Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm Seeing Red Over This!

Most of my loyal readers know that in between posts or at various points during the workday, I scour the globe looking for pictures that might be of use in an upcoming (or potential future) post. Having come across a striking portrait of Underworld fave Miss Dina Merrill, poured into a red gown and contorted curvaceously against a red pillar, I decided I would present a collection of pictures with various female stars of the screen (and music, as it turned out) all decked out in red. It's a powerful color that can sometimes make a real statement as you may see here. (Some of these shots, if opened in a new window, will magnify considerably, giving you an up close and personal look at the subject!) Above right is Miss Natalie Wood if you didn't happen to know.

The always elegant Dina Merrill dazzles in this lace-covered item. I wonder how many people (besides obsessive me) ever noticed that her left hand is draped behind her in such a way that one of her fingers is peeking out from behind her backside?!
Red is a color that I feel always looks great on someone with dark hair, but which also often compliments a blonde.  We get the best of both worlds here in these famous shots of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953.)
No harm to Miss Russell, but I think I have to give this one to Marilyn who was at or close to her prime at this point.
One brunette who wore red to great effect at several key points in her career (more during public appearances than on-screen) was Miss Elizabeth Taylor.
I do think its hard, though, for redheads to pull off the color red (though few redheads have true RED hair. It's usually some shade of orange or rust.) Here, Arlene Dahl (mama to Lorenzo Lamas), though she looks great, may have too much of a good thing going on.  It all sort of runs together.
On the other hand, there is something sort of beautifully coordinated, burnished even, in this second shot.  Perhaps the slightly dimmer lighting helped.
Of course, the world's most famous redhead, Lucille Ball, also never shied away from wearing red, though, again, her hair wasn't a true red.  More a pumpkin orange if the truth be told. (By the way, I love the Sears weather-beater level of base that she has on in this photo! The color of her face bears no resemblence in the slightest to that of her neck.)
Loretta Young seemed to have a red rinse in her hair at this time and, again, I don't know that the matchy-matchy did her any favors.  (And she also looks a tad thin and sunken here to me!)
Here we have Miss Judy Garland in a publicity shot from her movie musical The Pirate (1948.) Her red gown from the Christmas scene in Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) was more flattering and glamorous, but I try to dig up the unusual here when I can.
Another MGM musical performer, Cyd Charisse, strikes quite a pose in her costume from the 1952 classic Singin' in the Rain.
Miss Barbara Stanwyck dons red for this 1950s portrait. 
Possibly the polar opposite of Stanwyck, but in a photo from around the same time frame, is Hungarian starlet Zsa Zsa Gabor in a red frock of her own.
Italian sensation Sophia Loren certainly knew how to fill out a gown.
Just the other day, TCM was running one of my favorite films, 1957's Peyton Place, which had the sexually-repressed Lana Turner (well-cast against type!) finally letting her guard (and her tightly-wound hair) down a smidge at Christmas time in a vivid red dress.
Having been born in 1967, I always have trouble trying to mentally reconcile a slender Shelley Winters, who I first saw in The Poseidon Adventure on TV in 1975.  Something never quite looks right to me when I see her old cheesecake shots.  Maybe it's the hair, maybe it's the style of dress itself, but this look just doesn't work for me.
Slightly more like it is this one, minus the puff sleeves and all that fabric she seems more comfortable and accessible. (Of course, nothing sends the message of "accessible" like lying on your back with your legs in the air!)
I love this beguiling shot of Kim Novak with a Spanish-influenced gown.
Next up, a couple of squeaky-clean teen idols try on some red.  Walt Disney star Annette Funicello can't help remaining demure in her red, spaghetti-strap dress.
Miss Sandra Dee isn't trying to be sultry, just bright and clean. 
Check out the gams on Miss Angie Dickinson! I'm grinning at the decision to put white wedge heels over red-footed tights, but if anyone was going to get this look to work, I'd say it was she.
More traditional is this later shot of her in a spaghetti-strap gown with feathered plumage at the bottom.
Another leggy glamour gal of the '60s was Miss Ann-Margret, bedecked here in red fringe and posed before a chopper.
Someone not really known for her legs, but for her other attributes is Miss Ursula Andress, but she's decided not to show us anything but her lower extremities this time out!
Few performers were as glitzy or as energetic as Miss Mitzi Gaynor, shown here in red sequins, red sequined headband and peering through rows of beads.
Even more red sequins are to be found on cigarette-thin Janet Leigh during a late-ish career appearance.  (The less said about this purse, the better...)
No restrospective post is complete without a shot of Miss Joan Crawford. During the years she was photographed more frequently in color, she seemed to lean more towards shades of green and fuschia, but in this one, she's (ever-coordinated) in red.

