Film Fashion Frenzy: Cinema Fashion Shops of the 1930s

11 thoughts on “Film Fashion Frenzy: Cinema Fashion Shops of the 1930s”

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if stores like this still existed? I know after every major awards show, there are always designers eagerly waiting to copy the most sensational dresses, but I love that at one time, you could go to a store and buy those replicas. Thank you so much for your post!

  2. I’m with Angela. I know people who would sell their soul for an affordable knock-off of any one of Grace Kelly’s Rear Window costumes (I’m one of them). But no such stores.

    And really, Mary? I know Joan Crawford is stylish but is that really the outfit you’re going to wear on a date?

  3. Oh my gosh, what a GREAT post! I had no idea there a whole, efficient industry organized,around bringing Hollywood fashion to gals from coast to coast. After reading your post it seems an obvious thing to do – another, more subtle way to get people hooked on the movies (like we ever needed any encouragement for *that*…!) – but I guess it’s one of those aspects of modern life that get left in the past. Thanks for bringing it back!

  4. Never realized what a big business that was. I agree with the first comment, “Wouldn’t it be great if stores like this still existed?” The only thing is, I don’t think most modern outfits are nearly as interesting as what was being designed in the 1930s. Not that those kind of outfits couldn’t be designed, I just think a majority of people today are much more casual about their dress.

  5. Great post Carley! And how about if Banana Republic started carrying a fashion line based on Mad Men? The iconic images of the movie stars would/could still sell. How about the subway grate Marilyn Monroe cream chiffon dress? And women are still looking for the Helen Rose designed halter top “Cat” dress worn by Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (I show it in one of my blog posts). There was so much demand at the time for it that Rose started her own line. Thanks for the fun images from the fan magazines.

  6. This was so interesting! I wish these were still around….except with old movies clothes, not whatever Hipster clothing Kristen Stewart and Leighton Meester are wearing haha.

    I didn’t know this is how it worked. I read in another article about the dress from Letty Lynton and how it sold something like 500,000-1 million copies of the dress. I thought, “Well how does that work out? Was it illegally copied?” Your blog post answered that for me!

    Haha and P.S.) The corn field bit is pretty funny. I guess its bad that I noticed the particular picture of the corn field outfit you posted was from “Algiers” (I think-looks like the one of Hedy Lamarr I posted)

  7. Scene: Main Street, USA. 1937. Boy and girl at the local theatre watching the new Carole Lombard comedy “Nothing Sacred.” Lots of laughter, lots of coddling. The sight of Lombard in a voluminous yet slinky black dress catches both of their attentions. The Boy: “My god,” he thinks, “look at those [insert female euphemism of choice].” The Girl: My god,” she thinks, “look at that dress!”

    She wants it.

    She needs it.

    She is instantly convinced that owning it will make her fella think her [euphemisms] are every bit as noteworthy as Lombard’s.

    And Hollywood, that eager opportunist, was ready to oblige.

    If that euphemism stands for what I think it does, assuming you’re referring to the top half of her body (and not her shoulders!), somewhere Carole is laughing uncontrollably. Because she never deemed her [euphemisms] anything special….even during her Sennett/Pathe days, when she was tagged as “Carol(e) of the Curves.”

    1. Ahahaha– I didn’t know they dubbed her “Carole of the Curves”! Gotta love that Hollywood publicity…

      Actually, I’ve always thought Carole had a pretty damn near perfect bottom half. 😉

      1. The “Carol of the Curves” was generally the Lombard of 1927-28, when Mack Sennett hired her and told her to gain a few pounds to add to her figure (important for the swimsuits Sennett girls were regularly seen in). Carole did that, heeding his advice to eat bananas, and while she was never overweight, she was a bit more voluptuous than the Lombard we know and love. She didn’t take the poundage off until her post-Sennett days of 1929, when she was a full-fledged Pathe player and enlisted the aid of the noted Sylvia to get back to her sleek figure. I wrote an entry about it at

  8. I love the photos and fashion of old hollywood. I wish somebody would publish the covers of vintage Photoplays and the other covers of Old Hollywood fan magazines.

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