Costumes By Irene Sharaff

The man responsible for creating the "star system" that produced some of Old Hollywood's major talents died on this date in 1957. 

Louis B. Mayer, along with the Metro-Goldwyn division of the legendary MGM Studios, co-founded the powerhouse studio that dominated the movie business from 1924 to 1954. 

Irene Sharaff was a favored costume designer for many of MGM's finest films. Often designing for both Hollywood and Broadway, she won five Academy Awards and a Tony Award for her costumes.

Gertrude Lawrence in costume by Irene Sharaff for stage production of The King and I
Gertrude Lawrence in Stage Production of  "The King and I"
Costumes by Irene Sharaff 1951
Tony Award Winner in Costume Design
According to her obituary in The New York Times, Sharaff's use of luxurious Thai silks in the stage production of "The King and I" created a sensation in high fashion and started a trend in interior decorating. She won a Tony Award for her costumes and set design.

Miss Sharaff is quoted in a 1967 interview as saying, "You can acquire chic and elegance, but style itself is a rare thing. The only theater people I know of who have it are Audrey Hepburn and Betty Bacall. The one who had it to the greatest degree was Gertie Lawrence. She could make a sackcloth tied with a belt look stylish."

Sharaff also won an Oscar for her costume designs in the film version of "The King and I."

Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in scene from The King and I in Irene Sharaff's costumes
Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in "The King and I"
Costumes by Irene Sharaff 1956
Academy Award Winner in Costume Design
Photographer Loomis Dean
Courtesy of Google Life
Starring Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, Marlon Brando, and Vivian Blaine, "Guys and Dolls" was just one of the MGM and Irene Sharaff collaborations.

Photo of Vivian Blaine making goofy face in cat costume designed by Irene Sharaff for 1955 film Guys and Dolls
Vivian Blaine in Costume for "Guys and Dolls"
Costumes by Irene Sharaff 1955
Photographer Gjon Mili
Courtesy Google Life
Sharaff was the production designer for the 1954 film "A Star is Born" with Judy Garland. A sketch of Judy Garland's costumes for the film sold in 2000 for $1175.

Four sketches of designs Judy Garland's costumes for the 1955 movie A Star is Born
Irene Sharaff Sketch for Judy Garland's Costumes
1955 "A Star Is Born"
©Christie's 2000 
Irene Sharaff died on August 10, 1993 in New York City. 

No comments: