Thursday, June 27, 2013

Joanne Woodward - Signpost to Murder 1964

Woodward played Molly Thomas the lover of a doctor who attempts to frame a patient for her husband's murder in this black and white thriller distributed by metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1964.

Travilla and Woodward in her on-set dressing room.
Sketch for the film and one for a Vogue editorial spread.

Travilla loved his ombre as seen in the coat for Woodward for the film and a similar
outfit from his 1963 fashion line.

As with From the Terrace, Travilla created a fashion line based on the costumes worn by Woodward and traveled around the country promoting it as reported in the March 9, 1964 issue of the trade publication Boxoffice: "The first of a series of fashion promotions by Designer Travilla for MGM's "Signpost to Murder took place February 27 in Alexandria, Virginia. The studio shipped Joanne Woodward's Travilla wardrobe from the film to the southern city for a charity fashion show which was attended by approximately 2000 social, style and civic leader. the theme of the show was Murder in Fashion with Travilla addressing the group and explaining the transformation of a couturier's top designs into motion picture fashions. He also showed his latest spring collection exhibiting portrait stills of Miss Woodward wearing the new styles."

Notice the simplified collar on the retail version versus Woodward's from the film.
The collar on Woodward's coat is cut much higher than the retail version.
The jacket/evening gown combination above was also worn by  Mrs. Elliot Ruel in the 1963 Automobile Show held at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in October. Selected designers were matched up with a particular brand of car and created an outfit to go along with it. Travilla was paired with the Lincoln Continental and this was his "vision."

Travilla would not work professionally with Woodward again for six years, but two years later, with his help, managed to settle an old score with Joan Crawford from 1958.  "Joanne Woodward is setting the cause of Hollywood glamour back twenty years by making her own clothes."the actress told the press in regards to Woodwards announcement of making her evening gown herself at the 1958 Academy Awards. When attending the 1966 Academy Awards ceremony in a Travilla gown, Woodward made the statement "I hope this makes Joan Crawford happy."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Joanne Woodward - The Stripper 1963

Lila Green is an insecure and aging showgirl for Madame Olga's stage shows. When her boyfriend, Rick, runs off with the shows money, Madame Olga and Ronny let Lila go. Lila goes to stay with her old neighbors, Helen Bard and her teenage son, Kenny. Lila decides to go out and get a regular job and try and live a normal life. All seem well until, Lila and Kenny stop fighting their attraction for one another

The role of Lila, washed-up showgirl of the title, was originally intended for Marilyn Monroe, who was replaced by Joanne Woodward when negotiations fell through. The ironic opening sequence has the bleached blonde title character, upon her arrival in Hollywood, being mistaken for Jayne Mansfield by a tourist. 

Monroe had been considered for the part as early as 1961 co-starring opposite Pat Boone who turned the part down as his strong religious beliefs nor did he feel his fans would be comfortable with him in such a role. Monroe's death had nothing to do with Woodward being cast in the film. In fact, the April 28, 1962 Los Angeles Times listed The Stripper as one of four films in production at the studio, including Monroe's Something's Got to Give. In fact, Woodward would perform the song "Something's Got to Give" in the film.

Mis-identified as a Marilyn Monroe sketch, Woodward poses with Gypsy Rose Lee
wearing one of Travilla's creeations.

For her role in The Stripper also known under the working title The Woman in July, Travilla dressed Woodward in silk and other sheer fabrics that reveal her body movement. But as Joanne's breast were small, they created "breast cards" that glued to her body and gave the illusion of a fuller figure. "I called in the studio sculptor to make some plaster casts of Joanne's body. From these, they made another form and created several sets of clay breasts until I gave my approval.....nothing too much, just beautiful breasts that scoop up and move." From that, thin foam pads were created and glued daily to the actress' body. "It was a tribute to Joanne as an actress that she went through all this for the role."

Another "mistaken Marilyn" sketch minus sleeves worn by Woodward.

Travilla was nominated for his last Academy Award for Costume Design in a black and white film, losing to Piero Gherardi for 8 1/2.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Travilla Estate going up for Aucton

 October 11th!

It is with a somewhat heavy heart and mixed emotions that what I've known about for many months has finally been publicly announced - that except for a few select items, the entire contents of the Travilla Archives will be sold this Fall.

While the visions of a full-on tour showcasing Travilla's career in both film and fashion and a coffee-table book of the same were never realized, at least there will be a permanent record of the collection for posterity and others will now get to enjoy what I have had the privilege of working with for the past six years.

Thanks B. & G. for a wonderful ride.

But don't think the Travilla legacy or Travilla Style is over by any means, cause it ain't!