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November 08, 2013

Jean Harlow

Scandal was always two steps behind this woman who is the predecessor of our modern day notion of a 'siren'. She was famous for icing her nipples to make her breasts look perky before the camera's went on. She was Marilyn Monroe's idol and ofcourse I am talking about no one less than Jean Harlow. She was the first bombshell; her blondness became a legend although Jean Harlow herself forever denied that her hair was dyed. 

Jean Harlow was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter in March 3, 1911. In films, Jean wore usually satin gowns which combined very well with her ivory skin and platinum hair. Her dresses were so tight that the garments were sewn on to her and that she had little space to move and between takes she was often seen on a 'leaning board' whilst reading her script as the dress gave her no room to sit down. Jean was often heard saying "Must I always wear a low cut dress to be important?" The satin gowns, her light skin and platina hair gave her a somewhat luminous appearance. Harlow played hard-boiled girls in her films; hard-boiled girls she didn't really want to play as they were so different from her real self. But whether she wanted to play them or not; she was a marvelous actress with a superb sense of humor. Jean was loved by the crew members and audience. They thought of her as kind and down-to-earth.

When one is looking at candid shots of Jean Harlow one cannot deny that the onscreen Jean Harlow was indeed very different from the real life Jean. Jean was fond of slacks, sweaters and tennis shoes. And although she is famous for her thin, drawn on eyebrows and perfect pout popular in the 1930s; she didn't liked makeup very much except for just a bit of mascara on her eyelashes.

Jean Harlow avoided accessorizing her gowns with jewellery as she believed that a fine gown should be allowed to stand alone. But what she did wear was an anklet as a good luck charm. Jean believed in minimalism and quality of quantity. Her style was built on long-lasting and practical investments. Her wardrobe was never a large one.

Jean bought six costumes a season; usually two black crepe frocks, a dinner and a restaurant dress and two evening gowns.

Like I already said; offscreen Jean Harlow minimized her makeup to a bit of mascara only. More often than not it occured that she didn't even drew on her eyebrows. But when she did use makeup she liked to use pancake makeup; heavy and creamy foundation and a rosy blush. She shaved off her eyebrows; then drew them on thinly and high and elongated them towards the corner of her eye. She emphazised her baby blue eyes by using dark, smoldering eyeshadow and smudged it up to the eye socket to make it look less harsh. Sometimes Jean drew on her lower eyelashes instead of using mascara. Her lips were painted in a perfect cupid's bow and she ended by drawing on a beauty mark using black pencil on her chin or by one of the corners of her lips.

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  1. It's cool that you mentioned how Jean rarely went to town on the jewelry front, especially when it came to accessorizing her gowns. That's probably the first thing (after her trademark blonde locks) that jumps out at me when I think her glamorous style.

    ♥ Jessica


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