Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Under the Influence -- My Man Godfrey

I could say that this movie made our list of "Influencers" solely based on Carole Lombard's amazing 1930s fashions created by Travis Banton, but that would not be completely true.  The truth is that we watch this movie mainly because we are totally infatuated with William Powell -- and the clothes are an added benefit.  (Sorry Mr. Banton!)  Powell's mix of humor and wit added to his ability to be smooth and debonair is pretty much unmatched in Hollywood history to us.  Cary Grant might come in second, but Powell wins the award every time.  Definitive proof of this is 1932's "Jewel Robbery"-- our first real "AHA!" moment of just how sexy Mr. Powell could be.  Watch it now if you haven't seen it.  You won't be sorry.  We promise you.  But more on that fine film later. (Wink.)

Not to say that Powell's co-leads are not just as important in his films -- probably most famously, Myrna Loy from "The Thin Man" series.  She is necessary and absolutely delightful!  And Carole Lombard is just as necessary as the dizzy Irene Bullock in "Godfrey."  Powell excels (along with his co-stars) at creating the chemistry needed to build iconic roles and duos; that's why we still talk about his movies 80 years later.  It's missing from so many movies nowadays.  Today we go for easy jokes and cheap shots.  In the golden age of Hollywood, the writing and acting worked together to create magic -- the quick banter and back-and-forth, subtle visual gags and expressions, and the ability to make glamour and romance seem both attainable and far away.  Powell had a real affection for his co-stars; he and Lombard had been divorced for three years when "Godfrey" was made, but he insisted that she was perfect for the role.  Somehow I don't see that happening with actors today.

But, as much as we swoon over Mr. Powell, we really do love Banton's creations for Carole Lombard in the film.  Banton created statement pieces, and every outfit is met with an "oooohhhhh" whenever Irene bounds into the picture.  We first see her in a completely beaded gown and coat that communicates exactly how rich she is -- in direct comparison with Godfrey's "Forgotten Man."  And man, are those beads liquid!

You're hit with that beauty from the get-go!  It's like a ton of bricks has slammed into you, and then it just keeps going and going and going throughout the movie. 

You want fancy sleepwear -- you got it!

Need to lounge in style -- sure!

I'm looking for something sheer and swirly -- here you go!

What's a good dress to faint in?  Why, bias cut with floral appliques!

And finally, what can I wash dishes in?  Definitely this stunning floral frock!

Relevant for today?  Absolutely.  Here's a roundup of some new pieces that could have taken their inspiration straight from Irene's closet.

Alexander McQueen, Fall 2017

Marchesa, Spring 2018 RTW

Loup Charmant

Naeem Khan 2012/13

Yanina Couture, 2018

Erdem S/S 2018

If you haven't seen it -- then watch it.  Oh, and don't forget about "Jewel Robbery"! You won't regret it -- wink, wink!