Friday, June 18, 2010

Ruby Keeler in Dames (1934)

After taking on my first bridal look (from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), I wondered how many other bridal ensembles I could come up with from classic movies. (I think if I were really honest with myself about what I like to do, I would be a wedding planner for a living.) I had rented Dames with Ruby Keller and Dick Powell from the library and immediately thought that this dress from the number “I Only Have Eyes for You” would make a great bridal gown.

I rented Dames mostly because the dance numbers were directed by the legendary Busby Berkeley. Berkeley is famous for his kaleidoscopic overhead shots of showgirls artfully arranged. Here are a couple of examples from Dames:
So, before I even get to the outfit, I would like to suggest a wedding favor idea. What about giving away little personalized kaleidoscopes to the guests? There are a number of websites out there that will do personalized paper kaleidoscopes from about $3 to $6 each. had the best selection I could find. What an interesting tribute to classic films and Busby Berkeley.

Back to attire: Ruby Keeler has on a satin and organza gown with a skirt full of ruffles. Here is what I came up with as a modern interpretation:

Run-Down:Dress: Decode 1.8 Cap-Sleeved Satin & Mesh Ruffled Gown, on sale for $156.99 via Lord & Taylor
Wrap: The Limited, Pull Thru Flower Wrap in Ivory, $49.50
Headband: Asymmetrical Poppy Headband in Ivory Made to Order, $78 via Etsy seller sweetpeaandfawn
Jewelry: Reproduction Art Deco Style Necklace and Earrings, $65
Shoes: Caparros Elope Pump in Ivory, $49.95 via DSW
Total: $399.44
The dress was pretty easy to find. The ivory in the gown feels more antique than a white gown to me. I love the floor length ruffles and the sheer bits over the shoulder that remind me of Ruby’s dress. The price was fantastic too. With a gown for less than $200, this look was set to be a good deal more affordable than my last bridal look.

I stumbled upon this lovely ivory wrap from The Limited and really wanted to use it. Did you know that The Limited has an entire bridal division. I had no idea. I imagined that this wrap could be for an outdoor wedding in autumn and could be worn for the ceremony outside and then removed for the reception indoors.

When I was recently a bridesmaid, we were allowed to pick our own footwear and I picked a satin D’orsay pump much like this one I have selected for this post. It was supportive and comfortable but felt very formal and feminine. This one in ivory from DSW is a great price too.

And the finishing touches: headpiece and jewelry. I wanted to find some jewelry that evoked the 1930s and this great site had some lovely Art Deco pieces. I like that you get matching earrings to go with the necklace for only $65. I think this would be particularly lovely if one of the wedding colors was a bronze or copper.

I went with a headpiece instead of a veil. This poppy mimics the flower of the wrap and feels very antique and retro because it is off to one side. Since it is in place of a veil, the price seemed reasonable.

Altogether, I managed to pull off an entire bridal ensemble for under $400. This look is formal and uber-feminine. It would be appropriate (sans-wrap) for any season, but I am imagining it as a autumn wedding with bronze/copper and perhaps mauve and pale pink accents with the ivory. Here are a few ideas for how this antique theme might play out:

Run-Down:Bridesmaid Dress: Venetian Lace Taffeta Dress , on sale for $39 via Newport News
Bridesmaid Shawl: Target, Adi Designs Pashmina Luxury Shawl in Pink, $14.99
Bridesmaid Shoe: Caparros Elope Pump in Pink, $49.95 via DSW
Total: $103.94

The bridesmaids’ attire would be just over $100. That’s a great deal. They would appreciate that. I didn’t find prices on the flowers or the cake but just added that to illustrate how you could expand the colors and antique 1930s feel to all aspects of the event.

Imagine all of this inspiration coming from one dress in one number in one movie! Oh! And what if the bride and groom had their first dance to “I Only Have Eyes for You”? Wouldn’t that be so sweet? I wouldn’t use the version from the movie Dames, but this cover of it by the Flamingos is perfect for a dreamy slow dance.

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