After more than 20 years of study, now teaching the HISTORY OF FASHION IN FILM to college students, and acting as an expert for groups like Turner Classic Movies (TCM), costume design is an area I still find surprisingly under-appreciated by both the classic cinema and fashion communities alike.
Among classic cinema fans, costume designers are often thought of last in a long line of artists involved with a production. The director, actor, writer, and cinematographer are among those who are highly regarded whereas the costume designer is not. Yet movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood are heralded for their style, and few recognize how much these films' longevity depends on their iconic costume design.
Among the fashion community, most are only concerned with what's currently coming down the runways. What they fail to realize is that successful designers know their film history well and regularly reference classic cinema in their collections. This is true among fashion designers, but also photographers, editorial stylists, hair stylists, and makeup artists alike. You will see examples of the influence of Old Hollywood style in today's fashion again and again on GlamAmor.
One challenge is that 'costume design' tends to be misunderstood. For one, it does not necessarily mean period pieces a la Shakespeare or Gone with the Wind. In fact, from the earliest days of cinema, the style in the movies (almost) always inspired the trends and led the direction of mainstream fashion. Also, few people understand how many costume designers started and/or ended their careers as fashion designers and couturiers. And many strictly fashion designers also crossed over to design for the movies--names like Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Balmain, and Yves Saint Laurent. Coco Chanel herself once designed for film in the early days of her career. Therefore, knowing the history of film is to know much of the history of fashion.
Old Hollywood has given me a real education in design and influenced my own style as well. This is particularly true of Edith Head, Helen Rose, and Jean Louis--costume designers who were responsible for some of the most stylish clothes on film. Inspired by a minimalist yet colorful aesthetic, I turned to the vintage stores in Los Angeles to build my own wardrobe. For nearly a decade, I have rarely been in an outfit without some vintage in it...whether it's a coat, dress, handbag, or jewelry.
As you can tell, I take a great interest in style--both past and present--where magazines, books, and film all come together to influence my aesthetic. Several ongoing series have been created to help steer your own study and offer inspiration, including:
50+ films from the 1920s to the 1980s representing the most iconic costume design in the movies that continues to influence fashion today.
Even more of the best style you need to know from the Golden Age of Hollywood that personally inspires me and many others in fashion.
From the runways to the magazines, examples of modern designers and stylists who know their film history and pay homage to classic cinema.
Often the most stylish aspect of the movies comes from the architecture and Los Angeles locations, so I take you to places around Southern California whose history reflects my passion for classic cinema and its incredible style.
Hair and makeup are also influenced by Old Hollywood and a big part of a person's style, so I show the best looks and share recommendations of my favorite products.
Due to the popularity of the ladylike classics I love, I created a full vintage collection for GlamAmor....a carefully curated vintage boutique that centered on colorful and sophisticated pieces from the 1950s and 1960s. But as a result of my ever-evolving work, I have learned the real value of preservation and a genuine need to protect our design past in order to inform our future. Thus, I am converting much of my retail efforts into one of a non-profit in order to present a study collection for research. It will start with vintage clothing that shows that connection between film and fashion and gradually expand into the costumes themselves. You can view much of the current GlamAmor vintage collection online and even purchase some of the pieces to support the preservation efforts. I will be doing more and more fundraising toward these preservation goals in the days to come.
While many are focused on trend after trend, the goal of GlamAmor is to show that the classics endure and continue to influence today's design. Showing the ongoing connection between fashion and film is my highest mission in life and I look forward to helping protect its historical legacy. I hope GlamAmor becomes a point of inspiration for you as well...whether you're an academic, professional designer, or just a girl getting ready for her weekend.
Welcome to GlamAmor!
Cinema Style File on Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (above) and
Out & About at the former beachfront estate of 1920s-1930s screen star Marion Davies