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Lucy's Movie Clothes


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So since Claude asked for it I’ll do a post on Lucy’s clothes. I’m mostly going to go with clothes worn on-screen but will comment on some off-screen things I like and dislike as well.

 

Lets start in the 1930’s. Lucy has a very tall and lean look to her during most of this decade and her clothes play this up. Most of her dresses in movies are cut on a slimmer bias and I think this adds to making her seem so much taller then I ever notice her being in any other decade. On screen Lucy is not seen too often in pants, but I think she looks great in the pants she wears in Stage Door and gives old Hepburn a run for the money.

By the late 30’s into the early 40’s Lucy’s figure starts to fill out more and I think she looks a lot better. So lets look at a few of my favorite looks from this decade.

 

Best dresses:

 

Lured: This is the first time Lucy works with costume designer Elois Jensen. She must have really liked her stuff as she went on to be the first costume designer on ILL. I love all her clothes in this movie but the blue engagement party dress is my favorite. When I was trying to come up with what I wanted in a wedding dress I sought out a skirt that looked similar. A close runner up to this dress is the number she wears to the Music Hall, fur and all.

 

Duberry Was a Lady- Our first step into MGM Hollywood Glam. Everything about Lucy’s look in the present day part of this movie screams Movie Star. The red dressing room slip outfit is sexy, but in general she has a very good wardrobe throughout. The dress she wears in the final scene photographs as pink, but wasn’t this on display recently and it looked more beige?

 

Two Smart People: The dress Lucy wears at the Mexican Inn. With the wrap off, the one shoulder dress is very pretty on her. For the most part Lucy looks great with off the shoulder, and spaghetti strap dresses. She had beautiful shoulders. I can only remember one other time she has a one shoulder dress on and it’s one of the CBS Opening Night programs from the early 60’s (found on the Lucy Show DVD extras). This time all the dress does is make her look heaver then she was.

 

Worst Dress:

 

Best Foot Forward- That white, double tired dress Lucy wears at the dance. She looks like a cake topper.

 

 

 

Moving on to post 1951 movies:

 

Facts of Life- I have 2 favorites from this movie. The outfit she wears sailing is a perfect example of causal chic, as well as the sweater and pants when she is calling Bob at the office. Lucy’s hair on the sailing trip reminds me of how she looked in the 30s. The second best is the tight black dress with lace Lucy is wearing when her and Bob are tipsy one night and find a hotel room (no donut). Another great cut on her.

 

Critic’s Choice- Claude has said many times how great Lucy looks here and I agree. Edith Head did the gowns and the glamour she brings to Lucy helps to make a great transition from her younger 50’s look to a much more sophisticated, yet still sexy older look.

 

Yours, Mine and Ours- If you need to see many of these outfits again, just watch Season 6 of The Lucy Show. I watched this again the other night and 75% of the wardrobe has been seen before. My favorite from this movie is the red dress she wears on the date with Frank. It’s not new to the movie or new at all, as it was on the Christmas episode of TLS Season 4 and also in a photo shoot at Lucy’s house.

 

Mame- Lucy’s largest movie wardrobe. I’m only going to list my best and worst here, but if someone wants to discuss them more, go ahead. Worst-the black dress Lucy wears working at the department store, ugh. Best-Maroon/Red dress hosting the Upsons at her place.

 

 

 

Lucy in a white wedding dress: Lucy’s been married or almost married a few times on screen but not all of those cases have resulted in her in a white, traditional dress. The movies that have include: Forever Darling, Long Long Trailer, Easy to Wed, and ILL-Marriage License episode. Let’s exam each dress.

 

Forever Darling- This is my least favorite of the 4. The dress isn’t too terrible but that head piece is another story.

 

Long Long Trailer- Tied for favorite. The lace over the sweetheart neckline is a great look on Lucy and we do have a headpiece but it is much better.

 

ILL- Marriage License- I’m going to take a guess here and believe this to be white, as I have never seen it in color. Cute tea length and perfect for the situation.

