Sunday, May 30, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Gilbert Adrian was always a wit, in life and in fashion design. Polka-dots have for years represented fun and simplicity in clothing. But for Adrian, a polka-dot could just as well be made of gold sequins, and since all his designs under his label had their own names, this one he called, "Doctor I See Spots." He designed it in 1944 in the midst of WW II, a hopeful sign for better times. Joan Crawford ordered her own Adrian custom label version.
World War II ended and the cold-war started. Who else but Adrian could use the theme of atomic bombs in fashion design? In 1950 Adrian came out with his "atomic collection." Above he used polka-dots in a very different way for this gown, which he named "Atom Smashed." For another gown in the same collection he architecturally formed it into a mini mushroom cloud, with "blasts'" of tulle and taffeta formed at the sides.
The late Lena Horne is pictured above in the film Cabin in the Sky, in 1943. This simple but
show-stopping outfit was designed by Irene. The polka-dots were perfect in adding just enough visual interest but leaving all the rest to the beatiful Lena Horne and her wonderful performance.
Costume designer Travis Banton used large embroidered dots on net in this costume for Dorothy Lamour in Swing High Swing Low in 1937. The fitted net was worn over one shoulder and tied in a bow. The use of black-on-black gave a lot of interest to the gown.
Travis Banton also used black tulle with black and gold metal discs in this costume for Claudette Colbert in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife in 1938. The discs add glitter to the black tunic gown with large bows at the shoulder. Banton was at the peak of his design genius in the 1930s.
Dita in dots. The fetish model Dita Von Teese looks fetching in polka-dots. The use of a shrink-wrapped, body-sculpted garment with black dots on a fire-engine red dress is an eye-popper. The highly contrasted use of simple polka-dots as in this vibrant PVC dress is very unique. Dita's appearance here was in 2002 with the Pussycat Dolls for Maxim magazine.
Sarah Jessica Parker is always a fshion plate. Here she shows how polka-dots can be used in a more formal but still very sexy dress. Adrian would have loved the contrast, as he often used plain gingham in formal evening gowns in the 1940s. Jessica models this outfit at the 11th Screen Actor's Guild Awards in 2005.
Here Evan Rachel Wood shows another mode of sexy in a polka-dotted sleeveless mini at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Installation Luncheon on August 11, 2009.
Polka-dots are always in style - gay and flirty or sleek and sophisticated. I see spots!
But don't bother calling the doctor.