It's not all about the suit! Eva Marie Saint manages to hold her own as Eve Kendall, a mystery woman who A.H. Weiler described in a New York Times review as “a blonde Mata Hari” and “a glamorous charmer.” Though the costume designer for the film was supposed to be Harry Kress, Saint’s wardrobe was in essence designed by Hitchcock. In a 2010 interview with Chicagoist, Saint gives the wardrobe credit to Hitchcock. The director disliked the clothes that MGM created and took his leading lady to Bergdorf Goodman for a shopping spree, where he instructed her to choose dresses right off the models. Saint chose her entire wardrobe, including the full-skirted black silk dress with a pattern of red roses for the auction scene. She was delighted to hear Hitchcock say, “Wrap them up for Eva Marie,” and still refers to the director as her “one and only Sugar Daddy.”
But whether the dresses were truly of her choosing is up for debate. Saint told Chicagoist: “He’d done his homework, I’m sure, and he didn’t have the models come out in anything but what he would choose, too.” This seems likely since Hitchcock oversaw every aspect of Saint’s look, including her accessories and natural make-up and hair. Hitchcock had an affinity for neat, classic dressers, and Saint’s well-dressed lady is no different. From the impossibly-shiny-and-blonde coif (which Saint had re-styled during lunch breaks) to the perfectly matched gloves, everything Saint wears is premeditated. Eve Kendall’s first appearance onscreen reveals her role as seductress when she walks away and Hitchcock has the camera linger on her swinging hips snug in a black pencil skirt. Understandably, Thornhill ogles. He voices his appreciation later when Kendall coos, “I’m a big girl,” and he replies, “Yeah, in all the right places, too.”
On This Day in Fashion
We won't have Hitchcock there to help us decide what we're wearing for the next Film Fatale so here's some handy hints.
A simple and elegant look, a black pencil skirt and matching suit jacket with a smart casual white top underneath. The key to the look is the tailoring on the jacket and the finer details like the chic black court shoes and matching black gloves and bag.
A late 50s early 60s dress that wouldn't look out of place in Mad Men. What could be garish is made classy by muting bright colours. If your lucky enough to find a jacket in the same colour or a similar palette, pair together and stand out from the crowd.
A beautifully tailored little black dress with 3/4 length sleeves and a bateau neckline. Fitted but comfortable and tucked in at the waist by a grey belt. Hitchcock has gone wild matching accessories, a matching grey belt and long gloves and a black hat with a beige rim that matches her beige handbag. Finished with a string of pearls for pure ladylike sophistication.
The most stunning dress of the film. A bright bold flowered patterned 1950s swing dress with a bateau neckline and 3/4 length sleeves, very Betty Draper. Thanks to Mad Men you can actually find similar dresses. Look for cinched in waists and full skirts to the knee or slightly below and the bolder the colour and the pattern the better.