Oh Sundays. Unfortunately I had a rather unpleasant, busy week that withdrew me from the pleasure of writing you about news, likes/dislikes, the day to day rumble and special finds although there are extremely exciting posts in store! I started the week saddened by the news of Jane Russell’s death at age 89; she lived a full life, throughout which became famous as a singing and dancing silver screen starlet and World War II pin up. This made me think about how sad it is that these stars were neglected in the past few decades only to be brought up upon their illness or death, although they are living history landmarks of an era. And as my interviewed craftswomen, designers and shop owners often list 1940s/50s Hollywood actresses their aesthetic inspirations and quote them when asked for a wisdom cupcake, besides knowing how many of you vintage loving girls, like me, watch their movies, a post on my favourite lead ladies felt appropriate.
#1 Jane Russell
I like how she maintained a balance between feminine class and strong mindedness, despite being more well known for her figure than her acting skills at the time. Aware of her importance as a role model, she kept her head high and showed a society that censored her movie “The Outlaw” there was more to her than a pretty face.
#2 Marlene Dietrich
Another earlier example, a woman set apart by her willingness to explore conventions. For instance, she was one of the first women to sport slacks and perform in man’s uniforms/suits in the 1930s, defying gender roles without giving up her ultra-feminine, strong identity – what a wonderful lady.
#3 Ida Lupino
Curiously enough, Ida wasn’t a top act during her film career through the 1930s and 1940s – yet “poor man’s Bette Davis” was savvy enough to learn how to direct on set and became the “poor man’s Don Siegel” from 1949 onwards. A mediocre film star gave way to an outstanding director, acclaimed as one of the few successful ladies in the field. A true show business career woman.
#4 Hedy Lamarr
Recognised as an exotic beauty over a talented performer, Hedy Lamarr starred a number of films in the Golden Age being described by Vogue as “fatal Sunday supplement beauty, somnambulistic and aloof” in 1939. Despite this, her contribution to wartime efforts would go beyond the fundraising events she starred – she invented a frequency hopping Secret Communication System with George Antheil in the early 1940s that would be used by the US Army from the 1960s.
#5 Grace Kelly
Though this may strike you as an odd choice, she grew on me immensely after watching her star roles in some fantastic Hitchcock films. What’s more appealing about her story, though, is that she gave up the Hollywood career and lifestyle for the love of her life, becoming the Princess of Monaco – is there a more dream like story?
What are your favourite Golden Age actresses and why?
I have been unavailable and absent, given, but have planned some fantastic novelties nevertheless. Again… keep ‘em peeled, there will be content on the season’s past decade fads, the shocking news that aroused the vintage community’s rage and vintage hotspots in town coming soon.