Designers through the Decades - 1933 Bonnie Cashin

1933 BONNIE CASHIN

 

(with apologies to  Frank Loesser, Guys and Dolls)
What’s playing at The Roxy?
We’ll tell you what’s playing at the Roxy.
Story about a girl from California leaves her hometown -
comes to New York with a great big talent and a little bit of moxie.
That’s what’s playing at the Roxy.

 

Bonnie Cashin
Bonnie Cashin

 

That “doll,” if you’ll excuse the expression, was Bonnie Cashin, “the youngest designer  ever  to hit Broadway,”  according to Variety in 1933. Her  assignment? The creation of three sets of costumes a week for the “Roxyettes,” the 24  showgirls  in the Roxy Theatre’s chorus line.  Soon after,  the “smart outfits” she created for a  Harper’s Bazaar-inspired production number caught the eye of  sportswear firm, Adler & Adler, thereby spawning the career of a – or perhaps the  pioneer of   American sportswear.  The  Noh coat, the  kimono-inspired wrap, the poncho,  the jumpsuit, the canvas raincoat, the  leather dress and industrial  hardware on everything from clothing to accessories, among other innovations,  benchmark  Cashin’s  artistically and intellectually driven  concepts.

 

 

But there’s more: During a six-year  career as a designer for 20th Century Fox, Cashin  created clothes for a number of movies, including one starring the staggeringly beautiful Gene Tierney. That 1944 film, Laura,  is shown, from time to time, on Turner Classic Movies. Watch it for the  wardrobe  Cashin created for Tierney  - real life clothes you’d reach for today  - and, of course, for that gasp-inducing dénouement with CliftonWebb at his Webbiest.

 

Anything else? Well, there’s this:  that  shopping bag-inspired tote – the one we see absolutely  everywhere in canvas  and  all permutations of leather, real and faux - Bonnie  Cashin thought that one up.

Bonnie Cashin