bold and the beautiful fashion

Haute in LA: Decoding the Bold and the Beautiful Signature Style

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Even with nearly eight thousand episodes broadcasting on television, one iconic element which has remained an integral part of the series is the attention to detail when it comes to creating fashion and style for the characters. Consistently looking chic and sophisticated, the fashions that parade throughout the episodes are a signature of style for the series. Glamorous women own unique, distinct style elements and always look camera ready no matter what the challenges life might throw their way. From hosting a world-renowned fashion show to completing complex daily tasks, women come well dressed for all occasions.

For millions of daytime television viewers who continue to tune into CBS for their midday entertainment, the award-winning soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” or “B&B” as its fans refer to it, is the destination for their daily dose of riveting drama. Winning the hearts of daytime audiences for over thirty years, the series has become a staple for international audiences as well, who wish to catch up on all the Forrester family news. Created by the producers of the early eighties hit television series “The Young and the Restless,” the show has garnered a large audience in the United States, Italy, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. A veritable soap opera powerhouse, the series has won fifty-eight Daytime Emmy Awards at last count.

History and Impact of the Show’s Fashion

Bold and Beautiful further entrenched its reputation for fashion authenticity when vendors Selita Ebanks and Ellen DeGeneres signed on to endorse their branded lines alongside a co-promotion that found its way into the daytime drama’s storyline thickets. Selita’s collection grew to add shoes, accessories, lingerie, and casual sportswear to the brand. Ellen’s upscale collection is a blend of classic remark with modern sophistication for both tailored dresses and sportswear. The Ellen Tracy brand had the year prior returned to a look of luxury and sophistication with its new line of tailored dresses and suits. Talk show star, producer, and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres expanded her brand into upscale suit separates and cloaks that she described as preppy with a twist. The Bold and Beautiful character of Jackie M, the bold and sophisticated owner of the Beverly Hills-atelier, begins wearing her first tailored suits. These corporate-worthy styles were part of a local “made in LA” movement from the early 1980s that blended clothes and work generously on female executives in a more relaxed, contemporary city with its casual lifestyle set. It was as if the Bold and Beautiful characters were wearing their very own signature styles, symbolic of Los Angeles’ signature fashion aesthetic.

It is said that a conversation with The Bold and the Beautiful’s Executive Producer Brad Bell feels a lot like getting a history of fashion – in particular, fashion in Los Angeles. Given the production’s long-standing reputation as fashion-forward, any homage to Los Angeles style culture would be incomplete without a generous sampling of LA’s haute stuff. This applies not just to the garb and baubles of the show’s characters, but their sets also reflect high style. Bold and Beautiful, with its long legacy of supporting high fashion with designer alliances, brought a new level of visibility to the fashion community when twenty-eight designers debuted their show-dedicated fall collections on the runway. LA’s reputation for high glam continued to solidify as a stylish city in the years following, with the arrival and success of shops such as Kitson, a name synonymous with Los Angeles’ most fashionable.

Haute Couture in Los Angeles

After lunch, they usually visit their “exclusive shops,” which is a leisurely way of referring to their daily bout at Guerlain’s, at Myrbor’s, at Saks, at I. Magnin, and at Bullocks Wilshire. They don’t mind leaving the stores loaded with as many as 10 packages; they don’t mind traversing different continents, as Darryl F. Zanuck’s wife, another significant player of haute in LA, discloses. Even if a cosmetic is exclusive to Rome or Paris or Shanghai, these leading ladies don’t think twice about finding it, but they do expect that, when called upon, it will become available to them for home delivery. For an afternoon coffee, they set aside the aforementioned Tea Rooms and opt instead for full-scale meetings in the studios’ luxurious dining rooms.

According to Moshe, these women go straight from the couture showrooms to parties hosted by executives at such studios as Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and MGM, with an occasional invitation from the Warner Brothers. They wear these gowns to parties at the Biltmore, the Beverly Wilshire, or the Ambassador; they see and are seen at the races; they spend their afternoons at the “smart Tea Rooms of Beverly Hills and Hollywood, studying the couples that crowd the tables.”

