14 October 2014


A fantasy coupling, and an April fool's joke, from 1932.

New York, 1935.

Garbo and Dietrich. They were often compared to one another, but did they they ever meet? 

Marlene always denied it, which did nothing to stop speculation. Garbo's reported comment on the subject?: "Who is Marlene Dietrich?" 

One thing is certain — they may have had the opportunity to meet through shared friends and acquaintances, but they couldn't have met as often as those who knew both (and who supposedly witnessed such meetings) said they did! 

The Garbo site, GarboForever, has a nice summary of many of these legends: you'll have to decide for yourself how reliable they are. One supposed meeting, at a nightclub in 1935, was widely reported. Marlene's denials made the cover of the New York Post in March that year:

01 October 2014

Making Fashion: Two New Exhibitions (With Books!)

Two current exhibitions celebrate the work of those who helped shape Dietrich's image:

Photographer Horst P. Horst photographed Dietrich on several occasions for Vogue. A major career retrospective, focussing on the photographer's work at the fashion magazine, is currently on show at London's V&A (where it will run until 4 January 2015). 

Photographer of Style was was opened by Carmen Dell’Orefice, the one-time Vogue model who worked with the photographer from 1946. Using over 250 photographs from the magazine's archive — alongside items of clothing, Horst's papers, and film clips —  it explores Horst's creative efforts in collaboration with models, designers, artists and and stars like Marlene. 

Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to see all 94 of the covers Horst shot for Vogue, in addition to new exhibition prints of some of his colour work, printed from his original large-format transparencies.

The website about the exhibit includes fascinating information, including brief film footage of Marlene's friend, Alexander Liberman (whose photographs of her were published in 1993's An Intimate Photographic Memoir).  Anna Wintour has penned a forward to Susanna Brown's book, which accompanies the exhibit.

Across the pond, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts explores the combination of jewellery and fashion during Hollywood's golden age. 

Fittingly, one of Marlene's costumes from Desire, in which she played the chicest of jewel thieves, is on show. (The négligée, with its matching fur-trimmed cape — which, going by recent photos, looks like it may have been altered — is on loan from the FIDM Museum, who have several items from Dietrich's wardrobe in their collection.)

Also on show: a Travis Banton evening gown designed by Dietrich's costume collaborator for her one-time co-star, Anna May Wong; and a Schiaparelli dress that adorned the curves of Marlene's Paramount pal, Mae West. Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow and Carole Lombard are among the other stars represented.

The jewellery on view provide an opportunity to see the work of Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin up close. The house, makers of Marlene's fabled suite of emerald jewellery, is represented by various items from the thirties to the fifties: notably, a multi-use platinum, emerald and sapphire necklace once owned by actress June Knight.

Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen will be on show  until 8 March 2015. A book about The Jewels of Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin draws on the museum's collection to chart the collaboration between the firms of Trabert & Hoeffer and Mauboussin during the thirties and forties.

(Updated: 4 October 2014)