Friday, December 31, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Bachelor Mother (1939)

Film Fashion Friday is back!! I am really excited to be sharing this movie with you all. It's a prefect watch for New Years Eve and supplies a wide range of fashion inspiration for the winter weather and holiday party season.

The Players

Ginger Rogers.....Polly Parrish
David Niven.....David Merlin
Charles Coburn.....J.B. Merlin
Frank Albertson.....Freddie Miller

Directed by Garson Kanin
Gowns by Irene

Polly Parrish works as holiday help for Merlin's Department Store. On her lunch break on her final day she sees a lady leaving a baby on a door stoop. Worried about the child, she picks him up and the agency assumes she is the mother. Polly insists that the child is not hers, that she was only concerned about him rolling off the stoop, but the agency feels Polly is making up her story to cover up being an unwed mother. The agency then approaches Polly's employer, David Merlin to give Polly her job back in order to keep the child and be able to support him. What follows is a series of events that place Polly and David together. Polly eventually becomes attached to the baby and to David. Will David be able to confess his feelings for Polly?

Fashion Review
Bachelor Mother (1939) is one of the many movies I had been patiently waiting for to be released on DVD. I remember a few years ago, watching it in parts on You Tube and falling in love with all the different outfits Ginger Rogers sports. In this role, Rogers really encompasses what many of us vintage gals try to achieve on a daily basis. She is a middle class, working gal which is embodied in her look throughout the film. One of my particularly favorite scenes is when David Niven's character sends for a gown, fur coat, and all the extras to supply a dressy look for Rogers on New Years Eve. What girl wouldn't love to have a beau who owned a department store? :)

Irene designed the gowns for this film and she no doubt selected and put together the other looks for the main female characters in the film. Irene was born in South Dakota in 1901 and went to Wolf School of Design. Although her first career choice was in the music field, her fiance quickly changed her mind and persuaded her to open a dress shop. This event would lead to Irene's influence career in Hollywood. Until she sign a contract with MGM, Irene did freelance work for Paramount, RKO, Columbia, and United Artists out of her Wilshire Costume Design Salon. After her work at MGM, Irene created Irene Inc. which was supported by 25 department stores which were given exclusive rights to Irene designs. I have yet to come across an Irene original in my vintage hunts, but still have hope that some day I might come across one!

Irene also throughout her whole career designed stars personal wardrobes, just as many other costume designers did. What I love about Irene's designs is that no matter what era you are viewing, her work is consistently good. I know that if I am watching a film with Irene deigns, I will get some great gowns and well put together head to toe looks. This idea is truly encompassed in the scene in Bachelor Mother where David has his help get all the items for Polly from stockings and hankies to a fur coat and corsage.

Fashion Grade 8/10 (Love the complete and consistently pulled together looks from scene to scene. Plus, Ginger Roger's hair is also to die for!!)

Bachelor Mother is available on DVD through the Warner Archive Collection and is available to rent through It has also been on You Tube in different segments.


Zootsuitmama said...

That movie is great for fashion! I'm gonna watch it again! Happy New Year! Zootsuitmama

BaronessVonVintage said...

oh, can't wait to see this! Ginger was just so gorgeous!

Lisa said...

I. Love. That. Hair. Will have to catch this movie sometime soon. Thanks for the hot tip!

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