On Friday, I had a day off work, a ‘night at the darts’ induced hangover, and a stinker of a mood. In such circumstances, there’s only one cure – to boil up a pan of Bailey’s spiked hot chocolate, curl up on the sofa and watch old movies. I’m currently making headway through all the classics I can rustle up on (American) Netflix; All About Eve, Mommie Dearest, Of Human Bondage, Mildred Pierce and the most meta-old-Hollywood film of them all, Sunset Boulevard.
If you’ve never seen Sunset Boulevard, drop everything and watch it now. Seriously. This blog post will still be here when you get back. Not only is it one of the most brilliant film noirs ever made (the body in the swimming pool! The monkey funeral! That final scene!) but it features the magnificent Gloria Swanson – titan of the silent screen, stone cold fox and all round bad-ass. These brilliant Scandals of Classic Hollywood pieces goes into great detail about why she was so legendary, but tldr; she owned a gold plated bathtub, had six husbands and spent $10,000 a year on lingerie. If that’s not aspirational, I don’t know what is.
Norma Desmond, the doomed heroine of Sunset Boulevard, is undoubtedly her best role. Clad in oodles of jewels and leopard print everything (even her car features a leopard print lining), she is a glamorous spider luring the naive Joe Gillis into her web. Her style throughout the film is utterly flawless, always skirting the edges of being over the top yet jaw-droppingly glamorous. These are the outfits you wear when you want to command a man or a room. If you fancy unleashing your inner Norma, here’s an outfit you can wear so you’re always ready for your close-up (Mr. DeMille.)