17 November 2012

The Fashion of Marlene Dietrich

Like Katharine Hepburn, German born Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) was one of the most prominent actresses and fashion icons in the '30s and '40s. With her mystical allure, a mix of masculine and feminine elegance and independence - and an almost transsexual style of clothing and controversial attitude (just look up the famous scene in "Morrocco" (1930) on YouTube) - she inspired generations up to this very day. Considering her native land, she did a great job refusing any attempt of the Nazis to get her to join them during WWII; instead she actively supported and entertained the American army and soldiers. Even then, she was always dressed to perfection, simply and elegant, at any occasion, and it was said that she never left her trailer without a perfect layer of make-up and a perfectly done hairstyle - no matter how long it took. No wonder, as her vanity case and suitcases were gigantic (I saw them myself in an exhibition in Filmmuseum Berlin). Quite a literal vanity! Nevertheless, her compelling acting, independent attitude and confident style are without a doubt worth admiring through her bending of conventional gender roles and flirt with the vamp and the inscrutable. She  sure wasn't afraid of doing it differently.

Such a cool lady! 

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