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Screen Style: Fashion and Femininity in 1930s Hollywood

Screen Style: Fashion and Femininity in 1930s Hollywood
Your Price: $49.99 CDN
Limited Quantities
Author: Sarah Berry
Publisher: University Of Minnesota Press
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 264
Pub. Date: 2000
ISBN-10: 0816633126
ISBN-13: 9780816633128

About the Book:

HARD TO FIND BOOK, only a very limited number of copies are still available.

Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich – all were icons of beauty and glamour in 1930s Hollywood. Screen Style reveals the impact of celebrities like these on women filmgoers, looking beyond the surface of the films and fashions of the era – often described as forms of escapism from the difficult realities of the Depression – to show how Hollywood presented women with models for self-determination during a time of rapid social change.

Revealing the fascination of Hollywood movies in the thirties with strong-willed women – from the ambitions of gold-diggers, working girls, and social climbers to the illicit appeal of female androgyny and ethnic exoticism – Sarah Berry presents a lively, accessible, and lavishly illustrated look at 1930s films, fashions, fan magazines, and advertising. She views Hollywood glamour in the context of popular debates about fashion, identity, and social status, discussing such films as What Price Hollywood?, The Bride Wore Red, and The Bitter Tea of General Yen; big-budget, styledriven vehicles such as Fashions of 1934 and Vogues of 1938; and musicals, costume dramas, and Technicolor extravaganzas.

Screen Style explores the consumer economy that was still a novelty in the 1930s, as well as the shift from "class" to "mass" fashion marketing. Sarah Berry analyzes Hollywood and fashion-industry perceptions of the huge potential buying power of women, both as purchasers of goods for the entire family and as filmgoers, and the subsequent boom in star endorsements and merchandising, fashion publicity for upcoming films, and movie tie-ins of clothes and accessories. Wide-ranging changes accompanied the popularization of fashion, including the growing acceptance of cosmetic use and women's appropriation of pants. The fact that more women than ever before were working outside of the home led to a blurring of the social distinctions that fashion had traditionally served to accentuate – and, as a result, popular fashion provided women with a new tool to challenge and shape their roles in society.

What people say:

"In Sarah Berry's lavishly illustrated study of the relationship between Hollywood fashion and women's identity in 1930s America, she laudably seeks a nuanced point of view about the social impact of the heyday of on-screen glamour. Berry's study is valuable for its knowledgeable, indeed encyclopedic, grasp of the films of the studio system era and for its refusal to speak reductively of Hollywood's extravagant emphasis on the style of its female stars. Berry conscientiously follows the winding trails that connect screen fashion to voyeurism, racism, and the ambiguities of gender identity. Readable, comprehensive, and clearly argued, Sarah Berry's study of fashion in 1930s films has the potential not only to expand on the theoretical dialogue about its subject but also to serve the general reader and the film student as an introduction to a substantial number of largely unknown films and stars who nevertheless make up an important part of Hollywood history." — Film Quarterly

About the Author:

Sarah Berry teaches film studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland, Oregon. She writes on film, media, and cultural studies and designs interactive multimedia projects.