by Patty Fox
In an age when movie actresses shlump around in tattered jeans and just borrow designer dresses for Oscar night festivities, Fox’s book is a luscious reminder of a glamorous era when stars spent the first half of their days creating an image and the other half showing it off.
A former fashion director for Saks Fifth Avenue who helps dress celebs for the Oscars, Fox profiles 10 stylish superstars in chapters loaded with delicious details and telling quotes. Joan Crawford’s celebrated offensive-tackle shoulder pads were never a power play; they were meant to de-emphasize her size-12 hips. Greta Garbo wore sloping hats to hide her frizzy hair. And, in her later years, the image-obsessed Marlene Dietrich chose flesh-colored “body girdles” that molded her figure—and popped open so often she kept three dozen extras on hand.
No space is wasted here on work and love. Instead, Fox doles out the drug of the true fashion junkie: the art of glamorous illusion, laced with historic fashion shots from the days when stars inhabited another galaxy—or at least looked as if they they did. (Angel City, $23.95)