Jean Louis, Designer to the Stars

Green silk crepe gown worn by Judy Garland in 1954's "A Star Is Born" displayed on a dress form
Jean Louis Design for 1954's "A Star Is Born"
Today's post is to make note that the George Cukor directed movie "A Star Is Born" starring Judy Garland and James Mason premiered at The Pantages Theater in Hollywood on this date in 1954.

The critically acclaimed film garnered six Academy Award nominations with Judy Garland losing out to Grace Kelly for the Best Actress Oscar.

Jean Louis, Mary Ann Nyberg, and Irene Sharaff were nominated for an Academy Award in Best Costume Design in Color category for that year as well.

Jean Louis is noted for creating some of the more memorable costumes and fashions worn by four decades of Hollywood stars.

Rita Hayworth posed in black evening gown from scene in movie "Gilda"
Rita Hayworth in the "Gilda Gown"
Mr. Louis designed the iconic "Gilda Gown" worn by Rita Hayworth in the "Put the Blame on Mame" scene and Marilyn Monroe's equally iconic "Happy Birthday Mr. President" gown. He would go on to be nominated for fourteen Academy Awards in Costume Design during the 1950's and 1960's.

What I remember of him though is watching Loretta Young sweep through the door at the beginning and ending of "The Loretta Young Show" in those legendary evening gowns designed by Mr. Jean Louis.

How fitting that the designer and client would later marry and remain married until Mr. Louis' death in 1997.

Dior's "The New Look"

Beige form fitting jacket with black full skirt in Dior New Look style on display on dress form
House of Dior "The New Look" 1947
©Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of Mrs. John Chambers Hughes

House of Dior's "The New Look"...the beginning of Fashion Fabulous. Read more on our Dior "The New Look: page here.

Anne Sainte-Marie in Lillian Bassman Photo

Model Anne St.  Marie wearing white suit and flowered hat in Lillian Bassman photo for Harper's Bazaar
Anne Sainte-Marie 
American fashion model Anne Sainte-Marie in a Lillian Bassman photograph for May, 1956 Harper's Bazaar Magazine.

Anne St. Marie had the sophisticated polish to perfect the total fifties' style to become one of the most prominent models of the 1950's.

As one of the foremost photographers from the 1940's through the 1960's, Lillian Bassman is considered one of the last great female photographers in the fashion world.

King of the Cowboys Roy Rogers

Studio portrait of Roy Rogers in fringed cowboy shirt tipping his white hat
King of the Cowboys Roy Rogers
The Roy Rogers Riders Club Rules

Be Neat and Clean
Be Courteous and Polite
Always Obey Your Parents
Protect the Weak and Help Them
Be Brave but Never Take Chances
Study Hard and Learn All You Can
Be Kind to Animals and Take Care of Them
Eat All Your Food and Never Waste Any
Love God and Go To Sunday School Regularly
Always Respect Our Flag and Country

Special permission received for use of images and Riders Club Rules from the Roy Rogers Estate.

Tribute to Roy Rogers can be seen on Living In Fifties Fashion page Roy Rogers

That 1950's Little Black Dress

Vintage 1950s sleeveless flare skirt cocktail dress with red rose trim at waist
LBD from SusiesBoutiqueCloths

Why wear ordinary when you could stand out in the crowd wearing this vintage "Little Black Dress" similar to what fashion conscious fifties' women wore to cocktail parties. For sale now at our friends at SusiesBoutiqueCloths. For more insight into what the 1950's women wore on special occasions see our Special Occasion Dress page. 

Ann Lowe Original

African American Designer Ann Lowe Evening Gown on Mannequin
Ann Lowe Original ©Metropolitan Museum
This Ann Lowe Gown was a 1979 gift to the Metropolitan Museum by Lucy Curley Joyce Brennen.

Although Ann Lowe is best known for the ivory tissue silk wedding gown worn by Jacqueline Bouvier for her September, 1953 wedding to then-senator John F. Kennedy, she had long been a highly regarded designer for New York City's wealthiest clientele. The first African American to be recognized as a noted fashion designer, she was highly selective in choosing who wore her designs and created for generations of Rockefellers, DuPonts, and Posts. 

Schiaparelli Sunglasses

Schiaparelli Sunglasses Gordon Parks 1951 Photo © Time Inc
Planning a long weekend. Don't forget about us.

Voilette Is French for Veil

Dress by Jeanne Lafaurie. Hat by Paulette
This stunning cocktail dress was designed by the French couturier, Jeanne Lafaurie. Equally fascinating is the black straw hat adorned with yellow flowers and a short voilette designed by Paulette. I had to check the definition of voilette. It is French for veil. The photograph is a 1951 Georges Saad.

If you are so fortunate as to own a hat by Paulette, you must consider displaying it on a Marge Crunkleton mannequin. Considered one of the leaders in vintage mannequin head reproductions, Marge hand paints each of them era appropriately. You can view her inventory at I am leaning toward #17 Paula. Which one do you want?

More Polka Dots


You know how I love polka-dots. Well I hit the jackpot at FabGabs. Isn't this the perfect "I Love Lucy" dress?

Costume Designer Edith Head for Here Comes the Groom

Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman in Here Comes the Groom
Starring Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman,  the musical comedy "Here Comes the Groom" was released by Paramount Pictures on September 20, 1951. The film was directed by Frank Capra and tells the story of a foreign correspondent (Crosby) who has five days to win back his former fiancee (Wyman) or he will lose the sibling orphans he has adopted.

This pink silk and lace ballgown with heavily beaded bodice was designed by Edith Head.

Costume Designer Edith Head

I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy is a 1950's American situation comedy starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley, and Vivian Vance. The series first premiered October 15, 1951 and quickly gained popularity with the American public.

