Trifecta

I am often asked why I prefer movie stars of yore to today’s offerings. Allow me to explain, using but a single picture taken sometime in the 1950s:

That’s Jane Russell on the right, Debra Paget (I think) on the left, and I don’t know who’s in the middle.

None of that is important. As long as you’re prepared to overlook the hot dogs, that is.

One Of My All-Time Favorites

…redheads, that is.

It is a great pity that most memories of flame-haired beauty Greer Garson are going to be in black-and-white, because she was extraordinary even by the standards of her time (which, as I’ve lamented before, featured Women With Regrettable Hairstyles).

The best part about Garson is that initially, she never had any intentions of becoming a movie actress. She graduated from university with a degree in French and 18th-century literature and worked in an ad agency in her native London. Then she got into some stage acting, and when she was spotted at a performance by L.B. Mayer, he offered her an acting contract on the spot. Her effect was immediate: she got an Oscar nomination (the first of seven) for her very first movie role in Blossoms In The Dust, and won Best Actress for Mrs. Miniver  just a couple years later.

Most British actresses were portrayed in the contemporaneous stereotype of the calm, classy woman, but Greer Garson somehow managed to escape the typecasting occasionally, such as the dancer in Random Harvest (coincidentally, one of my all-time favorite romantic movies, by the way):

…and she was also capable of being not just beautiful, but sexy as well. Here she is in (yet another of my favorite movies) Mrs. Miniver, showing off her new hat to her husband, wearing a nightgown which… I don’t wanna talk about it:

Maybe it was an inadvertent act on the part of the movie’s director (I doubt it), but that scene is one of the most understated yet sexiest ever filmed — no nudity, no sexual banter, nothing but Greer Garson’s astonishing beauty. And in both the above movies (they came out in the same year, 1942) she was already thirty-eight years old, an advanced age by Hollywood standards.

Here are a few more examples of what I’m talking about:

If only they’d been taken in glorious Technicolor… but hey, I’ll take what I’ve been given.

Back Then

Before I was born — hell, before my father was born — women dressed in the fashion of the day without regard to what it actually looked like. (Yeah, not much has changed.) Here’s one example, from the Roaring Twenties:

Of course, while that was what women wore in public, in private was a whole ‘nother story, as they say. Here, for your delectation, is a series of pictures of some of the Ziegfeld Girls of the era — most of whom were physically tiny, by the way — dressed (or rather, partly-dressed) in some private fashions.

This all came about when I was looking for some reference pics for a novel I’m working on — I needed to describe how a female character dressed back in the day, and suddenly, as so often happens on Teh Intarwebz, I ended up looking at these.

I’ll get back to the research any day, now…


Dramatis personae, from the top:
Adrienne Ames
Jean Ackerman
Olive Brady
Madge Bellamy
Lillian Bond

Groucho’s Moustache

It’s all Phil Collins’s fault.

Perhaps I should explain myself.

Phil has a daughter named Lily who is a fashion model, and an extraordinarily beautiful girl she is, too:

However, she is distinguishable from most other girls by her signature feature, those thick, glossy eyebrows. And if there’s one thing we know about the fashion business, it’s that they slavishly copy anything that could be called “trendy” or “in” or whatever term they use to justify lemming behavior.

Yesterday I was riding on London’s Tube system, and across from me were sitting two girls of exquisite beauty — had they not been fuller-figured than the norm [2,000-word rant on the Anorexia Look deleted], I would have thought they were models. (I’d like to show a pic, but nowadays if you take an unsolicited photo of a woman, the next thing that happens will be you finding yourself spreadeagled on the ground while protesting to an unsympathetic audience of the fuzz that you’re not a stalker.)

However, both said beautiful Tube girls were (in my mind anyway) disfigured by having painted their eyebrows thicker — grotesquely so, like this:

…and in so doing, they’d transformed themselves into caricatures of Greek peasant women.

And forgive me, but the Greek peasant woman look doesn’t go well with blonde hair.

I would suggest that younger women take a pass on this particular trend, no matter how many fashion mags suggest that the simian look is the latest hot thing. What looks natural on Lily Collins looks freakish on everybody else — because no matter how good you think you look, all we see is that you’ve done a Groucho on your eyebrows (and hence the title of this post):

Of course, nobody’s going to listen to me. I just hope Phil Collins is satisfied.

Fun With Art

“OMG, so I went to this like, artist’s place ’cause he said he was, like, looking for a model and he was offering like, serious cash. So I get there and he says I have to pose like, nude OMG, but he says he saw my nude pic on the Internet because that bastard ex-bf of mine, like, took those nudies of me with his iPhone? and this artist is all like, it’s Art, not just a boob pic, you know? And he offers me like, double the money and I’ve got these student loans? so I think WTF and I strip off. He starts painting me, and then he’s, like, all OMG you’re so beautiful and he starts looking at me LIKE THAT and I’m just about to get up and leave when he, like starts kissing me and I’m like ewww ewww ewww because he’s like, older than my Dad, you know? I was so grossed out, it was like, sexual harassment? but he gave me $500 for the session so I guess it’s like, okay?”

“OMG that’s exactly what happened to me? only I didn’t go nude and the artist was like kinda sexy, like Brad Pitt kinda, so I didn’t mind too much? Just promise me you won’t like, tell my bf, kay?”