Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

The early days of cinema were marked by rigid moral codes and conservative sensibilities. However, as the medium evolved, daring filmmakers and trailblazing actors began to push boundaries, introducing elements of sensuality and fashion that challenged societal norms. One of the most iconic fashion statements that marked this transformation was the inclusion of stockings and suspenders on the silver screen. In this article, we delve into the history of the first movie stars who boldly donned stockings and suspenders, forever changing the landscape of cinematic sensuality.

The Silent Era: A Glimpse of Rebellion

The silent film era, spanning from the late 19th century into the 1920s, was characterized by its innocence and modesty. However, even during these early days, a few stars dared to challenge conventions:

  1. Theda Bara: Often considered one of the first cinematic sex symbols, Theda Bara was known for her seductive roles in films like “Cleopatra” (1917). Although her costumes were relatively tame by today’s standards, her portrayal of sensuous and exotic characters hinted at a more provocative undergarment choice.
  2. Clara Bow: The “It Girl” of the 1920s, Clara Bow, exuded a magnetic charm and irreverence that set her apart. While she may not have explicitly shown stockings and suspenders on screen, her playful and flirtatious fashion sense paved the way for future stars to embrace bolder styles.

The Pre-Code Era: Unleashing Taboos

The early 1930s ushered in the Pre-Code era, a brief but liberating period in Hollywood when filmmakers could push boundaries and explore provocative themes:

  1. Jean Harlow: Often called the original “Blonde Bombshell,” Jean Harlow was known for her sultry roles and daring fashion choices. Her on-screen presence oozed sensuality, and while she may not have explicitly revealed stockings and suspenders, her iconic outfits hinted at the undergarments beneath.
  2. Marlene Dietrich: The German-born actress Marlene Dietrich became famous for her androgynous style and risqué fashion. In the film “Dishonored” (1931), she famously wore a tuxedo and flaunted a garter belt, making stockings and suspenders part of her signature look.

The Golden Age of Hollywood: Glamour and Elegance

With the advent of the Hays Code in the mid-1930s, Hollywood became more cautious about explicit content on screen. However, that didn’t mean the end of stocking and suspender glimpses:

  1. Rita Hayworth: The epitome of Hollywood glamour, Rita Hayworth set hearts racing in films like “Gilda” (1946). Her iconic striptease scene featured her seductively removing her opera gloves and, later, her stockings, making her a legendary femme fatale.
  2. Marilyn Monroe: Marilyn Monroe, the quintessential sex symbol of the 1950s, was known for her iconic white dress scene in “The Seven Year Itch” (1955). Though not explicit, this moment solidified her status as an enduring symbol of sensuality.

The first movie stars to wear and show stockings and suspenders on screen played a pivotal role in revolutionizing the portrayal of sensuality and fashion in cinema. From the silent era to the Pre-Code era and beyond, these bold actors challenged societal norms and forever altered the way that undergarments were perceived on the silver screen. Their contributions to cinematic sensuality paved the way for future generations of actors and filmmakers to explore and express the depths of human desire, setting the stage for a more liberated and open approach to sexuality in film.

Read our article about the hottest movie stars of all time.

By Josh

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