• Lindsey

Style Icon: Carole Lombard


Carole Lombard silk dress

The unforgettable Carole Lombard

"IT TAKES DARING TO BE ORIGINAL"


Carole Lombard has got to be one of my favourite Golden Hollywood actresses and her eponymous style has been a huge inspiration for Stylecamp. An exqusite, timeless beauty with a bit of a sassy side, her look was just as envious dressed down in jeans and a shirt as it was in full moviestar glamour, swathed in furs over svelte gowns.

Carole Lombard in a silk gown with wide hat

Carole Lombard in a silk gown with wide hat

Carole's timeless 1930s style is still widely copied today. She wore pieces with a minimum of fuss but with a dose of personality, often accessorised with fabulous, oversized hats. As my personal style icon, Stylecamp's Lombard dress was designed in tribute to her. But before we delve into her enviable wardrobe, here's a little more about this mesmerising Hollywood beauty.


 

LIFE AND CAREER


The free-sprited Carole Lombard

Described as a free-spirited tomboy in her flapper years, she was famously nicknamed 'the Profane Angel' for her vivacious personality that often saw her swearing like a sailor. It was this larger-than-life charisma that brought her considerable fame in her early film career starring in a number of 1930s screwball comedies.


Carole Lombard portrait

Carole Lombard portrait

With her platinum blonde waves, high arched brows and cheekbones to die for, her sultry gaze and raw sex appeal ensured she stamped her mark on Hollywood - she became one of the highest paid stars of the 1930s. Aside from starring in films, Carole revelled in the fashion shoot side of the industry and it's estimated she may have posed for various photographers over 42,000 times!

The many glamorous looks of Carole Lombard

Her penchant for lavish parties at her Beverley Hills home and her marriage to the 'King of Hollywood' Clark Gable cemented her status as a screen legend, drawing her lots of media attention; however, her life and career were to be tragically cut short in 1942.

Despite never winning any awards for her performances, Carole Lombard is still revered as one of the greatest Golden Hollywood actresses of her time for her vitality and her commercial successes in the comedy genre.


 

STYLE


Much of her screen wardrobe in her early career was devised by Travis Banton, the then Head Designer at Paramount Pictures, who dressed many of the starlets of the 1930s and 40s, including Clara Bow, Merle Oberon and Marlene Dietrich.


Travis Banton and Carole Lombard

He gave Carole a classic streamlined silhouette with form fitting dresses that often featured a fabulous train - perfect for strutting the wide halls of her newly acquired Hollywood pad! Coupled with her sharp-shooting demeanour, it gave her a huge impact on screen. He used furs and other luxurious accessories to emphasise her look, yet however seemingly over-the-top, the result was always tasteful and elegant.

Costume designs by Travis Banton

I just love this account by Banton himself (c/o Glamour Daze; originally published in Photoplay in1936) which perfectly captures what it was like working with the rambunctious Carole and designing her costumes - it's well worth a read.


 


STYLECAMP'S LOMBARD DRESS


I designed the Lombard dress in homage to Carole's fitted 1930s gowns, using a rich velvet fabric to capture that essence of decadence she so often protrayed. It's a modern, modest length with simple, clean lines seen with the elegant boat neckline and flattering mid length sleeves. I like to think the quirky split sleeve detail panders to her playful side - the effect is unfussy with a hint of personality.