Hollywood Glam

Hollywood Glam

I have always loved old movies. Lately, I have been renting dancing movies from the 30’s and 40’s for fashion inspiration in making ballroom dresses. Movies with the likes of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and the ever beautiful, Rita Hayworth. Yes, not only was Rita Hayworth a beautiful movie star, she could dance. According to Fred Astaire, she was one of the most gifted natural dancers he’d ever danced with. Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Dolores Cansino. In 1941, she was teamed with Fred in You’ll Never Get Rich, and their dancing together not only helped revive his flagging onscreen career but made her into a star. A year later she teamed with Fred again in You Were Never Lovelier, another smash hit.
The evening dresses in those days were beautiful and you don’t have to look far to see how much influence they have had on today’s fashion, just look at this years Oscar dresses – Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Alba are two examples. Although I’m not sure what the heck Charlize Theron was thinking!
Not only were the dresses in those days stunning, but they flowed beautifully in the dancing scenes. I look at these dresses and wonder, how were they made? What fabrics did they use? Can I make my dresses just as glamorous yet functional for dancesport?
Lately, I’ve seen dancesport outfits that are so bright and gaudy, they make me cringe. Although I realize bright colors help get dancers noticed on the dancefloor, does one have to look like a peacock? I think that a well made elegant dress, that fits the dancer well and is functional works much better. If a dancer feels confident and good in what they are wearing, you can’t go wrong!
Luckily, nowadays there is a lot more choice in terms of functional fabrics that stretch. One can use sheer illusion for areas where they used tulle, and stretch satin or lycra for bodices. Instead of using tulle for the skirt, one can use more drapey chiffon or georgette. Or you can make an allover dress of lycra with a slight sheen. Whatever the case, I hope some of these dresses inspire you as much as they inspire me. And if you get a chance, rent You Were Never Lovelier.

2 thoughts on “Hollywood Glam

  1. Only to Journey – ha!
    Although I love exercise, I doubt I am coordinated enough to pull off ballroom dancing! I learned a lot from watching my friend dance and from her trying on my outfits and telling me what worked and what didn't.
    I am working on the Tatum dress and will be posting new pictures soon!

  2. Michelle, your work is gorgeous! *gasp* I am SO impressed. I use my sewing machine for drapery and the occasional hem, but that is it. Can't wait to see what you do with the black Tatum-inspired dress.

    Do you dance as well?

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