The Lubitsch touch for wedding gowns

Fashion · Film
travis banton wedding gown for
jeanette macdonald

Really wonderful to see director Ernst Lubitsch’s THE LOVE PARADE (1929) starring Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier, at Paramount Pictures where the movie was made 90 years ago. The delightful light comedy, peppered with MacDonald-esque coluratura and Chevalier-esque direct chatter to the audience, was screened at a fundraising event for Hollywood Heritage and introduced by Leonard Maltin. And there, on beautiful display, was a costume MacDonald wears in the film, a lustrous and iridescent wedding gown designed by Travis Banton with a magnificent long trailing train. This felicitous reunification of gown and train is a story told in The Hollywood Reporter.

[ed. note: excerpted from “Wedding Dress from Lubitsch Film Comes Together Ninety Years Later,” by Mike Barnes]

Private costume collector Greg Schreiner revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he paid about $3,000 some five years ago to acquire the silk gown at auction. He knew it had been created by Paramount costume designer Travis Banton — the predecessor to Edith Head at the studio — and “just had to have it.”

“I saw this dress and fell in love with it, but it was in pretty wretched condition, actually,” he told the audience. “I suspected it hung on a hanger for many, many years, and the shoulders were gone.”

With the help of Shawn Lockridge, an assistant to late costume designer Ret Turner, Schreiner restored the gown, which included adding pearls and rhinestones to replace the ones that had fallen off and gone missing, at a cost “far more” than $3,000.

Schreiner then discovered that the original train for the dress was still in the Paramount archives, so he contacted costume archivist Randall Thropp at the studio.

“I told Randall, ‘I have half of what you need, and you have half of what I need,'” Schreiner said. “Today, this is our marriage for the first time in 90 years. The train and the dress are back together again.”

Read the full story in The Hollywood Reporter.

detail of train
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