The 1950’s marked a turning point for fashion in the western world, World War II had come to a close and the post-war boom led to the expansion of synthetic fabrics being used in clothing, lending to a variety of new possibilities. French influence became strong thanks to designers such as Christian Dior, as did the rise of the American movie star. Names like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley evoke imagery that uniquely 1950’s. The trends and styles that would come out of the decade that saw the introduction of rock and roll would eventually lead to the sexually charged styles we saw arise in the 1960’s.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Arguably the most influential icon of the 1950’s, Marilyn Monroe’s style and look has been imitated and continues to be imitated even today. From the countless magazine covers emulating her look to photo reproductions being sold in nearly every souvenir shop in New York City, her legacy is undeniable. While Marilyn’s physique was deemed more suitable for magazine pinup advertisements than fashion modeling, she didn’t let that stop her from creating a persona and style that would change not only fashion, but makeup and hairstyles for decades and well into the next century. Her blonde hair, pointy bras, and hourglass figure have helped turn her into a truly enduring beauty icon, even today!
The Refined Brunette
Almost the complete antithesis to Marilyn Monroe was Audrey Hepburn, the slim, wholesome brunette from England who burst onto the scene in the famous fifties. Her wide brown eyes and thick dark eyebrows helped develop what would become known as the “Hepburn Look”, causing women around the world to try and imitate her hair and makeup to reproduce her look. While Marilyn was a vivacious and sultry pin-up girl, Audrey was the reserved girl in the black dress… oh that black dress. Probably second only to Marilyn’s famous subway grate scene in The Seven Year Itch, the poster for Breakfast at Tiffany’s has to be one of the most iconic fashion images of the 1950’s. Made by Givenchy, that little black dress might be one of the most important articles of influential clothing of all time.
The Egyptian Queen
Elizabeth Taylor, the two-time Academy Award winner for best actress, and the six-time nominee was the one of the most successful actress of her time. She had an amazing string of hit movies, and she starred opposite of all of the leading men of the time from James Dean to Rock Hudson. Her lavish jewelry was the envy of every woman, as was her porcelain skin and soft curly hair. Of course these are just a few of the most famous beauty icons of the 1950’s, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention others such as Grace Kelly, Bridgette Bardot, and Sophia Loren.
There are too many gorgeous stars to count when it comes to the celebs of the fifties. We would love to hear from you – tell us who some of your favorite fifties icons are!