Defining Haute Couture

So, okay, we know the history of the concept and the governing body who has the final say on what constitutes an haute couture piece; but what makes these guidelines so exclusive and worthy of much discussion relative to ball gowns worn on television? For some, their allure stems from not only the standards of which they are crafted but the utilization of no less than five ateliers in each Parisian couture house. These ateliers, or workshops, are another cornerstone to what defines high fashion. In fact, they serve an important role in the continued recognition of haute couture status as championed by the Chamber. Generally, each house’s upscale atelier recruits only the most seasoned and prized craftsmen and women from different sectors including: a tailor, a seamstress, a hand for embroidery, one dedicated to the execution of buttons and a leader who coordinates and executes all the pieces in the collection.

Well, according to haute couture, “refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing” and the term originates in French, and means ‘high sewing’ or ‘high dressmaking.’ Aside from its literal meaning, the term for haute couture was officially recognized by a set of strict guidelines set forth by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Haute couture is a legally protected label which clothing houses can only qualify for if they follow these certain well-enforced guidelines. The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture also controls what is shown as a couture house’s collection each season to coincide with Paris fashion week; two collections a year. Not only does a clothing house need to be recognized by this body as haute couture in order to be officially labeled so, but all of the clothing shown in their bi-annual collections must meet the standards set forth by the acronym “HC” as stated in these guidelines.

Haute Couture Designers in LA

This chapter presents the thoughts and motivations of thirteen individuals all of whom make their homes and run their ateliers in Los Angeles. None produce clothing that remotely resembles couture, and yet, by a strange twist of the consumer’s syllogism, these designers work for the only individuals who can afford both couture and sporting-wear consumers. Despite mislabeling, their product is celebrated as the current style made and fashioned for actress customers both taking part in and providing wherewithal for the fashion show known as the Emmy awards ceremony. Instead, they make their home in the City of Angels by providing sporting-wear and eveningwear for the community’s women, who point out, as does Daphne Maxwell Reid, “There’s no schedule. When you have to change, you should only have good designers who know you and can create clothes that show people the perspective of who you are. When you get to a place where all your clothes are works of art you can put on tapestries at night, but only sportswear is characteristic of you in the daylight. Then you can only go to those designers who really know you.”

It is tempting to assume that Hollywood also fosters a native haute couture design community. After all, prior to the sartorial revolution brought about by the French invasion, as late as the 1940s Los Angeles was home to a number of homegrown talents such as Adrian, Howard Greer, and Irene. Progressive and liberal, perhaps LA’s designers would be natural heirs to those who worked for a host of interesting and intelligent women this author identifies as the spiritual and economic predecessors of LA’s present-day businesswomen. Alas, Hollywood has no relevant fashion industry. LA does offer one hundred individuals who will sell their original designs to women in the entertainment industry. These creators of gowns are never obscure; they are hailed as members of an elite group known as our favorite “haute couture” designers.

Key Elements of Bold and the Beautiful Style

The key elements of The Bold and the Beautiful style are, above all, confidence and elegance. Participants have to stand out in a league – and world – of high achievers and rich celebrities, who love to show off and provoke jealousy in their rivals. The soap’s aspirational fashion then becomes a kind of storytelling language in its own right, communicating the characters’ themes, motives, and ideas to viewers. And because the soap focuses on relationships and family conflicts, by focusing on glamour, boldness, and individuality, styles have to reflect the characters’ changing lives and impulses. The Bold and the Beautiful’s controlling fashion designer, Scott C. Pack, has therefore introduced other elements such as white color to ensure the cast looks fresh and to prevent the fashions from becoming boring. Femininity is also important, highlighted by softer, drapier silhouettes.

One of the key reasons the fashion on The Bold and the Beautiful has its own distinct flavor is because of the very nature of the soap opera – its storyline is set in a world of glamorous lifestyles, sex, and money. And the no-expense-spared styling of the stars plays a big part in creating this aura. In addition, the use of the latest fashions and trends gives the soap on air authenticity. This unique quality is created by paying such close attention to style and fashion trends, and the fact that fashions are designed especially for the soap’s key characters also gives it a uniqueness that filters through to the viewers.

