March 5, 2018
Last Updated on June 2, 2022 by Dominique de Merteuil
Joan Crawford inspired look
Partaking in my pleasure for being a dissolute designer of lists, if I was to name only five of my favourite movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s, it would have to be without doubt or hesitation; Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich and of course the Queen Bee herself, Joan Crawford who I’ve taken ample inspiration from for my latest look which should not be confused with me trying to be a copycat, but rather seen as an Ode to an actress who I’ve been fascinated with since the age of six or seven.
The queen of the silver screen once famously said “I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.” Always glamorous, known on and off the movie set for being a true perfectionist, with a distinctive style adorned and copied by fans all over the world. How powerful her influence on the public really was, we learn from the August edition of Click magazine printed in 1938.
The greatest fashion influence in America, stylists now sadly admit, is the much-glamourized, much-imitated movie queen. What she wears is news, eagerly copied by girls all over the country who want to look like Crawford or Loy. The most widely imitated star, Joan Crawford, started more girls wearing kerchiefs for hats.
*Crawford’s influence on fashion almost ruined the $250,000,000 millinery business.
The Movie Star
Joan knew from the early days of her career that there was more to being a movie star than just having talent. She understood that creating a strong persona, an image if you like, could be achieved with the help of a costumier and who better to help her with achieving the goal than one of the biggest costume designers of the 1930s-1940s, known as Adrian, whom she later described as the greatest costume designer among all designers. And who could disagree with her statement, after all, the creative genius was not only responsible for designing costumes for some of Joan’s iconic films such as; Dancing Lady, Our Blushing Brides, Mannequin, The Bride Wore Red, Letty Lynton (The Letty Lynton white organdy dress was the most copied dress in the world in the 1930s!) to name just a few but he is also credited for the famous wide-shoulder look, synonymous with Crawford even today.
It’s a look that suits me really well (in fact the bigger the shoulder pads the better) and one of the main reasons why my wardrobe consists mainly of garments from the 1930s and 1940s.
My Joan Crawford Inspired Look
- True 1940s cocktail dress, which I bought from XTABAY vintage shop on Etsy
- The costume ring bought many moons ago in Paris
- A pair of 1940s CC41 knickers with a matching slip
I rarely wear non-vintage clothes but this dress was too beautiful to resist.
- A 1930s inspired evening gown
- Vivienne Westwood shoes
- The original 1940s jacket with huge shoulder pads
- Abbie Walsh necktie
- Wheels & Dollbaby skirt
- Orchard corset
- Original 1940s skirt suit
- The 1940s brooch
- Faux fur collar from Helen Moore
For this particular look inspired by Joan Crawford, I opted for;
- The late 1930s, early 1940s hat
- A 1940s skirt
- A pair of 1940s gloves
- The 1950s patent belt
- Contemporary faux fur capelet from my beloved Helen Moore brand
The Infamous Mommie Dearest Book & Its Film Adaptation
I have a special treat for those of you who are fans of the Mommie Dearest film. I’m the proud owner of two dresses designed by Irene Sharaff and worn by Faye Dunaway, who portrayed Joan Crawford in that movie.
Would You Like To Find Out More?
Take a look at ‘The Original Mommie Dearest Film Costumes” article.
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