QUESTION: Did you happen to see the article in The New York Times style section about wedding gowns?
It was about the new film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn –Part I (No. 1 in world box office, by the way), and about how what everyone is REALLY waiting to see is the wedding gown that actress Kristen Stewart will be wearing in the movie. (Remember, her boyfriend is a vampire.)
Hello, Everybody. MR. Joe Morella and MR. Frank Segers here again. MRS. Norman Maine is out shopping for tinsel and rice.
The most interesting aspect of the article was about how movies determine fashion and fuel the economy by creating demand in the marketplace. Obviously when prospective brides see wedding gowns in movies, they want to rush out and buy ones just like them.
Bringing all this back to our classic movie home, the article mentioned the Father of the Bride gown worn by Liz Taylor (there she is, all 18 years of her, with father Spencer Tracy in the above photo) and most interestingly the gown worn by Claudette Colbert in 1934’s It Happened One Night.
Colbert’s outfits in that marvelous screwball comedy were designed by Robert Kalloch. Taylor’s wedding gown in 1950’s Father of the Bride was the handiwork of longtime MGM costume designer, Helen Rose, who also put together onscreen marital outfits for other studio brides including Grace Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Jane Powell.
There are several books dealing with studio movies’ influence on fashion, particularly on wedding outfits. One, Hollywood Gets Married by Sandy Schreier, is interesting because it takes her subject — specifically in reference to Taylor — offscreen.
As you undoubtedly know, the actress is right up there among Hollywood’s most married stars. She attended eight of her own weddings (two to Richard Burton) in various outfits, and Schreier tells us what she wore on each occasion.
In the same year she costarred in Vincente Minnelli’s Father of the Bride, Taylor married for the first time to hotel heir Nicky Hilton. She sported wore a traditional wedding ensemble on steroids: white satin embroidered with pearls plus a tiara and a 10-yard-veil. (Rose also designed that outfit.)
For her wedding to No. 2 (Michael Wilding) Taylor wore a far more conservative outfit, a gray wool suit with a rolled collar and cuffs of white organdy. A Rose design turns up once more at wedding No. 3 (Michael Todd), highlighting a blue cocktail dress.
For her No. 4 wedding (Eddie Fisher) at Las Vegas’ Temple Beth Shalom Temple, Taylor chose a Jean Louis green chiffon dress with a draped hood. Wedding No. 5 (the first to Burton) featured an Irene Sharaff adaptation of a yellow gown Taylor wore in Cleopatra (talk about bad omens). For No. 6 (second to Burton) she relaxed a bit in a long green robe embroidered with exotic birds.
No. 7 (Sen. John Warner of Virginia) featured lavender gray dress with suede boots and silver fox coat. No. 8 (Larry Fortensky), it was a lemon yellow outfit reportedly costing $25,000.
Seven husbands, eight wedding ensembles and much for an aspiring bride to consider.
Check it out.