BIG NEWS!

Joseff's vintage retail line of jewelry will be available in special limited quantities direct from the source in June!

We have decided to no longer sell exclusively to wholesalers, and are adding a store to our website, scheduled to go live June 15th. Items sold are genuine vintage retail stock, with a few limited edition newer designs sprinkled in. 

So...we want to hear from you! What are your favorite Joseff items? What would you like to see in our shop?

 

Inside Joseff's Guest Book: William L. Pereira

Inside Joseff's Guest Book: William L. Pereira

William Pereia is one of over 300 signatures found in Joseff's studio guest book. Pereia is best known as an influential architect of the modern age, but also enjoyed a brief stint as an Art Director in Hollywood....

Featured Artist: Marilee Caruso!

 A beautiful bombshell of a woman in her own right, Marilee was not the model for this shoot, but the talented photographer.  Photo by Shannon Brooke, look by Malicious Makeup.

A beautiful bombshell of a woman in her own right, Marilee was not the model for this shoot, but the talented photographer.  Photo by Shannon Brooke, look by Malicious Makeup.

CELEBRATING CALIFORNIA ARTIST MARILEE CARUSO!

We at Joseff of Hollywood love to see artist creativity flourish! After all, was not Eugene Joseff himself an artist of innovation? This week we are pleased to share images from a photo shoot done by the talented Marilee Caruso! 

After seeing her images all over social media, we decided to reach out and see if she would be interested in a Joseff rental to use for an upcoming shoot. She was thrilled to accept the offer, and some beautiful works of art were born!

Marilee Caruso was born and raised near the Bay Area of California. She says that she fell in love with photography after taking a black and white film photography class at Solano Community College, before going on to the Academy of Art in San Francisco to develop and hone her craft.

Her work has always been inspired by the style and art of the 1940's and 1950's, and she has become a master at capturing the feeling of glamour that that era implies. She is an internationally published photographer, and shoots all over the country. She lives in Sacramento and is available to book 7 days a week. Marilee enjoys working with all kinds of women, with or without experience, and specializes in Pinup, Boudoir and Glamour- all with a vintage feel.

Enjoy the images from her recent photo shoot featuring Joseff jewelry below: 

Photos by: Marilee Caruso Photography, Hair and makeup: Marilee Caruso, Jewelry: Joseff of Hollywood, Models: @daintyrascal & @diandragodiva

More information about Marilee Caruso Photography can be found on her website at: http://www.marileecarusophoto.com/

Star Signature Spotlight: Joan Crawford

Star Signature Spotlight: Joan Crawford

 Joan Crawford's signature from Joseff's studio guest book dated January 9, 1946

Joan Crawford's signature from Joseff's studio guest book dated January 9, 1946

 

Born Lucille Fay LeSueur, Joan grew up with her mother Anna Bell Johnson and stepfather Henry Cassin, who ran the Ramsey Opera House, and whom her mother married shortly after her birth. As a child, and for some of her performing career, she was known as Billie Cassin, and enjoyed watching the shows at his theater. Joan expeienced a generally tumultuous childhood, including several reports of abuse and neglect by her stepfather. 

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Like much of her life, even Joan Crawford's actual birth date is a bit of a mystery. While it is agreed that she was born March 23, the year of her birth has been an ongoing debate for years. It has been reported that she was born anywhere between 1904 and 1908, generally accepted to be 1906. Leaving her abusive home, Crawford attended the St. Agnes Academy as a work student, spending more time cooking and cleaning than studying. She did the same at Rockingham Academy, and is assumed to have received only the equivalent of a formal elementary school education, as her academic records were faked. 

She was spotted by Jacon Shubert dancing in the chorus of a traveling revue in 1924, who put her in the chorus of his show Innocent Eyes. Seeking more work, she approached Nils Granlund, publicist for Loews Theaters, who found her a position in singer Harry Richman's act and arranged for her to do a screen test that was sent to producer Harry Rapf. There have been persistent rumors to this day that she earned extra money doing work for one or more stag films during this time, but there is no evidence to support this claim. 

The screen test resulted in a contract offer with MGM for $75 per week. The offer was delivered by telegram Christmas Eve of 1924. Joan borrowed $400 for travel expenses, left December 26, and arrived in Culver City, California on New Year's Day, 1925.

She was credited in her first film that year, Lady of the Night, as Lucille LeSueur, working as a body double for Norma Shearer. After several other small roles, MGM publicity head Pete Smith recognized her talent, but insisted on a name change, complaining that her surname sounded like "sewer."  

