Glamour of The Gods: Fashion In Film 2: Gabrielle Teare Reviews :The Guardian 19/07/2011
Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe wearing Brigitte Bardot-style capri pants
Most of the stars in this wonderful exhibition of Hollywood portraits look just as stylish in 2011 as they did at the time. There are pictures of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe wearing Brigitte Bardot-style capri pants: they could walk down the street in those today. And 1940s fashion, of which we see a lot in this show, is very in for autumn/winter this year. Look at the current edition of Vogue, and you’ll see Kate Moss on the cover, wearing a 1940s-style outfit and looking just as stunning as any of these stars.
One of my favourite looks comes in a portrait of the silent-movie actor Louise Brooks, from the 1920s. She has a shiny black helmet of hair, a black dress, and a long string of white pearls. Everything about that look works: the monochrome colours, the simplicity.
Then take someone like Marlene Dietrich: in one picture, we see her in a black suit, with her incredible high cheekbones. She did her own thing – she dressed like a man at a time when fashion was very prescriptive. That, for me, is the essence of style.
The men look pretty good here, too. Cary Grant is smooth and gentlemanlike in a suit. Then there’s the famous portrait of Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire: the tight white T-shirt, the jeans. Wow – he looks just as sexy as he did at the time; you really wouldn’t say no.
Some of today’s fashion photography comes close to achieving the stylised glamour of these portraits, but when it comes to pictures of movie stars, we just don’t quite have anything like it any more. Everything – the lighting; the fashion; the makeup – is about creating an image imbued with glamour and mystique. Today, we tend to see our stars snapped in their Ugg boots on the way to the supermarket.
Gabrielle Teare was interviewed by Laura Barnett for The Guardian 19th July 2011.