 

Easy to Wed- Lucy makes one of the best entrances ever in her movies in this dress. The papers flying as she marches through the newspaper office. This is tied for #1 dress. The dress is long, glamorous, and body skimming. This is another case of a true Movie Star look.

 

And since we are talking about wedding dresses let’s throw in the only time Lucy wears a dress to get married in real life,

her blue dress from the Catholic ceremony. Perfect color choice for an already married woman. Seeing it actual move in the Home Movies is nice as I didn’t know it was as full in the skirt as it was. Good length on her as well. The little gloves are so darling and Desi made a nice choice to complement it with his light suit.

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Oh my, this is gonna be a humdinger of a thread . . . I'll start with my all time favorite, MAME, the red velvet number for the opening IT'S TODAY, with the hanging necklace. It's just perfect for that number, she sings and dances in it and if you see it UP CLOSE, it's very intricate, loads of buttons, nice sleeves, terrific back. She went to all that trouble disigning that ostentatious number in the Church, only to be seen for like 30 seconds, big floppy hat with the hanging veils. In the dancing number in the hotel with that beautiful exquisite black dress. There's a close up on it and i think the back has a backing so it's not her back you see but this dress is to die for and Lucy dancing in it evokes her former RKO castmate Ginger Rogers. Yes, the last velvet dress in the closing scene or next to closing is terrific too. Even the grey for the airport with that fur trim, if the film weren't full of these terrific outfits, you'd single any one of them out as being some of the nicest things Lucy ever wore. Yes, i've stated a thousand times how i hated seeing Lucy in those turbans. Two things, Lucy's red hair covered in a film is like Fred Astaire NOT dancing or Sinatra not singing, worst things on her in this movie. Second and most importantly, these friggin turbans did make Lucy look like a female impersonator and i think that's where those remarks originated. The dress and again big floppy hat for dinner at the Upsons was excellent too.

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Puzzler . . . there was this one movie that Lucy did where her wardrobe was so fantastic that my mom would want to watch it over and over just for the clothes she wore . . .problem is i have no idea which movie it was. I think it might have been a movie we never get to see like Lover Come Back, i dunno, any thoughts on this Shel?

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That great Edith Head SUIT dress she wore in Critic's Choice, she later wore in a photo shoot in her highrise apartment, on the balcony, with a highrise backdrop, she looked so elegant and sophisticated there, especially after seeing her in house coats on the Lucy show at the time. And how about those Edith Head outfits in that Mr and Mrs special too?

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Oh my, this is gonna be a humdinger of a thread . . . I'll start with my all time favorite, MAME, the red velvet number for the opening IT'S TODAY, with the hanging necklace. It's just perfect for that number, she sings and dances in it and if you see it UP CLOSE, it's very intricate, loads of buttons, nice sleeves, terrific back. She went to all that trouble disigning that ostentatious number in the Church, only to be seen for like 30 seconds, big floppy hat with the hanging veils. In the dancing number in the hotel with that beautiful exquisite black dress. There's a close up on it and i think the back has a backing so it's not her back you see but this dress is to die for and Lucy dancing in it evokes her former RKO castmate Ginger Rogers. Yes, the last velvet dress in the closing scene or next to closing is terrific too. Even the grey for the airport with that fur trim, if the film weren't full of these terrific outfits, you'd single any one of them out as being some of the nicest things Lucy ever wore. Yes, i've stated a thousand times how i hated seeing Lucy in those turbans. Two things, Lucy's red hair covered in a film is like Fred Astaire NOT dancing or Sinatra not singing, worst things on her in this movie. Second and most importantly, these friggin turbans did make Lucy look like a female impersonator and i think that's where those remarks originated. The dress and again big floppy hat for dinner at the Upsons was excellent too.

 

 

I agree the turbans sucked. The fur trimmed plane outfit in the last scene is a favorite as well. I’m not a fan of the black dress in the ballroom dance. Part of it is the flesh colored backing. It reminds me too much of a figure skating costume. Also Lucy’s hair through this movie is a journey but I don’t like it when it’s pushed too far back in the front, and I believe that happens in the black dress dance number. She does dance marvelous though.

