Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Night at the Oscars - Dresses worn by the Best Actresses 1929 - 1961

I didn't watch the Oscars... I used to when I was younger and had no children and a job in an office that allowed me to recover during work... I have too little sleep anyway currently, but when I saw this wonderful graph showing the dresses of the wonderful actresses that have won an Academy Awards since 1929, I was curious to find out how the gowns looked like on the photos, and how the ladies were styled...

Douglas Fairbanks presenting the very first Oscar to Janet Gaynor in 1929. Quite simple outfit.

Mary Pickford 1930.

Marie Dressler 1931. I guess back then the award was a rather solemn event, without much publicity.

Helen Hayes 1932.

The top graph is not absolutely correct. In 1935, despite receiving an Academy Award nomination for her performance, Claudette Colbert decided not to attend the ceremony (feeling confident that she would not win) and instead planned to take a cross-country railroad trip. When she was unexpectedly named the winner, studio chief Harry Cohn sent someone to "drag her off" the train (which fortunately had not yet left the station) and take her to the ceremony. Colbert arrived wearing a two-piece traveling suit. The Oscar was given by lovely Shirley Temple.

Bette Davis 1936.

Austrian-born Luise Rainer 1937.

And 1938 Luise Rainer again. Very elegant and simply dress in a typical late 1930s style.
Luise Rinser, born 1910, is still living. She is the oldest still living Academy Award winner and was the first actress to win the Oscar consecutively.

Bette Davis 1939. The feathers forming the neckline of the dress are wonderful, dramatic and  breezy the same. Pictured with Spencer Tracy. 

Vivien Leigh, amazingly beautiful as ever, wore this lovely flowered dress in 1940:

To my surprise, it had cut-outs above the waist. And it was probably red, not grey as pictured in the scheme on top!

Ginger Rogers 1941: Swoon, I would have appreciated a kiss by Jimmy Stewart as well...

Joan Fontaine 1942.

Ah, a kiss by super-duper Mr. Cooper himself...
And she is wearing some kind of snood or fascinator, something that looks very much like a Spanish or Mexican mantilla. Quite fashionable those days.

Greer Garson 1943. Simple two-piece suit adorned with lacy ruffles.

Jennifer Jones 1944.

Wearing fur was not yet a gut issue...

Ingrid Bergmann 1945.

By this picture you can say she was rather tall. I guess she was, compared to other actresses, a rather impressive person.

I love her hair. (Here she is talking to Jennifer Jones. Look at the lovely fascinator hat!)

Wonderful photo - I think she was a very kind and natural person.

1946 winner Joan Crawford did not attend to the awards, due to sickness (as she said). But still she knew how to have her scene. Gorgeous robe and nightgown, perfect hairstyle. I wish I looked like this when I'm sick.

War was over, and the dresses became more elegant and fuller.

Olivia de Havilland 1947 (she was Joan Fontaine's sister and would win a second Oscar in 1950). I would die to find a fabric like this with flowers only on one part of the material. Are these printed, painted or embroidered?

Loretta Young 1948. What a gorgeous dress! The colour is outstanding, and the whole styling of Loretta is just glamorous...

There even was a matching bolero. Well, there usually must have been, but this one really looks great! Look at the coral flower detail - bold, but amazing

Jane Wyman 1949. Wonderful plain evening dress.

1950, there's Olivia de Havilland again.

And again Jimmy Stewart. (Life is not fair.)

Shirley Boothe 1953. I love that printed sheer fabric, even if there is no colour photograph of it.
Sometimes I wish there was a collection of all those dresses, so we vintage addicts could go to see them...

1954: Unforgettable Audrey Hepburn. What an outstandingly lovely person, inside and outside.

This was one of the few dresses in those times of an Oscar winning actress we know the designer of. The cream lace short dress was made by Audrey's favourite designer and friend Hubert Givenchy, and didn't she look amazing in this rather simple yet special little dress? But then, she always did, and I have to stop myself from getting too talkative about this subject... 

But to be honest: even all those "unknown" makers of the previous dresses had so much style and talent. Compared to some dresses that can be seen today...

Grace Kelly 1955.

Kissed by charming Marlon Brando. Swoon...

Silly woman. Why didn't she kiss Mr. Holden?

 1958 Joanne Woodward. 

With Oscar and Paul Newman.

With Paul Newman.

And agin with Paul Newman. Some girls have all the luck...

Susan Hayward 1959. Simple yet elegant. Black is a classic that never goes out of fashion.

French actress Simone Signoret 1960. I like the swiss dotted tulle covering the whole dress and forming the shoulder "straps". A rather simple outfit, only little jewelry, but she looked so beautiful.

Elizabeth Taylor 1961. I like the dress, even though yellow is not my favourite color, but the hairstyle is definitely not my taste.

Does anybody know why Katherine Hepburn, one of the most remarkable women and actresses of the past century, never attended to any of the awards, even though she won 4 times? What a pity. I admire her style, and I'm sure she would have looked gorgeous.

You may wonder why I limit my choice only until the early 1960s... Well, to be homiest, I don't like the fashion that followed too much. There always nice designs from the 60s and later, but I definitely prefer the earlier decades. 

Just to show you why...

Diane Keaton, 1978. Wonderful actress, still today I love her, but - this "dress" is, well, a good example of what I do NOT like about the 70s...

Or Sissy Spacek 1981 (pictured with young Robert de Niro). Never in my life would I wear such a thing. 

Geraldine Page 1986. Was she wearing draperies?

I know, it's unfair to make such comments about those outfits today, as it must have been fashionable back then, but growing up in the 70s and 80s, I still have to shake my head when I look how we were dressed. 

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