Tag Archives: Gene Tierney

Style on Film: Laura

Apart from David Raksin’s lovely theme tune, I’m not much of a fan of Otto Preminger’s newly re-released 1944 noir melodrama Laura – about the investigation into the murder of a beguilingly beautiful young woman played by the luminous Gene Tierney (above, with Vincent Price) – but I do love most of its heroine’s style. The wardrobe sported by Tierney, and designed by Bonnie Cashin, is much softer and less tailored than the clothes worn by other 1940s female characters in film. Here’s how Laura looks when her admirer, the acerbic newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) recalls first meeting her, when she was 17.On the night that seals Laura’s “doom” – when she meets smooth-talking southerner Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price in an especially annoying performance as an especially annoying character) – she’s a vision in a cowl-necked, hip-hugging, vaguely Grecian-style evening dress which is accessorised with  a brooch on one shoulder and an elegant cuff.Here it is again, this time in a studio publicity shot … A successful advertising agency executive, Laura might be expected to be kitted out for the office in sharp suits and angular hats – but, as if to reinforce her image as a gentle, kind-hearted creature, she is only seen wearing almost informal workgear (simple sweaters and skirts) and floppy, cloche-like hats. Here she is getting ready to leave the office wearing the hat which Shelby tells her he “approves of”. When she visits the jealous Waldo shortly afterwards, Laura wears this stripy tunic top with a peplum – how 2012 is that? From the start of the film, everyone thinks that Laura has been murdered. The cop investigating the case, McPherson (Dana Andrews), becomes so obsessed by her that he is sleeping in her apartment when she turns up alive after weekending in the country – an angelic vision in a white raincoat and another coquettish, floppy cloche hat. Weirdly, Laura seems more dressed up in the morning, when she’s making breakfast – in her broad-shouldered kimono jacket, palazzo pants and high heels – than she does for going out to work… Another unusual outfit is the pencil skirt and tunic ensemble Laura wears for a little soiree in honour of her homecoming, towards the end of the film. The top with drawstring, peasant-style neck, bracelet-length sleeves and is tightly fitted over the hips and tummy – and it’s quite unlike anything the other female characters are wearing in this film, or any other of the era. Laura wears it with only a diamond ring and a sparkling cuff – and outshines every other dame (as McPherson would say) in the room. When she’s taken to the station for questioning, she throws a matching shawl round her neck.There is one rival in the style stakes in this movie: Laura’s socialite aunt, Ann Treadwell (played by Judith Anderson, best remembered as dowdy and creepy Mrs Danvers in Rebecca). When we first meet her, she is sporting a sarong and a black top accessorised with a series of surrealist-style brooches. 

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

I did a double-take on Monday when I read the press release that accompanies the Spring 2011 cosmetics collection from Guerlain. Why? Because it name-checked one of my favourite underrated actresses of the 1940s – the luminously beautiful Gene Tierney, who, for some reason, is not remembered much these days despite her timeless gorgeousness and a film legacy which includes the exquisitely haunting romantic-fantasy The Ghost and Mrs Muir and one of the seminal film noirs, Laura…

According to Guerlain’s creative director Olivier Echaudemaison, Gene Tierney was “a very classic star”, and this new collection is all about creating a very classic Hollywood look. Subtly enhanced eyes are complemented by statement
lips, with fuschia pink the key shade – it even features in the lovely and extremely easy-to-wear new Guerlain L’Ecrin in Rue de Rivoli (£52.50; pictured above), six slightly pearlised eye shades of beige, pale mauve and auberginey brown.

I think that Natalia Vodianova (right), the model who is the face of Guerlain make-up, looks less like Tierney – and even less like Kim Novak and Grace Kelly, who are also name-checked in the press release – and more like the contemporary American actress Elizabeth McGovern in her Ragtime days (early 1980s) but I can see the influence of what Echaudemaison describes as Tierney and co’s “fire under ice” sex appeal …

TUESDAY

Of course, a classic movie star look requires classically long, luscious lashes – and by Tuesday I was a convert to a mascara which achieves those with minimum effort – Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara (£22; www.esteelauder.co.uk).

A new variation on the original Sumptuous Mascara, it has an almost triangular brush which contains two types of bristles that create a false lash effect when they comb and coat the hairs with the three-fibre formula mascara.

I’m hooked on the Extreme Black shade, but am looking forward to trying Extreme Indigo, Extreme Violet (both limited editions) and Extreme Brown…

WEDNESDAY

I turned 39 just before Christmas – and, suddenly, it feels as if 40 is looming. So when I went along for my regular Clarins TriActive Facial on Wednesday, I told Lindsay, the therapist, that ageing was now a concern.

After the super-relaxing treatment  – it really is the most pampering facial I’ve come across in recent years – Lindsay delivered her verdict and I was chuffed to hear that she wouldn’t prescribe any anti-ageing creams for me just yet. Keeping the skin moisturised is really the key to getting the most mileage out of its youthfulness, so I intend to continue with the Clarins HydraQuench range, which I’m alternating with Chanel’s Hydramax, and from which I recently began using Clarins HydraQuench Cream (£32.68; www.clarins.co.uk) at night to counter the effects of the cold weather.

