By Marina Rybak
The race is on! The highly anticipated Arts and Entertainment Award Season is here. The frenzy of the ceremonies is heating up and the self-proclaimed authorities of the best and the worst-dressed lists are jamming the communication channels, fighting for our attention.
Just in time I stumbled upon a “palate cleanser” at the Rizzoli Bookstore, a recently published hardcover book –100 Movie Posters: The Essential Collection. Penned by the world-renowned vintage poster expert Tony Nourmand, the book is a carefully edited selection of visually spectacular images, reflecting the best in the cinema poster art and design.
Bra history buffs and enthusiasts would be happy to learn that The Outlaw provocative, censorship-defying poster from 1943 has made the cut. The film was the first, intentionally subliminal motion-picture celebration of breasts.
The film’s star Jane Russell literally busted out onto the screen. It is her cleavage that proved to be “her best friend” and landed her the starring role, launching her career. Apparently the eccentric mogul Howard Hughes, the film’s director and producer searched her out in the chest contest.
Adamant about prominently featuring her bosom, he engineered an underwire push-up bra of sorts to showcase and lift her remarkable assets. According to Russell’s autobiography, she wore this “ridiculous contraption” only for a moment. Yet the infamous artifact earned its rightful place in history and is proudly displayed at the Hollywood Heritage Museum.
Then a sexy, curvy pinup girl of the era surpassed her alleged 38D-27-37 “winning numbers” and blossomed into a confident, fine actress with a comedic touch. Brunette bombshell was a perfect match-up to Marilyn Monroe in the forever inspirational classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
No surprise that later on Jane Russell was enlisted to star in the Playtex Ads. She became known as a “bra lady”, but in the modern terms she continued to shine as a “Brand Ambassador” who spoke out on the behalf of the “full figured gals”. Her first film publicity shots were iconic, but her legacy in defining what we wear underneath today is quite significant. There is plenty to be thankful for to the legendary “Cross-Your-Heart” sensation.