Saturday, February 6, 2010

A goal

Inspired by this post on Casey's Elegant Musings, I found the film The Women on the internet so I could begin my quest to recreate one of the oddest shirts in the history of fashion:

That's Rosalind Russell in her first scene in the movie. The shirt has three eyes on it, which seem to be shiny and raised. They seem almost like ceramic to me, though ceramic would probably be too heavy for the shirt to support. Did they make eye-shaped decorations out of acrylic in 1939? My mom thinks they're painted on, but that doesn't account for the raised-ness of them. It might be a combination of paint and something like trapunto quilting. The eyebrows, at any rate, do seem to be painted onto the silk of the shirt.

I've always imagined the shirt was yellow, for no good reason. It buttons up the back and there's a gathered detail on the sleeves. Then there's the chiffon(?) cummerbund. The shirt is worn with a gorgeous wool skirt. And that hat!

Rosalind Russell looks quite glamorous in this still (the movie would be PG-13 these days for the cigarette), but in the movie she's not particularly. She wears great clothes, but flops around gracelessly in them, and her character, Sylvia Fowler, is just rotten. But, she's Rosalind Russell, and therefore funny (the scene when she's doing exercises is great), and therefore not entirely hate-able. And she gets her comeuppance (I think; I didn't get quite to the end of the movie last night) so it's all good, as the kids said a few years ago.

It's actually kind of a terrible movie, from a feminist standpoint. The moral seems to be that men are cheaters, so women have to be wily schemers in order to keep their husbands, especially when (other than the inevitable cheating) they're good (rich, handsome, etc.) men. The main character, played by Norma Shearer, is determined that nowadays, when men and women are equals, she shouldn't have to allow her love to be sullied. Poor woman. She learns her lesson.

But, there are some hilarious lines, great performances, a Technicolor fashion show and a cat fight between Paulette Godard and Rosalind Russell. What else does one need from a movie?

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