Nightclubs would play “You Stepped Out of a Dream” as she entered.
Men adored her, including actor William Powell, and showered her with gifts.
Lana Turner’s glamor, beauty and style made her one of the top film stars from the 1940s through the early 1960s.
Her fashionable presence and perfection of her appearance has left a lasting impression on classic Hollywood fans.
Today we are looking at how Miss Turner dressed.
“She had a presence, style and beauty,” said her daughter Cheryl Crane in her book LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies. “But she was approachable, rather than film goddesses like Greta Garbo.” (56)
Her clothes and jewelry were her star persona that she used as a shield and felt vulnerable without them, Crane said.
“Her appearance, whether for screen, at home or in public, was always ‘camera ready,’” Crane wrote. “Make up on, hair done-no matter the time or place.” (82)
“I would rather lose a good earring than be caught without make up,” Turner said.
Crane describes her mother’s lifestyle and interests in the book in detail-including her clothing.
Turner’s closet in her 1950s home was the length of half of their home complete with a platform for fittings, climate controlled closets for furs, jewelry vaults and revolving closets.
When it came to evening dresses, Turner liked form fitting gowns but rarely wore low cut dresses. She preferred wearing all white or all black for a dramatic look that complimented her skin tone and hair. (95) She also liked clean, bright colors such as yellow.
For professional performances Lana never wore clothing off the rack so that she wouldn’t be copied by department stores. Her casual clothing was tailored as well.
Her favorite designers were Jean Louis and Nolan Miller, later in life.
“More than often she would look at the latest issue of Harper’s Bizarre or Vogue and then put her dressmaker to work on a vision of the styles she liked,” Crane wrote. “Mother’s perfectionism caused trouble during fittings. It was not unheard of for a dressmaker to walk out because she was so detail oriented.” (96)
When Lana started in Hollywood, her hair was a reddish brown. It was eventually died blond, which it stayed for most of her career. In other films like “Green Dolphin Street” (1947) and “Betrayed” (1954) her hair was brown.
Turner’s hairdresser, Helen Young, experimented with up-dos and wove jewels and flowers into her hair, Crane wrote (88).
“It (her hair) was long one moment, short the next,” Crane wrote. “Mother was constantly changing her hair. It was very easy to style.”
Along with jewels, Lana often adorned her head with hats- from flowered pieces to feathers, veils and Spanish influenced mantillas.
“Mom had a face that allowed her to wear any hat,” Crane wrote. (100)
“No dress, however startling, can stand alone,” Lana said.
She coordinated jewelry with outfits and preferred colored jewels to diamonds. (104)
“Even when wearing sweats she had jewelry,” Crane wrote.
Her shoes were by Ferragamo that were designed to match gowns. (96)
When Lana liked a style of shoes, she bought it in ever color. At one point she had 698 shoes. (99)
Fashion copycats and admirers:
It wasn’t just men who admired Lana.
Though Ginger Rogers wrote in her autobiography that Eva Peron copied her style in the 1930s, Cheryl Crane wrote that Peron was fascinated with Lana.
“Eva Peron copied fashions and a number of unique hairstyles for which mother was known for,” Crane said. (177)
The fascination made it awkward for Turner when she visited Argentina in 1946.
“Customs seized all of her jewelry and held her up for hours,” she wrote. “She learned that every piece was photographed to be copied later.”
Another notable person fascinated with Lana was artist Salvador Dali-but he was only obsessed with the corners of her eyes, which he wanted to paint. (177)
Though Lana Turner is one of the most beautiful women in the classic age of Hollywood, she didn’t think so.
“It’s interesting that mother never thought of herself as beautiful,” Crane wrote. “To her, the great beauties were brunettes.”
Regardless of Turner’s personal opinion of herself, her fashion and beauty made her a one of Hollywood’s ethereal and beautiful stars.
“Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies” by Cheryl Crane
This is part of Fashion in Film blogathon by Hollywood Revue Blog.
Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page