Dressing Carole Lombard, her clothing designers and my book.

by Beverly Adam (author of Two Lovers: the love story of Russ Columbo and Carole Lombard). Two Lovers: the love story of Carole Lombard and Russ Columbo by Beverly Adam

Dressing Carole Lombard for my book Two Lovers is one of the enjoyable tasks I had as an author. Carole was a stunningly beautiful movie star in the 1930’s and one of the most photographed women in Hollywood, having posed for photographers over 42,000 times by 1938.

 

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Travis Banton with Carole Lombard

 

 

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Gown by Travis Banton

 

Travis Banton was the head costume designer at Paramount Pictures, the studio where Carole was under contract during the 1930’s. Carole paid him as well to create street clothes for her, mostly pencil skirts with matching tailored jackets. She had to look polished on and off the set.

A young emerging star, Carole Lombard was twenty-five years old  in 1933, and had been gradually working her way up the entertainment ladder and that required looking glamorous. Travis Banton liked her and had a very friendly working relationship with Carole Lombard. He once was having such a good time chatting with her during a fitting that he arrived almost an hour late to a dinner party that he was supposed to be hosting.

 

Italian designer Elsa Schiaperelli  had arrived in California in the 1920’s. The daring designer was a noted rival of Coco Chanel

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Elsa Schiaparelli

and her surrealistic elements transformed Hollywood style, with her cloche hats, broad double breasted jackets and artistic notes of whimsy. Paramount took note and copied her style.

 

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Carole wearing Juliet cap. Drawing by Charles Sheldon.

Irene Maud Lentz was a twice nominated costume designer who freelanced at several studios in Hollywood, working at one point for Paramount in the 1930’s

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Irene Maud Lentz

and early 1940’s. She designed clothes for Carole Lombard for the films Mr and Mrs Smith and To Be Or Not To Be. Irene Lentz was known to have originated the dressmaker suit and her clothing  was popular at Bullocks. The actor Gary Cooper was reported to have been Irene’s lover and many believe she committed suicide when he died.

Carole Lombard wore on a date with her own lover, Russ  Columbo, one of Irene Lentz’s designs.

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Carole Lombard and Russ Columbo

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Russ Columbo, Happy Birthday from Your Angel, Carole Lombard

by Beverly Adam (author of Two Lovers: the love story of Carole Lombard and Russ Columbo)

“Carole Lombard  and Russ Columbo were the gayest of gay and continued to dance the rumba long after everyone had gone home…” Silver Screen Magazine reported on the charming couple’s partying in 1934.

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Looking back at their romance, I can write they were truly two people who were destined to meet and fall in love. And oh how they enjoyed each other’s company and that of others!

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Russ Columbo had once hosted at the height of his radio and theater career in the early 1930’s  a party at the famed  Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York city, hosting over 200 reporters to celebrate his success at the local Paramount Brooklyn Theater. His musical variety shows were sold-out, five shows a day. He set a record that would not be broken for a quarter of a  century at the theater.

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The gifted singer and songwriter Russ  Columbo grew-up in show business and performed as a child  as a violin prodigy. He was born into a large Italian American family  on January 14, 1908, in Camden, New Jersey  and had taken the radio airwaves by storm as The Valentino of The Radio, making all the young girls’ hearts flutter with his velvety voice and handsome profile.

And then one fateful night at the Cocoanut Grove his eyes met hers and they started an unforgettable romance. She told reporters, “His love for me was the kind that seldom comes to any woman.” In another interview she said, “I have married, divorced, and loved again.” This was in 1934. Carole Lombard showed her love both in action and words, and sometimes by the gifts she gave him. They were noted in newspapers and by the inventory of his estate.

What kind of gifts would you give a male Hollywood star on his birthday? We know that Carole Lombard gave Russ an Alaskan malamute puppy.

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She, according to the accounting of Russ Columbo’s estate, gave him a silver platinum cigarette case with his initials set in small diamonds. It may have looked something like this (see below).

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The silver cigarette case Carole Lombard gave Russ Columbo probably looked something like this, but with his initials on top set in small diamonds.

 

 

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Russ Columbo wearing a trinity ring on his wedding finger. Carole Lombard often wore the matching signet ring.  It was featured with the magazine article where  she stated she had “loved” him.

53bdffd362c600ea5d2c72ef0cc9788fListed among the other items she was known to gift Russ was a Cartier watch inscribed from her to him. Carole Lombard also gave him a ring with an inset solitaire diamond.

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1933 Cartier watch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Russ!

Love, your Angel,

Carole Lombard