By the way, I noticed that the Clarins Spa (0141 221 3880, ext 2023) in Frasers, Glasgow is offering 25% off treatments if they’re booked before January 15 and taken before the end of February.  Not a bargain to be sniffed at!

THURSDAY

Skincare is not the only reason for my complexion looking better than usual at the moment: the latest foundation from Chanel – Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (£31;  020-7493 3836), which goes on sale on Friday, has played its part too.

This lovely, sheer and moisturising foundation feels fresh and makes the skin look fresh and healthy. It’s very runny, and the consistency takes a bit of getting used to but I found it a treat to use a foundation that gave decent coverage to my less-than-flawless skin but wasn’t cakey or heavy-feeling.

I haven’t tried wearing it for a full day yet – or, for that matter, for a night-out (when a glass or two of wine might ordinarily trigger an attack of shine), so I’ll report back once it’s been through these tests. But so far, so good.

FRIDAY

Over Christmas my hair behaved very strangely indeed. No amount of conditioner could stop the ends from being infuriatingly tangled after washing and matted within a few hours of drying it.

I had had my hair coloured with Aveda highlights before Christmas, and so had been using the Aveda Pure Abundance shampoo and conditioner. I didn’t know whether it could be the colour that was causing the problems – or the products. By the end of the holidays, however, I was noticing lots of split ends and breakages so I sent out an SOS to Aveda.

The lovely Cemo, who looks after us beauty journalists, said: “Pure Abundance is designed for fine hair to give it volume. However, it contains Acacia Gum which gives the hair root a lift. It’s a sticky ingredient so it’s probably the reason for the difficulties you’re having combing your hair.”

Cemo immediately sent me Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturising Shampoo (£18; www.aveda.co.uk) and Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturising Conditioner (£19.50). She explained her choices: “Dry Remedy is enriched with Buriti Oil so it will inject moisture into the hair. Since it’s an oil, it can weigh fine hair down so focus the treatment on the ends of your hair and not the roots.”  On Friday I followed her advice – and there was an instant improvement which lasted all day – my hair looked healthier and stayed completely un-matted and smooth. Hopefully, this means I won’t have to have it all chopped off next month after all…

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Leopard Ladies 2

There are an awful lot of crimes against leopard print going on this winter (and it’s only October!), so here’s a second selection of favourite leading ladies working that loveliest of animal prints, kicking off with Barbra Streisand. She’s not usually a style icon of mine but this coat is inspirational..

One actress who has long been a style icon of mine, however, is the “peek-a-boo” blonde star Veronica Lake who appeared in a string of hit movies in the 1940s. Here she is in leopard print coat, with regular co-star Alan Ladd.

Of course, once a leopard print lover, always a leopard print lover so it’s no surprise to find multiple photos of the same star wearing the pattern. In last month’s Leopard Ladies post on this blog, Gene Tierney was shown in her leopard print bikini; here she is wearing leopard in a slightly more practical way …

Another leopard print fan was the elegant comedienne Carole Lombard, here shown very early in her movie career wearing a leopard-trimmed number.

Carole Lombard and Bette Davis may have worked at a rival studios, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they were styled in the early 1930s .. Here’s a blonde Bette Davis vamping it up in sexy leopard print..

And, proving that it isn’t only vamps who can carry off leopard, here’s Audrey Hepburn in my favourite of her Charade get-ups by Givenchy.

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Leopard Ladies

I’ve never been a cat lover but I’ve always adored leopard print – and this winter, it looks set to be THE pattern to be seen with. In fact I’m lusting after a leopard print coat from Topshop. Here are selection of some of my favourite stylish leading ladies in leopard print, starting with the sexy and elegant Anne Bancroft in her most famous role – as Mrs Robinson in The Graduate (1967).

Even in leopard print, the lovely Audrey Hepburn looks as demure as ever …

While Anne Bancroft’s Mrs Robinson wore her leopard on her head and as a trim on her collar, and Audrey went for a typically chic little pillbox hat, the luminous Carole Lombard wore leopard on her hat, collar and muffler in her breakthrough film, Twentieth Century (1934).

Leopard print has always been associated with bad girls and in the 1940s, one of the vampiest bad girls on the big screen was Barbara Stanwyck who accessorizes with leopard print in this picture in a surprisingly restrained and elegant way …  Mind you, the pout and the come-hither eyes compensate!

I can’t think of any photos of Marilyn Monroe sporting leopard print offscreen but she wears it beautifully in the early ocean liner scenes of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

Kim Novak was another 1950s blonde star who memorably sported leopard print – as if to underline her slinky, feline quality – especially in the wonderfully stylish romantic comedy Bell, Book and Candle.

So far, so useful in terms of style inspiration for this winter. I doubt that many of us will be taking a leaf out of Gene Tierney’s book, though:

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