From the beginnings of film, the first stars began shaping the way we view and consume the world of fashion. With your daily outfit, matched perfectly in design, color, and style, you set out on your day with a subconscious sense of fashion.
In the beginning of the big screen, the beautiful ladies and suave gentlemen that created such a buzz were not only the most expressive actors (because the film was silent) but they were the first icon fashionistas of the modern world. Their elaborate costumes were visions of pure envy, and when they were in public, their audience swooned at how well put together they were and their enviable fashion sense changed how ‘regular people’ viewed their own attire.
Betty Blythe in Cleopatra
There no real ‘fashion designers’ readily available for the small studios in the earliest film, often times the actors chose their clothing to suit the character. When a beautiful dress was needed, a friend, a mother or the actress themselves would create it. The best seamstresses were friends and neighbors. Gowns were often elaborate and beaded masterpieces that were one of a kind.
Silent film actress Leah Baird
The evolution came rapidly in the teens and 1920s as filmmaker D.W. Griffith began having special outfits made for his actors and bloated the movie budget so high that the studio wasn’t happy. He moved on and began his own studio so that he could have a costume department to source his lavish styles for his actors and actresses. So began the in-house fashion of the movie studios.
Beautiful handbags, jewelry, and accessories became the polish of the costuming. Leading ladies were presented as classic beauty that all women could aspire to.
Fashionistas were on-screen icons, with each outfit they wore, the world was now able to see the fashion trends and become part of a global fashion movement. Hollywood catapulted the fashion designers into fame, as every woman wanted to look like a star.
And so, the fashion industry and Hollywood became the best friends.
Actresses Gertrude Astor, Leah Baird, Rhonda Fleming, Eva Novak 1957