November 3, 2017

Fashion on Film: Cover Girl (1944)

It's strange I have an aversion to watching musicals, seeing as I spent much of my high school days trying to get cast in them, but that was another time I suppose. I kept letting the fact that Cover Girl was a musical put me off, but everyone was always raving about the style in the film and so I finally relented and made time to watch last weekend. People are not kidding about the style in this film!!! Goodness the fashion on display is gorgeous!

First a quick run down and review of the film: Cover Girl, released in 1944 by Columbia pictures staring Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Phil Silvers, Eve Arden and others, is a technicolor musical directed by Charles Vidor. The film centers around night club dancer/performer Rusty Parker (Hayworth) and her club owner beau Danny (Kelly) as Rusty is discovered and caught between the Brooklyn nightclub that gave her her start and the lure of Broadway stardom. Becoming a cover girl on the special anniversary edition of a magazine could give Rusty the big break she's always dreamed of, but what will she lose if she follows fame? This is not a groundbreaking story, but hey, we're here for pretty people, in pretty clothes, and nice dance routines okay, not plot. Despite my usual hesitation towards musicals, I really enjoyed the film, mostly because I felt the fun dancing and beautiful fashion made up for the predicable story and some of the more pasted in musical numbers (the flashback ones did little if anything to actual move the story forward for example). It's fun, it's gorgeous Hayworth and dashing Kelly, it's in technicolor! I say watch it, even for the clothes alone; this film is a must watch for forties fashion lovers.

Now of course I'm sure many are enamored with the beautiful Rita Hayworth's ethereal gowns for her dance numbers, but I enjoyed the clothes of the other female characters even more! Eve Arden plays magazine editor Cornelia Jackson, and has the best wardrobe in the film in my opinion. We'll analyze most of her ensembles via screencaps below. Another tiny character is Jinx Falkenburg, who plays herself as she was a model/cover girl of the time (and also a tennis champion, excellent swimmer, actress, and radio performer apparently, a quick google search tells me!), and though I think she only appears twice, both of her outfits are stunning! My favorite scene has to be when the girls go to the magazine offices to try audition for the cover girl modeling spot as they all seem to be wearing their best suit/hat combinations and each look is deserving of an individual examination really! I suppose I should give you a spoiler warning of sorts for the outfits of the side players, so watch the film first if you want to be as surprised and in awe as I was watching the film having gone in cold! Let us dig in shall we?

Starting out we have possibly my favorite outfit in the whole film being worn by Eve Arden above. The black dress has full length sleeves and a high v-neckline and seems to have some sort of smooth peplum. This classic black dress (I want it!) is paired with a yellow/chartreuse jacket (!!!) and coordinating yellow hat with black feathers and veiling. The styling here is just so good, the matching gold bracelets over the cuff area of the dress sleeves paired with two brooches that seem to be fish! I can't really tell but I think one of the brooches may be this style by Coro Craft, which I do believe I spotted in my 1944 Montgomery Wards catalog! That fish brooch, remember it is costume jewelry, sells for $450 now a days!  Notice no earrings even though her hair is pulled up/back, but I suppose a hat that gorgeous is enough interest near the face. She's wearing what look like black patent leather pumps with this ensemble, though it's too fast a glimpse to get a good look really. Here is a clip from the film featuring this outfit if you're interested in seeing it in motion :)

Her friend next to her above also has a black outfit+amazing hat situation going on. Her black suit is paired with a white blouse/or vest, hard to say which, and shes got a huge black leather clutch and white gloves in her hand as well. She also has black patent leather pumps on, which reminds me I simply must acquire some soon! I quite like how her double strand pearl necklace doesn't say housewife at all within this ensemble like double strand pearls sometimes seem to infer. Clearly I should have been a 1940's magazine editor because I am all about their look!

