Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sparkle... Plenty!

Hello, my loves. It has continued to be a wild and breathless time in The Underworld, which is very annoying because I always have plans for more posts, but can't seem to carve away the amount of time to work on them as I would like. For the time being, I give you another photo essay, this one with an eye towards the glitzy. While researching The Lennon Sisters not long ago, I found this hysterical photo of them from their later years and it inspired me to dig up some other shots featuring sequins, beads and rhinestones. I was going to call this post, “Sparkle, Neely, Sparkle!”, but as the subjects are of such a wide variety, I went with the above one instead.

Sparkle of one sort or another has been a part of show business from practically the beginning. While it stands that neither Herbert Marshall nor Melvyn Douglas was going to steal the spotlight from Marlene Dietrich in any case, the shimmering details on her gown help to ensure it!

Always a more demure star than the mysterious, slightly dangerous, Ms. Dietrich, Irene Dunne nonetheless could also turn on the dazzle upon occasion.
When Joan Crawford starred in The Bride Wore Red (1937), audiences had to imagine what the title outfit looked like in its crimson splendor since the film was shot in black & white!
Do you recognize this sparkly starlet? This shot was from quite early in her career, which hit its stride about a decade after this, often in the company of a couple of funny men as well as in close proximity to sand and surf.
Yes, that is Dorothy Lamour above. Frequent costar of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and the subject of so many south sea flicks that she became known as “The Sarong Girl.”

Veronica Lake shimmers in a more low-key way in this shot. (Is it me or does the fabric around her upraised hand make it look like she is flipping all of us off?! lol)
Lizabeth Scott sports a sparkly (and very clingy!) gown in this portrait.
Songbird and sometimes actress Dinah Shore shines it on in this photograph.
Jean Peters uses beads to zero in on her bustline.
Sex goddesses and sequins have long gone hand-in-hand. Here's Miss Jayne Mansfield.
Curvaceous Mamie Van Doren is lookin' good here.
Miss Stella Stevens, one of our favorite people, is working the sequins, the jewels and the boa (not to mention the belly) overtime, all at once, in this get-up from 1972's Stand Up and Be Counted.
Annette Funicello goes for far more coverage in her spotted, sequined ensemble.
Miss Doris Day is sporting a still-impressive physique in this publicity photo from 1966's The Glass Bottom Boat. She was forty-two at the time (and gals didn't typically stay in this kind of shape at that age in those days.)
Mitzi Gaynor rarely ran into a sequin or bugle-bead she didn't love during her variety show hey-day!
Diana Rigg is coated with sequins in this undoubtedly heavy gown.
Liza Minnelli is another one who cultivated a deep love for sequins and beads.
Though she often steered towards black or red or sometimes white, occasionally some variety would slip in.
Only God and Ann-Margret know what possessed her to pose in the concoction shown here...
...and in the manner shown here. What a hideously unflattering series of photos!
As a young'n, Raquel Welch wasn't outfitted with too many sequined gowns such as this one. She leaned more towards slinkier dresses of a simple cut, but often in pronounced patterns.
Later, she began to embrace sequins and sparkles in her variety show costumes and in various jumpsuits such as this one she wore to the 1979 Oscars. (Can you imagine someone showing up to the Academy Awards dressed this way now?! Practically unthinkable!)
The Supremes often bring to mind yards of billowing chiffon, but they also often rocked the sparkled, sequined look.
When she departed the group, Diana Ross retained her affection for shimmering get-ups.
Here, we see Miss Ross with Bob Mackie, a designer known for his use of sequins and beads.
Mackie designed virtually all of Cher's 1970s wardrobe, delighting in revealing significant parts of her figure and bedazzling what little fabric was present.
Her infamous trip to the Oscars in 1986 (during which she was miffed for not being nominated for 1985's Mask) was marked by one of his designs.
Two years later, when she won the Oscar for Moonstruck, she again wore one of his creations and, again, displayed plenty of flesh.
Cher was hardly the first singing actress to win an Oscar in a sparkly, peek-a-boo ensemble, however. Barbra Streisand beat her to the punch on that count when she ascended to the stage in this illusion pantsuit in 1969 to claim her award for Funny Girl (1968.)
The '80s ushered in a whole new era of glitz, personified in a big way by the ladies of Dynasty. Here, we see a sturdy John Forsythe carrying Linda Evans around their stately mansion.
Does anyone recognize this particular shot of Dynasty's Joan Collins?
It was specifically for The Joan Collins Video Collection, a series of VHS movie releases in which Miss Collins attached her name and photo to the cover and did a brief introduction to favorite films of hers like Lifeguard (1976) and the recently-profiled Once is Not Enough (1975!) Though I have Once on DVD now, I'm not about to part with my hooty VHS copy.

Elizabeth Taylor got on the bandwagon during this period, too, piling on the bling, which was outdone only by her ever-increasing mane of black (then salt & pepper) hair.
The menfolk like to break out the bangles sometimes, too. Take David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust guise.
Or how about Elton John in one of his customary, far-out 1970s get-ups?
He once played to a packed Dodgers Stadium in 1975, decked-out in a sequined baseball uniform.
Freddie Mercury of Queen enjoyed flamboyant outfits like this one.
Of course, Michael Jackson was known for his elaborately decorated clothing, particularly his famed sequined glove.
Elvis “The King” Presley wore signature jumpsuits, mostly in white, studded with extravagant beads and stones. He looked positively great in them, at first.....
...and, sadly, clung to the look once his dietary and drug habits had gotten the best of him.
When it comes to men in beads and sequins, though, few can compare to that tickler of the ivories Liberace.
Las Vegas audiences flocked to see his elaborate shows and eye-popping costumes. (This one has a sort of Venus the Vampire quality to it)
As I said at the beginning, the phrase “Sparkle, Neely, Sparkle!” came from 1967's Valley of the Dolls. Here, we see the lovely Sharon Tate in a beaded gown from that film.
Travilla designed the clothes in Dolls and had been in the business for many years. Marilyn Monroe was one of the ladies he frequently constructed clothes for.
That pelvic-forward pose was apparently a favorite of many stars. I wonder if Travilla encouraged it for here we see Susan Hayward of Dolls doing the same thing!
It was surprising to come upon this photo of Sharon Tate wearing the very gown from Dolls that Hayward has on above! It's full-cover aspects certainly don't do Tate the same favors as more revealing clothing did.
The dress was designed in the first place for Judy Garland, who initially had the role that Hayward inherited at the eleventh hour. (And she's doing the pelvic thrust too!) So by the time Hayward “planted her own tree” in the movie, this gown had some mileage on it!! (It must be said that short, reed-thin Garland's wouldn't have fit the other ladies, though, so it was clearly remade after her departure.)

I leave you with Miss Suzy Parker, perhaps the world's first supermodel, who rocked many glamorous looks over the course of her career, including sequins. (Incidentally, she also suffered two broken arms and some scarring after a severe car accident in the mid-'60s, which led her to utilize long gloves or sleeves in as many photos as possible thereafter. Her father was killed in that same accident.) Miss Parker, thus, knew how to sparkle under the most arduous of circumstances! How many of us can say that? Till next time!


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