Take a look at these outfits and fashion shows from over 70 years ago.
In 1953 Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell dazzled in the classic musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The film follows Monroe and Russell as two showgirls and best friends traveling from America to France on a cruise and each scene is punctuated by a series of fabulous outfits.
The fashion of the era celebrated the hourglass silhouette and a tailored feminine look was given to everything with a lot of suits and peplum detailing. This post-war fashion was also accessorized with gloves and pearls or other jewelry. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a snapshot of this moment in style on the big screen but Vancouver had a thriving fashion scene at this time that we could also turn to for a glimpse into the past.
Department stores like Eaton’s (which went out of business in 2002) and Hudson’s Bay would hold fashion shows in their stores and display the latest trends in swimwear, bridal, formal, and everyday wear.
The photos are in black and white so we can’t make out the exact hues that were most popular but texture and patterns like stripes and polka dots are a common theme throughout.
These photos are a mix of fashion shows, display windows, and designer stills from 1943 (during the war) to 1949 which was the precursor to 1950s fashion. Hats were also super popular and many outfits were designed with matching hats.
One aspect that hasn’t aged well is the style of photography. Fashion photography has come a long way since the 1940s and 50s when the favored angle was from below and extremely wide so it’s difficult to make out the details of the outfit.