A favorite Christmas Beauty has always been Anne Hilton, played by the lovely Claudette Colbert, in the 1943 classic wartime film, Since You Went Away.
Anne is faced with managing her household during WWII after her husband reenlists for service. Somehow, she always manages to look chic and composed despite her heartache over her missing in action husband. Christmas falls during this bewildering time and yet she fills her Christmas Eve with a charming mix of characters from her year alone on the Homefront and creates a new Christmas for herself and her two daughters.
The girls wear their pretty Christmas finery of velvet and chiffon with Anne in her green wool fitted dress. Brig, played by an older and adorable Shirley Temple, wears what I imagine is her first pair of grown up pumps, suede with flower pompoms. Both she and older sister Jane, played by Jennifer Jones, wear gold heart lockets, most likely given to them by Tim Hilton, their father (at least in my heart it is so).
Anne quietly reflects on her Christmas Eve while sitting at the foot of her Christmas tree after her girls retire to their beds. It is here that she opens the romantic powder box her husband sent to her before he became lost. It tinkles out their song and comes with Tim’s handwritten wish to Anne.
Loretta Young as Julia Brougham in The Bishop’s Wife, teaches us much about Christmas beauty. The scene where she falls in love with and must have an enchanting little hat is worth the price of admission. I also love the scene where she runs a brush through her glossy hair while sitting at her dressing table in her robe. Reverend Brougham (David Niven) takes this moment to tell his wife how beautiful she is.
I love the elegant “girls” who toil away in the research department in “Desk Set”. Christmas finds them decked out in full dresses with underlying crinolines. Katherine Hepburn who plays department head Bunny Watson knows how to work a red wool cloak at the office Christmas party. Her holiday organization is very apparent in the scene where she fetches a man’s robe in her already wrapped and stacked Christmas presents for Spencer Tracy’s Richard Sumner. The only problem is the robe was wrapped for another man. Things come to a head while Bunny is in her own elegant white robe and Asian inspired pajamas and entertaining both men at her table!
Let’s take a page from these beauties and embrace a little planning and organization.