Circle Theater.


After the movie was over, Jock Whitney thew a huge party for the attendees, at the new Trocadero Club. Obviously having a good time, at the Trocadero, are Olivia de Havilland, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and David Selznick.


It’s Clark (“Rhett Butler”) Gable’s big night and wife Carole Lombard does him proud in a classic gown and wrap of stippled gold. With this she wears a minimum of jewelry, topping tiny earrings with a chic up hair-do. 


In March, 1939, Clark was in the middle of filming Gone With the Wind when his divorce from wife number two came through. Clark wasted no time in making Carole the new Mrs. Gable and the couple drove down to Arizona to tie the knot.


The Gables hang out with Marion Davies and Raoul Walsh. The foursome were photographed at the Carthay Circle Theater, on the red carpet, where Gone With the Wind would shortly be shown.


Double play at the "Gone With the Wind" opening! Ginger Rogers not only enters the theater on the arm of Walter Plunkett, who created "Scarlett O'Hara's" own premiere ensemble, as well as the costumes for the picture...



Ginger Rogers wears a very smart tunic gown of palest blue and silver lame, exactly matched by the turban, which serves to conceal her currently dark hair. Her wrap is silver fox. Ginger was in the middle of filming Primrose Path and had dyed her blonde hair dark for the role (she also chose not to wear any make-up for the part).


Inside the Trocadero Club, at Jock Whitney's party, Walter Plunkett and Ginger Rogers are all smiles.


Lana Turner flaunts a lynx coat, which is very nearly as stunning as her tricky feather bird. The latter’s an anchor for the hood of Lana’s Gladys Parker gown. Lana was one of the would-be Scarletts. She auditioned for the role back in November, 1938.


Surprise? Another sweeping ermine wrap, this one-- not unlike Vivien’s-- belonging to Norma Shearer (who almost played the famous “Miss O’Hara“)! She is wearing a Directoire model of appliqued satin. Her Rhett Butler is George Raft, of course.


Margaret Sullavan, arriving with her husband, Leland Hayward, might have stepped right out of the family album in her broadcloth coat. with its quaint elbow capelet and baby pillow muff-- all banded with sealskin, that fur so dear to the hearts of our grandmothers’ day.


Tyrone Power and his wife, Annabella, arrive at Carthay Circle. The two had only been married since April and were still in the honeymoon stage. 


 Most girls would think it quite enough to make their entrance with Tyrone Power (let alone wearing his wedding ring!), but Annabella still seeks further honors with her basque waisted full skirted frock of brocaded satin damask under a white fox jacket whose extended shoulders are practically guaranteed to make the tiniest, most feminine star look even more fragile.


Gary Cooper and his wife, Veronica Balfe, arrive for the premiere. Fine feathers make a fine showing among the many opulent furs and gorgeous fabrics at the Carthay Circle, as Mrs. Gary Cooper proves with a brief, shaggy ostrich jacket. Her blazing diamond earrings strike an elegant note, too, though Gary’s face hardly looks too formal from this angle!


Joan Crawford's date for the night was Cesar Romero.


Gallantly, Cesar Romero helps Joan Crawford adjust the hood of her ermine wrap over her snood. The dress beneath is of flowing white crepe, tightly belted with heavy embroidery of  gold beads to match neckline.


Here are a few other celebrities who also attended the Hollywood premiere of Gone With the Wind. Unfortunately, I don't have dress descriptions for these ladies. First up is Hattie McDaniel. Hattie brought to life the character Mammy from GWTW as no other actress possibly could have.


Miss Carreen O'Hara and Mr. Charles Hamilton, better known in real life as Ann Rutherford and Rand Brooks attended the showing together. This was Ann's third time watching Gone With the Wind. She'd previously attended the Atlanta and New York premieres.


Paulette Goddard arrived on the red carpet with her husband, Charlie Chaplin. Paulette was another would-be Scarlett and actually made it to the final four in consideration. Her last screen test for Scarlett was on December 21st, 1938.


No matter what city Gone With the Wind had a premiere in (Atlanta, New York, Hollywood), the crowds turned out in droves to catch the slightest glimpse of Scarlett, Rhett and all the others who brought Margaret Mitchell's masterpiece to life.

Thanks for joining me for this week's fashion post!

All italicized dress descriptions are from Photoplay, April, 1940.