Friday, May 11, 2018

Out and About--Presenting FASHION IN FILM OF TCMFF 2018 at Woman's Club of Hollywood


Two weeks ago - from April 26 to 29 - the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) once again took over Hollywood. The theme of this year's festival was Powerful Words: The Page Onscreen, and the programming included everything from original screenplays and adaptations to portrayals of writers real and imagined. In addition to the importance of the written word, there's no question that costume design contributes to the ongoing legacy of classic cinema.

And so, in what has become an annual event, it was my pleasure to present the Fashion in Film of TCMFF 2018 on Tuesday, April 24 at the Woman's Club of Hollywood. As I did for last year's talk, I highlighted movies directly from the festival's programming (and a couple from years past) and shared the stories behind the style - the historical context, lives of the costume and fashion designers, and backstories of the stars. The 11 films I chose ranged from Kay Francis' Pre-Code style in 1931's Girls About Town to Steve McQueen's legendary cool in 1968's Bullitt.

One of the great things about this year's talk was its venue. The Woman's Club of Hollywood has its own rich history. It was founded in 1905 - a year when the entertainment industry had not yet made its mark in Los Angeles and women still didn't have the right to vote. Yet members were passionate about contributing to the culture of the city and made their first mission to create the Hollywood Public Library. They were also founding members of both the Hollywood Bowl and the Hollywood Studio Club, something of a dormitory for young women who were involved in motion pictures (famous residents included Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak). In the Woman's Club of Hollywood's early years, stars such as Gloria Swanson, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks were involved in events there.

In 1948, the Woman's Club moved a short distance from its original location on Hollywood Boulevard to its current address at 1749 N. La Brea Avenue. They shared this new location with the Hollywood School for Girls - another organization the Woman's Club supported - where industry heavyweights such as Cecil B. DeMille and David O. Selznick sent their children to be educated. There were many famous faces associated with the school. In fact, Jean Harlow was one of the students and Edith Head was a teacher of both French and Art right before she got her job assisting head costume designer Howard Greer at Paramount.

I'm happy to say that the Woman's Club of Hollywood is now on the National Register of Historic Places and a Historic Cultural Monument. This is due in large part to the tireless work of its President Rosemary Lord. I was thrilled to bring a sell out crowd of classic film lovers to the place, people who genuinely appreciated its history and loved being there. Thanks to everyone who came - I know we're already looking forward to next year!


The Woman's Club of Hollywood


In the lounge before my talk wearing a vintage 1970s tuxedo dress,
faux fur leopard pumps, and 1950s black patent leather purse (not shown)


The lovely entrance of the Woman's Club of Hollywood before all the arrivals



 With friend and TCMFF attendee Wendy Mahaffey in the entryway


The lounge of the Woman's Club



With friend and TCMFF attendee Casey Koester in the lounge


One of the original buildings of the Hollywood School for Girls still stands
just outside the windows of the lounge of the Woman's Clu



Jean Harlow (top row, second from left) was a student at the Hollywood School for Girls
and Edith Head (below) was a teacher before going to Paramount



Even the restroom of the Woman's Club is beautiful
and includes its own sitting room



Some of the movies included in my talk -
Bullitt, Woman of the Year, and To Have and Have Not


The staff setting up chairs in the auditorium of the Woman's Club

Captured in the midst of my talk - that's Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep on the screen


More of my film family and biggest supporters (from l-r):
Theresa Brown, Aurora Bugallo, Annmarie Gatti, and Jeanelle Kleveland


Until next year...

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