Having worked as Norma Shearer's body double in her first role, she imagined Shearer to be her professional nemesis, and the object of competition. She was once quoted as saying "How can I compete with Norma? She sleeps with the boss!" It is possible that this attitude toward Shearer's relationship to the studios (she was married to MGM's Head of Production, Irving Thalberg) influenced Joan's well-documented habit of wielding her sexual prowess as a tool in her career.

No one decided to make Joan Crawford a star. Joan Crawford became a star because Joan Crawford decided to become a star.
— Frederica Sagor Maas, MGM screenwirter

Impatient with her small roles, she embarked on a unique campaign of self-promotion during that first year with MGM. She worked tirelessly, attending dances at every hotel in Hollywood during the evenings, winning dance competitions regularly, especially for her performances of the Charleston and the Black Bottom.  Her efforts were successful, and she was soon cast for Sally, Irene and Mary in 1925, and named one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1926 along with Fay Wray and Dolores Del Rio. 

Within the next two years, Crawford became a leading female romantic lead at MGM, embodying the ideal fee-spirited, all-American girl. Her 1928 role as Diana Medford in Our Dancing Daughters established her as a symbol of modern 1920's style, rivaling Clara Bow, Hollywood's original It-Girl and quintessential flapper. 

Joan Crawford is doubtless the best example of the flapper, the girl you see in smart night clubs, gowned to the apex of sophistication, toying iced glasses with a remote, faintly bitter expression, dancing deliciously, laughing a great deal, with wide, hurt eyes. Young things living for talent.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

Crawford married Douglas Fairbanks Jr. on June 3rd, 1929. The groom's parents, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford were so opposed to the marriage that they would not invite Joan to their home. Although Fairbanks Sr. cool attitude toward the union thawed somewhat over the years, Joan was forever unable to develop a relationship with Pickford. During this time, Crawford successfully made the transition from silent film to "talkies," gaining more popularity as so many other actresses failed in this endeavor. 

In 1931 Crawford starred in 5 films, 3 of those roles opposite heartthrob Clark Gable, a rising star who was just as notorious for his extramarital affairs as Joan. These pairings began their well-known on again, off again affair that would span well into the next decade. It has been speculated that for all her dalliances with her leading men, Gable was a true love in her life. 

Two years later, Crawford filed for divorce, citing "grievous mental cruelty" and accused Fairbanks Jr. of having a "jealous and suspicious attitude toward her friends" that caused arguments "long into the night." It could be mentioned that he was not unjustly suspicious, but Fairbanks had his own extramarital affairs as well. 

In 1932 the first "Top 10 Money Making Stars Poll" was released, ranking Joan 3rd behind Marie Dressler and Janet Gaynor. She went on to star in her most popular films of the 1930's, including Dancing Lady, Chained and Forsaking All Others. 

She married again in 1935, this time to Franchot Tone, another leading man of hers. He was primarily a stage actor, and had come to Hollywood to make money, not necessarily become a star. Joan worked to influence and promote his career, but he wasn't interested in Hollywood stardom, instead wanting to build his own theater and return to the stage. They divorced in 1939 amidst allegations of heavy drinking and abuse, although after reconciling their friendship later in life, Tone proposed marriage again to Joan in 1964. 


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Box Office Poison

Though Time Magazine proclaimed Joan "The Queen of Movies" in 1937, her box office ranking slipped from 7th to 16th. That same year, she co-starred opposite her husband Franchot Tone in The Bride Who Wore Red, which was reviewed unfavorably and panned as the "same old rags-to-riches story" that Crawford had been making for years. It ran a financial loss and was marked as one of MGM's biggest failures of the year. 

On May 3rd, 1938, the Independent Film Journal published an article titled "Dead Cats," written by Harry Brandt, President of the Independent Theater Owners Association of America. The article complained about inflated star salaries driving up the cost of production and hurting the entire industry. Joan Crawford was dubbed Box Office Poison, along with Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Dolores Del Rio, Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, John Barrymore and Fred Astaire.

 "Box-office poison? Mr. Louis B. Mayer always asserted that the studio had built Stage 22, Stage 24 and the Irving Thalberg Building, brick by brick, from the income on my pictures."

-JoanCrawford

 

 

 

 

 


Crawford's next movie after Dead Cats was The shining Hour. While well-received by critics, it was a box-office flop. 1939's The Women alongside Norma Shearer provided somewhat of a come-back, although it became more of a struggle to move past the notion that she was no longer prime star material for films. 

