Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cosme-Haul Style Icon: R.I.P. Lauren Bacall 1924-2014

Cosme-Haul Style Icon: "The Look" of Lauren Bacall

Warner Bros. publicity photo, 1944.
(Image via Hearty Magazine.)

By Randi Reed
My favorite movie icon, Lauren Bacall passed away this week on August 12, 2014 at the age of 89. Others may think of 1940's women in Victory-Rolled, pin-up swimsuited splendor, but not me. If given the chance by a passing genie to look exactly like anyone in the world, I'd want to look like Lauren Bacall, circa 1944.

Discovered by director Howard Hawks' wife "Slim" as a hard working New York model on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, eighteen year-old Betty Joan Perske was whisked into the Hollywood studio system, given a new name, groomed, and screen tested.

March 1943 Harper's Bazaar cover that got her discovered.
(Image via

After- makeover Warner Bros. publicity photo, 1944.
(Image via Google Images.)

According to Bacall in her autobiography, By Myself, Warner Brothers makeup man Perc Westmore wanted to shave her hairline, thin out and round the arches of her eyebrows, and straighten her teeth. Howard Hawks would have none of it, and shortly thereafter, at age nineteen, she was  thrust into To Have and Have Not with megastar Humphrey Bogart.

Her low voice and her character's sultry demeanor, combined with "The Look"--the perceived-as-sexy, lowered-chin, upward gaze she'd actually created to keep her head from visibly shaking on camera from fear--made Lauren Bacall a sensation.
"The Match Scene", To Have and Have Not
(Images via Google Images.)

During filming, Bogart and Bacall fell in love and later married. He called her "Baby" and she called him "Bogie," and while they may not have lived
happily ever after (Bogie died of cancer in 1957, making her a young widow with two small children), for a time, as Bacall said in her autobiography (later to be quoted in a popular 80's song), they "had it all."

In the midst of it, no one ever wore houndstooth check and berets better than Lauren  Bacall--so well, in fact, studio Wardrobe had her in checked suits and berets in two different films. But Bacall was no arm piece: a guys' girl as well as a girls' girl, not only was Bacall the first female member of the original "Rat Pack", she gave the group its name.

Miss Bacall went on to have an enduring career in Hollywood, on Broadway, as a best-selling author, and a voiceover artist late in life, proving that, contrary to comments from a few jealous naysayers, Lauren Bacall was never "just a model." But dammit, the dame had style.
Bare-midriffed and padded shouldered in publicity for 1944's  To Have and Have Not.
(Image via

Another view, screen shot, To Have and Have Not.
(Image via Google Images.)

.Makeup and Hair in Profile, screen shot, To Have and Have Not.
(Image via

"The Look", 1944.
(Image via L.A. Times blog.)

Life Magazine, October 16, 1944.
(Image via

The Big Sleep publicity still, 1946.
(Image via classichollywoodtumblr)

The Big Sleep publicity still, 1946.
(Image via Google Images.)

With Bogie in The Big Sleep, 1946.
(Image via Google Images.)

The Big Sleep - era publicity shot.
(Image via

"The Look."
(Image via Google Images.)

"The Look" again.
(Image via thisdayandaigetumblr)

Warner Bros. publicity shot.
(Image via Wikipedia.)
Warner Bros. publicity still, possibly 1945.
(Image via

R.I.P., Miss Bacall.

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