Springtime Fashions: The Marriage Playground (1929)

Posted by Christina Stewart April 2, 2014 0 Comment 4701 views

As winter slowly melts away into spring, I thought it might be nice to look at some light springtime fashions from The Marriage Playground to help us shake off our winter blues. The film is based on Edith Wharton’s 1928 novel “The Children” and is set in the Italian seaside resort of Cortina. The story revolves around Judy Wheater, the eldest of a group of mixed siblings, trying to keep them all together as a family unit, against the antics of all of their jet setting partying parents who act like children.

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

1929 beach attire for children and adults! Mary Brian and Fredric March trying to control the kids – Anita Louise is in between Brian and March.

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

Fredric March and Mary Brian lounging together sweetly

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

Mary Brian wears a light day dress with Fredric March

This Paramount Picture film has quite the cast for 1929, as it stars Fredric March, Lilyan Tashman, Mary Brian, Kay Francis, Huntley Gordon, William Austin, and Seena Owen – plus a nine year old Anita Louise! By 1929, March was just beginning his ascent as a highly sought after leading man, while Tashman and Francis were established fashion plates. The film has no credited fashion or wardrobe designer, but it’s fairly safe to assume Edith Head, along with chief Paramount designer Travis Banton, designed for the film.

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

Kay Francis with Fredric March, as she plays a fashionable movie star in the film

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

I admit the picture quality isn’t great in these frame grabs, but Lilyan Tashman’s and Jocelyn Lee’s hats are!

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

Lilyan Tashman’s flowy blouse, scarves, and black ruffled skirt are a treat to watch float by, with Fredric March and Huntley Gordon

The majority of the men’s and women’s costumes are typical beach and casual fashions of the time and could easily been bought off the rack, but there are a few lovely creations that must have been specifically designed for the film. One distinctive day dress, worn by Brian in a sequence that sees her transition from a young girl to a lady in love, has three large red bows emblazoned on the front. Tashman and Francis share a silk beach lounging suit that is quite remarkable, in that off and on-screen these two women were known for fashion and their ability to wear clothes. The beach suit is a one-piece halter style pants suit with colored waist wraps that tie together in a large knot just below their bottoms. This must have been very uncomfortable to sit in, but these ladies, and it’s still true of fashion today, would do anything to look good. Here’s to spring, warmer temperatures, and the easy breezy fashions of 1929!

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

Mary Brian with her bows

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

Kay Francis and Lilyan Tashman squabble over wearing the same amazing beach suit. This is the best costume in the film! Who do you think wore it better?

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

Just look at the size of that knot tied at the base of Tashman’s bottom! Could they’ve not come up with a better way to finish the wrap?

Still image from "The Marriage Playground"

Regardless of the bottom knot, these two ladies are gorgeous!

 

 

 

About Christina Stewart

A film archivist by day and a film buff by night. What more needs to be said?

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