Style Heroine: Gloria Swanson
This Hollywood starlet was one of the very first actresses to be loved not only for her on screen performances but also for her wardrobe. Her extravagant outfits always turned into trends, with her hairstyles, clothing and accessory choices copied the world round. Gloria Swanson was somewhat of an accidental movie star. Just a girl from Chicago, she never had Hollywood dreams and came from a modest home where she was expected to finish out her schooling. But one fateful day on a total whim one of her aunts took her to visit a small production company in the area called Essanay Studios. After taking the tour and wandering around a bit she met a few of the right people and was asked to return as an extra. Her silver screen silent film debut came in 1914 with The Song of Soul
. She spent a few months coming in to play small background roles for $13.50 a week and although the parts were minor some of her co-stars were major. She had the chance to work with Charlie Chaplin -- and later when she began acting full time they would cross paths again, but he insisted that she was not leading lady material. It would take a few more years before she was really discovered. She soon decided to leave work and pursue acting as a full time career. She remained with Essanay Studios for a few more years until she up and moved to Hollywood, ready to make her dreams come true. Upon her arrival she managed to land a coveted contract with Paramount Pictures and went on to make dozens of silent films with the studio. Her best work was done with Cecil B. DeMille, one of the most popular and renowned directors of the day, who finally saw the potential that Miss Swanson held. He instantly made her into a romantic lead and let her star in films such as Don't Change Your Husband
(1919), Male and Female
(1919), Why Change Your Wife?
(1920) and The Affairs of Anatol
(1921) among many others. Within only two years of tinsel town living she'd sky rocketed to world wide fame and became one of the most sought after stars in Hollywood. Audiences were flocking to her films both to watch her riveting performances and to take notes on her luxurious outfits. Often adorned in beads, jewels, peacock and ostrich feathers and whatever the hottest haute couture of the season was, her looks were admired and copied across the globe. Inherently trendy, she even switched to a macrobiotic diet in the 1920s after falling ill on set -- talk about catching on early! Gloria Swanson is one of the most prominent actresses of the silent film era -- she was even nominated for the first Oscar in the Best Actress category -- and an icon of Old Hollywood beauty and class.
[caption id="attachment_16602" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Beyond the Rocks"]
[caption id="attachment_16609" align="aligncenter" width="497" caption="Poster for Why Change Your Wife? starring Gloria Swanson"]
[caption id="attachment_16617" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="In her most famous film Sunset Boulevard "]
[caption id="attachment_16619" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="So much glam in the midst of the Roxy's rubble"]
[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16620" align="aligncenter" width="498" caption="Queen Kelly"]
[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16621" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Sunset Boulevard"]