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Fashion & Film
"Episode actually has been on my mind since our very first season and it combines both my passion and my career because today we talk about fashion and film and we actually thought this was a particularly fitting episode with which to launch season three seeing as it's February. WNYC which is an eventful month for fashion in film. We are currently in the midst of course of the International Fashion Week Circuit and the Ninety Second Academy Awards Air. Just this is past Sunday February ninth. Not that I've seen many of the Oscar contenders this year. But let's be honest. I mainly tune in to see what everyone is wearing. Yes exactly the same. Although I did watch rock man last night which I know I loved. You're so so on costumes. Were amazing. Customer agree on that yet and we actually got to see a couple of them in in person when we were in L. A.. Recently which was very cool but the Oscars is definitely one of fashion industries. Highlights of the year. You know. I think it's safe to say that. What celebrities as where to this star centered? Event is just as exciting as the awards. Show itself and I'm sure many of our listeners will be joining us in watching the pre show coverage where where we will get an up close and personal look at all the glamour shirt to be on display on this year's red carpets and speaking of red carpet April you and I both. It's had our very first red carpet experience last month when we attended the iheartradio podcast awards. Yes and I will have to. I have to say getting ready for that stuff. Takes a really long time. I had no idea. We're inheriting makeup literally. Our it was very fun. Yeah it it was very fun so you're going to hear a little bit more on our first fashion history mystery of the season where we talk about all things red carpet including our favorite picks from this year's red carpet and an interview with Bronwyn cosgrave. Who is the author of the book made for each other which is an in-depth behind the scenes? Look at the history the of red carpet fashion so the Academy Awards dates back all the way to the nineteen twenties but the first films are being made as far back as the eighteen ninety s so the movies being produced ladies for over one hundred and twenty years you know. I think we should probably preface this episode by saying this is only intended as an overview of very huge topic like Jain enormous topic. Yeah I mean it's so big that we've chosen to focus almost entirely on the relationship between fashion as as it relates to American Hollywood films and for the most part I mean there will be a few exceptions and even by narrowing our discussion. There are still so many fascinating winning stories and players involved with a subject that it is impossible to cover them all in one episode. And that is why we are bringing you to yes and as you said. Casas is a huge topic and there are many different angles which we could look at the intersections of fashion and film. Historically of course the most obvious one is the depiction of fashion in film and that is fashionable clothing as costume worn by characters in support of the visual narrative of any given plot and this fashionable clothing can be worn both in contemporary films. Those intended to be set within the time in which their audience are living now currently when interviewing them and also period films film set in the past so clothing and fashionable clothing at that is one of the most vital production elements in selling link any given period in history it is very central to the quote unquote look of a specific time and place and we have to give many a costume designer props further further historical accuracy over the years but April. I think you would agree that present day fashion is a pretty powerful force and even the best designers have been guilty of implementing unconsciously or not contemporary beauty and fashion aesthetics into their period costumes. So if you look at any number of the westerns from the nineteen sixties for instance instance set in the late nineteenth century. But I can't even tell you how many heating ladies in these films are costumed with bouffant hairstyles eyeliner. They're so good. You know not to mention that these electric colors of their bustle gowns so fashion in film and we're using the term film today because while the majority of the movies were talking about where filmed on film so fashion and film have been inextricably linked since the earliest days of cinema. The I motion picture films were produced at the end of the nineteenth century by the first decade of the twentieth film production had fast evolved into a mass entertainment industry tree. Hollywood obviously as we all know in Los Angeles California was epicenter and the home to over seventy studios and counting by nineteen fourteen and prior to the advent of film. Theatre was a hugely popular form of spectator entertainment. And it was thanks to this medium that that female audiences had long been accustomed to viewing their favorite theater actresses and the clothes they wore as the latest word and chic and and actresses wore high fashion on an off stage and we'll heralded as fashion icons in newspapers. Fashion Magazines and film would prove no different different with its bevy of Silverscreen starlets who would capture the admiration of millions of women audience goers all across the country so with the film industry fast on the rise in the early twentieth century. We see the debut of the first film Fan Magazines such as photo play and Motion Picture magazine. And both of these magazines presented actresses as this fashion trendsetters. And you WANNA go down a rabbit hole. You can go to media history project dot org forward slash fan magazines because they have a huge archive five of keyword searchable magazines on there. So have a blast so