The last, great Hollywood Goddess of the Golden Era died this week. Elizabeth Taylor was the child star who grew up to become a Hollywood legend. Stunningly beautiful, with perfect violet eyes, she was famous for her looks, her talents and her tumultuous love life.
Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t a style icon in the same way as her contemporaries Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor are viewed. But taking a glimpse through the archives it is clear that she did have moments of high style that make her someone for fashion lovers to admire and cherish forever. Here are some of those moments.
1951 – Edith Head – A place in the Sun.
This was the film that really introduced the grown up Elizabeth to the world. A place in the Sun is a tale of greed, lust and murder. Elizabeth played a beautiful young socialite who falls in love with Montgomery Clift’s character George. In the most iconic scene, a spellbinding Elizabeth walks into a billiards room and sees George for the first time. She was wearing a beautiful white tulle ball gown designed by Edith Head. This romantic gown became a fashion hit and was much copied.
This is a little remembered film which showcases Elizabeth Taylor at her loveliest. Again, she plays a rich girl, which means a treat for us in terms of her glorious 1950s wardrobe filled with neat suits and satin ball gowns, complete with ladylike white gloves.
The Last Time I saw Paris (1954)
There were too many times Elizabeth Taylor wasted her talents in poor movies. But one of her best roles was as the tragic Helen in The Last Time I saw Paris, opposite Van Johnson. Another movie filled with a range os stylish looks.
Slip dresses in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Butterfield 8 (1960).
Two of Taylor’s best known roles saw her dressed in a similar fashion by way of silk slips. As Maggie the Cat, she played opposite Paul Newman in the role of a neglected wife and smouldered in a white slip. She won an Oscar for playing Gloria in Butterfield 8 in 1960, a role based on the Starr Faithful case of the 1930s. Elizabeth hated Butterfield 8, and believed the Oscar was won by her tracheotomy, rather than her performance, but the look in this movie has been much copied by those sporting underwear as outerwear, and copied by designers such as John Galliano, who even dressed Princess Diana in a slip dress. Nars also recreated the Gloria look for a special set of photos for their 15th anniversary, with Dayle Haddon in Liz mode.
This featured possibly the most famous make up job in history. The iconic images of Liz, still in full Cleopatra make up, whizzing around the streets of Rome on the back of a Vespa are legendary.
One of the most famous Oscar appearances ever came in 1970, when a luminous Taylor wore an Edith Head designed gown to the ceremony, and accessorised with the enormous Krupp diamond. This diamond, purchased by Richard Burton from Cartier for $1million, became known forever after as the Taylor-Burton diamond.
Elizabeth also wore a truly beautiful red strapless Halston dress to the ceremony in 1976.
A whole host of fabulous looks and film memories, Elizabeth Taylor was a true movie star. A legend to the last, her coffin arrived 15 minutes late to her funeral because she wanted to be late to her own funeral. RIP Elizabeth Taylor, there will never be another like you.