Joan Crawford’s jewelry collection

Most of the Joan Crawford’s jewelry collection was auctioned right after her death. Although other part had already gone before she left us, Joan Crawford kept her most loved pieces (not the most valuable though). This collection is mostly from the decades 30, 40 and 50 (20th century) when the style was daring and the trend was to wear big pieces with huge ornaments.

Among al her pieces let me highlight the following:

  • A wonderful set of jewelry formed by a necklace, two twin bracelets, earrings and a ring, all by Raymond C Yard, one of the most acclaimed jeweller in the States in the time.
  • One of Crawford’s favourite ones: a set in aquamarine and diamonds signed by the French house Boucheron (Verger Freres). Joan bought it in 1935 and since then she wore it in many occasions both, for the screen and her personal life too. After this set was acquired by Andy Warhol (for his “Collecion of Jewelry and Watches”) it finally ended up in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in the exhibition “Hollywood Glamour Fashion and Jewerly from Silver Screeen”


  • Alfred Steel, Pepsi’s CEO, was the husband who gave Joan most of the jewelry. One of these pieces was a tiny brooch in gold with rubies and bottle-shaped diamonds that she received as a wedding gift. Years after, this piece was auctioned for $5000. Other spectacular piece she was given was a wrist watch in platinum and diamonds, by Ruser. The design was quite daring for the time decorated with closter-shaped diamonds and a bracelet in similar stones. The jewel had this inscription in it: “To my love, Xmas 1958, Alfred”.
  • Impressive is also the set of brooches she acquired from the famous jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura. She used to wear them in her lapels to improve her look. Years after she started wearing them close to a diamond necklace she received, since the piece itself wasn’t enough sparkling.
  • By the end of the 50’s she added an amazing pair of earrings in diamonds to her collection. The design was also a closter in baguette, with diamond cut like markasites, each of them holding a little drop in diamond too.


  • Joan Crawford was so in love with the sapphires that she was known as “Joan Blue”. One of her favourite pieces was a set of bracelets with three starred sapphires (up to 70 carats each). She also had an engagement ring in the same form and stones and a superb emerald-cut 72 carats sapphire.

Her carisma, feline eyes and her ability to play dramatic roles made her one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.  She deserves to be part of our biggest jewelry collectionists.










Chaplin’s vintage jewelry

It’s said Paulette Goddard’s passion with jewelry started in the early 30’s, right after she got secretly married with Charles Chaplin. Then it became usual for her to arrive to the dressing room with a little pouch plenty of jewels.

If I had to highlight one of the pieces she collected, I think I’d choose the two diamond necklaces. The most expensive one however is a jewel from the 40’s worn by the actress during her role at the movie Kitty. The piece had an impressive diamond in the middle that might have been part of her engagement ring.


But with no doubt my favourite piece is the necklace from the 19th century. She wore it in many fests and the most famous parties of the time, both in a form of pendant or set in a tiara. In the picture below these lines you’ll see her wearing it in both forms.

After the frustration she felt when she didn’t get the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, Chaplin gave her a golden bracelet and cabochons made out of emeralds from the jeweller Trabert&Hoeffer Inc. It’s a stunning group of flashy flowers that appears in many of the photos she was taken. The bracelet was combined with earrings with the same cabochons in emeralds and diamonds, similar to the design of the flowers. The flowery style was in fashion in the US by the time, and her bracelet and earrings are supposed to be inspired in a Van Cleef&Arpels’ brooch owned by the Duchess of Windsor. A similar bracelet though was found among the Mary Pickford’s collection.


