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Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Top Style Icons From the 20s through 50s

I thought I'd do a short[er] post today (after yesterdays I don't have much left in me!) about the actresses who I feel were the most influential style icons of their time. I say 'their' time because sadly, the majority of people haven't a clue who the style icons of the 10s, 20s, 30s...even 40s were. I'll pick the top two from each decade from the 20s to the 50s. I would go up to the 60s (and even down the 10s) but I'd prefer to leave those to the people who have more knowledge of those decades - I'm a bit fuzzy on both of them, and though I'd like to include them, I don't want angry people, who know more about those decades than I do, flaming me!

The 20s

I had a long tussle with who should come first and who should come second for the 20s. I knew the two who I was definitely going to use, but I just couldn't decide which was the most influential. I'm sure all you vintage fashion/old film lovers have a pretty good idea of the two actresses I mean! In the end, I decided to go with *drum roll*...

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Louise Brooks, of course.

It was a very hard decision - how to choose between that amazing jet black helmet bob and Clara Bow's tussled red hair? Or those dark, staring eyes and Clara's: deep and smouldering. It was hard, I can tell you! The thing that clinched it, however, was the fact that if I walked down the street today, on 6th June 2010 almost 90 years later, whose hairstyle would I see? Louise's. Everywhere you go you see replicas and rip-offs of Louise's bob. And her clothes - you see them everywhere. They were the type of clothes that people nowadays, who maybe don't want to go for a look that is too vintage/retro, could wear and not look too...different? (I'm not sure what word to use - it sounds like I don't like retro/vintage clothes, and I really do!) So, I think we can agree that Louise is the probably the most prominent style icon of the 20s because her looks is still being replicate 90 years on.

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Clara Bow

As I said, it was a very close call between Clara and Louise and, if it comes down to it, I personally like Clara's style more. When I think of 20s fashion I think of Clara, but that's just personal preference really. However, there is no doubt that Clara was an incredible style icon. She was the ultimate flapper and if you dig that look (and you should - it's amazing!) style yourself on Clara.

P.S I would do anything for her hair...

The 30s

Once again, I couldn't decide who to use! As I'm limiting this to two icons for each decade, the 30s was especially difficult. Off the top of my head, there were 4 clear suspects. I decided not to debate with myself for too long, and just go with the first two that popped into my head - and then have another debate about which one should be the first. So, without further ado, I give you...

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Joan Crawford

I'm still not convinced she was the front-runner for this decade, so feel free to comment if you think otherwise (and please comment on the other decades - I'd love to know who you think were the top style icons of the decades), but I just got tired of arguing with myself so I put her first as she was the first one I thought of. Even if Joan wasn't the front-runner, she was still very influential. I always remember reading a quote by Bette Davis saying something very nice *ahem* about Joan Crawford and her style icon status in the 30s. I'm not entirely sure why she was such a style icon, but she certainly was. I never can place her look in the 30s - she wasn't a flapper but she wasn't quite femme fatale yet, especially in the early/mid 30s. However, she always looked good and I do love her excessively dramatic make up.

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Jean Harlow

It was close between Jean and Greta Garbo - but I think Jean had to go in here, just because she was so different to Joan and Greta. Also, she was an undeniable style icon. She just oozed style. Some of you might argue that she should have been first - probably so. BUT, I also think that, correct me if I'm wrong, a lot of people don't even know who Jean is, sadly. And it is sad. Very sad. Whereas Joan is remembered, for an obvious reason I suppose - she lived longer (Jean died aged 26). I prefer Jean to Joan, though.

The 40s

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Rita Hayworth

I'm not a big fan of Rita at.all. I think it's maybe because I've never really taking much notice of her and so have never really been that interested in her, but there is no denying that she was quite a huge style icon. I've never really liked the length of her hair in the 40s - a purely personal opinion, and I don't dislike her for that! - it always seemed like such an...uncomfortable length. That sounds so silly. However, as I said, she was definitely a style icon - and her hair looked a whole lot better than a lot of people nowadays (including mine)!

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Veronica Lake and Betty Grable

I got stuck. I just couldn't decide between them - so take your pick! Both of them were iconic - on the one side you have Veronica's wonderful peek-a-boo bangs and on the other, Betty's $1,000,000 legs!

The 50s

Without even thinking about it, there's only one person who was going to fill the number on slot for the 50s. The second place, however, was harder to fill.

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Marilyn Monroe

In a nut shell: most of the decade belonged to Marilyn. She's not my favourite actress, no where near my favourite, and I would certainly survive without ever seeing any of her films again BUT she was undoubtedly one of the greatest style icons of all time - if not the greatest (however, I like to give that title to Audrey...). I've never met anyone who doesn't know who she was - she is going to be remembered forever. I've personally never seen what most other people see in her, but I have to acknowledge that she must certainly have something for those millions of fans she has. I think I've finally come to accept that I'll probably never see what others do, and I don't dislike her for it now - as I used to. I'm ok with her owning most of the 50s, as long as people don't forget the other stars.

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Grace Kelly

Grace was...well, grace personified. Oh, how corny I sound! As with Marilyn, I'm not really a fan of Grace. I see Grace as sort of an American Deborah Kerr - and it just doesn't feel right. Maybe it's because they are too similar that I'm not very fond of Grace, but I don't dislike her. She was by all means a lovely person - and I would have liked to meet her. I'm just not a fan of her films! Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked, she was of course a huge style icon. I would love to have been able to raid her wardrobe. She wore such beautiful, elegant, classy clothes - fit for a princess, I suppose! In a way, she started a whole new style of dressing. I think the clothes that Grace wore were possibly the most beautiful styles that I've ever seen. I adore them.

I had a hard time choosing Grace - I wasn't sure whether to go with her of Lauren Bacall. I think Lauren deserved to be on, but as with some of the other ladies I've talked about, a lot of people don't know who she is - whereas a lot more people know who Grace Kelly was. It's such a shame that the stars are gradually being forgotten...

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Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this post - please comment saying who you think should have been included! (: Oh, and don't flame me for not being a fan of Marilyn!!

A presto!!

P.S If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned Audrey Hepburn, it's because I classify her as 60s style icon, and, as I said, apart from Audrey, I don't want to go there because I don't really know enough about the decade to make educated posts. However, I will say, with great conviction, that were I to make a post about 60s style icons, Audrey would be top of the list without any discussion!

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