Her dress might be the height of understated simplicity, but not the hair and make-up!  I'm referring to Live and Let Die's Jane Seymour in 1973, twisted, braided and painted.
Victoria Principal, of Dallas, wears another un-fussy dress, letting her body and face do the talking (and seemingly performing a contortionistic self-exam at the same time?)
Charlie's Angels' Cheryl Ladd has another simple dress, but the '40s-style hair and heavy-duty blush are another story.  She's seen with Happy Days' The Fonz himself, Henry Winkler, in Emmy Award publicity.
Ladd's Angels cohort, Miss Jaclyn Smith sports another simple red, in this case strapless, dress with a thigh-high slit.
What a difference a couple of years makes. By the 1980s, Smith had cut and permed her hair and was seen in far more ostentatious gown.  Naturally, as a teen of the '80s, I eat photos like this up!
Knots Landing's Donna Mills was often good for a glamorous photo op, sometimes in red satin and shown here.
What would the '80s be without a dose (in this instance a double dose) of Dynasty?  Joan Collins and Linda Evans pour on the red in this shot.
Pulling out all the stops, however, when it came to over the top '80s excess, was a newly overhauled Elizabeth Taylor, silencing all those with a battery of leftover fat jokes and dueling George Hamilton over who was the most tan at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.
Stefanie Powers (who was on Hart to Hart from 1979 to 1984 and later in a series of telefilms) gets in on the action, too, with a revealing red dress.
Wheel of Fortune's ever-present letter turner (now letter revealer) Vanna White began that gig in 1982, but this shot is from prior to that when she was still trying to catch a break.  How I would love to forget those awful "French-cut" swimsuits and leotards that were popular for a while.
Also in the "Oh my God, how humiliating!" boat are these shots of Flamingo Road's Miss Morgan Fairchild, posing in her blood red teddy OVER PANTY HOSE as was so often the case back then.
Miss Fairchild, though, could always be counted on to ratchet up the glam factor...
...and still does today.  She, Donna Mills and Anne Jeffreys seemed to dominate every "What are they Wearing?" section of Star Magazine during the 1980s and early-'90s
These next ladies were primarily late-'70s stars, but the photos are from a bit later. (And at one point, they even costarred in the flop series Partners in Crime.) First up is Loni Anderson (of WKRP in Cincinnati fame) with plenty of fluffy, two-tone hair.
Then we have our beloved Lynda Carter in 1992, her career in low-gear while she raises her children and performs wifely duties to a Washington, D.C. attorney.
Cybill Shepherd managed to hold down a career in several decades from modeling in the late-'60s to film acting in the '70s to starring in Moonlighting in the '80s to headlining Cybill in the '90s. She still works now, but her hottest days as a celebrity appear to be behind her.
Another young lady whose career spanned several decades is Heather Locklear.  First in the '80s on Dynasty and T.J. Hooker (for a while simultaneously!) and then on Melrose Place where she really came into her own in the '90s.  A late-'90s stint on Spin City took her into the early-2000s.  Most recently, she popped up on the ill-fated Melrose Place redux from 2009-2010.
We just lost Gone with the Wind's Miss Ann Rutherford (at age ninety-four), but, God love her, she was still getting out and about every now and again and not in an ordinary housecoat (as shown here with the aforementioned Anne Jeffreys, who, at eighty-nine, is still kicking, too!)  All duded out in diamonds and red satin, they might be easy targets for some folks, but they'll only find love here because, you know, as Truvy Jones said, it takes some effort to look like this!
Recently departed, superstar songbird Whitney Houston looks deceptively calm and understated in this publicity photo.
In contrast, there's flag-waving, horseback-riding Dolly Parton, who penned Houston's biggest hit "I Will Always Love You." And thus begins our red fabric in flight section...
Few who ever saw Audrey Hepburn working this red Hubert de Givenchy gown and the accompanying wrap in 1957's Funny Face ever forgot it.  (The film was Oscar-nominated for its costumes, with Edith Head providing the non-Hepburn clothes, but it lost to Les Girls, with those costumes done by Orry-Kelly.)
Next, we have legendary singer Diana Ross spreadin' love in low-cut, red sequins and a similarly fun, airborne wrap.
Also taking flight, we return to latter-day Joan Collins, working the folds of her red gown at a charity fashion show.
We wrap up this crimson extravaganza, which I hope made you see red as well, with a truly bizarre portrait from the 1968 - 1970 TV series The Ghost and Mrs. Muir starring Hope Lange and Edward Mulhare (and based on the 1947 film of the same name which featured Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.)  I'm thinking Paul Zastupnevich saw and liked this ensemble because it is very close to what he put Pamela Sue Martin in in The Poseidon Adventure just a short time later.  But how about this creepy "Olan Mills Gone Mad" meets "Awkward Family Photos" picture?


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