Marlene Dietrich, an absolute Icon. In this essay I am going to talk about the icon; Marlene Dietrich. I will discuss how Dietrich came to become an icon of her time. I will look at what else was happening around the time of her height of fame. I will also look into the affect Marlene Dietrich had on the fashion world then, and of course whether she still affects fashion today. It was clear she took Europe by storm with her looks and talent. “If she had nothing more than her voice she could break your heart with it.
But she has that beautiful body and the timeless loveliness of her face. It makes no difference how she breaks your heart if she is there to mend it. ” Quoted by, Ernest Hemingway. In the ’30s a lot was going on in Europe socially, politically and in the fashion world. Hitler rose to power because after the First World War there was a severe depression in Germany, Britain an American. Factories closed down and the unemployment rate was extremely high. A large quantity of the people that weren’t on the Nazi’s side would have been the businessmen who running the current business.
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Hitler blamed the Jewish people in Germany because at the time, they ran most of the businesses. The German people had quite a bit of the empire before the first war. After the war they lost this. A lot of people blame the fact that Britain was too harsh on Germany towards the end of the war leaving them with nothing. A lot of people left Germany to be safer and possibly have a better future. Many people in Germany including film stars, film makers and scientists left for America in the late 1800s and early 1900s in quantity.
Many left before the war because of the opportunities and because of the way Germany was at the time, it was a ‘police state’. A lot of the Germany public felt that they were being watched all the time. Germany used to be lots of different states in the 1800s run by various princes or noblemen. They gradually linked together to form Germany as we know it today. Germany at the turn of the century before the First World War were very ambitious and were arising power military power. But after the First World War they had to pay repercussions to countries they ruined in the war.
Because of this they began to run down again, they were clamped down on in a big way. This affected everyone’s in a social and political way. Marlene had a huge affect on fashion throughout the height of her carer. During the war Marlene boosted ‘the Western/American look’. Smoking, indulging in cosmetics and wearing trousers became fashionable. Red lipstick, pencilled in eye brows and painted nails were popular amongst young women. This aroused more attention to Marlene’s anti-German tendencies and therefore helped propaganda about her being a traitor to the German land and their countrymen.
Women all over wanted to be sexier this was partly fuelled by Marlene and other starlets’ stocking clad ‘devil woman’ style characters. This in turn encouraged European woman to follow in her footsteps, although Nazi’s were happy with Marlene and her actions, Hitler himself gloated over “revue films” and Marlene Dietrich herself. In Berlin particularly, the atmosphere and activity in the clubs always seemed to be a bit kinky in the 20s and 30s. Skirts suddenly became shorter, make up more apparent and women were becoming certainly flirtier than they used to be.
Smoking was advertised as being good for you at one point. Also, smoking and drinking was a big social thing. Smoking was pictured in films a lot and so people copied. Marlene’s appearance in “Morocco” conjured up an iconic look that has stayed with us through the decades and most probably will continue to. Her seductive character oozed appeal, clad in top-hat-and-tails. Marlene also sported suits off of film sets; thousands of young women everywhere followed this look. Kenneth Tynan comments on Marlene’s androgynous look; She has the bearing of a man; the characters she plays love power and wear trousers. Marlene’s masculinity appeals to women and her sexuality to men. ” Ever since, the tuxedo has been a staple look for women. Yves Saint Laurent modernised the tuxedo in 1965 with the name ‘Le Smoking’. Then in 1971 Bianca Jagger married Mick Jagger in a white YSL tux. Pop performers such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and more famously, Madonna, are also all fans of androgynous tailoring on stage. Androgynous tailoring has come in and out of fashion since then.
During the ’80s ‘power dressing’ was a key look and so it was fashionable to wear trouser suits. Celebrity personalities such as Grace Jones and Annie Lennox also set a trend among the public with the androgynous look. Today, the androgynous tailoring has been made famous again by Luella and Bottega Veneta, putting skinny ties with blazers, while Lanvin favours a bow tie . Gucci is another name who has copied the look. Fashionistas such as Kate Moss have been sporting tailored blazers and waist coats with mini shorts and skinny jeans.
In my opinion, during the ’30s and ’40s Marlene effectively revived the glamorous look, encouraging women to feel sexy again. All the beautiful gowns and such that Marlene was seen flaunting and the overall look was what women desired to emulate. She became an icon ??? the women wanted to be her and the men wanted to be with her. As for her erotic side seen mainly on screen, the showgirl look is often copied by today’s entertainers such as songstress Christina Aguilera. The make up and hair that Marlene wore was copied by women all over and even a lot of modern starlets such as Gwen Stefani copy today.
Although there had been other screen starlets in the ’20s, Marlene was one who really got noticed. She was not only noticed for her immaculate looks and style, but also for her political views. Marlene probably gave women more confidence in themselves to be more opinionated and to have their own view on things. During the time Marlene was around and then in the ’50s, she had many piers in America and England. Such as; Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell and Diana Doors. They All tried to copy her looks and style whilst turning it into their own. They also all did both singing and acting.