Friday, November 30, 2012


This beautiful Green wool period gown was worn by Ann Rutherford in what is possibly the most loved adaption of “Pride and Prejudice” and made at MGM in 1940.

Ann Rutherford played "Lydia Bennet" in the film.

The costume is designed in a green wool crepe period style with velvet leaf decorations. The costume was designed by famed MGM designer Adrian. Adrian was responsible for costuming many great stars as part of his career at MGM including Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and Judy Garland. He is best remembered for his costume designs in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) as well as many other Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films of the 1930s and 1940s. My personal favourite is the gowns he designed for “The Women” also in 1939. He designed costumes for over 250 films.

Ann Rutherford as "Lydia Bennet" wears the costume when she arrives home a married woman. The costume carries a handwritten label "7498" and stamped MGM.  The skirt has handwritten label "Ann Rutherford 7498."  The costume is accentuated by a large velvet collar and lace.

Here is a detailed photo of the velvet leaf design.

This version of the film was very well received by the public and has remained as a much loved adaption of this popular novel and largely due to the two leads, Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.

Here is the original trailer to the film:

Greer Garson as Elizabeth has been referred to as literally stepping right out of the book and that she was made to play the role.

I recently found that the hat, which accompanies this gown, still exists and is housed in the FIDM Museum and Gallery permanent collection in Los Angeles. You can see the same design velvetleaf used by Adrian to accentuate the hat. Good to know that the hat still exists.

Photo copyright FIDM Museum Library Inc.

Ann Rutherford was a much loved MGM star who is best remembered for playing Polly Benedict during the 1930s and 1940s in the Andy Hardy series. She was also Scarlett O'Hara's sister in “Gone With the Wind”(1939).

The gown was popular and striking enough as well to be used in a paper doll book on film costume.

Rutherford passed away only recently on June 11, 2012.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Here is a period dress worn by much loved character actor Dame May Whitty  as she portrayed "Miss Thwaites" in the film Gaslight. (MGM, 1944)

This is a three-piece brown wool crepe period dress and jacket with black embroidery and beading finished with pompom fringe.  The costume has a typed label "1311-7178 D M Witty".  Irene designed the costumes for the film. Dame May Whitty as “Miss Thwaites” wears the costume in two scenes when she attempts to visit Ingrid Bergman with little luck.

Gaslight is a 1944 mystery-thriller adapted from a play. It was actually the second version to be filmed with the first being released in the United Kingdom four years before.

The following photos show better detail of the design to the lapel and jacket.

The design to the neckline is just beautiful as you can.  MGM paid great attention to detail and costumes is where they excelled when it came to detail.

This is a photo of the rear of the gown.

The 1944 version where this costume comes was made at MGM, directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, and 18-year-old Angela Lansbury in her screen debut.

Dame May Whitty who also starred in the film was born in Liverpool, England and started theatre at a young age. It was not until 1935, at the age of seventy an following the success she had on stage in “Night Must Fall” that she took part in the film version in 1937 and received an Oscar nomination.  It was from here that she started a new career playing the “old lady” characters on the screen.

Some of these included “The Thirteenth Chair” (1937), “The Lady Vanishes”(1938), and “Mrs Miniver” (1942).

This is the original trailer for the film:

A wonderful period costume from an MGM film classic.

I recently found out (and a big thank you to James for finding it) that the costume was used again some years later by character actress Florence Auer in the 1949 MGM film "That Forsyte Woman" where she played Ann Forsyte Heyman. It actually gets more screen time in this film than it did in 'Gaslight". I believe that the costume appears in another film as well around that time. It is amazing to see how many times that costumes were reused! Here is are two pictures of Ms Auer in costume.

Thanks again James for your sharp eye in finding it for me!! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012


From the glorious movie musical “Dr Dolittle” comes this off-white see-through taffeta dress worn by Samantha Eggar as “Emma Fairfax”.

The film was made at 20th Century Fox studios in 1967.

The dress is decorated with cloth flower accents.

The costume is worn by Samantha Egger at the outdoor carnival scene.

You can see the gown as it appears on screen in these edited clips from the film. The dress can be seen at 0:34.  The song is not from the film:

This link takes you to the song “Beautiful Things” where Samantha Eggar is wearing the gown.

Costumes for the film were designed by Ray Aghayan who is best known for his partnership with designer Bob Mackie in many many film and television and stage productions.  Ray Aghayan also designed for other films including "Lady Sings the Blues" in 1973 and "Funny Lady" in 1976.

The story of Doctor Dolittle is well known and tells the story of veterinarian Rex Harrison who has the talent of speaking to animals in animal languages.  Dr Dolittle sets off around the world to search for the Great Pink Sea Snail. The film has some very memorable songs including “ This Is the World of Doctor Dolittle” sung by co-star Anthony Newley and Rex Harrison singing "If I Could Talk To The Animals."

No you’ve never seen anything like it in your life! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Hot off the heals of one Julie Andrews costume comes another!

Here is another amazing and for me breathtaking gown from one of my favourite films. In it Julie Andrews portrayed the life of English theatre and musical star Gertrude Lawrence in the 1968 20th Century Fox film “Star!”

 This stunning costume is comprised of a black ostrich feather covered silk gown with beaded shoulder straps and matching ostrich feather jacket.

The costumes is worn in two scenes along side everyone’s favourite TV Dad, Robert Reed of “The Brady Bunch” fame.

 The costume also comes with the original Ostrich Muff however is not seen in the film.

The costumes were designed by Donald Brooks who produced over 3,040 individual costumes for the film and a whopping 125 outfits for Julie Andrews alone. Still considered a record in terms of costume changes for one star in any film. Julie Andrews costumes for the film cost an amazing $750,000 in 1968 dollars.

The costumes were executed by Western Costume Company who took ownership of the costume collection after filming. These costumes were then rented out on many occasions over the next 20 years. In the early 90’s as part of a clean out, Western Costume began a series of auctions through then auction house Butterfields and Butterfields. Donald Brooks was nominated for an Academy Award for 'Best Costume Design' for his work in this film.

The costume also appears on the cover of the DVD.

This is a wardrobe costume test from Western Costume showing Julie Andrews in costume.

 And below is a clip of the amazing costumes worn by Julie Andrews in the film as well as my favourite song from the film.


 It is just amazing to me that such a delicate costume has survived.