To get that 1940s screen icon look like Rita Hayworth with a bit of Gene Tierney thrown in, it helps to tune into films from the era. . I'll start by saying wedding gowns of the 1940's were influenced by two things: war and cinema. Both became inseparable once the war machine started and people all over the world looked to newsreels for updates.
Fabric was scarce, rationed and silk went for making parachutes. War brides (usually quick to marry fiances going off to war) had to make do with a best dress or a suit to tie the knot. Formal to-the-floor gowns were offered in the synthetic fabrics that were the newest thing. The classic silhouette of this era was an A-line with a V-neck and long sleeves usually in a high sheen satin.
What have we taken from this era and brought to today's wedding fashion? I'd say the screen goddess look of Lana Turner or Rita Hayworth in a white gown that had more to do with evening glam than bridal. But it all works—the red lips, long wavy hair, clean makeup. It's definitely a look that brides of today love and stalk every corner of the net to recreate...
TIPS FOR CREATING A REAL 1940's LOOK
Watch old movies like Cover Girl with Rita Hayworth and study the hair. Styles back then were big on glam with every hair in place. The pin-up girl from this era inspired voluminous long locks with waves.
Baby Doll, peep toe and platform shoes were the fashion, either as pumps or sandals.
Sweetheart necklines were born (a fave of Judy Garland & Deanna Durban, those young stars of backstage musicals). So were A-line gowns of transparent organza or chiffons worn over a slip dress.
Topping it all off, the classic 40's bride wore a diadem head piece out of pearls that held a flowing veil. Other headdresses of the day? Snoods, turbans and hair jewelry. Because some weddings had to be planned literally overnight, tulle and netted turban head wraps topped off with bows or florals became the quickly assembled head chic of wartime brides. Snoods especially popular for evening wear of this era held carefully paged hair in place like the one below.
Make up in the header photo by Julie Morgan Hair and Make Up
I initially created this space for my clients. Eventually brides looking for that touch of wow found their way here. Draping and playing with fabric started some twenty years back when I did a three-year stint as a bridal fabrics buyer. After that I opened Bridal Alternatives, a custom design studio and ever since have had the opportunity of working with brides who want that extraordinary one-of-a-kind dress. I'm in love with fashion history and re-invention of the past.
Other connections to fashion? I’ve been a columnist for San Francisco Art and Fashion News and have a weekly fashion buzz on One Wed Blog. I founded The Design Project of San Francisco, a networking organization of fashion professionals collaborating their skills and talents on projects. I’m currently working on a book called—you guessed it—'Bride Chic', all about that white gown and very special designer/client relationship. I live with my husband Edgar and Chihuahua Piccalina in Marin County California.
Want to see more of what I do? Check out my site at www.amyjotatum.com or call me 415.336.3480
CONTACT ME. Feel free to send on any ideas, photos or stories about your fashion or shopping finds firstname.lastname@example.org
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Please note some images on Bride Chic are photos from previous shoots and editorials of my collection pieces. Since I do admire other designers work, I’ve also added from online sources to share a different perspective. There’s no profit from the display of these photos -- they are being shown for the informational and educational benefit of brides and aficionados of bridal fashion. I always list my source, providing a link back. If you feel an image here violates your intellectual property and/or copyrights, please email your concerns to me (email@example.com) and I will gladly remove the photos in question. Thank you!
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