There’s a reason the fashion synonymous with old Hollywood is considered ‘classic glamour.’ It’s stood the test of time, and while eveningwear trends come and go, that traditional Hollywood look – think figure-hugging silky dresses with furry stoles and a handful of pearls – will always be in style.
Babylon, the epic comedy-drama starring Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Olivia Wilde is out in cinemas today. Set in 1920s Hollywood, it follows the rise and fall of several characters during the transition from silent to sound films. The glitz and glamour of the era makes for scene-stealing costumes throughout the movie, the most notable being Margot Robbie as eager dreamer Nellie LaRoy, in a plunging red dress.
‘The costumes were quite outrageous because we wanted it to be unlike anything we’d ever see on film before,’ costume designer Mary Zophres notes in the official featurette for the film. And that they are. While short hems and luxe fabrics were big news in the 20s, the film’s portrayal of fashion during the era is more OTT than you may expect.
It’s easy to think that the fabulousness of early Hollywood has no place in everyday life. After all, it’s not often we have an invite where Robbie’s slit-to-the-navel mini is the dress of choice, but who’s to say you have to be an ambitious movie star to get in on the glitzy action?
Here’s how to add a little of Babylon’s high-octane glamour into your evening looks this weekend:
The low necklines
What with Valentine’s day fast-approaching, a slinky top (that you can team with jeans and heels for a low-key glam look, obviously) is a must-have for date night. If you’re not keen on one that’s as racy as Margot’s, go for a wrap top where it’s easy to control how much is on show. Alternatively, a silky cami ticks two old-glamour boxes (more on silk later), and looks great under an oversized blazer.
The red dress
Robbie’s character Nellie LaRoy ‘comes from nothing’, and Zophres noted that she wanted her first party look to be ‘something she cobbled together herself, like tap pants and a scarf wrapped around the waist’ to make the point. The result? Her plunging red mini that wraps round her waist and ties at the back.
A red dress is *the* moment, so it makes for the perfect birthday outfit. Keep the rest of your look pared back so that it takes centre stage.
The silky gown
I’d say silky dresses are as much of a trend now as they were in 20s Hollywood. A slip is a wardrobe staple now: they can be paired with a knit and knee-high boots for work, then with sparkly heels and a blazer for night.
They’re body-skimming – though I’d always recommend Skims to avoid any clinging – and look equal parts classic and sexy every time.
The glam faux fur coat
There’s a striking scene in the movie where Jean Smart as Elinor St John wears a furry leopard hat and a matching coat, and it’s arguably the easiest to replicate everyday.
By day, team a faux fur coat with casual pieces to keep the look modern: straight-leg jeans, chunky boots and a simple knit are perfect. By night, make like Elinor and pair yours with gold and pearl jewellery, and wear it over a LBD and black platforms.