20th CENTURY STYLE ICONS: Sharon Tate


In this episode, The Ultimate Fashion History analyzes the unique style of iconic beauty Sharon Tate, as well as offering up a theory that Sharon may have been the world’s first fashion forecaster!
hello everybody and welcome back to the ultimate fashion history for an episode of 20th century style icons in this episode we're going to be looking at the incredible relationship to fashion enjoyed by Sharon Tate let me tell you something a little bit strange I started working on Sharon Tate about a month ago and I usually work on three or four ufh episodes at the same time going from one to the other but I became really really fixated with the Sharon Tate episode I put a ton of work and research into it lots of pictures sourcing my computer crashed and I lost everything nothing saved I was so disheartened about a week ago I decided to start over and I just finished it last night decided to put the narration on today went to Wikipedia yes to check a few dates and realize that today is actually Sharon Tate's birthday so that works out rather strangely so happy birthday Sharon Tate before we start this is something new that you will see at the beginning of every ufh episode from now on copyright Disclaimer this video is for educational and informational purposes only and as such images and clips that appear fall under Section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act as fair use for teaching scholarship education and research yes it's come to that and just to remind those of you who have yet to subscribe to the UF 8 you can do so at any point during this episode by clicking that little circle down there alright let's go and spend some time with the beautiful Sharon Tate before we start I guess I have another disclaimer in this episode I made the decision not to talk about Sharon Tate's death this year 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary that doesn't sound like the right word at all of the tate-labianca murders in August 1969 there's a lot of movies coming out this year that focus on these mur and I don't want to talk about them here we all know what happened on that dreadful dreadful night in Benedict Canyon and one of the tragedies I think amongst so many others is that the life of this vibrant funny kind thoughtful young woman who by all accounts was as lovely on the inside as she was on the outside has been completely overshadowed by her death and her name is forever linked to his name a name that I refuse to say in this episode and I'm not talking about Roman Polanski you all know who I mean instead I want this episode to be a joyful and joyous look at the relationship to fashion enjoyed by Sharon Tate and I want to put forth a theory that Sharon Tate without even knowing it was a natural and instinctive fashion forecaster I'd like this episode to be more in the spirit of her sister Deborah's book recollection which does not speak of her death does not mention that man's name instead just celebrates the life and style of this remarkable young woman I've actually wanted to do an episode on Sharon Tate for a very long time in fact she was suggested to me as a subject for a 20th century style icon episode by at least three ultimate fashion history Facebook group members Alanna Johnny and Alison all recommended that I do Sharon Tate and I did actually start last year but I abandoned the project because believe it or not for somebody who is known to be a style icon it was incredibly difficult to find images of her wardrobe if you go to google and you type in Sharon Tate you get page after page of nothing but her lovely face which I never tired of looking at when I was image sourcing however these gorgeous photographs don't really give an indication of what she wore yes there's some modeling shots of her but these do not represent her personal wardrobe here she is modeling ifs Aloha isn't it gorgeous but not the kind of stuff that Sharon wore herself of course there are movie costumes but again not representative of her own personal wardrobe then last year at the end of last year ufh Facebook group member Renee alerted us all to the fact that Julian's options were auctioning property from the estate of Sharon Tate Renee I owe you big time because I couldn't have put this episode together without going to Julian's website and flipping through their catalogue I love this auction house I've used it before for research for the ultimate fashion history they do a lot of movie stars they photograph clothing beautifully but moreover they give so much detail as to fabric as to cut as to designer and also palette so many paparazzi photographs from the 1960s are in black and white so the few images that I found of Sharon in her everyday wardrobe were in black and white so I got no sense of the palette she favored Julien's auction house has helped me out extremely with this episode and the more I researched Sharon Tate's style the more impressed I became she really was very unique we associate her so much with the 60s and with 60s fashion and yet she looked like nobody else and I think I figured out why it's sort of amazing isn't it that Sharon Tate