Thursday, September 24, 2009


At a recent seance we heard the gravelly voice of a woman either in great physical pain or simply burdened by guests she couldn't get rid of. With considerable effort she delivered what we recognized as two pearls of wisdom that could only come from Diana Vreeland, the late, greatly missed doyen of Vogue and the Met's Institute of Fashion. Mrs. Vreeland must have thought it was urgent to spread the word again or maybe even in Hell the publicity machine never stops.

"Never fear being vulgar, just boring."

Then, after what sounded like a 30-second drag from a cigarette

"We all need a splash of bad taste. No taste is what I'm against."

There were a series of murmurs where she appeared to be approving of her pronouncements. And then she was gone.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


An amazing gallery of obscure photos of (mostly) obscure actresses who worked with George Cukor, part of an altogether amazing Brazilian site dedicated to quality vintage film photos, videos and history.
Pictured above: Judy Holliday, Anouk Aimee, Jeanette Macdonald.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Born in Naugatuck, Connecticut on March 3, 1903, Adrian Adolph Greenberg trained at the Parsons School of Fine Arts. It is rumored that songwriter Irving Berlin hired the then 18 year old designer for a Broadway presentation of "The Music Box Revue" after seeing his creations in Paris, where he had renamed himself Gilbert Adrian. It was Natacha Rambova, the wife of Rudolph Valentino and movie art director, who gave Gilbert Adrian access to Hollywood royalty in the 1920’s.

He designed for two of Rudy’s films and the rest is history.
 Adrian turned ordinary actresses into immortal icons during the age of Hollywood glamour. His reported favorite was Greta Garbo but his clientele also included Norma Shearer and Jean Harlow and, yes, he gave Joan Crawford those unforgettable shoulder pads. After 13 years he opened his own shop in Beverly Hills. 

His design emphasis was on simplicity but he had an ability to drape that is still unrivaled to this day.

He was a 1944 Coty award winner and unfortunately never won an Oscar because the category of costume design wasn’t created until after he left MGM. He was the head designer for over 250 movies, including "The Wizard of Oz" that featured the legendary ruby slippers. He had a controversial marriage to the actress Janet Gaynor and they lived in a ranch in Brazil in the last years of his life. Sadly, while making arrangements to design costumes for the upcoming Broadway musical "Camelot," he died on September 13, 1959 at the young age of 54 and his death was ruled a suicide.

Friday, September 11, 2009


This juicy fashion tidbit comes from the March 27, 1950 issue of Quick Magazine:
"Hollywood designer Adrian, disregarding Paris and N.Y., pronounced that there will be no drastic change in the daytime silhouette for the next 50 years, added that the death of the “New Look” proved that attempting to insinuate violent fashion changes in modern times is futile."
And now that we've retro-ed ourselves through the 20th Century, what violent fashion changes do you anticipate for the next 50 years?


"You can't get a husband in Hollywood -- or anyway, I can't!"
This bitter remark was blurted out to me by one of the most bewitching bachelor girls in the movie industry. It might have been said by any one of a dozen other young and lovely stars. It certainly is a thought many of them harbor daily. A thought that haunts them on the soundstage, under the hair drier and during those heart-chilling moments after the 5 o'clock alarm goes off and they face the prospect of another manless day.
-- from an article in Motion Picture magazine, 1951.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


"Velez observed that people liked her because she had 'pep,' but Collier's magazine saw it differently, with a lampooning article headlined 'The Girl With One Talent.' Though she married Johnny Weissmuller she maintained a passion for [Gary] Cooper and when she described Cooper's new escort, the Countess di Frasso, as 'nothing but an old whore,' the Countess retaliated by tossing a glass of wine in her face.
Later she toured with Libby Holman in a production of Cole Porter's You'll Never Know, blacking the singer's eye one night in New Haven. Holman's biographer Jon Bradshaw describes how Velez screamed at Holman: 'You bastard, you son-a-beech, I keel you with thees,' brandishing a huge diamond ring given her by Weissmuller. She would also show it to the director, threatening: 'Thees is the ring I'm going to murder that Jewish beech with!' Following these outbursts she would kneel down in the wings, cross herself and pray. Later still her hatred caused her to urinate in the wings hoping the shortsighted Holman, who followed her onstage, would slip in the puddle and fall."
-- from Dancing With the Devil: The Windsors and Jimmy Donahue by Christopher Wilson