Made in the 1950s, set in the 1920s, featuring an 18th-century movie — aww, yiss, it’s Singin’ in the Rain (1952), a technicolor masterpiece of music, dance, and wacky costumes by the master, Walter Plunkett! This is one of the funniest and most flat-out entertaining movies ever made, chock full of brilliant choreography and catchy songs, all wrapped around a clever story about Hollywood when movies switched from silent to talky. But let’s face it, the 1920s costumes aren’t exactly period-correct most of the time. Oh they do the job, in that Plunkett-y way, that’s for sure. So while stormy clouds chase everyone from the place, I’ve got a smile on my face lookin’ at the costumes from Singin’ in the Rain…
The scene opens in 1927 at the premiere of the latest Don Lockwood / Lina Lamont movie, The Royal Rascal. All the Hollywood glitteri are there on the red carpet, and the fans are going wild!
They’re so sporty and relatable to their fan base!
Here’s Zip Girl (no, I don’t have any idea what that means either), darling of the flapper set, and blatant gold-digger, Zelda Zanders, wearing the skins of her enemies.
Next it’s that exotic star, the Black Widow, Olga Mara. (I need her dress, like whoa.)
We’ve got a fainter in stripes, down front.
Lockwood and Lamont, they’re a household name — like bacon and eggs!
What is going on with Lina’s hair? It’s like this wacky curl-helmet.
Pushy radio lady asks Don about his background so we can get some nifty vaudeville numbers with the mocking “dignity, always dignity” cover-up.
Fit as a fiddle and wearing remarkably well-matched plaids.
Don finally gets his big break as a stunt man opposite Lina, and their fakey-fake romance is born.
Cheesy western movie, and Lina has the exact same hair as on the 1927 red carpet.
Check Lina’s wacky pink satin lounging number with black lace top — note the high collar, that’s going to be her trademark in most every costume.
OK, back to the present-day premiere! It’s time to screen The Royal Rascal — apparently, Lockwood and Lamont are really into these period pieces.
Total mishmash of historical periods here … let’s see, medieval pageboy hair and a 16th-century doublet for him; Nordic braids, Elizabethan wired ruff, and fantasy/18th-century gown on her.
Bitches be like, “Frock Flicks is gonna rip this movie a new one.”
Listen, you can hear the gold lamé squeak.
Well, it’s shiny, I’ll give ’em that.
After the super-popular movie screening, Don and Cosmo head out, only to have Cosmo’s car break down and Don is ravaged by screaming fans. So he jumps into a bystander’s car. Dun dun dun, it’s a plot point, folks! The driver is gonna be his real love interest.
Could Kathy be any more plain?
After Kathy pretends to disdain Don’s advances, Don arrives at the post-premiere party. The whole gang is there.
Vamp tango FTW!
Don is fangirled by the best-dressed extras on set.
The studio producer has lined up entertainment for this shin-dig. First, he demos this new-fangled technology called “talking pictures” — it’ll never catch on, hah.
Is this John Waters’ dad?
Olga says talkies are vulgar. We goths don’t need sound to express ourselves.
Next, it’s time for a sweet treat…
I’ve only ever seen a girl-in-a-cake in movies — did anyone actually do that IRL?
Kathy runs off, ensuring that Don moons over her. Meanwhile, back at Monumental Studios, entirely un-PC movies continue to be made.
Just another cliché day on the set. At least those are some nice plus-fours on Don.
Don’s feeling mopey (because being the biggest star in Hollywood is rough work), so BFF Cosmo puts himself in the hospital for four days doing the funniest song-and-dance routine ever filmed, “Make ’em Laugh.”
True story, Donald O’Connor worked himself sick doing this routine. THAT’S HARDCORE.
Back to work for Lockwood and Lamont — their next hysterical historical is The Dueling Cavalier, supposedly set during the French Revolution.
Ooo, look at the red heels on Don’s shoes — one historically accurate touch! Doesn’t outweigh the super-modern shape of his coat. Or her silly head necklace.
Can you count all the things wrong with these wigs?
These extras look like they should be in a Civil War movie, not 18th century.
Wait, stop filming! Talkies are actually a thing! Crap! Time for a wackadoodle montage:
Obviously, the best way to shake cocktails.
Let’s sing a somewhat rape-y song surrounded by girls in bridesmaid dresses.
And for no apparent reason, the “Beautiful Girl” song morphs into a fashion show — did Walter Plunkett have extra costumes laying around? Not complaining, just wondering.
Loungewear for Aspen snow bunnies on acid.
Paul Poiret inspired opera coat trimmed in genuine Muppet fur.
Tennis for girls with balls!
Let’s go for full-on ’20s clichés with all the fringe, all the time.
Time for a swim in super matchy-matchy blues.
Flying saucer hat OR organdy ruffled cuffs, pick one, please queen.
Who decided threading the hat’s sash through the top and skirt was a good idea? WTF?
I’m sure Erté was the intent, but all I can think of is “I Dream of Jeanie.”
What is up with all the red hosiery? Also, is that a man in drag? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
1920s Hooker Barbie.
High-class serial killer fashion for the 1940s.
This movie is predictive of 1960s wedding fashions more than looking back at the 1920s.
Is this a 1950s gay man’s idea of what straight men want? I mean, it’s essentially a guy surrounded by high-fashion models, even tho’ it’s poncy and pretentious as hell.
After the drugs wear off, Don finds Kathy, and they meet cute for the most unsubtle first date ever.
Is this how movie stars get laid?
Hey, get a room — we’ve got a movie to make here, folks! Squeaky Lina needs to learn how to talk real good, and Don and Cosmo need another dance number, stat.
This is the classiest outfit Lina gets; pity we only see the top half. Also, check out those gloves!
LIPS! (That’s a Rocky Horror reference, for the three of you out there on my wavelength.)
Now that we know how to speak most excellent well, it’s time to re-film The Dueling Cavalier as a taking picture.
Sewing the microphone onto the bodice — oh this will make the dress look SO much better.
Sewing the microphone on the shoulder — I’m not convinced either.
Well, at least we know there’s a lot of petticoats under there.
If you think the advance screening of this flick is going to be good, then you’re as dumb as Lina.
She wears her sunglasses at night (or inside).
It’s the extras that get me here — wacky outfits and skirt-hiking, they never go out of style.
Seriously, Lina’s coat and hat are awesome. She may be a dimwit, but some of her costumes…
After this flop, Don, Cosmo, and Kathy go home to commiserate and think up another dance routine or two.
Kathy’s sporty little dress is cute and rather historically accurate, but she’s in mousy colors for most of the movie.
Debbie Reynolds’ feet bled after this routine. HARDCORE.
For as integral as Cosmo is to this movie, he gets zilch for costumes — except for this tie.
And time for the titular song-and-dance routine. While it’s good, “Singin’ in the Rain” isn’t my fave. This is just a nice little song and an amusing dance. I much prefer the faster, complicated routines like “Good Morning” or “Moses Supposes.” Yes, I’m a heathen, so sue me.
I’m amused by the stores he walks by during the song — like this dress shop.
A smoke shop with this giant pinup graphic (which is more ’50s than ’20s IMO).
And finally a hat shop! I like this neighborhood.
OK, here’s a conundrum — why is Don’ walking through these streets in the rain? The scene starts with him kissing Kathy good-bye as she leaves what appeared to be HIS mansion. Before the “Good Morning” song, he says he’ll have to sell the whole thing once the shitty version of The Dueling Cavalier is released. Why did he walk out in the rain after Kathy? Where is he going? Is that really Cosmo’s mansion? What is going on in this movie? What does it all mean?
Anyway, now we’re going to record Kathy singing and Lina lip-syncing, and the movie-within-the-movie is going to be called The Dancing Cavalier, whoo-hoo!
And finally Kathy gets a cute dress!
Lookit the cute green accents!
And Lina looks rather subdued in camel and navy, just a touch of beading, and a smart hat.
Lina still has her trademark stand-up collar.
And here’s where the movie goes TOTALLY off the rails with Gene Kelly’s 15 minutes of dancing masturbation. Sure, fine, it’s his movie, he can do what he wants. But I don’t have to like it. I freakin’ love musicals, but I want the pretense of a story. The “Broadway Melody” bit doesn’t make sense in any context. But Gene’s just gotta dance.
It’s a cartoon version of the 1920s.
You do you, Gene.
Enter, Cyd Charisse, Vamp.
Obviously, he wants her.
But first, he has to make his name on Broadway!
Finally, he hits up a posh party where…
It’s apparently Vamp Cyd’s wedding. Um, OK.
And he has a ballet dream sequence about the bride. (Did someone spike his drink?)
Annnnnnd Vamp Cyd goes off with her gangster boyfriend. /End Scene
Whew, now that’s over, back to the rest of the movie. Kathy is recording, Don is being all romantic, and Lina is about to throw a tantrum.
Another sad little dress for Kathy. Guess Plunkett wanted to draw a contrast between her and Lina.
Not that Lina’s outfit here is spectacular. But Zelda the fink looks faaaabulous in stripey green and yellow.
Lina’s gloves are divine with a double layer of scallops. Seriously, Plunkett did an amazing job on her accessories.
Lina may be dumb, but she ain’t stupid. She’ll blackmail the studio to get her way.
Again, great gloves!
At last, it’s the premiere of The Dancing Cavalier (which, if we ever saw the full length of that movie-within-a-movie, the plot would be utterly redic, but whatev).
Heh, you can see his modern undershirt through his costume shirt.
And Lina comes full circle with the same old hairstyle as she had at the very first scene in the movie.
Kathy’s dress is such a 1950s prom gown.
It’s the chicken dance!
Let’s humiliate the one we love!
That’s so meta.
What’s your favorite costume in Singin’ in the Rain? What’s your favorite song?