Fashion Icon and Beyond: Elizabeth Taylor

Its not everyday that one personality, one actress, seems to have broken all the rules, and gone her own way, like Elizabeth Taylor.  Her life was a reflection of an era, a century, in which women who were beautiful, wilful, talented and extraordinary, had to fight their way to freedom.  Elizabeth had many lives, many incarnations.  But, in watching her on CLEOPATRA, it was clear that this film and it two stars, were unique on the planet at that moment in time.  Her portrayal of Cleopatra was more than just a women with a plan. No one, could hold a candle to Liz. She and Burton literally, played out their relationship on the screen like two great comets, they collided in a fiery and passionate  explosion.  Elizabeth had over 65 costumes changes,
designed by our favorite film designer of that period, Irene Sharaff, who was a master at it.  For the first time, the portrayal of a strong women, a historical character was aligned with the emerging roles of women in the 1960s.  We see her as an icon in a different way from Audrey or Grace, both of whom were more delicate in their approach.  Liz was elegant, warm and had an earthy sense of humor that belied her earth shattering beauty.  When dressed in her jewels she could play the part as well as anyone and so Fashion Icon doesn’t really describe how she influenced a generation of women.  In the final speech in Cleopatra,  nearing her death, tells her servants to dress her in gold, so that she can be seen from far away, by Antony, who will recognize her as she enters the kingdom of the afterlife.  Indeed, she is there, now, dressed in that extraordinary gold gown that astonished the world and keeps her in our memory, forever.

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