Other distinguished piece in Goddard’s collection was a brooch with rubies with the form of a lips designed by the artista Salvador Dali exclusively for her

In 1990 (April and October) most of her collection was auctioned. In both occasions the pieces put out to tender were mainly from the 40’s. The most notorious jewels were these ones:

  • The bracelet and earrings from Trabert&Hoeffer
  • A colorfull and charming pair of earrings with the fom of the golden flower, yellow and blue sapphires and rubies, by Cleef&Arpels, with a combining hairpins and a ring.
  • Also from Van Cleef&Arpels were a pair of earrings made with egg-formed diamonds, surrounded by carved diamonds.
  • A brooch of diamonds with the form of a snowflake.
  • A beautiful brooch in carved coral by Cartier.
  • The two amazing necklaces we’ve been talking about.


Paulette Goddard’s jewelry collection was in line with her exquisite style, a woman not only beautiful but very smart. So perfect that when many men tried to lavish her with flowers, she responded: “I don’t accept flowers, I don’t accept any perishable”.



“Givenchy, the history of a genious”

This is something I was looking forward to this November, a visit to the first retrospective about the French fashion designer Hubert from Givenchy, a leyend in the history of fashion.

This is the first Givenchy’s exhibition in Spain, in the Thyssen Museum, and it’s also the first time this museum shows fashion. The show is comissioned by Givenchy himself and it’s a walk through the history of this great genious along the second half of the 20th century, since the first store was opened in 1952 in Paris.


A selection of almost 100 pieces coming from several museums and private collections from around the world, many of them still unpublished. They share the room with exquisite paintings from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection.

I had the priviledge of pay a visit to the show with Maria de Cuenca and a distinguish group of art lovers. Maria is a tourist guide and expert at Art and History, so the walk through the collection was even more entertaining thanks to her explanations and comments.


Among the pieces we enjoyed are a few designs from the high society along the 20th century. Iconic women like Jackqueline Kennedy, the Windsor duchess, Caroline of Monaco or even her muse and friend Audrey Hepburn. The master was Audrey’s designer in most of her most important movies, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s. There it was the black dress I’ve dreamt of so many times…


This dress has a very interesting background. I’ve read in many specialized pages some doubts that expert had regarding this dress: the fact that the dress that appears in the beginning of the movie didn’t have the cut in the skirt. This is even more obvious in the scenes where Audrey walks towards Tiffany. She moves very graciously but in short steps so it’s evident the dress is pretty tight. However the dress that appears in most of the promotions let Audrey shows the left leg.


Is this dress the one Givenchy designed for Audrey’s movie? Or maybe it’s an adapted design that Edith Head, Paramount Pictures Manager Designer did in the very last minute? Is it possible that the Givenchy’s model was considered too provocative and they decided to make it more demure?

I’m determined to find out more about this mysterious. If I get the correct answer, you’ll be the first ones to know.

In the meantime, if you have the chance, don’t miss this show, specially if you are a fashion art lover.






Bibliography and Timetable

@Museo Thyssen

Photography @María Vintage Photography

The Ava’s Jewelry Collection

Ava Gardner was a extremely beautiful, strong and impulsive…  She also was glamous and sensuality, and over all, a huge jewelry collector.

The actress was owner of a classic collection of jewelry most of them dated in the 60’s and 70’s. The style – surprisingly – is very discreet, opposite to Ava’s character.

One of the first jewels that was gathered was the engagement ring Mickey Rooney gave to her the day they announced their wedding. That happened in a party in Romanoff. The fabulouse piece had a stepped brilliant with a weight of 6.35 carats.

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Other of the most emblematic pieces among her collection was a very elegant set of diamond earrings, designed with the form of a bouquet, with intercangeable pendants: diamond drops with the form of a pear, jadeite pearls, impressive drops of emerald and diamonds or pearl crowned with diamonds. In the movie The Cassandra Crossing she wore these earrings with drops of pearls. It’s such a versatile piece with a classic and beautiful design.

Ava also had in her collection a magnificent ring with a Kashmir sapphire, a gift from Howard Hughes who the actress returned it to when they broke up their relationship. A Kashmir sapphire is not a normal gem. They are the most famous and wanted sapphires in the world since they have a superb blue color that gave them the name of “sapphires of velvet”. Due to the rarity of these stones, they are considered almost mythical.

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Kashmir sapphires are not usually shown to the public, not even in the most important auctions. For you to have an idea of the price and rarity, the last piece sold in an auction was at Christie’s, where one of these 22.66 carats treasures was sold for over 3 million dollars to an anonymous buyer.

Like the rest of the women in her generation, Ava loved the pearls. For her wedding with Frank Sinatra back in 1951 she chose wearing a pearl necklace together with earrings matching.

But the best piece in the collection was a ring with emerald and diamonds designed by Van Cleef&Arpels. The emeral, a piece of 4.6 carats with a perfect definition and a brilliant green color, was set into a circle of diamonds in 1961 in New York.

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Some other highlighted pieces in Ava’s collection were:

  • An appealing bracelet of diamonds designed by Cleef&Arpels in the beginning of the 60’s. This same brand also made two brooches of diamonds with the form of a flower. The center of one of them had emerald set.
  • And one more brooch made with diamonds and cultivated pearls from Mississippi. The form of this brooch was beatiful: An angel sat over a cloud with rubies as hearts.

It’s clear so far that the Ava’s preferred jeweler was Cleef&Arpels. They were the designers of almost all her most important pieces.

However, in comparisson with other contemporary actress, Ava’s collection was quite small. Small but the most beautiful and one of the best of the time.

In 1989 she decided to sell part of her collection in New York. The rest of the jewels was auctioned not long after her death in London.

She’ll be always remembered like “the most beautiful animal in the world” and her jewelry collection like one of the most distinguished in the time.

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“Hollywood Jewels” by Penny Proddow, Debra Healy and Marion Fasel



Sam Levin

Helmut Newton, the polemic photographer

Here I am again, one month more, working on my project with El Objetivo Magico (The Magic Lens)

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to face how quickly the months pass… Only one month to go to the end of this productive photographic period of my life.

This month the protagonist is Helmut Newton, our master to replicate. And I’ve had again the help of my dearest friend Monica Giannini as a model. Believe me, if it wasn’t for her this challenge wouldn’t have been the same.

Helmut Newton probably is the photographer who made the erotic photograph glamorous. I’ve read he was called the creator of the ”Chic porno”, and I really think these two words define his perfect style. He is the top representative of the “vouyerism” style (applied to professional photography, of course)

The jump to the fame came when he was 50 already. He had started a few collaborations with Vogue Australia that lead him to Paris to work for the French Vogue.

In 1976 he published his polemic book White Women, where he tried to picture the life of the prostitutes who used to live in the street Saint-Denis. All in his images evoque provocation and sexuality, mixed with a cocktail of glamour and a pinch of violence. It’s been very difficult for me to choose the images to copy and replicate, pictures I felt comfortable with. To be honest, I find his work too much provocative and even violent.

Manolo Blahnik said about Newton’s work: “The Newton’s feminine aesthetic was unique. He was a men who knew how to photograph women looking like women”.

This is the summary of my work this month. Once again, I can’t thank enough to Monica for her help and it’s very special for me to appear with her in one of the photos.

Hope you enjoy our work…

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My Fair Lady

Year: 1964.

Director: George Cukor.


Audrey Hepburn (Eliza Doolittle).

Rex Harrison (Profesor Henry Higgins).

Stanley Holloway (Alfred Doolittle).

Wilfrid Hyde-White (Coronel Pickering).

Gladys Cooper (Sra Higgins).

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It won 8 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Music.

It was nominated to four more Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Writing and Best Film Editing.

The movie won many other awards you can check on IMDB website.

