Saturday, 9 June 2012

Quote #4

I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear.
-Katharine Hepburn

Jean Harlow
Not only was she an actress but a female warrior of the first division. Her's was the fight of character and she wasn't prepared to loose any ground once she had claimed it. The 30's was an era of the most exquisite movie glamour ever known. When people talk of old hollywood they are most likely eluding to women in long clinging gowns and red lips with perfect hair. The 30's also dawned the birth of the first 'blonde bombshells', Jean Harlow being the first. Katharine Hepburn is of the same vintage, however, when one looks at the image to the right it might be hard to tell. Hepburn was a character and had the mind and will power of a stubborn man. Surrounded by some of the most glamourous stars of 20th century she refused to conform and instead wore pants constantly, on and off set. Few women would have dared make such a move, especially one in such a public position. None of this would sway Katharine however, and she commented many times how she never owned a dress besides those used in movies. 

Katharine Hepburn is perhaps not the most beautiful woman in the conventional sense of the word but it was her character that made her shine. Cary Grant once said:

"She was this slip of a women and I never liked skinny women. But she had this thing, this air you might call it, the most totally magnetic woman I`d ever seen, and probably ever seen since. You had to look at her, you had to listen to her, there was no escaping her."   

This is so accurate in so many ways. I can imagine Hepburn being one of those personalities, that when she walks in the door you simply can't ignore her. Even on screen she had an aura about her that pierced through the screen. 

On the set of the 'Philadelphia Story'

The quote I chose above has a half truth in it. While Katharine Hepburn might not have been a fashionista, it would be untrue to say that she didn't put a conscious effort into the clothes she wore. In order to wear pants on constant and regular basis, was to make a decision and stick to it faithfully. One can imagine the criticism and she endured in her public and private life. The most important aspect of fashion is personal expression, and Hepburn used her clothes as a silent way of speaking her mind, without ever opening her mouth.

Katharine Hepburn was a fashion icon, plain and simple. Whether she wanted to be remembered through her clothing or not is irrelevant. Her personal style was an extension of her personality, defiant and nonconformist. 

One of the oddest outfits I've ever seen
'The Philadelphia Story'

Just as a little aside, this is a very peculiar outfit worn by Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story. I just can't make it out. She sort of looks like an organ grinders monkey ;)

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant
Bringing Up Baby
One of my favourite comedies of all time, Bringing Up baby shows Hepburn's great sense of humour and complete insanity. Just looking at her hairdo above shows her less than perfect character in the movie. The dress is great because it brings this flouncy, frivolity that one doesn't often see with Hepburn. This movie is very much different than the other films she did, because she is the dependent woman chasing the man. The style in this movie, therefore, does not show her in suits but flowy gowns.

Katharine Hepburn in a suit
Typical of her nonchalant style, this suit epitomizes her above quote.

'Woman Of The Year'
'Woman of the Year' was another one of those movies where Hepburn played the powerful, self confident, independent woman who kept scaring away the men. She inevitably had to wear pencil skirt suits to complete the character. 

I can't help but think there is something Chanelesque about Hepburn in this picture. I think it's a combination of the pearls the black dress and the hair.

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