Posted by Susan Doll on January 21, 2013
I love Old Hollywood. In my imagination, I have romanticized the Hollywood of the Golden Age as a glamorous era of larger-than-life, charismatic figures who linger poolside at the best hotels or dance till dawn at the Mocambo. On the fringes of the dream factory are the outrageous characters who thrive in a company town where the extraordinary is ordinary and the extravagant is routine. Among the latter is the famous Nudie Cohn, tailor to the stars. But, Nudie was no studio costumer like Edith Head or Orry-Kelly. Instead, he owned and operated Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, specializing in western-styled jackets and wildly colored shirts festooned with rhinestones and piping. His primary clients were western movie stars of the Golden Age and country-western singers of the l960s, but his career lasted well into the Age of Aquarius, when he designed a jacket with marijuana leaves for Gram Parsons.
Posted by Susan Doll on August 8, 2011
Last week’s post on memorable movie hats for women was fun and enlightening but time consuming because of the laborious process of researching examples. Women’s hats tend to be unique variations on specific styles or one-of-a-kind haute couture designs. To find examples, I wracked my brain to recall films, stars, or female characters that might lead to colorful, meaningful, or dynamic hats, and then I searched for film stills from those movies. Once I found examples, I discerned what style it was and then interpreted its use in the film. Not the most efficient approach to the topic, and I knew many good examples of hats would fall through the cracks. Fortunately, my readers picked up the slack and mentioned some terrific examples, which prompted me to add bits of hat lore and history in the comments section.
Posted by Susan Doll on August 1, 2011
At the turn of the 20th century, a woman could be reprimanded by her husband for appearing in public without a hat, which was considered an essential article of clothing. According to the website Fashion Era, a woman once embarrassed her family because she left her house without her hat even though she was merely posting a letter in a box a few feet from her garden gate. Men wore hats for both practical and business purposes. Because hats draw attention to the head, the right hat could elevate one’s circumstances, at least according to social standards of the day: An old saying goes, “If you want to get ahead and get noticed, then get a hat.” While traditions and conventions of hat-wearing began to break down after World War I, particularly after women got the right to vote, mainstream Americans continued to wear hats for several decades. Today, however, hats are rarely worn by the general public, and when they are, it is usually for informal, leisure-time activities. Consequently, various traditions, conventions, and lore about hats, caps, and head gear have been lost to us.
Hats are ubiquitous in classic films released prior to 1960. Hat fashions were not only reflected in Hollywood films, they were also influenced and inspired by them. Costuming tends to be taken for granted by audiences, who think of clothing, set design, and props as mere indicators of time and place. Too often authenticity is the only criteria for evaluating these essential parts of a film’s visual design. Yet, costumes can be important vehicles of information. They can serve as keys to unlock the layers of meaning behind a character. With that idea in mind, I went in search of famous movie hats, hoping to find some examples that I could analyze for their symbolism. It was more difficult than I thought, but I did uncover some interesting facts, some striking hat fashions, and a newfound respect for an article of clothing I knew little about.
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Art in Movies Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Blu-Ray Books on Film British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Film Composers Film Criticism film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes movie flops Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Serials Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller TCM Classic Film Festival Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies