In to Stay: A Survey of Fashion and Early Color Film Technology
My dissertation explores explores the multifaceted relationship between the fashion and film industries, focusing on color as the central force upon which these two industries relied in their joint promotional efforts between the early 1920s and the late 1940s.
Technicolor’s particular importance to the film industry in the 20th century cannot be overlooked and will therefore receive the most significant amount of attention in this dissertation. While earlier techniques such as tinting, toning, stenciling, and hand-coloring will be considered, Technicolor will be the color motion picture process receiving the most attention in this project. This decision was made after considering several factors, including the goal of remaining within a reasonable timeframe and an aim of focusing on the undeniably lasting impact of Technicolor in American consumer culture and film history in the 1920s and beyond.
While the ties between the fashion and film industries has been strong since the advent of cinema, Technicolor’s relationship with the fashion industry warrants a thorough investigation, which has, in past research, been a neglected area of exploration. Indeed, Technicolor proved a worthy promoter of fashion in the 20th century, with countless tie-ups organized between the two industries. Using Technicolor as a point of focus and continuity, this dissertation explores different types of productions filmed in the Technicolor process, including shorts and newsreels, industrial and sponsored films, and feature-length films. For the purpose of this project, productions and promotions specifically concerning the fashion industry or those maintaining a central focus on fashion will be considered. A strong focus on technical considerations within Technicolor productions runs throughout the dissertaiton, particularly the role of Natalie Kalmus and others involved with the company's Color Advisory Service.