Fabrics is about a lot of things: style, beauty, durability, compatibility with your decor and, of course, your individual taste. Every designer leaves their "trademark" and like Dorothy Drapper, Elsie de Wolfe, and Edith Wharton, and, in turn, the "To-the-trade" fabrics they selected for upholstery to window treatments became timeless. Our subject, Travis Banton, wasn't into decorating homes, but, aesthetically, had few rivals for what he did do with designer fabrics. He produced what all decorators seek to achieve in remarkable cut, exquisite fabrics and understated elegance. Banton decorated the figures from The Ziegfeld Follies to leading ladies in Hollywood; Paramount, Universal and Fox. His purchases included fabrics and accessories. At Hermes he ordered dozens of pairs of exquisite kid gloves and handbags, at fabric houses he bought lames, silks chiffons, velvets, silk crepes, sheer wool crepes and tweeds of all kinds. To highlight the intricate shapes of his designs, Banton usually chose fabrics of medium tones
Marlene Dietrich, flanked by Herbert Marshall(RT) and Melvyn Douglas(LT), is wearing a Faberge-inspired creation d Paramount 1937 "Angel>" The stole of the same beaded chiffon edged with thick bands of Russian sable added the final touch of luxe to this superb and costly garment.
Sketch by Travis Banton for Marlene Dietrich.
Marlene Dietrich in "The Devil is a Woman" Paramount, 1935.
Among Banton's trademarks: polka dots. 1936 gown worn by Frances Drake (He also used men's clothes for women......especially Dietrich).
A design for Claudette Colbert in The Gilded Lily, 1935.
Finally, from this sensational and extraordinary fashion designer, here is a "peek" into Travis Banton's French drawing room which the likes of Cote de Texas would love to put these items in your home.........and in exquisite taste too-!
The drawing room of Travis Banton's Hollywood home reflected his personality and preferences for rare antiques, exquisite lamps and paintings. As it was photographed in black and white, we have to suspect the walls are either black or very very dark grey.....and glossy. The French trips did pay off in fabrics and accessories for us movie goers, but so did he profit from the wonder French furniture, sconces, chandeliers, window treatment (very understated) and paintings.
A la prochaine,
Denise et Gwen
"In a Glamous Fashion" by W. Robert Lavine
Special Assistant and Photo Consultant, Allen Florio.