Lucille Ball won Best Comedienne and the I Love Lucy Show won its first Primetime Emmy Award for Best Situation Comedy in 1953.

Much of Lucy's unique fashion sense and keen style can be attributed to costume designer Elois Jennsen. The quintessentially 1950's Jennsen designed polka dot dress sold at auction in July, 2013 for $168,000.

Iconic 1950's Polka Dot Dress

Polka Dots!!

Halter neck and polka dots. Who could ask for more??!!! This and many more retro-inspired fashions can be found at our friend Rouge's shop in the historic downtown area of Half Moon Bay. Stop by to shop Rouge Boutique, only minutes from the beauty and excitement of San Francisco, California. Or you are welcome to follow the link to order online.

Rouge Boutique Half Moon Bay

Do You Remember Your First Dance

This lovely lace and satin party dress with a full net skirting elicits thoughts of  young 1950's ladies attending their first dances, proms, or cotillions. This and many more vintage fashions can be found today at Better Dresses Vintage.

Embed from Getty Images
Grace Kelly playing Lisa Carol Fremont in the September 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film starring James Stewart. Costume Designer was Edith Head.

Cheek to Cheek

We just watched the 1935 romantic musical "Top Hat" starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers again last night. While not a fifties' movie, the dance routine to the Academy Award nominated Best Song show tune "Cheek to Cheek" makes you want to see it over and over. 

Next to the 1950's fashions, I love the 30's style and glamour. Although it is said that Mr. Astaire hated the feathers on her gown, many feel they make the dress.

Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing

Patrick Swayze died on this date in 2009. Born August 18, 1952, Patrick Wayne Swayze is probably best known for his portrayal of Johnny Castle, a dance instructor at a summer resort in the wildly popular romantic drama "Dirty Dancing." Johnny's summer romance with an affluent doctor's daughter, Baby, culminates in this final dance scene to the song, "I've Had the Time of My Life."

You Belong To Me

Jo Stafford's romantic ballad "You Belong to Me" reached US Billboard Magazine's #1 spot on this date in 1952. It would remain number one for five weeks. Written by Pee Wee King, Clifton Price, and Redd Stewart, the pop music hit was also a top recording hit for Patti Page and Dean Martin.

Born Jo Elizabeth Stafford on November 12, 1917 in Coalinga, California, her initial forays into music was as a folk singer with her family. In 1938, she became the lead singer for a group later named The Pied Pipers and subsequently met and performed with Tommy Dorsey. She began touring with The Pied Pipers, a young Frank Sinatra, and Tommy Dorsey.

In 1944, Stafford left the Pied Pipers and signed with Capitol Records beginning a career that would last into the 1970's. Her radio, television, and music talents were recognized with three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1982.

Please enjoy this May 21, 1958 episode of "The Big Record" with Jo Stafford singing a medley of her favorite songs. Courtesy of

Daddy and Dale Robertson

Today would have been my daddy's birthday. Here is a little remembrance of the wisest and kindest man I ever knew.

Dale Robertson played in the TV Series Wells Fargo from 1957-1962. Daddy liked the show and watched it faithfully each week. Westerns were his favorite.

We were living in a basement apartment on College Avenue when the time for Wells Fargo neared. As the opening credits rolled, the music played, and Dale Robertson's face appeared, Mama said, "Ah, there's my man."

Daddy turned the TV off.

National TV Dinner Day

Today is National TV Dinner Day!! Who ate TV Dinners in the Fifties?

Harry Belafonte

On this date in 1956, Harry Belafonte's album "Calypso" went to #1 and stayed #1 on the charts for 31 weeks. Born March 1, 1927, Mr. Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, and actor perhaps best known for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with his "Banana Boat Song."

By Carl Van Vechten - Van Vechten Collection at Library of Congress, Public Domain, 

Along with his impressive discography and acclaim for his songwriting and music talents, Belafonte has worked in films and television since the 1950's.

Today he is a humanitarian and social activist.

Miss Mitzi Gaynor

The beautiful Mitzi Gaynor was born on this date in 1931. She is an American entertainer, actress, and dancer. You can read all about Miss Gaynor Here

Publicity Photo of Mitzi Gaynor 1954

Search For Tomorrow

The popular American Soap Opera Search For Tomorrow first aired on CBS on this date in 1951 and would continue to run for 35 years . Along with The Guiding Light, The Edge of Night, and Another World, Search For Tomorrow would be sponsored by Procter & Gamble Productions during the 1950's and running through the 1980's.

The story centered around the small town housewife Joanne Gardner and her next door neighbors, Stuart and Marge Bergman. Mary Stuart starred in the role of Joanne until the serial's final episode on December 26, 1986. 

Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea"

Ernest Hemingway 1939
On this date in 1952, Earnest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea was first published. The first draft of the short novel was written by Hemingway in eight weeks. It would become his most famous work. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 for his work.

The Old Man and the Sea tells the story of an aging fisherman's struggle with a giant marlin and his friendship with a young villager boy.

The novel has been adapted for the screen in a 1958 film starring Spencer Tracy and a 1990 television miniseries starring Anthony Quinn.

It is often included in high school American Literature curriculums.

Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Often called Papa, Hemingway's dynamic personality would lead him to many adventures. He served in the military during World War I and as a war correspondent in World War II.

Hemingway married four times and traveled around the world maintaining residences in Venice, Paris, and Cuba. After leaving Cuba, he bought a home in Ketchum, Idaho where after battling years of physical ailments and alcoholism, he took his life on July 2, 1961.

An inscription on a memorial to Ernest Hemingway just North of Sun Valley reads:

Best of all he loved the fall
the leaves yellow on cottonwoods
leaves floating on trout streams
and above the hills
the high blue windless skies

Now he will be a part of them forever.