Tag Archives: Doris Day

Style Heroine: Doris Day

Doris Day, whose wonderfully diverse career is currently being celebrated with a month-long retrospective at London’s BFI Southbank Centre, was not only a terrific singer, actress, comedienne and dancer; she was also a bit of a style icon. And an underrated one at that. Just in time for Sunday’s screening of Pillow Talk (1959), arguably the first and best of Day’s run of chic rom-coms, here’s a tribute to her distinctive pared-down style which flourished in the early 1960s – starting with this Jean Louis-designed ensemble from Pillow Talk.Doris Day - Pillow Talk red hat cream coateditedAs the sassy, independent interior designer in Pillow Talk, Day works a fab wardrobe of simple, colourful suits, cocoon coats and natty hats. Sadly, decent photos of these outfits are rare on the internet – so on to the equally glorious Lover Come Back (1961), another “sex” comedy with Rock Hudson. Once more Day played a career gal (this time an ad exec) but this time it was Irene, one of the grande dames of Hollywood costume design, who kitted her out in such simple and elegant outfits as this:Doris Day - Lover Come Back b&w suit

White was very much the Doris Day signature colour – no doubt because of its wholeseome, virginal, connotations. She was often seen in white or cream or monochrome. Here’s the stand-out evening dress from Lover Come Back, a film which was clearly an inspiration for Mad Men both in terms of its Madison Avenue setting and its style .. Doris Day - Lover Come Back pearl eveningeditedIrene, who died not long afterwards – in 1962 – put pen to paper on only one other occasion for Doris Day: to design the generally impressive wardrobe for the Hitchockian thriller Midnight Lace (1960). Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a decent picture available of the very-now black lace top which Day wears during one of her scarier scenes but there is a collection of publicity shots of other highlights of her Midnight Lace wardrobe available online, including this next slinky addition to the list of her memorable white evening gowns. She must have loved this dress: she wore it to the 1960 Academy Awards, when she was nominated as Best Actress for her performance in Pillow Talk.Midnight Lace - white evening gownPlaying  an American socialite living in London with her smooth-talking businessman husband (Rex Harrison), Day gets through quite an eclectic selection of kit in Midnight Lace – and is, unusually, seen in black twice in daytime scenes. There’s this streamlined, Jackie O-style, suit and pillbox hat comboMidnight Lace - black suit & pillbox hat

And this less formal outfit: Midnight Lace - black batwing suitAnd, finally, here’s Day looking more sophisticated than her character’s romantic naivete would suggest in That Touch of Mink (1962), alongside the most chic accessory a movie blonde in the early 1960s could have – Cary Grant..  This very DD evening outfit was designed by Rosemary Odell though she didn’t receive a credit.Doris Day - That Touch of Mink evening wear

And back to where the style heroism began – Pillow Talk. 


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My Week in Beauty


Doris Day and I seem to be running into each other a lot just now. Everything I do at the moment seems to end up relating to Doris. I interviewed a jazz musician on Monday and his favourite singer turned out to be .. you know who. A couple of weekends ago, I stumbled across an evening’s worth of programmes about her – one of which I watched a further two times… Then I interviewed another jazzer – and she too turned out to be a DD fan.

She’s certainly not a bad icon to take as inspiration – style-wise and otherwise. A strong woman and a survivor, she endured a violent early marriage, and was left penniless (and in debt) when her long-term husband and manager died – just at the point when she was getting too old for the leading lady roles. Recently, she has had to endure the heartache of her only child pre-deceasing her. I’ll bet she’s still finding some reason to get up in the morning – when most of us would just have given in to sorrow.

Doris is also inspirational style-wise because she’s a lady who knows her own mind about what suits her – and what doesn’t.  In her 1975 memoir, Doris Day – Her Own Story, she wrote:  “Outdoorsy type that I am, I don’t like a lot of make-up…. I don’t want to look contrived. I can’t look slinky or femme fatale-ish, no matter what I do, so it’s silly to try.”

Very much a poster girl for the natural look (achieved through not using make-up rather than using cosmetics to create the natural effect!), Doris said: “All I do for my eyes is curl my eyelashes and use a soft-brown mascara to darken the tips. If I go out in the daytime with eye make-up on, I feel like I’m in some kind of carnival. And at night I feel like I’m pretending to be somebody else.”

I’m not the outdoorsy type – far from it! – but I admire Doris’s strong beauty ideals and love the look she sported in the 1950s (top picture); the hairstyle a sort of feminine version of the DA and the make-up very natural.


Of course, if you’re going for the natural beauty aesthetic it’s essential to have good skin – and if you’re saving on cosmetics, then it’s worth spending more on the best skincare you can afford. These days, there are probably not many of us who could afford the latest face mask from the luxury French botanical skincare company Sisley but if you look at it as the equivalent price of a couple of express facials, then it takes on a different, er, complexion.

Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask (£88; www.johnlewis.com) is packed with active ingredients which are known for their anti-ageing properties. In just 15 minutes, they boost the appearance of the skin, making it look smoother, plumper and more radiant. The key ingredient is extract of Black Rose which tightens the skin while extract of Alkekengi Calyx (a Sisley exclusive) stimulates collagen production. Amino acids and vitamins revitalise the skin, while a cocktail of essential oils and shea butter moisturise and ensure comfort. I tried it on Tuesday, and there was definitely an improvement to my skin – both immediately and into the next day.

Benefit Watt’s Up! (£24.50; www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk) is a cheat’s way to luminous skin – but it’s very effective if you’re on the go and want to add a bit of va-va-voom to your make-up. It’s a creamy, shimmering highlighter which turns to powder on application. Simply glide it along the top of your cheekbones and browbones and blend it, using the spongey applicator at the other end of the stick. The result? The sort of look that the great Hollywood photographers achieved by using shadows and light… as I found out after a make-up session in my bedroom on Wednesday..


A night out with the girls was the perfect excuse to try one of the new Les Jeans de Chanel nail varnishes (£17.50) which are on sale exclusively in Chanel boutiques and Makeup Studios (in Harrods, Fenwicks in Newcastle and Frasers in Glasgow).

I sported Le Vernis in Blue Rebel, a dark petrol blue which, although admired, just doesn’t do it for me nearly as much as the midnight blue I fell in love with last month: Le Vernis in Blue Satin. It seems entirely fitting, given that after the excitement of my summer, I seem to be veering between the blues and the mean reds – both in terms of my mood, and my nails!


Friday should have been a good hair day as I was having it cut and coloured but the colour has turned out to be exactly what I didn’t want – too dark around my face, and with too many chunky dark streaks.. Needless to say, I’m going back soon to have it corrected. There was some good hair news, however: the PR from my favourite haircare brand, Ojon, was in touch to tell me about a fantastic deal they’re doing in John Lewis on Thursday, September 29 (for one day only): take in an empty shampoo or conditioner FROM ANY BRAND and you’ll receive a full-size  Ojon Damage Reverse Shampoo and a Damage Reverse Conditioner (while stocks last) … I’ll be there: Damage Reverse is just the job for coloured hair that gets dried out and is prone to split ends!

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