Next we have the two ladies we know who are auditioning in this scene, Rita Hayworth's Rusty Parker and Leslie Brooks playing her mean girl fellow dancer "friend" Maurine.  Hayworth has on a cute but practical set of a matching skirt and coat, the blouse underneath has the same red detailing on one shoulder as well. She carries a huge navy bag, wears a beret with a big red pom pom on the back, and oddly her gloves seem to be cream instead of white to match her blouse (same with her friend). Fellow nightclub dancer Maurine wears a gorgeous fitted suit in dusty blue with an almost Victorian looking blouse. She too wears an amazingly adorable hat and carries a hug clutch. It seems the lesson is there was no such thing as too big a clutch bag in 1944! Which means large 80's clutches are fair game for us modern gals trying to shop the look on a budget.

The other models there to audition also have wonderful style much deserving of our attentions! Every outfit above is pretty #goals, I mean seriously- the purple suit with bright green accessories? Let's start there, notice the velvet muff with purple flowers? How crazy is that thing. Shes got on white gloves and black pumps, so obviously one need not be color coordinated all the way with every accessory. If anyone wants to find me a suit this shade of purple in a 40 bust and 34 waist please go ahead. She's not the only one with a muff as an accessory, though everyone else seems to have got fur ones! I have covered how to make a faux fur muff here on the blog before in this post, because what is more ridiculous and glam than a muff?

The gal seated on the same couch with the big brown fur muff has paired it with a blue and green coat dress which seems to be blue in the front and green on the back, with a shell pink collar! That's a lot of color blocking  :) Shes got black pumps on too by the way, and a puffy little fur hat with veiling and what look to be grey faux-birds made of feathers. The look is finished off with a gold toned brooch and earrings!

The gal in the center on the couch has a brown dress with a tan, brown, and baby blue plaid coat worn over the top. Her hair bow seems a bit young but I don't really mind. She has brown pumps on and both a large chunky chain necklace and bracelet.

The blurry ladies in the background also have killer outfits. Notice the pointed collar on the girl in the right side of the frame and her lovely grey blue hat. The other gal in pink dripping with furs has got the glamour turned up to 10 as well, love that hat again, I may need to make another faux fur set in longer fluffier fur like these! Faux only ladies!!

The other couch of models are just as flashily dressed. I love the dark pink and sage green together! The gal in the tan/pink hat and jacket has a rich grass green skirt paired with it and carries a dark brown clutch (again huge!) to go with her brown leather pumps. The gal standing at the end near the center of frame has giant heart shaped black rhinestone brooches that I'd love to have and seems to be wearing Royal Vintage Shoe's Nita style, or rather the original 40's style that inspired the repro!

I feel like in general these outfits are inspiring me to A) break up my suits more often and do some color blocking with different jackets and dresses/skirts, and B) be more adventurous and bold in general with my styling!

Another more seasoned model is trying to get the magazine mogul to give her the cover job but he says her face is too "known" by the public already to be the fresh young bride cover girl. Her face may be known, but it is also framed in one of the largest hats I have ever seen! The layers of velvet ribbon bows to match are gorgeous and in such a pretty shade of green. In her outfit we have a light and dark grey suit, the pretty green shade as an accent, and black gloves and shoes. Another tip I have picked up from these gals? Wear bracelets over your gloves/dress sleeves!

Also, I love this models hairstyle, super wearable!

Here is the aforementioned Jinx Falkenburg in red and brown! What an ensemble, firstly the jacket is super gorgeous, look at those swirl details. Then she's got the jacket paired with warm browns and sparkling gold! Is it a sequin blouse? A jabot? A huge necklace? I'll never know, but it is super glam! And speaking of sparkles, check out her big bracelet over the chocolate brown gloves and the funny little jeweled/beaded/sequin balls hair accessory? Where do I get one?

Her bag of matching chocolate brown seems to be a big crochet bucket style with a drawstring? Also, slingbacks with suits seems to be something I never realized was as acceptable as it apparently was/is. I always think of slingbacks as almost sandals, a summer shoe, but here they are again with suits and fur so I stand corrected!