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Puzzler . . . there was this one movie that Lucy did where her wardrobe was so fantastic that my mom would want to watch it over and over just for the clothes she wore . . .problem is i have no idea which movie it was. I think it might have been a movie we never get to see like Lover Come Back, i dunno, any thoughts on this Shel?

 

 

I do not have Lover Come Back on DVD/VHS so if I saw it, it was a long time ago and I have no idea what she wore. Lucy’s best wardrobe came at MGM. Of those at MGM that I thought were good wardrobe movies were Duberry, Easy to Wed, and Two Smart People. Other than Lured, much of her later 40’s movies the clothing doesn’t stand out as exceptional, so it could be one of those that we don’t see much. Unless your mom likes high-class western wear then we can go with Fancy Pants.

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That great Edith Head SUIT dress she wore in Critic's Choice, she later wore in a photo shoot in her highrise apartment, on the balcony, with a highrise backdrop, she looked so elegant and sophisticated there, especially after seeing her in house coats on the Lucy show at the time. And how about those Edith Head outfits in that Mr and Mrs special too?

 

 

Ah yes the Mr and Mrs Special. The wardrobe in that is better than the special. I know what suit you are talking about as I was looking at that same photo the other night. This should have been her signature look for the decade. It’s amazing how it totally redefined her whole look from that in the 50’s.

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The dress she wore at the end of The Big Street, it was a perfect match for that tearful ending and Lucy looking so enchantingly beautiful and vulnerable and well, best she ever looked on film in that period. The garish but GRAND pink number she wore in the opening of Ziegfeld Follies?

 

 

I really do not like the Ziegfeld Follies dress. Pink looked fine on her, but not feeling the dress. The Big Street dress, I wish this was in color somewhere. Do we have any guess as to what it may have been? What’s interesting is to compare the glam look she has at the end of Big Street and the glam look MGM gave her. MGM glam Lucy loses the vulnerability. Maybe because it’s too perfect. The shellacked hair, the perfectly cut and tailored body skimming dresses, you feel like it’s a painting, one move and she’ll crack.

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I agree the turbans sucked. The fur trimmed plane outfit in the last scene is a favorite as well. I’m not a fan of the black dress in the ballroom dance. Part of it is the flesh colored backing. It reminds me too much of a figure skating costume. Also Lucy’s hair through this movie is a journey but I don’t like it when it’s pushed too far back in the front, and I believe that happens in the black dress dance number. She does dance marvelous though.

Well, that's the thing, i think i am more enamored of Lucy, looking REGAL, dancing in that beautiful ballroom and looking so terrific more than i loved that particular black dress and to have it flowing around as she dances, well, those Lucy type scenes send shivers up my old spine.
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I do not have Lover Come Back on DVD/VHS so if I saw it, it was a long time ago and I have no idea what she wore. Lucy’s best wardrobe came at MGM. Of those at MGM that I thought were good wardrobe movies were Duberry, Easy to Wed, and Two Smart People. Other than Lured, much of her later 40’s movies the clothing doesn’t stand out as exceptional, so it could be one of those that we don’t see much. Unless your mom likes high-class western wear then we can go with Fancy Pants.

Uh, N O , neither of us liked westerns and least of all Lucy in one. I consider Fancy Pants a comedy, not a western. And the only thing i remember apparel wise for Lucy in that opus was her bird in a cage in her hair done by Hope's character.
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Ah yes the Mr and Mrs Special. The wardrobe in that is better than the special. I know what suit you are talking about as I was looking at that same photo the other night. This should have been her signature look for the decade. It’s amazing how it totally redefined her whole look from that in the 50’s.

