Friday, November 27, 2009

The best things happen while you're dancing...

I know it's a little early to start watching Christmas movies, but my family has a Thanksgiving tradition; after all the food has been devoured and the leftovers put away (and the paper plates made from sugarcane have been recycled!), we gather around the television and pop in a perennial favorite: Irving Berlin's White Christmas. We watch it year after year, and it never gets old. We love the songs, the dancing, and especially the campy acting and bad jokes (by now we've even created our own special commentary). And every time we watch, we pick up on nuances we hadn't noticed before-- don't you love that when you re-watch your favorites? Maybe you have to be a little obsessive and neurotic to love it as much as I do, but this is how old movies never get, well, old.
During last night's annual viewing, I was particularly attuned to the gorgeous, techni-colored winter fashions displayed throughout the film. From the female leads played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen to some of the minor characters and extras, early fifties fashion -- high-glamor fur coats, muffs, opera gloves and all -- was in full force. Edith Head was the costume designer, and she was especially meticulous with all of Vera-Ellen's clothes. Her high-necked sweater dresses, rehearsal leotards and gowns were stunning, but a little research reveals that the high necklines and long sleeves were carefully designed to hide Vera's bulimia. This explains why she rocked so many turtlenecks, while Rosemary Clooney wore all the plunging v-necks-- contrast! Despite the sadness of Vera's eating disorder, she easily had the most stylish look of any character.

A Google search could locate only a few of Vera's ensembles. I'll leave you with a few movie clips so you can get a better look... (Trust me, you have got to see that pink dress in action!)

I know it's dance outfit, but I'd live in this bright yellow dress! Surely it would cure any winter "blahs."
Who wouldn't love a black-and-white checkered skirt-- and a circle skirt at that? The red belt cinches it so nicely!
The perfect pink dress... like a cream-puffed sugarplum fairy! Or "White Christmas Barbie."


5 comments:

Sher said...

Every time I watched that movie, I just couldn't get over how skinny her waist was. A guy could literally span her waist with his hands. And as far as I knew, she didn't wear a corset.

Lexie said...

i have never seen this movie, but i'm going to netflix it ASAP!

Emily said...

Would you believe I've never seen this movie? For shame, right? I'll get it in my library queue this week :)

nitramnaed said...

Vera-Ellen. Greatest "Gams" ever!

Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

I love this film! And yes, Vera's costumes are the best. I love all her massive belts and the colors! I feel so bad about her ED though...it's so sad.