far but it will it will take up an entire afternoon. Photo play even had a regular column dedicated to fashion which often featured full-body photographs of actresses so as to best display their entire gowns printed in black can white though. These photographs were accompanied by text. That really detailed the gowns color and fabric for the enquiring reader actress Norma talmadge was featured so often in the fashion section in a photo play that she was even named fashion editor for a short time in nineteen twenty by emphasizing the dress and appearance of these early film stars. These he's magazines played a pivotal role in establishing film actresses as fashion icons. But you may be wondering who was dressing them today. We're all accustomed to the important role the costume designer and Costume Department and Film and Television Production. Obviously what would Miss Marvelous. Mrs Mazel be without Donna and her talented team of assistance. Cutters fitters Taylor shoppers. dyers agers the list. There are a lot the people helping out on those productions. Let's just say Oh. Yeah but actually in the earliest days of cinema. There was no such thing as a costume designer and thus no costume department dedicated educating to produce in costumes for a specific movie so according to costume designer and historian Deborah Landis in her book dressed century of Hollywood costume design. She's actually written quite extensively on the history of Hollywood design. So you're going to hear her name. Come up quite a bit so according to Deborah Producer Adolph Zuqar and director. D W Griffith were among the first to recognize the importance of and need for the professional costume designer. And this was in the nineteen ten's but we still do not see standardization cassation of the costume designer and department until the nineteen twenties so prior to this actors and actresses were largely expected to provide their own wardrobes for contemporary foams. With many I mean those who could actually afford it. I suppose many of these people work directly with their favorite fashion designers to create their specific onscreen. Looks for instance. Paul Poiret as you all know who we adore and love. He designed the period costumes for acclaimed actress. Sarah Bernhardt in the nineteen twelve French film. The loves of Queen Queen Elizabeth. It does not surprise us at all. That far was among the very first fashion designers to embrace the new medium of film as a way to extend. His influence is an advertise his brand although he would never admit it. Of course big neither would contemporary lady Lucille Duff Gordon. Who designed the gallons for the leading ladies for over twenty films between Nineteen Fourteen and nineteen twenty two starting with the perils of Pauline starring? Pearl White I love that AH film And in April nineteen eighteen vote dedicated to page spread to Lucille designs for actress Clara Campbell Young and the Nineteen nineteen eighteen film. The reason why which was written by Lucille sister the famed novelist turned screenwriter. Eleanor Glynn thanks to there's well known collaborations nations. I mean. Is it any wonder that Motion Picture magazine declared that quote motion picture actresses where the latest modes and they declared this in its September nineteen fourteen issue. The article goes on to say that quote women revel in the style of gown much better in the picture show than she can in the pages of some fashion journal but this brings up a very very interesting point April because we all know how quickly fashion can change and what was in fashion when you're designing and then shooting a film while it might have changed I by the time. The film was released six months to a year later. Case in point Lucille's designs for Clara in the reason why might have been presented by vogue as the latest fashions nineteen eighteen. But I know at least one of those designs came straight from her nineteen seventeen collections. Clair West one of the very first screen credited costume designers address address. This very issue in an interview with women's wear daily in December nineteen nineteen according to her fashionable film costumes reproduced thanks to new fashion forecasting which is fascinating. She goes on to say quote. It is particularly difficult to dress characters for the screen when one considers that the close not only must be up to date but they must be several months head of style and you know by designing for the future Claire and other costume designers designers of this time really consider themselves both costume and fashion desires case in point one month prior women's wear daily had interviewed West about the influence silence of Hollywood on fashion in an article titled Motion Pictures To Create New Fashion Center and at the time West was under a seven year contract with the picture and distribution distrubution company. lasky famous players company. Soon to be known as a name. Some of you may recognize paramount pictures quote as for the role which motion pictures plays plays and fashion resort. In Miss West opinion there is no limit West oversaw the designing and making of costumes for the entire film company. So this is no oh small order and she did this in a three story building devoted entirely to costume production just to give you an idea of the size of this costume. Department West fulltime fulltime team consisted of sixty five women including five flower makers ten designers. Numerous seamstresses to Taylor's staff hairdressers. There's a number of assistance quote in this way said West. We have the ideal conditions under which fashions should be created and created. Is the keyword right here because they were not buying you know off the rat clothing cast for both period and contemporary films. The majority of the clothes seen on the stars in Hollywood films were produced made to measure for them in