Monday 28 March 2011

Boring Outfit Post - Big Game Hunting in Oxfam

I don't know what was in the water in Hollywood in 1953, but that year the studios seem to have produced particularly brilliant films, including several of my faves.  Calamity Jane, Roman Holiday, Kiss Me Kate, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Band Wagon - and MogamboMogambo is actually one of my earliest old-film memories - I can remember it being on in the background one Sunday afternoon at my Granny's house, and half-following the story as I read Enid Blyton books/played with Pogs/built a catapult with elastic bands/set fire to my sister, or whatever I was doing that day.  I saw the film in full a couple of years ago and loved it, but, predictably, was most impressed by the costumes.

As regular readers will have noticed, I normally go in for as many bright colours as I can squish into one ensemble, but there's something about the desert-heat-and-hungry-tigers-deflecting neutral tones of outfits like these that appeals and makes me want to dress like an explorer.

Particularly an explorer with Grace Kelly's face and Ava Gardner's figure, please.
I bought a skirt in a charity shop at the weekend.  I knew what shoes I wanted to wear with it, but wasn't sure how else to style it, so I just threw clothes at myself at random, looked in the mirror, thought "Aha!  Explorer chic!" and added a leopard-print cardi for extra safari points.  Result:

Now, where did I put my pith helmet?

Skirt:  Principles via charity shop
Cardigan:  H&M
Top:  Oasis
Belt:  used to belong to my Grandpa!
Socks:  haven't got a bloody clue
Shoes:  Primark

Oh, and speaking of leopards, even my nails matched!  Check it ooouuuut:

Dear me, ankle socks, brogues and leopard-print nails - could I be any more 'fashion blogger' today?!

Anyway, Mogambo is ace.  To be perfectly honest, I was too busy ogling the clothes to take too much notice of the plot intricacies at the time, but as far as I remember, Clark Gable is a big game hunter on safari in Africa.  (A decade and a half on from his "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" days but he totally still had it.  Grr.)  A former showgirl, having been given the push by her maharajah boyfriend, turns up in his camp and refuses to leave.  Then a boring anthropologist and his beautiful, prim wife turn up, a ridiculously complex love quadrangle occurs, somebody gets carried away and shoots somebody else with Clark's gorilla-shooting gun, and it ends with a very lovely bit on a raft.  (That rambling paragraph is what passes for a movie review here at Bette on Toast.  In short - 5 stars, highly recommended, especially if you like safari clothes!)

Interestingly (well, only interesting if you're an old movies anorak, I suppose), Mogambo is a remake of a film called Red Dust, which was made 20 years earlier and starred as the male lead...  Clark Gable.  Did the man just not age?!  I have been on a little costumes-stalking mission, but it seems that in 1932, ladies stranded in remote African outposts swooned around all day in high-heeled mules and silk nightgowns.

Next challenge - accessorise safari style with polkadots!  And Clark Gable.


  1. I saw Mogambo for the first time a few months ago and LOVED it. Ava was one sassy lady, and you are right about Clark being phwoar x

  2. This is such a fantastic post! Feel like listening to Tarzan, and watching born free :) x


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