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  • Despite the efforts made by Audrey Hepburn to nail all the songs, most of them were actually doubled by the singer Marni Nixon, but for a few sentences at the beginning of some of the songs like The Rain in Spain or Just you Wait, Henry Higgins”. Later, Audrey admitted she wouldn’t have taken the role if she would’ve known she was to be doubled. She didn’t appear in a musical again unless she was ensured she wouldn’t be doubled.
  • Because of the way Rex Harrison used to sing, it wasn’t possible to shoot the voice and double it later. He was the first actor at carrying a wireless microphone under his tie.
  • According to some biographies, Rex Harrison sang I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face thinking of his ex-wife Kay Kendall who had died a few years before.
  • Audrey Hepburn was performing a role of a 19 years old young lady, when she was already 35.
  • Jack Warner didn’t want Harrison to do the role of professor Higgins, since he was too old. He actually wanted Peter O’Toole in that role, but this actor asked for an astronomic pay.

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  • Rex Harrison dedicated the Oscar to his “two fair ladies”, Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews, who had worked with him (with Audrey in this movie and with Julie in Broadway).
  • Audrey Hepburn always thought Julie Andrews should have done the role of Eliza. The only reason Julie didn’t do it was because the Director Jack Warner didn’t want her to. The actual reasons are not cleared yet. Walt Disney was ready to delay Mary Poppins shooting if Julie Andrews was accepted for My Fair Lady.
  • It seems the third actress in the list for the role was Elizabeth Taylor, who wanted it very badly.
  • Back in 1994, the movie was completely restored with a Budget of $600,000.
  • This is one of the few productions that has won both, a Tony Award and an Oscar in the same year. The other three films with these two awards are The Sound of Music, A Man For All Seasons and Amadeus.
  • The film cost $17 million, what meant it was the most expensive movie up to date.
  • It was shot totally indoors.

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If possible, my first recommendation for you is to turn on your speakers at home, if you do have them, and listen to the music… It’s poetic, a pleasure for your ears. In my opinion, Audrey Hepburn does one of the best performances in her career, even though she didn’t win many awards for it. Unfortunately, The Academy didn’t forget her voice was doubled and didn’t give her the prizes she deserved.

With no doubt, the movie is one of the master pieces in the musical genre. A musical with a performance and a costume design worth of being admired.

With this movie we close our year of films. We’ve been reviewing one classic movie per week in our Film of the Week and I’d like to thank you all the incredible good acceptance this adventure has had among you all. We might bring it again to the blog some day, but first we have to give you many other surprises we are planning for our new sections from September onwards. Be tuned!



Lover come back

Year: 1961.

Director: Delbert Mann.


Rock Hudson (Jerry Webster).

Doris Day (Carol Templeton).

Tony Randall (Peter Ramsey).

Edie Adams (Elie Davis).

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It was nominated for 1 Oscar to Best Writing.

Tony Randall was also nominated for a Golden Globe as the Best Supporting Actor.

Golden Laurel Award for the Top Comedy and Top Female Comedy Performance (Doris Day).

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  • The original end actually was the couple getting drunk in a hotel. But the final cut was totally different…
  • Doris Day explained this way how comedies with Rock Hudson were pure elegance: “I’ve became into a new kind of ‘sex symbol’ girl, the woman with whom men dream about taking to bed, but not before getting married with her. I’m sexy but pure. Somthing I tried very hard in these movies was to avoid the vulgarity, which truly disgusts me. I loved those scripts about the game between men and women if those were made with style, ingenuity and imagination. Within my vocabulary, vulgarity starts when the imagination succumbs to what is explicit.”
  • The Spanish title is totally different from the original one. In our country they decided to choose a desert (pijama) as a title, which ingredients are peach in syrup, canned pineapple, sour cream, flan, vanilla ice-cream and cherries. Rumors say that this desert makes you be sleepy, so you had to to to bed and have a nap (siesta). You understand why when you see the movie.
  • The film is supposed to be a satire about the advertising business in Madison Avenue, where the main agencies were in New York.
  • According to the Director: “Sometimes, we had to do 10 or even 12 shots of one scene, because Rock and Doris used to laugh out loud once and again”.

