Howard Greer (1886-1974) was a Hollywood fashion designer and a costume designer in the Golden Age of American cinema, and credited by Vogue on having “a sixth sense about the fashion future “.
Notable Career Highlights:
- Began his fashion career at Lucile in 1916, working in both her New York and Chicago branches before serving in France in World War I.
- After the war, he remained in Europe, working for Lucille, Paul Poiret, and Molyneux, and designing for the theatre.
- He returned to America in 1921, and through his theatre work was hired as chief designer for Famous Players-Lasky studios.
- He was the first major costume designer to take the leap of establishing his own couture house in 1927.
- He designed primarily modern dress films with glamorous wardrobes for the star, no matter what her social standing. Though he did add society women and their daughters to his clientele as his workmanship became more well-known.
- His Ready-To-Wear line created in 1947 was sold around the country and he was in the top-tier of American ready-to-wear designers.
- He designed custom clothing for the stars until his retirement in 1962 (Source).
- Tended toward the expensive afternoon and evening clothes of the fitted torso type with eye-catching effects.
- Did not follow the padded shoulder line of the 1940s, and liked to work with black combined with a range of pinks for contrast.
- Specialized in cocktail and dinner dresses that he specifically designed to look good seated at a table with stunning necklines (Source).
Fantastic example of beautiful neckline design.
Greer in the Movies:
Katharine Hepburn’s 1938 hit movie ‘Bringing up Baby‘ with Cary Grant featured Howard Greer Designs.
Another gown from ‘Bringing up Baby’.
‘My Favorite Wife‘-1940 featuring Irene Dunne & Cary Grant.
Irene Dunne in ‘Love Affair‘, 1939. Howard Greer, costume design.
Designing outside of the movies:
Rita Hayworth in 1941 wearing a pink & silver lamé gown.
The Wedding Dress for Gloria Vanderbilt for her wedding to Pat DiCicco in 1941.
And for something completely different. Greer created a dress called “The Travel Dress” (which I seriously need). Same dress 12 ways for travel. Seen in Look magazine Jan. 1, 1952.
Today, Howard Greers are very hard to find but I did find some currently on the web, if you have the money and are the right size. Happy shopping!
Buy Now: 1950s navy blue couture cocktail dress.
Fringed 1930s/1940s cocktail dress.
1940s, silk dress with lace detailing a chiffon top and balloon sleeves. STUNNING!
Lastly, looking for a read? Then make sure you pick up his Autobiography, ‘Designing Male’ (if you can find it).
Now friends,weren’t all those dresses just fantastic?! Sigh I sure would love to own them all. What were your favorites?