Much to the amusement of my mother, I very much enjoy old movies. My mom cannot fathom why I would want to watch a film that predates her birth. I am fascinated by the style of the older films. My best friend and I watched the exceedingly lengthy “Cleopatra” one afternoon, not because we were interested in the film itself but because Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe, hair and make-up were so fantastic that we could not stop watching. Let it be said that her gowns were phenomenal. She seemed to have a different outfit in every scene and without question, those gowns were tailor made to enhance Ms. Taylor’s beautiful person. The designers certainly knew how to construct a gown. It is no wonder that that film was the most expensive film ever made at the time – they must have spent a fortune in fabric. That said, the designers, Renié, Irene Sharaff, and Vittorio Nino Novarese, deservedly won an academy award in 1963.
No one can question Elizabeth Taylor’s beauty (or acting talent) but check out the construction of this gown:
Is it wrong that I would love to have a dress like that? Granted, I can’t exactly walk around the house in it, now can I? The above gown is just one of many and most of them have a plunging neckline with beautifully structured bodices.
Angelina Jolie, obviously a beautiful woman, is going to play Cleopatra in an upcoming film, though I doubt that it will be as interesting. I just don’t think that she can compare to Ms. Taylor. There are some classics that should remain untouched.
For amusement’s sake, check out Richard Burton as Mark Anthony. Without question Burton’s outfit is the shortest in the film. I daresay that we were supposed to admire his form above all others. My best friend and I particularly enjoyed the teal and animal print number…
“Cleopatra” is of significance because it was an incredibly hyped up film at the time yet was considered a colossal failure. It was drastically over budget and overshadowed by the scandal created by its stars, married to other people, having a very public affair. From a style standpoint, the film is of note, particularly since Elizabeth Taylor herself will always be synonymous with Cleopatra. When you hear the name, Cleopatra, you invariably picture Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. Kohl eyeliner and a strong, smoky eye became popularized again, in part because of the film. Not to mention, soft peach/nude lip. Grecian style draping and one shouldered dresses, while classic in style, continue to be fashionable. Caftan style robes remain popular even now and conjure an image of lounging about regally in a tropical location and let’s not forget the jewelry, particularly the armbands, earrings and insect and snake inspired motifs.
For those not familiar with the two make-up artist sisters (Sam and Nic Chapman), known as Pixiwoo, they are fantastic and I have been obsessed with watching their tutorials on Youtube.
Pixiwoo Cleopatra make-up tutorial:
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” was a film that starred not only Taylor but an equally gorgeous Paul Newman. Taylor wore several different white dresses (and/or slips) and made them all look amazing and very sexy.
Did she ever take a bad picture? I’m doubtful. There is no question that she was and remains a style icon.
Pixiwoo make-up tutorial of Elizabeth Taylor: