Feb 11, 2010

Fashion Shows in Classic Movies

I've decided to use Fashion Week as an excuse to post these clips of fashion shows in classic movies that I’ve been collecting.

A lot of people become annoyed when they are watching a movie and the action suddenly stops for a parade of outlandish outfits (I hear this a lot about the lavish Technicolor show plopped in the middle of the black and white comedy The Women (1939)). While I can understand that a fashionable interruption can be murder for pacing and plot progression, I’m always delighted to have the opportunity to ogle beautiful (and sometimes bizarre) clothes from the past.

The nice thing about this collection of clips is that here they stand on their own. No plot to interrupt—just clothes! This 1920s-style exhibition from Singin’ in the Rain(1952) is the first movie fashion show I can remember seeing. I love the silly narration:


This clip from It’s a Great Life (1929) reminds me of the Singin’ in the Rain fashion show. I wonder if this scene was the inspiration? The show starts at about 2:30:


I couldn't find a clip with the whole fashion show from How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), but this part with Marilyn Monroe is the funniest:


I also love the fashion show in the 1961 remake of Back Street with Susan Hayward, but I couldn’t find a good clip. What are your favorite movie fashion shows? Did I miss anything good?


  1. Superb post! I won't be able to watch the clips until I get home, but I remember all of them anyways. This is great. Thank you so much for doing this.

    From what I heard, the theatrical release of The Women had a fashion show but the one in the film we all know and love today was filmed in technicolor, years later and spliced in. But the outfits were identical. So I don't know if they kept the clothes, replicated them, re-enacted them with the same actresses, etc. I wish I could find out.

  2. What you say about the Technicolor sequence makes so much more sense to me than what I have read. I can see how the studio would have inserted the scene at a later date to show off the process. It didn't seem as logical for them to do that in the initial release. I need to do more reading on the matter. Thanks!