Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just like a peeled eel

If you've ever wanted to see a musical fashion show, then Roberta (1935) is your kind of movie! There are some wonderful dresses in it. One of them is one of my all-time favorite dresses in movie history. My sisters and I called it "the peeled eel dress" although it's really supposed to be called "la sirène noire." The eel reference is due to a bit of dialogue between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers who, sadly, are only side characters in the film. The model walks by and Ginger says, "Mm! Does not she look wonderful in that?" and Fred replies, "Marvelous. Just like a peeled eel." However, I'm pretty sure most girls would beg to differ with him....

The dress is sexy with a beautiful low cut front and an excitingly low cut back. The fabric, together with the bias cut give the dress a sleek, snug fit. The model, Jane Hamilton appears in several Fred and Ginger films. She's also in Top Hat (1935), Follow the Fleet (1936), and Shall We Dance (1937). I love finding bit actors in multiple parts; it makes me feel like I'm playing "Where's Waldo" when I watch movies. Anyway, this is one of my favorite dresses and, someday, I hope to add it to my wardrobe!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this dress. What do you think? Peeled eel or sirène noire?


  1. HAHAHA! "Peeled eel" = pure hilarity.

    Love the front/texture/color. The back looks a chick wearing her black strappy bra despite wearing a backless dress. But other than that, I love it.

  2. It's another example of how the idea of women's modesty is driven by men. You would think that men would prefer sexier and scantier - some do, for sure - but many men are made extremely uncomfortable by what they consider to be immodest.
    Women should be able to wear what they want to wear and for whatever reason, be it burka or bikini.

  3. I also love that dress...too bad it gets such a bad review in the film....then again Fred Astaire may have been a great dancer but not a great fashionista!!! I would love to see you in that dress!

  4. That dress is gorgeous! God i wish i could pull that off!


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