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What was in Gina Lollobrigida’s Closet

It’s the question that keeps many a vintage clothing lover up at night….what was in the closets of the starlets of the 50s and 60s? I suppose truthfully the question is usually more like what happened to all of their beautiful gowns and dresses? Early starlets were less likely to have things on loan, like the popular actresses of today are. I can assume there was an estate sale I missed. Dang.

I recently got a bundle of clippings from a former seamstress (made it to that estate sale!). She had loads of ads for various designers and department stores, pages torn from magazines, and newspaper articles. I suppose the organized piles were like her look book or mood boards, with notes and arrows on some, stapled swatches on others. More on her collection to come soon, but for now…One of these pieces was this 3 page spread about Italian bombshell Gina Lollobrigida, with little illustrations of each piece and their corresponding inventory numbers. I believe this is from Life magazine, November 1954, first because the size of the pages made me think “oh, Life magazine” and second because a google search shows her on the cover of Life Nov 1954 with the headline “A Star’s Wardrobe”. I’m like CSI-Old Clothes (cue The Who music).

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According to the article, Ms. Lollobrigida’s wardrobe had grown to so many pieces it had become unmanageable! I totally understand, as I wrestle daily with management of the seemingly thousands of solid colored Tshirts of my two fellas. Stars. They’re just like us!

So, in the pre Excel spreadsheet and desktop printer era, the clever actress took pencil to paper and drew each dress at 1 3/4″ tall. The dresses were then numbered so that when she or the housekeeper went spelunking through the closet of chiffon gowns, furs, and sequin dresses, they returned with the proper piece. Her original drawings are shown on these pages so that we can troll her collection in the comfort of our own homes. The article explains that her clothes are all made in her native Italy, most of them by Emilio Schuberth. They are designed to accent her figure, which was 5’5″ “including hairdo” (insert puzzled look), with measurements of 36-22-35, which was then a size 12. If she found she liked a certain item, she had it made in multiple colors. That’s smart!

Enough with my banter…let’s start drooling over some lovely now-vintage dresses, shall we? Pardon the missing image edges. The clippings were in less than archival condition.

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