Put the Blame on Mame, Boys!

Put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame
One night she started to shim and shake
That brought on the Frisco quake
So you can put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame

“Put the Blame on Mame,” by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher

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After reading Elise Petrov’s recent piece on Lemania Indigo Designs in Prissy Pixels, I ran down to the store to see what she has on hand.  I was unfamiliar with LI, and didn’t know what to expect, except from that article.  Well, I was not disappointed, especially on one level.  Lemania has a gown there that I’ve been wanting to find or have made, and she did a good job on it.

The Rita Hayworth movie Gilda is considered a prime piece of early film noir, and set a whole population of postwar men fantasizing of the woman in the skintight black gown.  It marked Rita’s career for the rest of her life, sadly; she did other pictures with less sex appeal, and more chance to display all of her talents, especially her dancing.  But she was known as Gilda from then on.  Take a look at the video above, and you’ll see why.

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The gown was designed by Jean Louis, and became the iconic image of the film, as much for its tittilation value as anything.  People wondered for years how that strapless satin gown stayed up while Hayworth strutted and semi-strip-teased around the stage in the casino scene, especially when she had her arms over her head; men kept hoping she would pop out of it some time, and dreaming of it in their sleep!  The secret, revealed by the designer to People in the Eighties, was plastic molding in the bodice that kept it locked onto her breasts.  From filmreference.com:

…Using the portrait of Madame X by John Singer Sargent as inspiration, Louis sheathed Hayworth in black satin. He not only created the look that would make Rita Hayworth a star and the dream girl of men all over the world, but also launched the strapless gown as a fashion statement that would last for decades. The strapless gown became the trademark of the Louis-Hayworth association, and Louis would use the same design idea in later films.

The Gilda gown was not only a design marvel, but something of a technical feat as well. It had to be built to stay put while Hayworth sang and danced and its construction demonstrates Louis’ ability to engineer costumes as well as design them….

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Lemania caught the feel of this classic dress, as well as the look of that lovely black satin, almost perfectly, down to the drop-dead black gloves.  (It’s a pity that you can’t peel off just one glove, like Gilda does in the film, but that’s not the way this accessory is made to work in Second Life.)

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I was trying to get as close to the movie and publicity photos for Gilda as possible, which is why I hunted out (with Fashion Emergency’s help) a Forties-style hairdo.  But there’s a difference between the movie and photos; in the movie, Rita is wearing a necklace, while the stills show her bare-necked.  I went with the stills; this gown is spectacular enough that it doesn’t need that much decoration!  However, if you desired jewelry, keep it simple:  a single-strand necklace, drop earrings, maybe a ring at the most.  One other thing that would go perfectly would be a fur stole — perhaps white as a contrast to the luscious sweep of black you’re wearing.

The details:

  • Shape/skin/eyes/lashes — standard
  • Hair — Kin Keiko Jennifer (cherry)
  • Gown — Lemania Indigo Gilda
  • Shoes — Detour Glamour Metallic pumps (black)
  • Hosiery — G.L.A.M. tintable tights (sheer; colored black by me)
  • Mika Designs cigarette holder (ebony/silver) (Mikaela Rasmuson)

Photos taken by me at Frank’s The Elites club, Franks Place 4 (members only).  Thanks to Elise Petrov and Cajsa Lilliehook.

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