Thursday, 17 January 2013

Homage to Jean Harlow...

 No sooner do I finish one project and I'm straight into the next. A few posts ago I mentioned creating some dolls inspired by some of my favourite movie style icons.

...Starting with the beautiful Jean Harlow, I've been intensely researching her image (which I've kind of been doing since I was 15) and picked out the elements of her look that for me stamp her style.

   I own two beautiful books about Jean Harlow - Harlow In Hollywood by Darrell Rooney and Mark Vieira and Platinum Girl by Eve Golden. The latter one I bought in a flea market a few years ago but its the same edition I poured over at the age of 15 in my local library. I remember being staggered by the sheer glamour and remarkable screen presence of this beautiful, flawless bombshell and I knew I would forever have her as an icon in my life.

  I feel like I almost knew Jean Harlow. Shes always been a huge inspiration. Shes one of those old movie stars who despite her glamorous on screen persona, you knew she had a delicate and warm nature. To me she seems like someone who wasn't entirely untouchable. I'd have liked to have had a cup of tea and a good old giggle with Jean Harlow.
Usually, Jean Harlow was photographed in silk and satin, but she preferred casual clothes in her private life

My most treasured books
 Jean on screen appears all fluffy, satin, wisecracking and figure hugging, but in real life she really wasn't that fond of fussy clothes, and preferred black and white to bold or patterned outfits. Her off duty style (which I adore and actually find more interesting) was always, no makeup, wide sailor style pants, short sleeved sweaters, pumps and a sweet ribbon in her hair. Jean famously said "I'd rather have a few dresses of very fine material than a whole closet full of fussy, cheap-looking things." If only some women could adopt that philosophy today!
Jean much preferred to go without makeup and was nicknamed 'baby' partly due to her cherubic pink skin.
That platinum,silver hair is amazing!

   I didn't want to change the style of my doll - I want her to be a recognisable Curious Pip, but I also want you to recognise my creation as Jean Harlow even though some of my future Jean creations may have pastel pink, peach or blue hair. I have chosen a pink fabric for her face because Jean was noted to have had very pink-ivory skin. I have taken elements of her on and off screen image to create her a little outfit that is altogether Ms Harlow/Curious Pip. Hope you like her?

This is very much 'working progress'

 Hats worn on the side of the head was Jean's preference, regardless of whether it was fashionable at the time or not..I'm creating a version of Jean's cute little hat (top left) Jean loved wide legged trousers so I have made her a pair of silky lounge pants reminiscent of the ones she wore in 'Reckless' 1935. To add sparkle to my 'homage to Jean' I have made her a large pin in the shape of the one she wore in 'China Seas' 1935

   I remember feeling quite heartbroken when I learnt Jean had died at such a young age. She was just 26 when she died of kidney failure during the filming of Saratoga in 1937. If you've ever seen the film its incredibly haunting and easy to spot the four minutes in which Jean's stand in Mary Dees sits behind a big hat or looks through a pair of binoculars. What a dreadful emotional effect that must have had on her.The atmosphere on set must have been an incredible struggle - such a devastating tragedy.

  Jean Harlow I love you so much!

  I will bring you more snaps of my finished creation plus pictures and snippets of information about Jean Harlow either tomorrow or over the weekend. Happy Thursday everyone! x

  This picture and caption is a scan taken from Harlow in Hollywood

She was a generous and thoughtful, amused and amusing young woman - who had the ability to mesmerize millions.


  1. A beautiful tribute and an absolutely stunning doll on our favourite Baby!

    Was your gorgeous creation made for a client or is for sale, by any chance?

    1. Hi Riikka, No no it wasn't made for a client. I'm making three dolls. This one and two Jean Harlow 'minis' Will hopefully have more working progress snaps to show tomorrow. x
      P.s I took the plunge and went red! I've been re-reading your tips on how to keep the colour vibrant! x

    2. Ooh, excellent! I'm definitely interested in giving one a loving home, if you're planning on parting with them. x

    3. Hi Riikka, Yes I will be selling them. Planning on making a fair few as they appear to be quite a hit.x

  2. Oh wow she is wonderful, can definitely see the Harlow reference. Think I need to get those books. Also have you dyed your hair, looks divine! xxx

  3. Hi Hannah, thankyou, glad you like her. I'm currently making a second and a third as we speak! The books are amazing - highly recommend. I never tire of looking at them.
    Yes I have had my hair dyed, Joan Holloway red (5 hour visit to the salon to strip the black)I'm a natural blonde so the upkeep was hard going and I fancied a change. have a good weekend x

  4. It looks beautiful on you, I would love to go that colour! Hope you have a marvelous weekend xx

    1. Thankyou Hannah, what a lovely thing to say. I really enjoy your blog, your raven locks are beautiful and really compliment your style. x