has had such a huge impact on both fashion and pop culture when in fact she wasn't active in the public eye for that long just a handful of years although she actually made more movies than I thought she had starting with small roles in big movies like the Americanization of Emily with Julie Andrews the Sandpiper one of my favorite Burton Taylor outings her first big role came in I of the devil have any of you seen this it's fantastic it's a very atmospheric sort of horror slash thriller where she plays David Hemmings sister and he of course was such a cool hot star at the time but the movie also starred David Niven and Deborah cast so you can see Sharon's star is starting to rise then of course the comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers where she would meet and fall in love with her future husband Roman Polanski don't make waves with Tony Curtis but of course the movie that I think all of us associate her the most with is valley of the dolls which of course has become this sort of Kitsch classic but it was the movie that turned her into a star of course she played the doomed ingenue Jennifer north following valley of the dolls she starred with Dean Martin in the wrecking crew one of his very successful Matt Helm spy spoof movies and she also made after the wrecking crew a movie called the thirteenth chair with Orson Welles so you can see her star was rising the point when she lost her life and yet even though she was only active for about seven years her impact was huge what do you think of when you think of Sharon Tate to me she always represented that cool and breezy Californian sixties beach vibe but this is not entirely the whole story Sharon Tate was an incredibly cosmopolitan young woman she lived of course in California but also in London at the height of Carnaby Street so she definitely has that 60s miniskirt mod 5 as well she also lived in Paris and exemplified to me that Jet Set cool effortless chic but also the OAP look headbands and captain's and things like that as I said she was very international although she was born in Texas she grew up in Italy she was an army brat and then lived as I just mentioned in London in Paris in California she spent time in New York she was an international bright young thing and I think she drew an awful lot of her fashion inspiration from the various fashion epicenters in which she found herself and yet somehow everything tied together Sharon arrived at a look that was entirely her own in many ways she epitomizes 60s fashion and yet she never fell victim to 60s fashion and of course her signature look evolved over time I love seeing what people look like before they arrive at their 20th century style icon status this is Sharon in 1959 winning a beauty contest what a pretty young woman but she doesn't really look like the Sharon Tate we all know and love this is her only seven or eight years later I love this comparison not only because you can really see her style evolution but because it illustrates yet again that fashion used to really move and change when my students say to me Oh professor Holly fashion changes every day I tell them no it doesn't it hasn't changed in 25 years this is how much fashion used to change let's take a moment to think about 1960s youth fashion I'm sure as with myself you think of this or possibly this 60s youth fashion was a very bright it was bold it was cool it was kicky add to it that whole space-age vibe with interesting and new approaches to textiles plastics hallux think about 1960s makeup all of it was very bold it was sharp it was hard and it was very much based on the idea of artifice women looking quite plasticky Barbie doglike it was not a soft look this was not a natural look it wasn't supposed to be I discuss artifice as one of the main thrusts of 1960s fashion in an earlier ultimate fashion history episode on Nancy Sinatra where I used the lovely Nancy as the optic through which to discuss artifice as one of the driving forces in 1960s fashion of course as we get towards the end of the decade the enormous trend in nostalgia with stores like granny takes a trip softened things up a little bit and I always think that this nostalgic eclectic sort of tribal look is best to provide by the wardrobe worn by the wonderful Janis Joplin but again this is a very theatrical approach the very bold approach to fashion what Sharon Tate did which i think is so extraordinary is she took all of these elements and made them completely natural she had a completely natural look at a time when artifice and theatricality were the dominant chin trends and yet she did her makeup in a very similar way her wardrobe was very similar and yet she made it look natural how did she do this well I think I may have figured it out it's a theory bear with me and tell me if you agree she did it with palette and I didn't know this until I perused the Julian auction catalog her personal wardrobe was predominantly made up of brown and beige and taupe these are not colors that we associate with the 60s we think bright primary colors Sharon Tate's personal wardrobe was made a very soft colors Brown is a very soft and softening color anything