Vera-Ellen had a simply knockout traveling wardrobe when she took off for England to be in “Happy Go Lovely” with David Niven and Cesar Romero. It’s the interchangeability of almost everything in her trunk that makes it so smart and money-saving. For instance: she considered the most important item in the wardrobe a brown and white checked suit, very simple—and with matching vest. With this she took a plain brown flannel skirt, slightly flared. Also with this particular set of “combinations” went a brown-and-white checked cloth top-coat that could be worn not only over the suit-changes, but over solid color wool dresses. One little close-fitting back-on-the-head hat of brown felt went along for all the suit and dress-with-coat ensembles—plus brown accessories. Of course there were a few blouses to interchange with the vest.
Then there was a lovely gray taffeta lunch-through-cocktail-time dress and a dark red, flaring silk coat to go with it. Same coat would naturally be a perfect evening wrap for almost any shade of gown. A simple black silk faille suit, the dress of which can be worn without the coat, two “fancy” hats and a few more accessories were everything Vera toted along, besides her undies and lounging robes.
She expected to blow herself to at least a couple of new evening gowns “over there”—as who wouldn’t?
We just simply gotta talk about lace. And we don’t mean lace ball gowns—far from it! We mean the untraditional use of lace that makes news this summer—and with so many practical variations that the current craze for it may well carry on through fall and winter. And why not? What’s more adaptable, more flattering, whether soft and flowy—or starched into tailored or free-swinging daytime skirts?
Adele Jergens has a scrumptious starched cotton lace afternoon dress—the kind you’d wear to a “heavy date” for lunch on a warm summer day, or to a club social. It’s a luscious shade of aquamarine that is just heavenly on blondes or brunettes. (And Adele is a gal who can be both several times a year—and usually is!) Anyway, its snug, rather long-waisted bodice has short, tight sleeves, a straight-across-the-collarbone neckline. The full, calf-length skirt flares way out, with a heavy matching taffeta slip beneath.
Patricia Neal, lunching at Romanoff’s, was wearing a street dress of oyster-white linen lace, over a strapless linen slip. She says that without the dress over the slip, the slip becomes a sun-back dress all by itself! Now there’s an idea for you! Because whether oyster white, beige, or gray, such a slip covered with almost any shade of linen lace dress (the skirt of which could be slit from hem to waistline for peeping contrast) would furnish the basis for at least three distinct costumes. All alone it’s a dilly of a hot daytime dress. With a matching linen lace dress over it, it becomes a lovely redingote type of costume. With perhaps another brightly colored lace over-dress, a third smart outfit. Then, too, if the linen over-dress and slip were of matching gray or beige or oyster white, the crushed girdle with bag to match (as in Pat’s case) could be of bright cerise velvet. Or there could be any number of matching girdle and accessory combinations to make this basic idea give you at least the above-mentioned three outfits for the price of one!
Ricardo Montalban’s “bride” (she’s Loretta Young’s sister, y’know) looked so smart in a taupe-gray chiffon dress, the skirt of which had shirred ruffles. The ruffles were very narrow up toward the waistline, but graduated in width as they reached the hemline, until they were at least five inches wide. Over this, Mrs. M. tossed a silver-blue mink stole.
Yvonne De Carlo has an exact replica, in beige satin, of the pale blue crepe dress that Rita Hayworth was wed in. Yeah—and both, of course, made by Jacques Fath. Now, we ask you! Yvonne says she bought it in Paris and didn’t know at the time she was buying practically the Hayworth bridal outfit. Her small, close-fitting hat of matching color, though, is nothing like the large lid on Rita when she said “I do.”
Joan Caulfield has really slimmed down to actual “Petty Girl” proportions. Saw her at a cocktail party the Henry Rogerses gave and she looked like a doll in a pale yellow afternoon dress of voile (that virtually matched her hair), topped by a huge, flopping hat of yellow straw, trimmed with small old-fashioned flowers.
Claire Trevor was at this soiree which lasted through a veritable dinner feast served buffet style. Claire wore a smart street-length dress of gray silk dotted with white; Evelyn Keyes was there with Bob Stack; Marie Wilson with her Alan Nixon who is showing off all his old football muscles in the new picture “Prehistoric Woman.” The Lloyd Nolans, Ginger Rogers and Greg Bautzer, Jane Wyman, by herself (she’s been dating Ronnie Reagan again—but it don’t mean nuttin’!), the Bill Lundigans, Mercedes McCambridge—just a few others on hand.
We went to the Charlie Morrisons’ party for Mack Sennett’s birthday and the evening really wound up in the nostalgic manner with Mae Murray’s opening with her dance-act at Mocambo. What a reception the one-time star of “The Merry Widow” (the new version of which will star Lana Turner) got from the crowd.
Two gals who looked like a breeze while the temperature soared, were Ruth Roman and Arlene Dahl—but in different places.
Arlene was dining at La Rue with Mexican Consulate General Salvadore Duhart and her blonde beauty was framed in a severely simple short-sleeved black dress that had a very low, square neckline. The full skirt managed nevertheless to end in a long side drape. And Arlene had a huge bunch of big red carnations tucked into the red patent leather belt. A big flat-brimmed black hat, black patent pumps and bag completed this stunning outfit.
Ruth Roman was caught sipping a soda at Wil Wright’s in a sheer imported white dotted Swiss dress that gave her plenty of “air.” Of street length, it was full-skirted, had an off-the-shoulder neckline. The big hip-pockets of the skirt were embroidered with big splashes of garden strawberries, outlined with red and green bugle beads. A similar border of the berries formed a wide border on the hemline of the matching white underskirt! Ruth carried a big white linen bag, wore matching white linen pumps, and white shortie gloves. No hat. And no jewelry—but gee—it was hot!
Instead of cooling on those hectic Monday night Charleston contests at Mocambo, the Hollywood glamourpusses seem to be turning out in even greater crowds for them! Pretty soon, you’ll have to be a sardine, not a movie star, to squeeze into the place.
—BY EDITH GWYNN
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1950