I watch so many vintage movies purely for the fashion and styling, and I figured it was high time I created a post on this topic. Take a look at these top vintage movie gowns and see what you think. Who doesn’t love a glitzy vintage gown?
1. There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954) – Marilyn Monroe
This William Travilla designed flesh tone crêpe gown has a netting overlay and is generously embellished with silver and pearled bugle beads. This dress came complete with a thigh high split and matching headpiece. Love it!
2. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) – Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell
The red sequin gowns were body tight to show off the women’s hourglass figures and features a long slit for their left leg. I was inspired by these dresses to do my own similar styled shoot.
3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1964) – Audrey Hepburn
Hubert de Givenchy designed this truly iconic gown for Audrey. If you have a sharp eye, you will notice that the dress is worn four times throughout the picture, although matched with different accessories to give it a whole new look.
4. Cleopatra (1963) – Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth’s costumes were absolutely exquisite in Cleopatra – I don’t think it’s even possible to pick one of the ridiculously sumptuous costumes that she wore as there were 65 separate complete looks for the film. My highlight would have to be this metallic gold, floor sweeping piece of wearable art. Look closely at that metal headpiece draped in beading… I wonder how heavy it was!
5. My Fair Lady (1964) – Audrey Hepburn
This incredible Cecil Beaton gown was made for Eliza Doolittle’s full-length black and white Ascot costume with matching hat. While it’s not my absolutely favourite (the stripes paired with lace are a bit over the top for me), it definitely deserved to be mentioned in this list.
6. Rear Window (1954) – Grace Kelly
This gown still leaves my jaw on the floor… with a fitted black bodice with an off the shoulder, deep “V” cut neckline and with cap sleeves, and a mid-calf full skirt, very New Look style, gathered and layered in chiffon tulle, with a spray bunch pattern on the hip area. I can’t get enough of this simple elegance that she pulls off so effortlessly.
7. A Place in the Sun (1951 ) Elizabeth Taylor
How delicate is the Daisy dress? Look at the flowers on the bust! Classiq described this Edith Head design as
“Seductive and innocent. This one is one of the two most important gowns in the movie, copied by manufacturers throughout the country and that caused a sensation among the prom-going young women that year and throughout the entire decade. A pale yellow strap-less gown with fitted boned bodice of ruched ivory tulle over yellow taffeta, with small velvet flowers blooming at the bustier. The skirt was made of several layers of cream tulle over a yellow taffeta underskirt, the first layer studded with scattered velvet violets. This dress is still considered one of the most iconic dresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood”.
8. To Catch a Thief (1954 ) – Grace Kelly
I love the icy blue colours of this beautiful dress and Grace looks absolutely breath-taking in this Edith Head design. The chiffon dress was worn with no jewellery – and that’s the beauty of it… the gown didn’t even need to be accentuated with jewels.
9. Sabrina (1954)- Audrey Hepburn
Arriving at the Larrabee Ball in true Audrey style, this iconic gown was made of white organdy with navy (or black? I’ve read differing views of what the true colour of this detailing actually was) floral embroidery detail over the top. The flowing over-skirt was split at the front to show a pencil skirt beneath – a piece of detail which is probably my favourite.
10. Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) – Marilyn Monroe
She’s singing her signature tune Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend as ‘ Lorelei Lee’ in this gorgeous pink gown with oversize bow on the back. Cinched with a pink satin belt, the strap-less, satin gown was even lined with black felt so that it would remain stiff for the many shots Marilyn required. This gown was created by William Travilla and Marilyn was dripping in diamonds, of course. “But square-cut or pear-shaped, These rocks don’t lose their shape”…
11. Gone with the Wind (1939) – Vivien Leigh
This burgundy ball gown is probably the most iconic look from the film. This sleeveless, silk velvet gown is embellished with glass teardrop beads and round, red faceted beads at the neckline and a cloud of ostrich feathers around the shoulders. It’s so beautiful I literally can’t stop staring at it.
Which of these iconic vintage movie gowns is your favourite?
Stay tuned for Part 2