Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valley of the Dolls - Travilla's Clothing Line


Since actresses first appeared on screen and women began emulating their appearances through hairstyle, make-up or clothing, film executives realized one way to get women into the theaters is by presenting stars in the most glamorous of outfits. And if the styles, or something very similar can be purchased, everybody wins! With his twenty-five plus years in both film and fashion, Travilla already knew the importance movies played in advertising his private clothing line and had incorporated pieces in his collections based on films he was working on beginning with 1958's "Beyond the Terrace" starring Joanne Woodward, the 1960s with "Valley of the Dolls," "Daddy's Gone a Hunting," "The Big Cube," and continuing until "Dallas/Knot's Landing" in the 1980s.

From among several newspaper articles, I've managed to piece together an idea of the sixty pieces inspired by the "Valley of the Dolls" for Travilla's 1968 Spring/Summer line 1968.

September 24, 1967 Newspaper ad featuring some of his "Dolls" sketches.

September 17, 1967 Newspaper ad featuring one of his "Dolls" sketches.
Among the collection were a white jeweled trench coat, a bias-cut gown in white crepe pleats with halter neckline, sheer feminine shirtwaist dresses with puffed sleeves of white sheer wool, cowboy-inspired with seaming marking a lowered waistline and of white point d'espirit with straw daisies appliqued on the dirndl skirt. John Barrymore collars deeply slashed with long lapels and ruffled touches; short flirty skirts; woman-tailored costumes; wool pajamas cut on the bias; a trend called "fit and flare" based on the natural waistline,with fluid and flowing seaming; belts and ascots in canary yellow and green for daytime and pants dress cut to defy detection, and long sleeveless gown in three tiers of pleated white chiffon with fluted ruff at the neck. Travilla used lots of green in all shades from pale to brilliant, plenty of white and more than a smattering of black, which Travilla claimed "is definitely on its way in."

Pink version of white evening gown described above.
Quotes from him also from the same articles include:

"It's time for women to look like women before the fellas get their first!"

"If I ever had to go down the street with one of those monstrosities pictured in Vogue or Harpers, I'd resign."

"Forget about the crazy watches, the mod stockings, the way out hairdos and concentrate on an important dress or costume and the right, very simple accessories." 

"I think it's ridiculous when 40-year-old women say they can't wear short lengths. After all, the leg is the last to go. It holds up, you know. I much prefer a knee or leg showing than arm."

Posing with model Jean Brown in the retail version of Helen Lawson's sequined and jeweled pantsuit.
Travilla took the opportunity to bring many of the collection's pieces along on the "Valley of the Dolls" film premiere cruise aboard the Princess Italia from it's Miami-Acapulco-Los Angeles leg of it's trip originating from Europe. Included in the extras on the "Valley of the Dolls" 2-DVD set is the original one-hour television broadcast special which features a few minutes of Travilla.

Gown in white on board the Princess Italia.
Same model in different outfit.
White and green color combination as mentioned above.

Tate worn dress and another from the line on display in Palm Springs 2009

Sharon Tate modeled several of the outfits and photographs of the actress appeared in the fashion sections of countless newspaper, garnering publicity for both the film and Travilla's label. The captions below were taken from those.
Sketch for coat-dress below.
Thin-line navy and red on white wool plaid. Wrapped standing collar and mobile bias skirt with side flair.

Orange and white wool double -breasted coat-dress ensemble cinched in leather.

White wool double-breasted coat dress with burst of hemline pleats.

Pleated panel shell-pink chiffon with criss-cross neckline.

Valley of the Dolls - Lee Grant

Miriam was the agent/sister of Jennifer North's husband played by actress Lee Grant. Watching out for her brother's career and money, Miriam spent very little on herself, knowing the future medical expenses of his crippling disease she's managed to keep secret - for now. Travilla conveyed her frugal ways, yet managed to keep her somewhat stylish. Grant was able to bring a touch of sympathy to a woman almost as cold, but not as successful as Helen Lawson.

Patty Duke, Mark Robler, Lee Grant, unknown, Jackie Sussan and Barbara Parkins on-set.
Her most memorable line is: "I'm gonna heat up the lasagna."

However, she had a huge fan in Sharon Tate, according to author Greg King. "She frequently commented on her admiration for Lee Grant, with whom she had played several dramatic scenes. Tate was quoted as saying, "I learned a great deal about acting in [Valley of the Dolls], particularly in my scenes with Lee Grant...She knows what acting is all about and everything she does, from little mannerisms to delivering her lines, is pure professionalism."

She did go on to much greater things. Check out her WIKI.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Valley of the Dolls - The Gillian Girl Commercial


Though she bitched about beige, Barbara Parkins certainly had her moment to shine when her character's discovery and transformation into Gillian Cosmestics new "Gillian Girl" is covered in a two minute montage of the actress (though a few I'm not sure it's her) in approximately sixteen different outfits accompanied by a lush Andre Previn instrumental score. The link below should cue up to where it begins in the film.

