At Last! The Artist Who Inspired Judy Garland's 1st Costume in The Pirate (1948)

The search is over! The artist whose painting inspired Judy Garland's first costume in The Pirate (1948) -red plaid tam-o-shanter, yellow print dress with puffed sleeves, crucifix and black apron- is Charles Philipon.

Vintage Fashion Guild posted the painting of a milliner wearing that exact outfit as an example of hats in the 19th century. It is undoubtedly the forebear of Ms. Garland's distinct dress. However, the signature on the painting is so illegible that for years the name of this artist eluded me. It wasn't until Ikranieri at the VFG forum identified the portrait this year that the search finally ended.
Charles Philipon

Charles Philipon is famous for having co-founded and illustrated a satiric magazine -La Caricature- in Paris, which ran from 1830 to 1835. The Pirate's storyline is set, not in the same place but in a similar time frame:  "a small village in the West Indies early in the 19th century," according to the movie's predecessor, S. N. Behrman's play of the same name. The painting of the milliner is apparently part of a series that Philipon completed at his leisure - "Occupations d'une femme" (1827-1830).

Over one hundred years later, Tom Keogh, costume designer for The Pirate, would be known for many artistic creations of his own, including illustrating another French magazine- Vogue Paris.

Keogh dresses Ms. Garland's character, Manuela, as Philipon's milliner. Perhaps he is inferring that she has seen the painting somehow, despite never having left her small town, and has sewn a copy of the dress. She's that infatuated with any place but home.

Or perhaps it's not that literal. Manuela has Paris on the brain; the gaiety and wonder of the French capital is a symbol of escape from "this little saucer in the hills." Maybe Keogh is simply giving this character a taste of what she wants without her knowing it. The designer is simply underscoring the idea that while other young ladies wear a more regional headdress and skirts (highlighting their contentment at home), Manuela's dress represents a distant land that's on her mind.

Casablanca Returns to the Silver Screen - March 21, 2012

Turner Classic Movies presents Casablanca (1942) on the big screen for one night only - March 21, 2012 at 7pm (local time).

TCM joins Fathom Events  -  just as it did for West Side Story last year - inviting audiences to relive the magic of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in an exciting classic film involving mystery, mayhem, WWII, patriotism, treachery, romance and much more!

Click here for ticket information: