My favourite star of all time would have to be Elizabeth Taylor. To be sassy, bold, confident and passionate like her, is to my mind, the epitome of womanhood). For me, the most famous image throughout her long history in the movies, would be her sultry look, wearing the satin slip-dress and leaning on the door frame, in the movie ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.
Unbelievably, there are only 3 outfits in the whole of the movie and each time I watch this film, I start searching on EBAY for chiffon, white dress or a pencil skirt.
The famous and brilliant costume designer, Helen Rose, is the hero that was responsible for these simply elegant, classic and memorable styles.
Elizabeth Taylor’s emotional strength was inspirational, especially since she made the movie after the tragic death of her beloved husband, Mike Todd in an air crash. Helen Rose had been by her side throughout the making of the movie, and their relationship grew stronger through this bond, leading to the successful moulding of the movie star into an icon- Elizabeth Taylor. Their long career included other collaborations, such as ‘Butterfield 8’.
‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ certainly made our Liz the main focus. Wearing a short sleeved, cotton shirt and a skin tight, pencil linen skirt, with a figure-hugging belt, she made sure that she was noticed in that movie.
To play opposite the ultra electrifying Paul Newman must have been quite a challenge, since Paul’s presence could certainly steal the limelight from lots of other female stars – but, our Liz certainly held her own. Each time I play the movie, my eyes are always drawn to her, however much I love Paul, he just has to take a back seat.
In that movie, Liz had never been more beautiful, she was such a devastatingly stunning woman. With her curvaceous figure and Helen Rose’s expert tailoring, the simple but classic outfits show just what perfection can be created. The simple shirt and the pencil skirt is expertly highlighted with the Hermes orange-hue leather belt – simplicity in its perfection.
The second outfit is her more famous pose, leaning on the door frame in her white slip-dress, expertly tailored around her curves. How can her husband not have noticed her? Any normal woman would show lumps and bumps with such a shiny satin slip – not our Liz, every part fitted to perfection.
The final outfit was a dress that Helen Rose had fought hard for. The studio had preferred a more plain, cotton dress. The result of Helen Rose’s victory was most stunning: a simple Grecian wrap, around sculpting cuts, with the expert pleating being one of the most copied looks of design history. The white chiffon dress was later produced to be accessible to the women of the world, and aptly called, ‘The Cat’.