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1950s Cinema & Design
Transcript of 1950s Cinema & Design
1950s in Context
Post WW2 - Men returning from military service, positive future outlook, women out of workforce and placed back in domestic sphere .
American Dream - Prosperous American economy, people were able to afford to pursue the "American Dream": build a home, family, success in work, material possessions esp. cars (consumerism)
Suburbia - Birth of the suburbs, families moving away from cities, more time for leisure & recreation (TV/cinema influence & "better living through better design")
Conservatism - Cold War looming and still a fear of communism, unconventional behaviour raised suspicion (conservative dress & traditional values preferred)
Space Race - Late 50s & moving into 60s, Sputnik launched by Russians 1957, America & Russia in race to dominate space exploration as a symbol of technological superiority (futuristic design, in cars as well)
1950s Fashion in Cinema
1950s prosperous for middle class families. Families settling in suburbs, more time for leisure. Interior design reflected this and was vibrant.
Many 1950s Hollywood films reflected this vibrancy along with other interior styles that then became aspirational to audiences
Tight waisted silhouettes which emphasised the waist and bust
Coco Chanel introduced boxy suit with slimline skirts
Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe wore figure-hugging skirts in the 1953 Hollywood Film ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’
The 1950s Feminine Figure - Pencil & Flair Skirts
The ‘A’ Line skirt was worn for daywear and formalwear.
Became a necessary staple in most women's wardrobe after being heightened by many Hollywood films.
Women desired many designs from Hollywood films therefore many designers made copies of ‘A’ line designs worn by actresses. This was the case for Audrey Hepburn's wedding dress in American Musical ‘Funny Face’ 1957.
Many commercial patters were created, inspired by these Hollywood garments worn by the stars.
Due to Cinemascope, the screen resolution was distorted and therefore widened. Actresses Monroe and Gable were hesitant to were hesitant to wear them but it was insisted upon as it was in the height of fashion at the time.
The 1950s Feminine Figure - Pencil & Flair Skirts
New advances in mass production
New range of synthetic clothing, Nylon no longer used for war time and instead for Lingerie, Blouses and Sportswear.
New fabric blends created, for example, two-way stretch. An example of this is seen in Monroe’s famous red swimsuit and the iconic Dahlia gown from ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’.
Fabrics & Technology
Began wearing pants during WW2. After the war they stayed in fashion and were developed upon.
For women this represented a new found freedom and comfort.
Economic prosperity meant more people enjoyed recreational activities, women were able to enjoy these more in comfortable clothing such as pants.
Audrey Hepburn was seen wearing many pants in 'Funny Face'. They were the height of Paris fashion at the time and also made dancing much easier for the film.
Hepburn's all-black ensemble and dance in 'Funny Face' reflection of Beatnik culture.
Short Shorts and capri pants also became popular at the beach or for cycling (recreational activities).
Betty Grable in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ wore her iconic shorts and blouse look for the movie poster.
This also influenced women to wear shorts on more occasions not just for practicality.
Audrey Hepburn's famous A-Line wedding dress in Funny Face (1957). All of Hepburn's costumes were designed by Givenchy, and the film was nominated for an Academy award for costume design.
Betty Grable (centre) A-Line dress in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953).
Monroe in a two-way stretch swimsuit
Monroe in the synthetic blend "Dahlia" gown
Above: Hepburn in black dance pants in 'Funny Face', and tailored white pants with side zips.
Betty Grable in 'How to Marry a Millionaire'. Shorts styled with a tucked in jumper and neck bow.
1950s Fashion Styling in Cinema
Feminine accessories were a must for reasons of being conservative.
Matching shoes to an outfit was a popular styling choice heightened by outfits in Hollywood cinema.
Well-dressed women wore elbow-length gloves for formal occasions. This was reflected in Hollywood films, and film premieres.
Accessories of the 1950s
The 'New Look' showed many wide brimmed but smaller hats were most popular in the 1950s. Examples of these styles were seen in ‘Funny Face’ through the fashion show scene and whenever Audrey was acting outdoors.
Hats with veils were also popular, especially for weddings. This style featured in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’
Accessories of the 1950s
Shorter hairstyles were most popular in this era and many women copied the looks of Hollywood stars.
Judy Garland's cropped cut from ‘A Star is Born’, Betty Grables’ poodle cut in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’.
Hair and Makeup
Glasses became a popular fashion statement due to Monroe's character Pola’s famous glasses in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’. Glasses were popular in a wide range of frames and colours.
Note Pola's insecurity however over her glasses, "Men aren't attentive to girls who wear glasses". Idea that women are to be pretty for men.