in the brown beige register is soft and of course this is a palette that we associate with the 70s not the 1960s and so this is my first indication that Sharon was a fashion forecaster and just a step ahead of fashion always and I have more proof coming up the great thing about the Julian auction is that it also gives us a window into the designers and the labels that Sharon favored here are some of them the sheer long-sleeved square next mini dress on the right is by Victor Basu leave was a New York label operating in the 1960s and that lovely down on the left is unlabeled then Thea Porter the British designer Betsey Johnson for paraphernalia and Alba Alber were custom dress makers in Hollywood in the 1960s their clients included Elizabeth Taylor and I absolutely love this dress and here is Sharon wearing it at the Golden Globes another one of her favorite designers was British designer Ossie Clark who of course worked with Thea Porter and here she is famously wearing the Ossie Clark snakeskin coat and here is the coat I do not think this is the coat that Sharon Tate wore but it is one of the examples and although I said I didn't want to get dark with this episode I do find it very strange that Sharon Tate and Ossie Clark and they clearly must have known each other because he was such a huge part of the swinging London scene as was she and he was one of her favorite designers I find it very bizarre that these two talented young people would both meet there ends in strangely similar ways in fact I have an upcoming episode on a new series on ufh about the murder of Ossie Clark but let's not get dark let's celebrate the style of Sharon Tate and just to reinforce this idea that she really favored this soft brown beige taupe palette in her personal wardrobe here are some images of Sharon wearing her favorite palette look how soft it all looks compared to so much of what we see in the 1960s of course being as trendy as she was Sharon embraced the craze for nostalgia that we see in the second half of the 1960s and that incorporated of course the old Wild West and here is Sharon Tate's buckskin jacket but again you can see it's worked in this very soft palette I love this photograph this is Sharon wearing and 1930s vintage blouse and what I find interesting and what I think feeds into my theory that she was a natural trend forecaster is that while everybody else was doing Edwardian and Victorian Sharon was doing the soldier for the 30s of course the huge 1930s deco revival we associate with the 1970s with Bieber Sharon was doing this five years before the Deco revival really took off let's talk about Sharon's makeup by looking at some pictures of her without makeup what a pretty pretty girl but you know what I don't know if I would instantly recognize her as Sharon Tate would you so much of her public persona was achieved by her incredible makeup job this is what we think of when we think of Sharon Tate right oh those eyes if anyone mastered the 1960s eyelid crease it was Sharon Tate and here's a wonderful gift that I found of Sharon applying the eyelid crease and you can see her makeup here is completely in step with 1960s I makeup the eye crease the false eyelashes and yet it looks so soft let's do a little comparison with two other great 1960s beauties I've covered here on the ultimate fashion history there's Nancy Sinatra and here is the beautiful Bobbie Gentry they both have the eye crease they both have the false eyelashes and yet their look really ties in with that doll like mannequin plasticky and I mean that in the best possible sense of the word women wanted to look plasticky and artificial they look beautiful but they don't have that softness that Sharon Tate favored can you see the difference and yet Sharon is drawing from the same cosmetic and makeup playbook as everybody else I mean take a look at her eye here look at that eye crease look at those false eyelashes let me zoom in so you can see this is painted on and yet somehow she still ended up looking so natural again the answer was found in the catalog from Julien's auction because Julian featured her makeup and as always they gave a tremendous amount of detail in their descriptions and by now it will come as no surprise that the palette Sharon preferred was soft instead of black it would be dark brown instead of bright blue it would be beige instead of going for that rather pale doll like foundation and powder so favored in the 60s she used bronzers very natural foundations very gentle blush and it all went forth to give her a fast softer look then so many of her contemporaries I would go so far as to say Sharon's approach to beauty was far more in keeping with the natural look of the 1970s seen here in the beautiful Jessica Lange than it was to that dull light artifice of the 1960s seen here of course on the lovely face of Twiggy again Sharon Tate forecaster before we look at some of her most iconic fashion moments let's look at the body that wore these clothes Sharon Tate had a fabulous body and it was the perfect ideal body of the era long legs slim with a long torso of course it was her body that first made her famous in her copper tone