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All that glitters is not glamour

Video may have killed the radio star, but then the Internet went ahead and killed the glamorous Hollywood star too….

By Chelsea Blazer , in Celluloid Subculture , on February 6, 2011 Tags: , , , , , ,

Video may have killed the radio star, but then the Internet went ahead and killed the glamorous Hollywood star too. Case in point: the Justin Bieber fever infecting the cover of Vanity Fair. In one of the oldest most high-class magazines that once featured stars such as Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, is now the 16-year-old YouTube sensation.

Glamour simply no longer exists. The very word evokes stylized images from 30s and 40s Hollywood: red lips, long flowing gowns, voluptuous curves, perfectly poised hairstyles and complete elegance. And while modern Hollywood endlessly writes about stars imitating this glamorous flair, the truth is they can’t.

As society’s expectations of talent fades and the binaries between celebrity culture and stardom blur, classic Hollywood memories evoke, now more than ever, a nostalgic yearning for a period when glamour had a particular aura.

Take, for instance, the recent film, The Tourist. The Tourist recalls a golden age of cinema with it’s elaborately lush costumes and colorful romantic backdrops. The very pairing of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp reminds us of a time when moviegoers went to the theatre to go see the stars and the glam, and then perhaps the film.

But the second one steps outside the theatre, they are overburdened by a vast selection of images and information about Angelina Jolie’s every move online and in magazines. With pictures of Jolie walking her six kids to school or showing off her tattoo infested arms, the glamour fades. Fast.

Today, Hollywood is full of talented and beautiful women but there is no mystery. The way the media delves into star’s lives leaves little room for secrecy or control. And that, I believe, is what made the women of the classic Hollywood era so glamorous: mystery, elegance and exoticism

All these women had it: Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Natalie Wood, and Dorothy Dandridge.

Image courtesy of Reel Classics

But the woman still most synonymously associated with glamour is Elizabeth Taylor. Almost always shown in an exquisite evening dress and diamonds, of course, Taylor left a sensational legacy in the world of Hollywood still greatly remembered today. Her relationships were shown in the media, but never in excess and certainly not outside the realm of a upscale party.

Least we forget that Elizabeth Taylor, beyond her glamour and beauty, also won two Oscars in her career as an actress.

It was an era of endless beauty and talent. Actresses and actors epitomized style and yet seemed to easily evoke a sense of mystery, sex and control. It is a glamour that is no longer accessible.