19 December 2016

that dress~ GWTW

December 15th, 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of Gone With The Wind's premiere in Atlanta Georgia, 1939. The movie centers around the Civil War city of Atlanta and the countryside near Tara and Twelve Oaks. Recently in an interview, Anna Wintour called Scarlett O'Hara the most well dressed character in literature-vis a vis the film.

Walter Plunkett created this dress for Vivien Leigh's Scarlet to wear during Christmas at Aunt Pittypat's house in Atlanta. Scarlett went to grieve there (get closer to the action) -for her first husband Charles Hamilton, Pittypat's nephew. Her wedding dress to the ill-fated & feckless Charles was pretty fantastic too-(& not a hoop in sight).

Ashley, married to Melanie- Charles' long-suffering sister, comes home from the war on furlough and Scarlet gets another taste of the bitter pill-unrequited love, though no one could deny the dash of her bonnet, & the sprig of holly pinned to her green dress. Suffer she must-but that's no need for becoming a dowd.

Scarlett fights her way through the Civil War with  pluck-ultra, and 40 wardrobe changes- A Civil War "fashionista." It had to hurt as she watched from the parlor door Melanie & Ashley drift off to their bedroom clinging to one another.

 As Ashley leaves to return to battle, Scarlett waylays the poor man to give him a ridiculously fashionable sash for his uniform- vaguely reminiscent of her own white one, but in buttah yellow.

It is hardly worth mentioning that the gift gets her an embrace & kiss-I could care less-for being mesmerized by that dress with its darling ruched bodice trimmed out in red & adorned with a tasseled cameo, and Aunt Pittypat's extravagant curtains of silk & lace.
No, these are not "portieres" (a curtain that hangs in the entryway to a room that with no door), as referred to incorrectly in the movie.

Along with that dress, Aunt Pittypat's design aesthetic gets full marks- minus the antimacassars.

I love the Victorian pieces upholstered in Chintz. While we think of them in tired old antique Velvets, rethink your Grandmother's-or Aunt Pittypat's in a bold chintz with painted frames lacquered in red-violet-or green-even white would do. Consider an Indian cut work Lace to update Pittypat's windows, Schumacher has one I've used over & over.

And for Christmas supper, drape yourself in a fur stole, get an instant lift with a blue bow tied tightly under your chin, keep the Christmas tree small ( on a table near the windows), keep the table decorations low & simply chic (candles & holly sprigs), decant the port yourself...

& raise a glass to 75 years, and 40 costume changes!
If you haven't read Margaret Mitchell's GWTW, or seen the movie- "GOD'S NIGHTGOWN!"


  1. The most divine dress of all...when Scralett was thrown into the party at Millie's ALONE by Rhett...That scarlet color, those sparkles shimmering, the cloud of tulle....oh how mysteriously seductive the whole!
    Flash forward to Melrose Avenue...Rose Tarlow, who is much respected...bought the fabulous building that was once long ago a funeral home, then for decades Heritage Rare Books...which had THE most fabulous collection of Rare Books perhaps on the West Coast in my opinion. In the main reading room of this historic1920s building of Norman Architecture, sat THE Dining Table and Chairs from Scarlet and Rhett's famous scene where he takes her face into his hands and says drunkenly that he could crush her in one squeeze, whereupon she says take your filthy hands off me...by morning, she is singing that wept with delight for they mad love passionately that night. I so loved sitting on THOSE chairs, reading a future book I'd own upon THAT table, and just dreaming once of a scarlet dress, shimmering sparkles and being enveloped in a cloud of tulle!
    As for the building...she obliterated all, down to the studs...putting in a contrived architecture at best, decimating history...but then, she's the same who in the early 90s, convinced David Geffen to rid himself of all Billy Haines interiors and furnishings for the magnificent home of Jack and Ann Warner, of Warner Bros.

  2. Dear PGTapp, The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas, in Austin, TX is currently showing original costumes, manuscripts, storyboards, stills, etc. all from the university's archives. For those not aware, UT received many of David O. Selznick's manuscripts, actual film costumes, etc. all relating to GONE WITH THE WIND. Should anyone be in the area for the holidays, the exhibition is up until Jan. 4, 2015. Merry Christmas! Jimmie

  3. Gaye, you have inspired me to watch this fabulous movie once again! When my granddaughters were young, we sat and had a movie night. All of a sudden the screen said please enter second CD. The girls had no idea how long the film is!!

    Tis the Sunday before Christmas

  4. What a wonderful wonderful post! Thank you!

  5. What a woman! Great to see these stills - how different things seem. You make me want to freeze frame the entire movie, Gaye!

  6. Beautiful. I had a hard time at first, taking my eyes off that newell post. Have the best holidays Gaye.



Related Posts with Thumbnails