Well, don't you think that might have come about after getting those Blackwell disses and wanting to go for something more comensurate with her new found status as the Queen of this or First Lady of that?
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I really do not like the Ziegfeld Follies dress. Pink looked fine on her, but not feeling the dress. The Big Street dress, I wish this was in color somewhere. Do we have any guess as to what it may have been? What’s interesting is to compare the glam look she has at the end of Big Street and the glam look MGM gave her. MGM glam Lucy loses the vulnerability. Maybe because it’s too perfect. The shellacked hair, the perfectly cut and tailored body skimming dresses, you feel like it’s a painting, one move and she’ll crack.

You're such an expert on all this that i will ask you a fashion question, my mom made her own clothes, she made dresses for her sisters for weddings, she even made clothes for me when i was a kid. She had this SPRESSION that you mentionned in your first post, what does CUT ON THE B I A S mean?
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Cut on the bias as defined means- cut against the grain. A garment cut this way has a distinctive look and feel, and it tends to flow more, feel more elastic, and cling to the body. This type of cut is often used on women's clothing, such as skirts and lingerie, and is associated with flirty or sexy garments.

 

I’ve heard this talked about with the cut on or against the grain on Project Runway sometimes. The more experienced sewers can do it, the novices can’t and it ends up being a mess.

 

You had asked me what a peplum was once. Other then it totally being the new hot thing this fall (and Euprope was doing this in the spring) a peplum is a short overskirt that is usually attached to a fitted jacket, blouse or dress.

 

They were very popular in the 40 and 50’s and I see Lucy in them many times. The easiest to recall is the suit she wore in the Hollywood Fashion show.

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Cut on the bias as defined means- cut against the grain. A garment cut this way has a distinctive look and feel, and it tends to flow more, feel more elastic, and cling to the body. This type of cut is often used on women's clothing, such as skirts and lingerie, and is associated with flirty or sexy garments.

 

I’ve heard this talked about with the cut on or against the grain on Project Runway sometimes. The more experienced sewers can do it, the novices can’t and it ends up being a mess.

 

You had asked me what a peplum was once. Other then it totally being the new hot thing this fall (and Euprope was doing this in the spring) a peplum is a short overskirt that is usually attached to a fitted jacket, blouse or dress.

 

They were very popular in the 40 and 50’s and I see Lucy in them many times. The easiest to recall is the suit she wore in the Hollywood Fashion show.

Oh for corn sakes, dun`t bring up that Fashion Show. If only she had worn that Forest Tucker evening gown instead of that stupid suit, i know it was for the laughs of the pain jokes but still, i would have killed to see that dress on Lucy. Thanks for the info on the BIAS, hope you weren`t BIASED in your answer, LOL! As for peplum, dun`t recall asking you about it but i think my mmother used to feed me that as a baby, no wait, that was pablum.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Again, brought back up because of Brock's new Mame/Here's Lucy montage, didn't that dress look sensational, or the pantsuit or whatever you call it. It looks ordinary here but when you saw it on the big screen, and dancing in it, and up close with all those buttons adn that detail work, beautiful stunning outfit and a great inkling of what else was coming costume wise in that STRAVAGANZA that was Mame.

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  • 1 month later...

Currently watching Fancy Pants. The wardrobe in this film is absolutely beautiful. All those corsets, skirts, jewelry, and the head pieces! Plus the length of her hair is the longest I've seen. I'm guessing there is hair pieces because of the thickness and all. But the color of all of her costumes make her eyes pop and her hair more vibrant. It's amazing how she barely ever wore eyeshadow before the late 50's and if so, it was very subtle. The eyelashes and eyeliner did everything then.

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Currently watching Fancy Pants. The wardrobe in this film is absolutely beautiful. All those corsets, skirts, jewelry, and the head pieces! Plus the length of her hair is the longest I've seen. I'm guessing there is hair pieces because of the thickness and all. But the color of all of her costumes make her eyes pop and her hair more vibrant. It's amazing how she barely ever wore eyeshadow before the late 50's and if so, it was very subtle. The eyelashes and eyeliner did everything then.

Yeah, i'm sure the birdcage hairdo is in a wig and not her natural hair, LOL!
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