Fancy Pants

Pants running. Pants standing. Best of all, pants doing a handstand. Pants are a perfect symbol of Katharine Hepburn’s unconventional approach to fashion and her exceptional Hollywood career. Decades before mainstream American women would dare to wear pants to work, Hepburn wore jeans on the studio lot in the early 1930s. The story goes that studio executives balked at her casual look (when her starlet contemporaries were dressed to the nines on set and off). They actually took away her jeans when she was busy filming in a desperate bid to make her conform to their ideas of fashion and propriety. Not to be outdone, Hepburn walked around the set in her underwear until her jeans were returned! Continue reading

Got Style?

My fashion-show debut was in the juniors department in Macy’s. It was the culmination of several weeks of classes in style and etiquette, and I strutted down the make-shift catwalk in a yellow polka-dot outfit. I don’t remember the details, except I think there was a vest and I know my collar was up (hey, it was the 80s). The experience was a chance to bond with my mom, who had had her own stint as a department store model in her college days, and who had designed and made all her own clothes from her teens until she had kids to outfit instead. She’s great to watch Project Runway with because she can tell if they really know how to design and sew, or if they are just all about the drama. When we started to plan a fashion show to complement our upcoming exhibit, Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen exhibit, I knew exactly who to call. Continue reading