You didn’t come here for old Hollywood movies, you came for the adorable vintage styles that are the unique hallmark of British Retro. I know that, so why do I find myself writing about the golden age of Hollywood so often? Well, I suppose the reason is that back in the 1950s the place everyone would look for glamour, style and lifestyle aspirations would primarily be at the cinema. Not everyone had television, so images of a life more glamorous would come from whatever was showing at the local Odeon and, to a lesser extent, colour illustrations in women’s magazines (paper was still rationed until the early 1950s, so a colour plate in a magazine would have been something pretty special although still not as exciting as watching a Hollywood Technicolour feature with a quarter of Liquorice Allsorts).
Nowadays we are just one or two clicks away from a naked Kardashian. Reality TV, Instagram, The Daily Fail… there is no longer any mystery or allure. We have seen it all. I feel quite wistful when I imagine how exciting it must have been to wait for new film releases and to eagerly anticipate the cinema newsreel clips showing red carpet arrivals at events like the Oscars. This may be why I continue to keep an eye on what people are wearing for the Oscars and still, occasionally, feel a thrill when something wonderful, surprising, shocking, or just darned stylish happens…
Billy Porter Oh my, a guy in a tux and a gown. He looked amazing.
The pinnacle of cool, Tilda Swinton. Always astonishing, whatever she’s wearing but this asymmetric sleeveless batwing dress is adorable.
Bjork wearing the dress that hatched a thousand Halloween costumes. We may have laughed, but we also took notice.
Add to this list the revealing costumes worn by Cher and Edy Williams over the years and you can see why we still can’t help casting our eyes toward Hollywood for a glimpse of the most memorable, outrageous and glamorous costumes. Perhaps part of the charm is that these are invariably costumes that would be unwearable for any occasion other than the Oscars, costumes like art installations that will end up behind glass in a museum. They are removed from reality and, therefore, quite magical.
When the credits roll I prefer to dust my popcorn from a gown that raises eyebrows for the right reasons! Our ever-popular pencil dress, Rhonda’s Revenge is a bodycon blockbuster that gives equal billing to modern tailoring and authentic 1950s retro style. She’s still got it… magical, glamourous and a serious contender for best picture.