Bow, circa 1925, in a choker decidedly similar to the one Swift wears in “Fortnight”.

Eugene Robert Richee/Getty Images

It’s Bow, too, who gave rise to the fashion industry’s most overused term bar iconic: “It-girl.” The epithet derives from her 1927 film, It, in which she plays a retail assistant whose ineffable charms enable her to seduce Cyrus T Waltham, heir to a department store fortune. (Clowns, mercifully, do not feature). As for who invented the concept of a certain It-factor: that would be Rudyard Kipling, of all people, in his short story “Mrs Bathurst”: “Tisn’t beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It’s just It. Some women’ll stay in a man’s memory if they once walked down a street.”

TLDR: Bow was a national obsession in her day, which played a role in her complete nervous collapse in 1931. She would spend much of the rest of her life in and out of psychiatric wards, undergoing periodic shock treatments (a fact alluded to in the “Fortnight” video), but by the time of her retirement at the age of 28, she had already become a symbol of the Jazz Age. As the New York Times wrote in its 1965 obituary: “More than any other woman entertainer of her time, Clara Bow perhaps personified the giddier aspects of an unreal era, the Roaring Twenties.

Hollywood’s contribution to the period of bathtub gin and flappers was a series of appropriate movies and the emergence of such cinema queens as Pola Negri, Constance Bennett, Gloria Swanson and Kay Francis. But America frankly preferred the vibrant earthiness of the little young redhead from Brooklyn.” Vogue put it another way: “There were shoals of It-girls, but Clara Bow was It.” Which, a century later, is a sentence that could easily be applied to Taylor Swift.

Taylor first nodded to Bow at the 2024 Grammys when she wore a vintage Concord watch reimagined as a choker by Lorraine Schwartz (along with 300 carats worth of diamonds and a Schiaparelli gown). Chokers weren’t a hallmark of Bow’s per se, but they were en vogue in the ’20s, particularly heavier, art-deco styles that complemented the era’s sleek flapper bobs. Fast forward to the “Fortnight” video, and Taylor leaned heavily into Bow’s beauty signatures: finger waves, barely there eyebrows, scarlet pout. (It’s a look that Swift first experimented with in the pages of British Vogue during a January 2018 shoot with Mert + Marcus, with Isamaya Ffrench responsible for her ’20s transformation.)

Read the full article here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *