Can you think of any era of fashion more in sync with cinema than the 1930's? The body-hugging bias cut was still a new, even radical concept back then, especially for a wedding gown. While a French designer named Madeline Vionet pioneered the bias-cut gown in the twenties, the thirties was when 'on the bias' took form in the long, lean silhouette we most remember on stars like Garbo and Harlow. During this golden era, it wasn't Paris as much as Hollywood that decreed the low down on fashion. Hollywood designers and the actresses who wore their creations had a lasting influence on the way we look at weddings and fashion even today. Their work is enduring because the big screen was saturated and exposed with so much of this new chic of the time.
The beginning of the 1930's ushered in dropped waistlines and skirts hung in bias ruffles and handkerchief treatments; bodices were still fairly relaxed. It wasn't until the 'nightgown or slip ' look made it's way into evening fashion that the waist was visible once more. By the end of the era, waistline still defined, we were seeing wider shoulders and big hair evolve into what would be the look of the 1940s.
TIPS FOR CREATING A 1930s LOOK
* Silhouettes were sleek and draped the body in lightweight high sheen satins and crepes.
* Two of the most popular necklines were the halter and cowl, often cut very low in the back. Actually, the look was so daring, tongues clucked as the etiquette police of the time declared, 'no nice lady wore such things out at night'. Ladies had different ideas though and wore these back-baring styles anyway. Today the bare back is pretty much a staple in bridal collections...
* Hair was either bobbed or worn slicked back and in a low chignon. Marcelling (deep waving process) was still being used. Accents were often florals or jewels worn in the bride's hair.
*In the early 30s the cloche veil popularized in the 20s was still on the scene. Tiaras and diadems became trendy circa 1935
* The platform shoe wasn't introduced till the 1940's, so if you're going for authenticity think satin, low-heeled and strappy.
Clockwise: Photo 1: Clara Bow shot by Eugene Robert Richee via Tumblr///Photo 2: Myrna Loy in white satin via Tumblr///Photo 3: Early 1930s Bride via Pinterest//Photo 4:Countess Marina Golenistcheff-Koutouzoff in Chanel satin bridal dress, 1931via Pinterest///Photo 5: Dolores del Rio in white satin/velvet via Tumblr/// Photo 6: Jeanette MacDonald marrying Gene Raymond in 1937 via Megetaveel///Photo 7: Bette Davis via Pinterest///Photo 8: via Pinterest Ginger Rodgers in Bernard Newman's ostrich plume and satin ball gown. It would make a great wedding dress, no?///Photo 9: Marie Giron in her Schiaparelli wedding gown, 1935 via Pinterest///Photo 10: 1930 bride Ruth Bedford, New York via Tumblr Photo 11: Frances Dee shot by Eugene Robert Richee c.1932 via Tumblr//Photo 12: 1934 Claudette Colbert in a white satin wedding gown by Robert Kalloch via Bride Chic///Photo 13: Gene Tierney in an allover lace gown by Oleg Cassini via Bride Chic///Photo 14: Jeanette MacDonald wearing a diadem via Pinterest///Photo 15: Ann Southern 1937 via Pinterest///Muriel Phillipsbourne 1932 wedding portrait via Pinterest
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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