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For many of the classic films lovers this is one of the three best romantic comedies by Doris Day and Rock Hudson, since it reflected very well the reality happening among middle class people by the end of the 50’s.

With no doubt, they are a couple who won by their own merits to be in the top of the best Hollywood couples in the history of cinema. They were good Friends in real life, therefore they turned to be the funniest couple in cinema.

Audience just fell in love with them, both of them, although the help coming from the unforgettable Tony Randall, the third part in that trio, did the rest for this movie to be a complete success worldwide.

I’ve enjoyed a lot remembering some of the funniest scenes. Hope you like them too!



Some Like It Hot

Year: 1959

Director: Billy Wilder.


Marylin Monroe (Sugar Cane).

Tony Curtis (Joe).

Jack Lemmon (Jerry).

George Raft (Spats Colombo).

Joe E. Brown (Osgood).

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It won one Oscar for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White. In addition, the movie gained many other prizes you can check in the IMDB profile.

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  • When the designer was having mesurements from the three protagonists he said to Marilyn that Tony Curtis “had a better butt”. Marilyn didn’t hesitate to putting off her shirt and show him her breasts saying “he might have it, but he doesn’t have these ones”.
  • Marilyn has trouble memorizing sentences. There’s a very famous scene where she just had to say “where’s the Bourbon”? and after more than 40 repetitions in which Marilyn always said it wrong (“where’s the whisky?”, “where’s the bottle” or even “where’s the bonbon”? Billy Wilder opted to writing it inside the drawer she had to open. But Marilyn was smarter than that and started going to the wrong drawer. They had to write the sentence in all of them. It took her 55 shots to make it right.
  • In the scene where she says good bye to Tony Curtis on the pone, she is moving he reyes from one side to the other. It was pretty clear she was reading the sentences in a board in front of her. She also used to be around 2 or 3 hours late and sometimes she didn’t even leave her dressing room.
  • Tony Curtis asked Billy Wilder if he could imitate Cary Grant to properly performance the role of a millionaire. They did so and it seems Grant liked the scene, although he admitted “I don’t speak like that”.
  • The first time Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dressed up as women, they walked through the studio to find out if someone could identify them. Nobody did. Then they went straight to the female restroom but nobody did either. A scene in a train reproduce this moment.

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  • This is one of the few movies qualified as cursed by the American Catholic Legion of the Decency. In Kansas was actually censored.
  • Marilyn wanted the film to be shot in color, but Wilder convinced her of the opposite. He explained the make-up on Lemmon and Curtis would be seen in a green tone.
  • The team hired a cabaret dancer in order to teach the main characters to walking over heels. After one week, Jack Lemmon said he didn’t want to learn that since he wanted to walk as a man imitating a woman.
  • According to Jack Lemmon, George Raft spent hours trying to teach him (and Joe E. Brown) how to dance tango.
  • Jerry Lewis was offered the role of Jerry, but he rejected it. Later he regretted.
  • Tony Curtis’ voice as a woman is doubled.
  • In order to do the role of Josephine, Tony Curtis thought of her mother, Grace Kellly and Eve Arden.

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If a movie is worth of being in the history of cinema as THE COMEDY is this one with no doubt.

Billy Wilder, to me the god of cinema, makes again a master piece where drama doesn’t fit at all.  The only purpose of this film is allow viewers to laugh out loud during the whole tape. Marilyn is sensational, although she already was suffering from all the excesses in her life. She is sexy, swindler and a bit inocent. That way she turns to be the goddess in every scene where she appears.

The moment she appears with Jerry and Joe at the train station right when the steam was coming out (that wasn’t on purpose) is just ingenious, just masterful.

The end is pretty amazingly funny too… Don’t miss a second!

This is possibly the best comedy of all times. A movie that still has the same funny over the years and that will make you spend a really good time.



The Apartment

Year: 1960.

Director: Billy Wilder.


Jack Lemmon (C. C. Baxter).

