She was born with a double row of eyelashes and with that came instant fame. Elizabeth Taylor quickly gained notoriety not only for her on-stage talents, but for her classic, feminine style and flawless beauty, which made her a fashion industry icon.
In adolescence, Taylor was known for her adherence to classic sartorial guidelines: plunging necklines and elegant draping. Her dark hair cascaded around her defined cheekbones and her dark, famously violet eyes, dominating the face that came to define such iconic brands as Elizabeth Arden, complemented any outfit.
Fearless in her trend-setting, she posed as a coy young woman on the set of “Giant” in 1956 in a beautiful pair of high-waisted pants and a teasingly sexy bikini top. She was never afraid to accentuate her figure and taught women everywhere that clothes should augment the feminine form — not cover it up.
Who can forget the classic one-piece bathing suit she wore while caressing Montgomery Clift’s forehead in “A Place in the Sun”? Her cream colored gown in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” both reflected the style of the time and introduced women everywhere to slimmer cuts and more liberal silhouettes.
As her successful career continued into the ’70s and ’80s, the dresses became shorter and tighter, the heels higher, the hair fluffier and the makeup more outrageous. Yet somehow, despite a few questionable ensembles, she nearly always pulled it off. She was surely more fashionable than the real Cleopatra. I’m sure the original Egyptian queen never sported highbrowed eye-shadow or a verdant green, square-neck gown. She made polka dots cool again and had feathered hair second only to that of Farrah Fawcett.
Even in her final years, with her hair graying, she sported that same endearing smile of the young girl we all fell in love with in “National Velvet.” In 1997, the actress was granted a Lifetime of Glamour Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America for her exquisite taste and exemplary style. Dressed in a supple silk gown that was reminiscent of the styles of her golden youth, those exotic colors paired with delicate gold accessories cemented her position as a fashion icon from start to finish — one we will always admire and revere.
Read the original article, published on April 5th, at the Washington Square News.