Was there ever more elegance and style than when women’s dress sense was further enhanced by fur stoles, veils and dress gloves. I am reminded of U.S. President Reagan’s wife Nancy Reagan when being received by the Pope. Wearing a veil this otherwise ordinary lady is transformed into an almost saintly figure.
Actress Sophia Loren expressed femininity as few women can, especially when wearing a face veil or stole. Now in her eighties, the feminine icon still adds to her allure by wearing a broad-brimmed hat and veil.
So did countless other fashion icons such as Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn, the opera diva Maria Callas. Given these stars enigmatic beauty and presence can the fashion icons of today hold a candle to the silver screen goddesses of yesterday?
Actresses and film stars, even at the beginning of their careers, could flaunt it immodestly. All that was necessary to turn heads and attract admiring glances was to toss a fur stole over their shoulders with a certain élan.
Pulling on filigree-laced elbow-length dress gloves underscored elegance and style. For added allure, surely a fashionable hat and pretty face tantalisingly half hidden by a veil. This style was at its most effective when decorously done as did Princess Diana.
Dress gloves showed real taste. The gloves being seductively pulled on or off exposed a man’s weakness for a woman’s slim hand and forearm. A real lady never removed her glove to shake a hand. However, men were obliged to do so. This small difference placed emphasis on the difference between the genders.
Shawls are another social matter. I never met a woman who wasn’t devoted to either her shawl or stole. Stoles were worn for style in high places whilst shawls were for those considered less fortunate. Popular in Spain too, flamenco artistes swirl a shawl with mesmerising effect.
Of course, the donning of such fashion accessories demanded confidence without which the gesture was rather pointless. Oh, they had plenty of that too. I recall being a passenger in a New York yellow cab; I was a sixteen-year old sailor at the time. The lights changed and the world stopped for everyone in sight of her. Mesmerised, we watched a young woman, almost certainly a film star, as she crossed Fifth Avenue to approach Macy’s department store.
Dressed in what passes for fashion today she would not be an exceptional woman. Not on this occasion. She was taking Errol Flynn’s advice. Walk like you own the earth. For a few brief moments, she did so.
With her sweet nose in the air and aware that all eyes were on her she flaunted her femininity as few can: Marylyn Monroe comes to mind. The image of her as she flamboyantly crossed that busy city avenue stayed with me all these years. The Beatles crossing Abbey Road could never match her panache. ~ Michael Walsh
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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL, EUROPE ARISE, TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROES, MEGACAUST, DEATH OF A CITY, WITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTER , THE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and II, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, IMMORTAL BELOVED, THE ALL LIES INVASION, INSPIRE A NATION Volume I, INSPIRE A NATION Volume II , SLAUGHTER OF A DYNASTY , REICH AND WRONG, THE RED BRIGANDS, RANSACKING THE REICH , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: ARNO BREKER AND REICH SCULPTORS , SCULPTURES OF THE THIRD RIECH: JOSEF THORAK AND REICH SCULPTORS , PORCELAIN OF THE THIRD REICH: Supreme Ceramics and Porcelain Lost to War, The Exiled Duke Romanov Who Turned Desert Into Paradise , THE DOVETAILS , SEX FEST AT TIFFANY’S and other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.
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MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. His 70 books include best-selling RHODESIA’S DEATH EUROPE’S FUNERAL, AFRICA’S KILLING FIELDS, THE LAST GLADIATORS, A Leopard in Liverpool, RISE OF THE SUN WHEEL, EUROPE ARISE, FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK, THE ALL LIES INVASION, INSPIRE A NATION Volume I, INSPIRE A NATION Volume II, and many other book titles. These illustrated best-selling books are essential for the libraries of informed readers.
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