Shirley MacLaine (Fran Kubelik).

Fred MacMurray (Jeff D. Sheldrake).

Ray Walston (Joe Dobisch).

the-apartment Awards:

  • It won 5 Oscars for Best Director, Best Picture, Best Writing, Best Art Direction and Best Film Editing.
  • It also was nominated to Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography and Best Sound.



  • Before The Artist (2011) this was the last Black and White movie to win an Oscar.
  • This is funny… Baxter is a poor accountant with no much money but curiously there are two Tiffany lamps on his appartment…
  • Shirley MacLaine knew about the script drop by drop since Wilder didn’t want her to know how the story was developing.
  • Whe the script was written Wilder had already thought of Jack Lemmon for the main character.
  • Rumors say that Billy Wilder put antifreeze on top of Jack Lemmon during the scene where he has to fall asleep under the rain in Central Park.
  • The producer wanted to have Groucho Marx for the role of Dreyfuss, but Wilder refused to do so.
  • The magazine Premiere voted the movie as one of the best 50 comedies of all times.


Here’s one more master piece from Wilder. His success was overwhelming by the time. In this case, a fool who was the accountant in a powerful Company gets help from his boss who allows him to go to his appartment  for trysts.

However, the appearance of Shirley MacLaine in the scene changes all plans. Jack Lemmon, who used to do roles of “poor but honest men” does a brilliant performance turning over the typical lonely man role, that man who lives in a society where materialism and economic power are over people feelings.

But love finally is what turns the grey man into the bravest among the brave men.

Wilder plays once again with human emotions, laughing out loud and making us laugh out loud.

One more comedy you shouldn’t miss…


Images: Wikipedia y

Designing Woman

Designing Woman

Year:  1957.

Director: Vincente Minelli.


Gregory Peck (Mike Hagen).

Lauren Bacall (Marilla Brown Hagen).

Dolores Gray (Lori Shannon).

Sam Leven (Ned Hammerstein).

Tom Helmore (Zachary Wilde).

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George Wells won 1 Oscar to Best Writing. He also was nominated to the WGA Award for the Best Written American Comedy.

3rd Place Laurel Awards for Lauren Bacall as the Top Female Comedy Performance. The movie was also nominated to the Golden Laurel as the Top Comedy.

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  • The Director initially thought of James Stewart and Grace Kelly for the protagonist couple, but when Kelly got engaged with Rainiero of Monaco, Stewart rejected the role. Years later, he regretted about it.
  • Helen Rose, the custom designer was who had the idea of making this movie.
  • It was the last film for Dolores Gray, who preferred to focus on musicals, theatres and tv rather than cinema.
  • Lauren Bacall wrote in her memories: “It was one of the happiest experiences in my whole career”.
  • Gregory Peck askes Minelli to have Lauren Bacall as his partner at the movie, and he happilly agreed.
  • Helen Rose did the custom design formed by 132 dresses. That means an average of over 1 dress per minute in a film of 118 minutes.
  • Gregory Peck was inspired by Cary Grant’s faces to performance the role of a journalist.

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A smart and elegant custom designer gets married with a gullibel sport journalist who has to fight against both his past and a gang of Mafia members who want to beat him.

While Lauren Bacall, in a role that seams to be perfect for her, is surrounded by a good taste and extravagant people, Gregory Peck gets into that glamorous environment with rude fellows.

The social collision is there again, this time it’s served with a very smart touch of comedy. Situations are perfectly directed by Minelli who made a film that even nowadays has the same strength that it had back in the time.

The supporting actors do a great performance too, specially Maxi (a silly boxer) and Lori Shannon’s roles. The last one manages truly well the silliness that her former couple made.

If you are a great lover of those 50’s you just can’t miss this constant display of dream dresses. The movie, with more that 100 suits designed by Helen Rose, became one of the smartest and most glamorous MGM’s films.

Trailer Oficial: