Designers through the Decades – 1933 Bonnie Cashin
Designers through the Decades
August 1, 2012
1933 BONNIE CASHIN
(with apologies to Frank Loesser, Guys and Dolls)
What’s playing at The Roxy?
We’ll tell you what’s playing at the Roxy.
Story about a girl from California leaves her hometown –
comes to New York with a great big talent and a little bit of moxie.
That’s what’s playing at the Roxy.
That “doll,” if you’ll excuse the expression, was Bonnie Cashin, “the youngest designer ever to hit Broadway,” according to Variety in 1933. Her assignment? The creation of three sets of costumes a week for the “Roxyettes,” the 24 showgirls in the Roxy Theatre’s chorus line. Soon after, the “smart outfits” she created for a Harper’s Bazaar-inspired production number caught the eye of sportswear firm, Adler & Adler, thereby spawning the career of a – or perhaps the pioneer of American sportswear. The Noh coat, the kimono-inspired wrap, the poncho, the jumpsuit, the canvas raincoat, the leather dress and industrial hardware on everything from clothing to accessories, among other innovations, benchmark Cashin’s artistically and intellectually driven concepts.
But there’s more: During a six-year career as a designer for 20th Century Fox, Cashin created clothes for a number of movies, including one starring the staggeringly beautiful Gene Tierney. That 1944 film, Laura, is shown, from time to time, on Turner Classic Movies. Watch it for the wardrobe Cashin created for Tierney – real life clothes you’d reach for today – and, of course, for that gasp-inducing dénouement with CliftonWebb at his Webbiest.
Anything else? Well, there’s this: that shopping bag-inspired tote – the one we see absolutely everywhere in canvas and all permutations of leather, real and faux – Bonnie Cashin thought that one up.