Silhouettes and Cuts

Draping is the direct art of pinning fabric on a dress form to achieve the desired silhouette. This method is often used to create pattern pieces for a given style. Silhouettes of red carpet pieces should be obvious and impeccable without revealing the artistry. Haute couture has a culture of discretion, and the reputation of the wearer must always surpass that of the designer. Loose or relaxed silhouettes do not necessarily mean oversized or unflattering. They can also be fitted with luxurious fabric and master tailoring. However, flattering any silhouette suggests that one must walk with one’s head held high. Confidence is the best style.

Silhouettes come from draping and cutting the fabric. They are relative to the amount of fabric used, how it fits (tightness versus looseness), and how it drapes (the ability of fabric to flow over one’s body). Cut is how clothing parts are shaped and put together such that they define and maintain the silhouette. The silhouette of a garment can be as desirable as an investment piece, a craftsmanship detail, or an art form.

Celebrity Endorsement and Influence

Films tend to initially receive a greater degree of media coverage than television shows – the cover of Time, not TV Guide. However, fashion decisions allowing modern women to transform themselves can suffer a similar fate as their film counterparts. What a character wore to dinner at Rodeo Drive’s restaurant “Spago” may be overshadowed by what the men and women at NBC’s “Today” are wearing. Street cred is established when modern women nod affirmatively and accept that the red carpet wear of these small-screen stars is haute couture. In return, retailers are more than willing to establish an L.A. Ng (Lanvin with a cutoff label) presence. High-profile women are continuing (hiding from the red-carpet cameras) to purchase “knockoffs” for lunch, dinner, and special occasions at Rodeo Drive boutiques.

There are definite benefits to a design house when Hollywood celebrities are spotted on-screen wearing their gowns. These benefits may translate into a commercially successful venture. A single visit to the devoted viewer’s local high-end department store or couturier will enable her to purchase a replica, a “knockoff.” Nothing screams success more than having popular women want to be identified with the wearer of a particular dress (even if purchased at Neiman Marcus, not the Beverly Wilshire). A popular gown may foreshadow future wardrobe selections by other actresses who perceive their rival’s popularity as public confirmation.

Red Carpet Moments

As Brian Landow said, “But when they come to the Carousel Ball or to a benefit red carpet, it’s suddenly they’re the proscenium’s you’ve never seen before.” This along with the versatility and individuality of the cast. Pauley Perrette — who played the recurring character Georgia, a close friend of Mick Cain’s character, C.J., from 1994 to 1995 and was named the most iconic B&B guest star by fans — echoed the same sentiment. “B&B’s appeal to actors, both full-time and those who only make crossover or temporary appearances, is likely to lose a bit of luster if everyone is required to adhere to a specific dress code, let some feel.

When Bold and the Beautiful get all dolled up for the red carpet, the signature style is the opposite of what your average fan would expect. Brenda Epperson Doumani — who played Ashley Abbott on Y&R for 9 years — agreed, saying, “The stage wardrobe and red carpet wardrobe are two isolated aspects. She, like Quintero, felt the show is actually quite “conservative” in comparison to what the outgoing and confident cast wears on the carpet. Fans are rarely satisfied when daytime actors, who they see on TV all year, come out in the same look they wear every day on the stage.

Future Trends and Innovations

Despite the high potential of future research in this field, the nature of the object of analysis, fashion, is an opportunity for growth and knowledge, and can implicitly lead to further insight and outcomes, benefiting global companies and society. First, the stylist consulting as an emerging fashion business has not been studied inside the Hollywood and TV Fashion context. This research can provide new insights about this multi-dimensional and global industry. Second, influences from other TV daytime series about fashion, real fashion TV shows, among others, can broadcast a wider approach to some significant fashion and consumer behavior related changes from this huge and popular entertainment industry.

As television’s interest in fashion continues to rise, there is an increase in industry professionals working behind the scenes to create the final images, including stylist consultants, make-up artists, hair designers, among others. Within the context of The Bold and the Beautiful, some suggestions and conclusions are derived from this data. Novelty and innovation are always key and fundamental factors in the fashion business; thus, early signals of potential hitting ideas, collections, or fashion trends are always a will in the business community and in society. Empirical data in the fashion environment can provide insights about fashion changes and marketers, so fashion consumers may also develop or update their own style and consume as fast and confidently as possible.

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