Classic Cinema Still Prominent at Prom

Guest Blogger and classic cinema fashion and film expert, Kimberly Truhler of GlamAmor gives us the low-down on how Prom styles today are inspired from old Hollywood movies

...and we'll show you where they're found in the L.A. Fashion District!

As big as Prom is today, it’s hard to remember that there was once a time when it wasn’t on the high school calendar.  Though there is evidence of formal dances as early as the late 1800s, it was still restricted to colleges at the time…an opportunity to bring the then women-only and men-only schools together.  High school dances followed in the 1900s with students dressed in their Sunday best, but the grandeur of Prom would have to wait.  As we know, the early part of the 20thcentury was wrought with challenges—World War I (1914-1918), the Great Depression (1929-1940), and World War II (1939-1945).

In the midst of World War II, people had neither time nor a dime to spare.  But as Americans emerged from the war and thoughts of leisure began, the concept of Prom exploded.  It came as the result of a major shift in a demographic that didn't even exist before the war—teenagers.  Once upon a time you were either a child or you were an adult...there was no in between.  But after the war, teenagers jumped up and showed that they had interests and looks of their own, and both came together in the concept of Prom.  

Trends in fashion have always been influenced by the styles shown on the silver screen.  This is something I prove everyday on GlamAmor, and Prom—both then and now—is no exception.  With the advent of Prom, suddenly the chiffon, taffeta, and tulle that were once only fantasy in film officially exploded in the mainstream. This really came to a peak with the dress worn by Elizabeth Taylor in 1951’s A Place in the Sun.  Edith Head’s costume design resulted in a dress that inspired (and was copied by) fashion designers and then bought by mothers and daughters alike.

Because the apex of Prom took place in the 1950s, this silhouette is still considered a classic for the dance.  And the influence of cinema doesn’t end there…you’ll find it throughout the current trends for today’s Prom.  Take a look at just some of the inspiration below found in the L.A. Fashion District stores:


Hot pink belted strapless ($170) by L.A. Queens (above) and Marilyn Monroe in a hot pink belted strapless gown by Travilla in 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


One-shoulder Grecian goddess gown ($160) by L.A. Queens (above) and Elizabeth  Taylor in a one-shoulder Grecian goddess gown by Irene Sharaff in 1963's Cleopatra


Satin strapless gown with sweetheart neckline and thigh-high slit ($170) by L.A. Queens (above) and Ava Gardner in a silk strapless gown with sweetheart neckline and thigh-high slit c. early to mid 1950s


Beaded mermaid gown with sweetheart neckline ($170) by L.A. Queens (above) and Virginia Mayo in a beaded mermaid gown with sweetheart neckline by Irene Sharaff in 1946's The Best Years of Our Lives

Black dress with sweetheart neckline and bold shoulder straps ($59) by Cinderella (above) and Ava Gardner in a black dress with sweetheart neckline and bold shoulder straps c. mid to late 1940s


Special thanks to:

L.A. Queen's Boutique
912 S. Santee Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 612-0006

959 S. Santee Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 624-5525

Models: Monica Haire & Annie Chang

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