Yes, it’s true…. Cinemattire is back! 🙂 After a nearly 3-year hiatus, I’m reopening the doors to this little blog-wardrobe of fantastic cinematic finery.

Valentine’s Day seems like a very apt day for writing about film… and costumes… and my love for film costumes…. ❤

Although “V-Day” has nowadays become an abbreviation for Valentine’s Day, it was of course originally the name for “Victory Day” following the Second World War. So, since I love both February 14th & 1940s costumes, here is a personal Valentine to fourteen of my favourite red (or otherwise Valentine’s-y) 1940s outfits in cinema….

1) Swing Kids

Will I date myself (as in, hint at the decade of my birth, not take myself out on a date!) if I say that I remember watching this when it first came out? And when the girl comes onscreen in that vivid red dress and says, “How do I look?”, Robert Sean Leonard memorably replies, “Like gold!”, before leading her out onto the swing dance floor.


~ costume design: Jenny Beavan

2), 3), and 4) The Edge of Love 

I watched this movie for the costumes. I mean, I just kept seeing them on other people’s blogs, websites, pin boards, etc.! So finally, I said, “All right! Even though I don’t fancy the sounds of the plot, and the film features one of my less-than-favourite actresses, I’ll give in and watch The Edge of Love.” And the costumes were, indeed, wholly worth it.




~ costume design: April Ferry

5) & 6) Enigma

Fame-wise, it seems as though this film is something like the “poor relation” of its more well known cousin, The Imitation Game… and very much unjustly so! It’s a great film in its own right, and in some ways more evocative of the Bletchley Park atmosphere. On top of that, it’s got an absorbing little mystery to solve, plus Kate Winslet as one of the most fabulous smart-AND-gorgeous heroines around (more on that in a later post!). And did I mention? Some beautiful red costume pieces on Saffron Burrows….



~ costume design: Shirley Russell

7), 8), & 9) Bomb Girls

You’re right! It’s not a movie. But then, I never promised to avoid the world of the small screen entirely…. And Bomb Girls is a feisty little Canadian production that deserved all the accolades it received. And the feistiest on its roll-call of lovely ladies is Betty McRae, whether in red or not!


I must also include Gladys’ burgundy outfit on the Valentine roster, because just LOOK at that Cupid’s-arrow pin!!


And on a similar brooch note, here’s a Valentine-worthy dress from Vera, all done up with a bow:


~ costume design: Debra Hanson / Joanne Hansen

10) Pearl Harbor

There are a number of truly swanky ensembles worn by Kate Beckinsale’s almost-sick-makingly-exquisitely-garbed-&-coiffed character in this film. However, this Mandarin-collared red dress is definitely near the top of the list…


…especially when paired with adoring soldier-boy + ethereal parachute backdrop!


~ costume design: Mitzi Haralson / Michael Kaplan

11) The Age of Adaline

How can a film that spans decades possibly not provide a historical-costume-feast? Answer: it can’t. That is to say, The Age of Adaline most definitely DOES provide a costume-feast! And my personal favourite of all was the red velvet ’40s dress….


~ costume design: Angus Strathie

12) The Notebook

Although an inveterate romantic, I didn’t swoon for this movie. I’m sorry… I have no justifiable reason. It just didn’t ring my chimes. However, I am certainly not averse to advertising its costume merits! Here’s an eye-catching little cherry-red number, which, were I a knitter (which, alas, I am not), I would instantly want to knit up a repro of:


There are, in fact, several people out there who have posted about creating knitted reproductions of this particular sweater…. Here is one such!


~ costume design: Karyn Wagner

13) Lightfields

This one is a bit obscure… at least, I’m not 100% sure how many people saw this British ghost-story miniseries, which I’m not ashamed to admit was at the (admittedly very low) extreme of my ability-to-be-handle-being-scared threshold.

I intend to do a post on all its costumes later on, so I won’t add more here, except to say that this sweet red ensemble (which appeared in only one short scene) caught my costume-oriented eye….


~ costume design: Charlotte Morris

14) Glorious 39

Okay, this film takes place in 1939, so it’s not technically ’40s…. But how could I possibly exclude this breathtaking satin gown?

12c.jpg   14.jpg

And here are a handful of bonus costumes, from the same film….




~ costume design: Annie Symons

Happy Valentine’s Day, all!


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