Film Costume: The Aviator (2004)

by: Shireen Cohen

The Aviator tells the story of troubled film producer and aviator Howard Hughes mostly between the years 1920-1940. Part of the film focuses on the many romances of Hughes, which includes Hollywood magnates Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner and Jean Harlow. All three women were played in the movie, by current Hollywood magnates Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale and Gwen Stefani, respectively.

Cate Blanchett, who was nominated for Best Actress for her role, played the part of fashion icon Katharine Hepburn. Hepburn was credited for breaking the fashion dress code for women and instituting men's trousers are part of the dress code. Here, the actress is portrayed by Blanchett at a formal affair wearing a long, golden gown.

The above image is a still on set of Kate Beckinsale playing famed American actress Ava Gardner. Here, Beckinsale wears a long colored gown with long satin red gloves and a fur shawl.

In the above image, Gwen Stefani, playing "blonde bombshell" American actress Jean Harlow goes to the premiere of Hell's Angels on the arm of Hughes, the film's producer. Here, Stefani wears a long silk gown, with a white fur shawl ornamented with orchids.

All three images depict the simple elegance that was common at the time for formal affairs. Jean Powell, the films stylist, won the Oscar for Best Wardrobe for the film.