Hollywood Siren of the Day – Dorothy Dandridge and Her Fashion Style

By | May 18, 2023

Hollywood Siren of the Day- Dorothy Dandridge. Whenever I’m lost for something to do, or I’m having that quiet moment with an iced tea on a sunny afternoon, I will venture into my old movie collection. One of my favourites with a strong, classic personality that I admire is Carmen. The spunky actress with so much allure and power that can lure a man into destruction, and eventually to her own tragic destiny. This is a story to behold, a story of lust and fatal attraction. The actress who plays this role, caught my attention when I watched a movie about her life.

Halle Berry, who plays her, was the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Oscar. Her road to stardom could not be more glittery and full of promise. Dorothy Dandridge was born in 1922, to Ruby Dandridge, an aspiring actress and Cyril Dandridge, a cabinet maker and minister. After her parents separated, Ruby formed an act for Dorothy and her other daughter, under the name of ‘The Wonder Children’. This life of entertainment and dreams resulted in a life of non-stop moving and non-existent schooling.

Growing up in the depression era, Dorothy and her family suffered great hardship like a lot of other Americans. Ruby moved the family to Hollywood and managed to find a steady income, playing bit-part roles as servants in movies. ‘The Wonder Children’ were renamed ‘The Dandridge Sisters’ and they played in famous venues like ‘The Cotton Club’. I watched the movie named after this famed venue, and was instantly fascinated by the place. Filled with black musicians and dancers, the rich and famous attended this decadent joint to experience some of the jazz magic.

Dorothy played lots of bit-part roles as exotic, beautiful ladies in Hollywood movies. She landed her first small, but important role with Lex Barker and Virginia Huston as Tarzan and Jane. Although her role was small, it was significant enough for her to be noticed.

Her major breakthrough that landed her in the spotlight, was the movie about Carmen. Played by an all black cast, unheard of at the time, she gave an electrifying performance. It’s an ode to a bygone glamorous era, where perfect grooming is expected of everyone. Men wearing suits and with slicked- back hair, women wearing tight-fitting dresses with ease, and managing to look elegant at all times.

I especially love the way that Carmen’s flamenco inspired, red skirt is used as a symbol. Her attitude mixed with her red skirt, is inviting and alluring, yet issues warning signs at the same time. Her look can easily be imitated with a bit of imagination, without dipping into the vintage drawers. She wore a simple, jersey cropped top and overlay wrap, red skirt. Teamed with little kitten heels or black court shoes, you could be the symbol for men to die for too.

Dorothy’s career was certainly short lived, with prejudice and mismanagement of the Hollywood system, broken dreams and promises made by untrustworthy men around her, she will always be a tragic, flaming siren in my heart.