ad campaign and of course this was the perfect body for the 1960s silhouette well of course her most famous dress is probably her wedding dress the gown she wore when she married Roman Polanski in London in 1968 and here it is this is the dress at the front and here it is at the back it was made of ivory silk Moray with baby blue velvet ribbons bows and bubble trim and at the back there's a Lupin fabric covered button closure what a pretty dress I also love this not at the Nostalgia revival with that high Edwardian collar and the leg-of-mutton sleeve and here is a detail so you can see just how beautifully this down was put together it was designed again by Alba now this was a daring fashion moment wasn't it Sharon Tate photographed by William Halpern in a 1967 issue of Esquire magazine wearing the wet t-shirt with the red star now this doesn't look particularly risky to us today in 2019 does it but in 1967 it certainly was now the Mad Men fans amongst you might remember that Megan Draper wears the same t-shirt in an episode of Mad Men and this sense the Twittersphere alight with speculation as to what was going to happen to Megan was Megan going to change her name to Sharon Tate and moved to California blah blah blah all nonsense but but I think this is such an iconic piece of kids that I really wanted to mention it here again from Esquire magazine Wow Sharon in a black leather mini dress with zips and vinyl go-go boots it looks so contemporary now of course in 1967 there were dresses like this you just have to look at a Russ Meyer movie to see good-looking babes running around wearing this kind of getup but Sharon wore it in such a personally editorialized version with a tousled hair and glowing tan it looks so contemporary and haven't we seen this sort of image time and time again in fashion in photo shoots on the runway if it wasn't for the slightly grainy quality of the photo of Sharon Tate here this really could be a contemporary image boy did she have a good relationship with clothing now this is the bit I'm really excited about Sharon Tate fashion forecaster you know how much we love fashion forecasting here at the ultimate fashion history oh boy do you know she really did have it seems to me this innate sense of what was going to happen next take a look at her here with this wonderful Jersey wrap jumpsuit I'll show you the full jumpsuit in a second braless showing a lot of cleavage and then put her in I don't know where studio 54 mid 1970s she fits right in doesn't she and take a look at that jumpsuit isn't it fantastic but it looks so 70s you could be walking into studio 54 and take a look at Sharon here I know she's wearing a bright color this electric yellow which sort of runs counter what I was saying earlier but look at the dress look at her hair and then look at Debbie Harry Sharon look so New Wave in this image doesn't she this could be the three late 70s or early 80s and take a look at Sharon here look at her hair look at her attitude this free and breezy Californian vibe and then look at Farah Fawcett here mid 1970s Sharon didn't just wear what she felt like she wore what felt right for her and what felt right for her the way she presented herself sartorial II just always seemed to be a beat ahead she was the architect of her own archetype the Californian Beach goddess and this became a stereotype that we see time and time again I bring to mind bo Derek in the 1980s her vibe was so much in step with the archetype that Sharon created and of course with her crochet and her caftans and her headbands and tapestry and embroidery she really was doing Coachella decades before Coachella Sharon Tate was arguably the first person to do a AP and boho chic and just take a look at these paparazzi shots of Sharon here don't you think she is the embodiment of what we now call effortless chic look at these contemporary images anything that Sharon Tate wore on the street in 1967 68 69 she could wear today and just to drive that point home look at this image here look at her hair look at her makeup and this could honestly be a guess ad couldn't it if we saw this on a billboard we wouldn't think oh that's a young woman from the 1960s would we all just kind of remarkable that on the one hand Sharon was such a 60s fashion person and yet her look is kind of timeless well this was an order episode of uf8 for me to put together and I don't mind confessing that on a few occasions I actually had to step away from my laptop and have a little weep because the more I learnt about Sharon and just how lovely she was how bright how kind how funny how sensitive to the needs and feelings of others the more upset I got that her life and the promise of such a fulfilling life was taken from her in such a cruel way and to everyone I really hope that I've done Sharon justice you can contact me through my website Amanda Holly comm join our Facebook group check out our books on Dean Street Press I'll be back very soon with more episodes on the ultimate fashion history so just click that little circle to subscribe thanks ever so much for watching and happy birthday Sharon Tate

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