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Monday, November 4, 2013

Vintage Threads: Katherine Hepburn in Stripes, Godets and Timeless Style (Movie - Bringing up Baby)

Hipline godets added to the side, and princess seams
 flattered Hepburn's slim hips.
The contrasting horizontal stripes on the sleeves really make the dress.

Though the glorious satin evening frock that Katherine Hepburn or "Susan" wears in the madcap bar room scene is by far the most famous fashion in one of my all-time favorite, classic movies, "Bringing Up Baby", its this striped daytime frock that wins hands down for me, when it comes to sewing inspiration.

As you may well know, this vintage black-and-white film tells the  humorous story of a series of non-stop adventures and romance between mild-mannered paleontologist "David" (Cary Grant) and a rich (yet not at all snooty about it) girl "Susan", a female who's both a little nutty, and also very sure of herself. 

And did I mention that along the way Susan adopts a leopard (named"Baby")? Don't worry, nothing bad happens to the kitty. There are also some great goofy scenes with a terrier named George to appeal to those of us who love everything about dogs.

The humor is both spot-on slapstick and verbal. The interchange between Grant and Hepburn has both chemistry and focus. It's one I keep in my collection and watch if I'm feeling blue or just need a pick-me-up.

I'd love to recreate this Howard Greer dress. It's a black and white striped beauty, fitting slim over the hips,and with artfully placed godets, falling from the hips at the side seams, and princess seams in front and back. Of course the contrasting horizontal stripes on the sleeves add to the overall effect as well. The bodice front is ornamented by only a simple mandarin collar, that keeps your eye on the swing of the skirt, as the madcap heiress rushes back and forth between Baby-the-leopard and Cary Grant. 

Hepburn's other outfits in "Bringing Up Baby" are fun and luxurious. They speak to the era.  But it's this classic dress that says timeless fashion. It's one I'd love to recreate it for a modern times, perhaps altering a few details to better flatter my own figure type.


Maybe I'll think about that some more, as I pop my dvd back in and watch it just one more time.



The ability to imagine and create timeless fashion based on vintage looks,  is just one of the things that keeps me... 
Enchanted by Sewing.

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