Veiled Ladies

One of the most characteristic items of 1930s/40s apparel is the face veil, or hat veil. Many heroines in classic films sported these veils, in all different varieties:

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Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express

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Marlene Dietrich in Morocco

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 Marlene Dietrich in Desire

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Bette Davis in Now, Voyager

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Veronica Lake in The Glass Key

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Elissa Landi in After the Thin Man

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 Merle Oberon in Beloved Enemy

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 Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity

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 Barbara Stanwyck in The Mad Miss Manton

There are also countless portraits of famous “old Hollywood” stars wearing veils:

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Agnes Ayres

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Lillian Gish

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 Mae West

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Barbara Stanwyck

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Merle Oberon

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Jean Harlow

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Loretta Young

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 Rita Hayworth

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Ava Gardner

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Joan Crawford

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Bette Davis

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Ginger Rogers

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Lana Turner

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Myrna Loy

 Then there are modern film representations of veiled ladies from the ’20s, ’30s, or ’40s (or sometimes earlier time periods):

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Alice Krige in Chariots of Fire

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Sophie Marceau in Anna Karenina

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 Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey

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Meryl Streep in Out of Africa

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Keira Knightley in The Edge of Love

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Faye Dunaway in Chinatown

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Bérénice Bejo in The Artist

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Elizabeth Debicki in The Great Gatsby

Here’s a particularly quirky take on the fashion:

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 Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million

 And once in a while, even a contemporary actress will get retro-inspired, and wear a veil to an event:

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Drew Barrymore

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Jennifer Lawrence

 The face veil definitely adds an air of mystique to an ensemble, a portrait, or a scene…. Here’s my personal favourite veiled scene, from Now, Voyager. As far as I can tell, Bette Davis actually weeps, smokes a cigarette, and kisses her paramour through the veil!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usTEHhE_ens (veil scene starts at 1:33)

4 thoughts on “Veiled Ladies

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