South By Southwest: Austin

I quite literally went South by Southwest by going to the University of Texas, Austin to see The Making of Gone With the Wind exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center.  It's the 75th anniversary of the movie (oh my God, I remember buying the 50th anniversary edition!), and this momentous birthday is more than reason enough for this magnificently curated exhibit of Scarlett's best dresses and David O. Selznick's voluminous papers chronicling the making of the film.  I am the ultimate classic film geek (among many other nerdy things, I'm afraid), and I could not believe my good fortune in going to Austin for my best friend Reyna's bachelorette party at the same time of the exhibition.

I mean, this is a workwear blog, right?  And workwear are clothes, and clothes are fashion, right?  These gowns most certainly have nothing to do with work, but they have everything to do with fashion.  And there is nothing more fashionable than Scarlett O'Hara.  So not only must I share with you these showstopping dresses, but I must advertise this exhibit here so that you really will go see all of this on your own.  With one look you are transported to so much more than the glamour of 19th-century dress, but really to the golden era of filmmaking and the richness of fabric and detail that is everything we love about fashion.  In fact, I was struck by the fact that really these costumes were the luscious late-30's more than they were the austere 1860's.  If you're a "Windie" like me (I know, eyeroll, ha!), you know that Walter Plunkett designed these spectacular pieces.

And here they are, in order of appearance in the film...

Scarlett's Curtain Dress

This one had faded quite a bit, and was probably the most exhibited dress from the film.
In the bit of cloth by the longer tassel, you can see the original color of the dress.
As you can imagine, despite the enormous skirt, the bodice and sleeves were quite
petite for the very dainty Vivien Leigh.

Scarlett's Red Party Dress

This was "the" dress for all of us, right?  This was actually the only dress from the book that
was not green - so infatuated was Margaret Mitchell, unintentionally even, by Scarlett's green
eyes and her dresses to match.  But the scene called for Scarlett to arrive in notorious
fashion - and as we know, there is nothing more dangerous than a lady in red.
This dress was immaculately preserved and every bit as lush as you'd expect.

This was the treat of all treats for me.  You never see the back of the dress in the movie.
It's on Scarlett, and in the next scene, it's in a pile in her boudoir.
So to see the back of this in all its splendor - wow.

Scarlett's Green Peignoir

Did they really wear this in the late 1860's?  This dressing gown is everything decadent
about Scarlett's post-war life.  As beautiful as this dress is, it makes me a little sad
because Scarlett and Rhett end up having a nasty argument in this scene.  Ha.
The detail here is brilliant, and once again, Ms. Leigh lived up to Scarlett's small waist...

Scarlett's Blue Velvet Robe

Once again, not an actual dress imagined by Margaret Mitchell, everything here is 
pure Plunkett.  This might have been the most perfectly preserved piece - you wanted to
run your hands all over the fur and velvet.  Again, another sad outfit really because...
well, no spoiler alert here.  Scarlett recuperates in style.

And as for Austin?  Well, this wall on South Congress says it all.

Sweatshirt dress: Alternative Apparel (similar)
Leggings: Forever 21 (super similar)
Boots: Frye Veronica
Scarf: somewhere in Koreatown (similar)
Cap: Free People It Suits You
Clutch: Vintage Bonwit Teller (I like this one, too)