Travilla's notation on the sketch changes the color of the bow to yellow, shown in the montage below. I'm pretty sure this is NOT Parkins, but one of Travilla's house models.

An entire outfit designed and they use a headshot!

Interestingly enough, the jeweled headpiece and dress worn by Parkins in the far left shot is a costume Travilla designed for Anne Jackson to wear in "The Secret Life of an American Wife" as shown in the sketch below. Quite Audrey Hepburn in the last shot I must say.

Mistakenly being sold as from "Valley of the Dolls" due to the image from the film and mis-identified as Sharon Tate most probably from this photograph which was taken during one or more photo shoots. Tate tried on this and two of Hayward's costumes which are posted in the Garland entry.

Sold at auction for $1000+
Sold at auction for $2000.
Same fabric used in Garland sketch.
Mis-identified and sold as Lee Grant but is actually Barbara Parkins.

The first, third and fourth outfits from above sketches.
Labeled "Julie" but definitely from "VOD".

Dress on display in Palm Springs 2009. Beading makes it too heavy to display on a mannequin for very long as it stretches the delicate under-fabric.

Unused outfit and shot from filming.
Enlarged version of sketchs on desk in front of Travilla.
Sketch underneath seated man's hand is dress worn by Parkins below.
Sketch for dress Parkins wearing in this scene above.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Personal Sketches in my Collection

Before I overdose on "Dolls," thought I'd take a wee break and post images of the five Travilla sketches I have in my personal collection. Though purchased separately, four of the five are from one year - 1954.

Katy Jurado in "Broken Lance." My first purchase. Travilla's artistry and attention to detail makes this one of my favorite pieces.

Richard Burton in "Rains of Ranchipur." Love the nehru collar on the doctor's shirt.

 A fashion sketch showing a green non-beaded version of the costume worn by Marilyn Monroe in the finale of "No Business Like Show Business."

The only picture that Travilla worked on set in Egypt was "Princess of the Nile," starring Debra Paget, but she doesn't wear anything similar in the entire film. However, Jean Simmons was starring in "The Egyptian" and though Charles LeMaire was credited as Wardrobe Director, Travilla could've possibly created a few of the costumes.

Paul Newman in 1970's "WUSA.:" Found this one eBay attributed to Edith Head, but recognizing the vertical rectangle found on others from the film in the Estate Archives, I immediately knew who it was.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Valley of the Dolls - Patty Duke and Barbara Parkins


"Neely O'Hara - the ingenue. Another of the thousands of hopefuls who dream of stardom. She's a working showgirl, perfectly natural, full of zip, clawing her way to the top. Couldn't care less what she's wearing. It's a different story once she's made the grade, and then it is that she's high fashion."

Duke at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
A dashing Travilla with Duke at Dorothy Chandler.
Played by actress Patty Duke, most well known for her role as twins Patty and Cathy Lane on "The Patty Duke Show." Duke told one reporter, "When I stared this picture and knew Travilla was designing a wardrobe just for me, I got ambitious and reduced to eighty pounds. And Travilla didn't disappoint, Patty, dressing her in a $6000 coat worn in New England snow scenes, and the lattice-work fabric for her Grammy award scene costume costing $150 a yard (in 1967 dollars!) The actual dress is at the Hollywood History Museum in the old Max Factor Building in Hollywood California. It may or may not be on display.

Alternative costume sketch to one chosen below. Similar to one  with Travilla in promotional photo.

2-2013: Dana from concettascloset on esty contacted me and sent the photographs above of Travilla's private label version of Neely's outfit in the sketch above. A truly stunning piece with amazing beading at the collar. It's currently available along with other great vintage clothing from other designers at 

Photo of Neely's wedding dress shown below.

An alternative wedding dress sketch to one chosen.

Travilla poses with author Sussan and Duke at the 1968 Academy Awards. Duke is wearing one of  her costumes from "Dolls."
"Anne Wells is a shy, clean-cut typical American girl who comes to New York from a small New England town. Not interested in show business - all she wants is a job. Her entire manner, her behavior, her very way of life must be exemplified as much by the way she dresses as by the way she deports herself. She's an honest, forthright human and that's the way I designed her clothes - honestly, simply, attractively in the best of taste."

Barbara Parkins, another television actress from "Peyton Place" played Anne and didn't necessarily agree with Travilla's choice in costumes, stating on the voice-over commentary for the Valley of the Dolls DVD that she thought he was brilliant at making exquisite gowns, a master, the rest of the clothes were "questionable." Parkins felt her day wear wardrobe was beige, beige, beige. Too Boxy. Completely wrong for the settings and especially hated her beret, referring to it as "a mushroom growing out of her head."

Parkins and Hayward.

Doesn't look beige to me...
Nor this...
Travilla with Parkins in something she likes.....maybe.