Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Warner Brothers 1948 - Ann Sheridan Part 2

Silver River

The full skirt and cutaway jacket are fashioned of grey faille silk trimmed with cerise velvet ribbon and jet beads. A cerise velvet vest is snuggly buttoned in jet over a white lace blouse. Hat, muff and gloves complete this traveling outfit of the 1880s.

The hat on the bust above on the actual Miss Sheridan on left.
Aside from the bust of Sheridan, Travilla devised a way for Miss Sheridan to OK the gowns Silver River by having a wax dummy created to place the costumes on, photographed and sent to Miss Sheridan in Hobe Sound Florida where she was vacationing.

Sketch on left shows period 1860 mourning gown  of black velvet and silk moire,a with jet trimming. The detail of crossed stips of velvet with jet trim is used on the rounded shoulders and wasp-waist of the period. The modern adaptation utilizes the crossed pieces detail on the rounded shoulders and at the waist as well as the voluminous sleeves with tight wristbands. The modern dress of black moire with the vest of kelly green silk velveteen and jet buttons features the modern version of the padded hips, wasp-waist and rounded shoulders silhouette. The black straw hat makes news with its loops of black velvet ribbon. Green gloves and black shoes complete the outfit.

The second sketch shows a traveling suit of 1872. Of sage-green wool with jet bead fringe trim, featuring the military front, its voluminous sket and bustle accents the padded hips and small waist. The modern adaptation is a suit of sage-green faille -- approximately the same color as the costume -- and featuring the military front of the 1872 original. The suit features the rounded shoulders, long skirts with flare accentuating the hip line. The accessories are brown. The hat, an adaptation from Lily Dache's is brown felt with sage-green ribbon band and large bow in the back.

Good Sam

The pair worked on five films together. Four at Warner's - Nora PrentissThe UnfaithfulSilver River, and Good Sam (for which Sheridan was loaned to RKO.) By 1951 both had left the studio, but their friendship remained strong and two years later, while under contract to 20th Century Fox, Travilla designed Sheridan's wardrobe for RKO's Appointment in Honduras which was easy as she clothed in a nightgown or men's work clothes for most of the movie.

In 1957, Sheridan sold her Beverly HIlls home and relocated to Bakersfield, outside of Los Angeles where she raised poodles, painted most African landscape, and worked with the occasional film role. Travilla's Fox contract had not be renewed due to cost cutbacks with the demise of the "studio system." So Travilla began focusing on launching his own private label to high-end retail shops. Sheridan arranged for an invitation-only Fashion Tea to help the fledgling line telling the local paper "His phenomenal success in his new field has come about, I am sure, because of his studio experience." And just days afterwards, informed Hedda Hopper "that her friend Billy Travilla, designer at Warners and 20th, has a line of his own and wanted to get them in smart shops, especially in Bakersfield. I told him 'Maybe I can help as I just happen to own the building.'"

Travilla repaid the favor shortly thereafter by designing the costumes for Sheridan's  Summer 1958 stage debut in the touring production of Kind Sir which unfortunately closed after only ten weeks. Producer Ross Hunter saw it, later saying "Sheridan looked a dream in costumes done by Billy Travilla." However, audiences had a much better chance of seeing Travilla's designs for Sheridan's five-month run in 1959's Odd Man In.

Sheridan's "Odd Man In" wardrobe from play's program.
In Summer of 1961, Travilla threw a party for Ann that "featured a live Greek orchestra that had such guests as Shirley Jones, Barbara Eden, and Dorothy Dandridge belly dancing and didn't break up until 10am the next morning" according the Los Angeles Times.

A photograph of Sheridan inscribed to Travilla which shows bit of her sarcastic wit and their special relationship - To Billy T., My very favorite "soul" - Here's to your lovely designs for all the glamorous "bitches" you can get your measuring tape around!!" Hooray - Annie

Sheridan died in 1967 at the age of 51 from cancer. Her ashes are entombed at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

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