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Moment 13: Early Hollywood Impact

The early influence of Hollywood on fashion, and vice versa, began when motion pictures such as Peter Pan and That Royle Girl partnered with designers.

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Joan Crawford in Letty Lynton 1932

Joan Crawford in Letty Lynton, 1932.

Photo By Courtesy of Everett Collection

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 11/01/2010

On February 3, 1925, as films were in their infancy, WWD published a story on Hollywood’s impact on fashion and vice versa. Even then, two years before the first talkie, the savvy Seventh Avenue set recognized opportunity knocking. Thus, the Peter Pan Dress Co. Inc. smartly partnered up with Paramount Picture Corp.’s 1924 Peter Pan feature—resulting in a series of cross-promotional Peter Pan Weeks between local retailers and theaters across the country—while heavyweight director D.W. Griffith announced his plans to incorporate advanced fashions in his films, starting with That Royle Girl in 1925, which would showcase the work of designer Joseph Nemser.

 

“Motion pictures, through the audience which they constantly hold with millions of American people,” wrote WWD, “can be made a powerful influence in guiding the American fashion demand along the proper and authoritative lines.” New ground thus broken, the fashion-cinema mash-ups continued through Hollywood’s golden age (e.g., Joan Crawford’s celebrated Letty Lynton dress from 1932, which sold half a million copies at Macy’s) and beyond—Bonnie Parker berets, Alex Owens sweats, Clueless plaids and all.