This week I wanted to switch things up a bit and feature some silent films. There are three films I am focusing on, all of which are available to stream on Netflix. Each of these films contain strong female characters and of course, some great fashion inspiration as well!
The first film, Why Change Your Wife (1920), stars Gloria Swanson in her second of many collaborations with director Cecil B. DeMille. The story is a romantic comedy that is somewhat a sequel to Don't Change Your Husband (1919) this time with the roles reversed. It's really cute and pretty funny. However, what really makes this a must see film is the spectacular outfits put together by Clare West and Natacha Rambova. Swanson really knows how to show off early twenties glamour!
The next film is The Cheat (1915), directed by Cecil B. DeMille starring Fannie Ward and Sessue Hayakawa. Ward plays a money hungry wife who has an implied affair with Hayakawa. This film is pretty scandalous, showing a branding scene towards the end of the film -- something I was totally shocked by. The film was widely successful and protested at the same time. My favorite outfit is the one where Ward wears a huge black hat...she looks so trendy (for the time that is)!! I also really liked the Oriental influences this film displays, something that was very current with the trends for this time period.
The last film is also slightly outrageous. Salome (1923), starring Nazimova, is based on Oscar Wilde's play which loosely follows the biblical story of King Herod and his lust for his 14 year old step-daughter, Salome. The art nouveau-ish costumes were put together by the same lady that worked on the first film, Natacha Rambova. Rambova also designed the sets for this film, which I think are pretty amazing. Nazimova dons some pretty fantastic outfits throughout the film, but the ending, during her thought sequence is where she really shines. The film cuts between her and how she thinks she would look in her thoughts. The picture to the right shows one of her dreamt outfits. I was also really digging the wigs in the film, very artistic!
I hope I have inspired you to look at at least one of these films! I know silent film can be hard for many to get into, but these are a really good place to start. :)
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