Though actresses have to worry about the incredibly high quality of HD film picking up their every imperfection these days, the ladies of film had an entirely different problem in the 1920s. Because of the price, Orthochromatic film stock was the standard during the birth of film but was rather insensitive to red and yellow light on the spectrum. The processes used to correct this insensitivity to red and yellow in post-production would make it oversensitive to blue and violet. Make-up wise, this means that actors and actresses had to be made up with highly exaggerated and contradictory colors in order to look natural on film. Hence the hooker face.
In equal parts admiration and judgement (times aint a-changing, eh?), The Vault has resurfaced this “Best Figure in Hollywood” article from a 1931 issue of Photoplay magazine. Though beautiful 26-year-old Mexican crossover actress Dolores Del Rio was eventually awarded the Best Figure title, the magazine goes as far as listing the ages, weights, and measurements of twenty-one leading ladies, as well as enlisting four judges to discuss each actress’ best and worst qualities. My personal favourite:
“Like many Scandinavians, Miss Garbo has a large frame. Undoubtedly, her bones weigh heavily. Already, as a matter of fact, her measurements exceed what generally is considered perfect for her height. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that Greta Garbo is an exception and that she would be far more beautiful, beautiful to the point of being glorious, if she were heavier. I see her as a goddess, a golden Juno.”
While body critique is certainly no stranger to the modern day, I have to applaud Photoplay’s take on it: rather than name-calling and headline-splashing, they chose to quote doctors and enforce the idea that “beauty is what it always has been and always will be, the result of health.”
Everyone’s go-to domestic goddess was quite the looker, wasn’t she? Martha Stewart – pictured here in a range of ads, including a Chanel ad (third picture) – first stepped into the limelight as a model in the 1960s to support herself while she attended college. In the PBS documentary Makers, Stewart revealed that she “[…] got enough modeling jobs at $50/hour — which was a lot of money at that time.”
Heads up, Karle Kloss: this model-turned-mogul is now worth over $638 million.
In my eyes, Twiggy was the original supermodel. Though she has obviously also earned fame as an actress and singer, Twiggy’s special long-lashed androgyny was one of the most iconic aesthetics of the Sixties. Few ‘supers’ achieve that sort of recognition. The difference between these rare vintage shots from California and modern-day Twiggy in a rather adorable video promoting her M&S collection (below) is mesmerizing.
I’m not messing around with this week’s Throwback Thursday. If you have ever seen (and therefore loved) Breakfast at Tiffany’s I doubt it took you more than a nanosecond to identify the photo above. Taken in June 1961, we have George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn with a few other castmates taking a break while on location in New York City. An iconic photograph.