Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fashion In Film: The Pajama Game (1957)

Director: George Abbott, Stanley Donen
Doris Day, John Raitt, Carol Haney
Composer: Richard Adler, Jerry Ross
Costume Designer: Jean & William Eckart

Check out those lovelies above from the company picnic scene in 1957's The Pajama Game starring Doris Day. This scene is a large part of the film and is filled with summer dresses like these. Great inspiration all around, even in the choice of colors, there was definitely a defined color story involved. In group shots, you will notice a repeat of the same color or an equal number of striped or checked garments interspersed around. The men also wear these great gingham shirts where the squares, usually 1/4 to 2 inches, are done up in truly over-sized checks; note the orange one on the fellow in the background above.

This was one of my favorites dresses (the blue+white sailor-inspired one above is another) as I love the combination of pink+orange or red+orange. Actually, I think orange looks great with everything, depending on the shades. I love the dark orange piping around the bodice and the exuberant orange petticoat. The petticoats under all the dresses added surprise to the dance scenes, see that baby blue dress below with the lime green underskirt?

Meet the exuberant Carol Haney (above and below), who steals this movie away from Doris and the male lead, John Raitt, in his only leading film role. A Bob Fosse dancer, she originated the Gladys role in the 1954 musical. You can see an eerie future influence when you know that Shirley MacLaine was her understudy for the role on Broadway. They seem to have had similar haircuts and color, right?

Shirley Carol

Notice the exuberant, brightly colored and highly graphic "factory" outfits on the women below. You can't ask for any more excitement in the work place, can you? Check out the bright pinks and those crazy-loud stripes on the left and do you see the extreme pattern mixing on that first jumper with mustard stripes worn over a pink+red floral print with a starched white collar?

Finally, we come to Doris, the actual title star of the movie. Her best outfit, seen at the picnic, is a full white dress with a tiny blue scarf worn around her neck. Unfortunately, I could only find one color picture online. Also, here are two of her work/play outfits, notice the same colors as found in the picnic scenes and also the use of gingham and stripes. The red shirt reminds me that I want to make some spring pieces out of gingham for next year.

Having never seen the play or movie before, I was extremely surprised how many of its songs I had heard before. There were so many memorable songs in this production, songs like Hernando's Hideaway, Steam Heat, Hey There, and There Once Was A Man*. That last song is amazing, exuberant, and fun. It has almost a Sondheim feel to it, and I love me some Sondheim.

Over all, it was an enjoyable film, despite the non-feminist message, and because of the definite eye-candy quality of the costumes.

*Links lead to the performances on YouTube.


Amanda said...

Ooo that blue and white dress in the first photo is definitely one for the inspiration files!

Gabriella said...

OH YES! The clothes in this movie are SO great! The picnic scene is enough to make a vintage loving girl's head explode. *pop*

Joan said...

oh this is so vintage and i love it!

Lisette M said...

When I was a kid my mom had an LP of the Pajama Game soundtrack. I knew those songs by heart before I finally got to see the movie. Thanks for bringing back the memories, it still is an enjoyable movie! Love the fashions, the music and the silliness of it all!

Denise said...

I love that movie. Great clothes, even better soundtrack . . . there once was a woman who loved a man . . .