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Rita Hayworth – Movie Star Icons

December 13, 2014

Margarita Carmen Cansino from NYC would become the epitome of Hollywood glamour, the precursor for Jessica Rabbit and the quintessential redheaded vamp. She was of Latino descent but once in Hollywood, her hair was died, forehead shaved back, eyebrows plucked until she was transformed into who we came to know – Rita Hayworth.

Rita Hayworth-Movie Star Icons

Personal style and onscreen glamour – a world apart

Like Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth’s personal style was less dramatic in her own time that it was onscreen. In the movies her look had to be glamorous, exciting and drop dead gorgeous. In a time of austerity and hardship during the Second World War, a Hollywood movie was a journey into fantasy and glamour, a world far removed from their own.

Costume design and those dresses

For each film Hayworth appeared in there would be a specially assigned costume designer to provide outfits that not only made Hayworth look good, but in keeping with the film’s theme. Jean Louis worked on many of the films Hayworth worked in much as he had with Monroe – creating her barely there gown for the President’s birthday song. He provided costumes for Gilda (her most famous film), Down to Earth, The Lady from Shanghai, Loves of Carmen, Affair in Trinidad, Salome, Miss Sadie Thompson, Pal Joey and They came to Cordura the final film where Jean and Rita would work together.


Other costume designers include Travis Banton, Gwen Wakeling and Robert Kalloch.

Rita Hayworth – Off-screen and relaxed

Off-screen, Hayworth dressed in a less ostentatious way with slacks, baggy jeans, sweaters and loafers. Of course if Hayworth knew she was appearing in front of the cameras in public she would ensure an elegant and groomed appearance.


In the movies Heyworth dressed like a princess and soon she’d be one in real life when she married Prince Aly Khan – her wedding day was every bit as glamorous as you can imagine and her dress was a blue crepe number by Jacques Fath, which became so popular it was copied and sold in Macy’s, New York.


Another famous shot of Rita Heyworth was taken in Life magazine wearing black lace and white satin. Heyworth kneels on a bed wearing a night-gown with a waist of white satin and a bodice of black lace, a light bulb failed and created shadows behind her and on Hayworth’s chest. Life magazine would not put the picture on the cover believing it to be a little risqué. It would become a popular pin-up poster for the American soldiers posted abroad during the Second World War.

Rita Hayworth was taken in Life magazine wearing black lace and white satin.

Want some of the Rita Hayworth glamour?

If you want to recreate the glamour of Rita Hayworth or copy her personal style then it’s possible to have a little Hayworth forties glamour and give it a contemporary twist.


Mermaid waves are a key look next year so why not give yourself some mermaid tresses with gentle waves caressing your shoulders (if your hair is long enough) a modern take on the tighter waves of the forties. If your hair isn’t red and you’re thinking of dyeing it, go to a hairdressers who can make sure you get the right shade and you don’t wake up with pink hair. A slash of red lipstick, Chanel’s classic Rouge Allure Luminous Satin Lip Colour in Pirate, or Revlon’s Fire and Ice.


If you want to emulate Rita Hayworth glamour this Christmas then look out for some seriously glamorous outfits, strapless gowns, sequins, sparkle and figure hugging dresses. Match shoes and a clutch, nails and lips and good to go.


For a more relaxed style think capri pants, baggy jeans, plain white shirts, flat comfortable loafers and minimal makeup. Leave your hair to curl naturally around your shoulders, or you can reach for the tong if your hair isn’t naturally curly and create some soft ringlets.

Enhance the curves

Look out for forties and early fifties vintage dresses that are figure hugging and cling in all the right places. If there’s one thing that fashion designers knew in the forties it’s how to enhance the curves of a woman’s body. Pumps or court shoes are a must, and look out for forties handbags with those delicious little clasps and short handles. Box bags that hold just the right amount of make-up and loose coins and fit into your hand, give your outfit a glamorous finish.




Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth with their daughter Rebecca at home. Peter Stackpole-Time

Rita Hayworth – Actress

Rita Hayworth style Icon models dresses-1942


Poster – They Came to Cordura

Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth with their daughter Rebecca at home.

Rita Hayworth and Orson wells

29 May 1949, Cannes, France Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth models a sequined gown with a spider-like motif