The magazine team decamps to Danny's nightclub to see their prospective models in action and the ladies dress divinely for evening too of course! Here our magazine editor Jackson has got a beige dress, brown gloves, and deep dark brown furs together for an all brown even if not monotone look. Eve Arden's super long gloves above are super elegant, if you can dare to look away from her amazing sequin and beaded round little hat! Another lesson, tulle seems to be pretty acceptable veiling material on hats?

That hat!

And Hayworth, I mean miss Rusty Parker, has a great hat on too back at the magazine's offices for another interview. Shes dressed demurely but in fun pink. I love how her hat is perched, I'll be trying that look soon!

Still, yet again Eve Arden's outfit steals the room because woah! Firstly, look at the huge round (lucite?) buttons on her fab jacket, what! What are those crazy buttons! The spheres are echoed in her double sphere gold earrings. Her gold bracelet is a large chain style, something I obviously need to add to my collection soon. Her brooches are again amazing but again I can't exactly tell what they are other than novelties of some kind. Her hat is also amazing! Flowers tucked into a scrunched up circle of wool by the look of it!

Are the brooches bugs? I really can't tell. The jacket collar is so perfect and somehow not at all EvilQueen(tm), at least I don't think so. Is the inside of the collar green velvet or black silk? Where did these clothes end up after the film? Can I have them?

Another trip to Danny's nightclub and it's Jinx Falkenburg's other brief appearance in a beautiful soft pink long sleeved beaded evening gown! I love the huge brooch/dress clip at the end of the deep V and her sparkling hair accessories. Some ladies have millinery style flowers pinned into their hair which is another style I would have thought was more of a summer/daywear sort of thing but obviously is fine for evening too!

More great costuming on Eve Arden, this time a navy blue suit with red vest and red check tiny bow tie. The matching red check hat is almost a tilted Victorian/bustle period inspired style. Chic!

More flowers for a more formal event, and umm a flower muff!! The burgundy/claret color gown with the dark purple is gorgeous, the gloves are an in between compromise of a dark berry color. I really wish long gloves in these great colors were easier to find, especially in my larger glove size.

So those were my favorite looks from the film! I hope you all enjoyed this breakdown of some of the outfits and inspiration gleaned from studying them. Anyone have more 1940's style heavy technicolor films I should watch? Let me know in the comments :)


  1. Thank-you for all this wonderful inspiration! I've already hopped over to my library account and put a hold on this movie. Can't wait to see it.

  2. Wow. All I can say is wow. And also, where can I get a giant hat like that amazing green one?!?
    Thanks for sharing!
    The Artyologist

    1. Right! Imagine the size box you'd need to ship/store that thing!

  3. Aaah, that suit scene is one of my favourites. Such a shame things like that aren't available nowadays.

    1. I completely agree, suiting is the best I don't know why people seem to have forgotten this!

  4. These costumes are all fabulous. Such lovely colours and details. Must watch this film!

  5. OMG!! I have watched this film many times as I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the movies of the 30's, 40's, and early 50's. I am obsessed with the brooches that Eve Arden wears in this movie. The fish are stunning and I have looked at so many designers of that era trying to find them. If anyone can tell me the name of the designer that made them I would be ever so grateful!! I have looked at Eisenberg, Coro, Schaperelli, Nettie Rosenstein, Hattie Carnegie...HELP!! And yes, I love the fashions!! I wish we would go back to wearing those lovely clothes. Thanks so much for all the information you have given.

    1. I'm pretty sure this MC Boucher fish is the top brooch but with a citrine colored stone perhaps. I can't seem to find the bottom fish anywhere but It may have been a Marcel Boucher piece as well. Best of luck finding them!

    2. Yes, I believe you are correct. I found one on ebay listed and sold in 2002 for $3700.00. And as for the bottom one, I can't find that one either! Doesn't it look like a goldfish with the large fins? Maybe one of these days we will come upon both. I will not give up searching for them. Thanks so much!


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