Accessories of the 1950s
Bright, sharp makeup looks that reflected bright, sharp designs of the time (in fashion, interiors, cars)
Hollywood actresses set the standard for women's beauty in the 1950s
"Peaches and Cream" complexions
Max Factor’s ‘Pan Cake’ makeup product for complete coverage of flaws for film became an everyday must-have for many women.
Women as dolls, flawless appearance ideal, to make society prettier
Audrey Hepburn's in a hat in 'Funny Face'.
Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable wearing veiled hats in the wedding scene of 'How to Marry a Millionaire'.
Garland's cropped cut.
Betty Paige's poodle cut, and Monroe's above-the-shoulder curled bangs.
Above: Marilyn Monroe as Pola Debevoise in her iconic embellished cat-eye glasses.
Above: Marilyn Monroe's idealistic 'Peaches and Cream' complexion, Monroe on makeup poster, Pan Cake makeup product by Max Factor, Creme Puff by Max Factor Hollywood.
Above: Judy Garland in 'A Star is Born
Right: Marilyn Monroe having gloves put on for the 'How to Marry a Millionaire' film premiere.
'How to Marry a Millionaire' fashion show clip. (00:33:00)
Things that Influenced 1950s Home Interiors
Post WW2, women sent back into domestic sphere, interiors became vibrant as did household appliances
(More towards late 50s) Dynamic designs were influenced by science and space exploration. New and improved technologies and popularity of automobile also influenced design. High tech interiors seen in 'A Star is Born' (1:43.50)
Mid Century Modern - Clean designs inspired by Scandinavian design, space and atomic age inspired shapes
Designers inspired by new materials and advances in mass production
Above: 1950s living room, fridge poster, iconic 50s chairs
Interior Design Trends
Clean lines, minimalism and both bright colours and pastels (Scandinavian influence)
This clean, modern and bright approach used in 'A Star is Born' (1:16:00)
Bold designs such as stars, stripes, checks and polka dots. Space-inspired graphics like planets, galaxies and the famous “Boomerang” pattern
Chrome and vinyl, both fashionable and durable and popular in diners
...but also colours and materials reminiscent of nature that brought sense of warmth and organic modernism (particularly in offices)
From right: 1950s illustration (note stars), Brad Allen's apartment in 'Pillow Talk', Eames Lounge Chair
Use of Accent Colours - Brights and Pastels
General optimism after WW2 reflected in cheerful home interiors
Interiors made to look 'attractive' esp. for women returning to homes after war
Bright and pastel accents can be seen in films, 'Pillow Talk' and 'A Star is Born'. The Think Pink scene in 'Funny Face' satirically shows obsession with colour
In one particular scene in 'A Star is Born', character Norman Maine points out how outdated his dressing room is by saying "Don't you think I deserve a dressing room that's cheerful and modern?" (1:04:00)
Esther Blodgett's apartment shows a mix of bright and pastel accents, as well as some iconic furniture design in 'A Star is Born' (1:56:00)
Above: Jan Morrow's apartment in 'Pillow Talk', Norman Maine's drab dressing room Esther Blodgett's apartment in 'A Star is Born'
Hollywood Regency Style in 1950s
Seen as aspirational, ultimate in luxury
Over-the-top glamorous aesthetic: chandeliers, ornate frames, large open spaces, dramatic wallpaper, laquered furniture reminiscent of Baroque period, luxe fabrics like silk and satin, Chinoiserie (Chinese artistic influences)
'How to Marry a Millionaire' shows this glamorous interior style most. The ladies' powder room shows the importance placed on women's appearance in the 50s (00:29:00)
Above: Schatze inspecting the girls' new apartment in 'How to Marry a Millionaire, Loco checking her dress in ornate multi-mirror in a ladies' Powder Room
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1950s Influence Today
Alice Temperley Spring/Summer 2013
The latest Temperley London collection showed elegant designs reflecting 1950’s daywear. The ‘A line’ and wide flair skirt and dress featured as well as the slimline pencil skirt and dress, however they were modernized with sheer panels and blouses. Typical 1950’s colours were modernized slightly with electric baby blue tones, nude pinks and fluro violet purples
Hoschek Spring/Summer 2014
The clothing in the collection is chic and had a vintage 1950’s vibe to it with flouncy floral print dresses and bouffant hairstyles. Typical 1950’s colours were shown and housewife dress silhouettes however with different textures and modernised fabrics and prints.
Interiors and Styling
Mad Men set design
Contemporary interior styling - Hollywood Regency style & Mid Century Modern
Bright home appliances
Mad Men set design, Isamu Noguchi red chairs and paper light fixture design, Dianne Ross interior design inspired by Hollywood Regency style, penthohuse by Norman Reach, Shelton and Mindel interior design with original Arne Jacobsen egg chair, reproduction Barcelona chairs by Knoll in Mid Century Modern apartment, DéLonghi kettle.