In 1940 she adopted a daughter who came to be known as Christina, the first of four children. She had to go through an agency in Las Vegas since California did not allow single parent adoptions at that time. Two years later she married Phillip Terry and adopted a son, but the birth mother reclaimed him after a short time. They adopted another boy, first called Phillip Terry II, but renamed Christopher after her divorce to Terry in 1946. These two adopted siblings would later accuse Crawford of many types of abuse and neglect , detailed in Christina's infamous expose published in 1978, although younger siblings Cathy and Cindy (twins adopted in 1947) vehemently denied the accounts were true. Joan was aware of the book before her death, and said in a 1946 interview that she feared the book "will be full of lies and twisted truths." 

After these box office setbacks, Crawford ended her contract with MGM by mutual agreement in 1943 with a buyout payment of $100,000. She instead signed on to Warner Brother's Studios. Two years after this transition, she landed the role of Mildred Pierce in the 1945 film of the same name. The role took a lot of fight to win; Bette Davis first turned down the offer, and director Michael Curtis was so opposed to Joan for the part that he lobbied hard for Barbara Stanwyck and then made Joan do a screen test when the studio denied his request. When asked about his resistance in casting her, he retorted "She comes over here with her high-hat airs and her goddamn shoulder pads...why should I waste my time directing a has-been?" After all his resistance, she was cast anyway, although he was difficult and abusive toward her for the duration of filming. By one account, he even ripped open the shoulder of her dress while shooting one day (presumably while complaining about her signature shoulder pads), just to find no pads in her garment. In the end, she earned an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for the part. 

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Crawford and Joseff

Joan Crawford was a huge fan of Joseff jewelry. She made a regular habit of purchasing duplicates of pieces that she'd worn for publicity shoots with the studios, and for that reason, can be seen in many promotional photos wearing items that are later seen in candid shots of her off-set. This habit of hers (as well as several other prominent actresses of the day) is what prompted Joseff to launch the retail line, so that every woman could "feel like a star." The retail line was so popular that it went on to be sold at retail outlets all over the country, such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom's, and Lord & Taylor. 

One such personal order that Joan made was a reproduction of this bell necklace (shown right), which she loved so much that she demanded one for herself. When the time came to pick it up from the Joseff studio, she was so excited that she rushed off and left her fur coat! She had return for it the following week. 

As much as her life was complicated by controversy, we at Joseff of Hollywood prefer to remember her as Joan Castle Joseff did: a fellow petite, feisty red-head full of determination and grit!

 

She went on to perform in a series of "first rate melodramas" over the next several years, but again, opportunities began to fade by 1950, and Crawford felt that Warner Brothers was losing interest in her. After her 1952 film This Woman is Dangerous, she asked permission to withdraw from her contract. 

 Joan Crawford on the Pepsi Co. board

Joan Crawford on the Pepsi Co. board

In 1955 she married Alfred Steele, President of Pepsi Co. Through her marriage, she began doing work on behalf of Pepsi, traveling widely while promoting the brand. After Al Steele's unexpected death from a heart attack in 1959, Crawford was left broke and deeply in debt; he had borrowed heavily against his Pepsi stock, his future earnings, AND his Pepsi pension to finance the construction of their Fifth Avenue apartment and their extravagant globe-hopping lifestyle. She took over Al's seat on the board, and maintained her position as "brand ambassador," promoting Pepsi on film, in advertisements, and in her personal life until 1973. 

By the 1960's, her career had declined greatly, with a short revival after Whatever Happened to Baby Jane opposite Bette Davis in 1962. Hollywood had little need for aging actresses, and her struggles with alcohol and interpersonal relationships had become greater than her box office draw. Her last public appearance was at the New York Rainbow Room at a party honoring her old friend Rosalind Russel. When Crawford saw the unflattering photos that appeared in the papers the next day, she said, "If that's how I look, then they won't see me anymore." She became reclusive, rarely leaving her apartment. She claimed to give up drinking in her last years after becoming a Christian Scientist. She passed away in her apartment on May 8, 1977. 

Signature Star Spotlight: Virginia Mayo

Signature Star Spotlight: Virginia Mayo

 Virginia Mayo's undated signature in Joseff's Guest Book from 1946 (based on surrounding signature dates). 

Virginia Mayo's undated signature in Joseff's Guest Book from 1946 (based on surrounding signature dates). 

Virgina Mayo was one of the great beauties of 1940's Hollywood. Born Virgina Clara Jones in St. Louis, Missouri November 30, 1920, she began taking acting and dance lessons at the young age of six years old. AFter graduating Soldan High School in 1937, she quickly went on to join the "Muni" (st. Louis Municipal Opera) chorus. 

Her first big break was being recruited by her brother-in-law, vaudeville performer Andy Mayo for his act "Morton and Mayo." She toured with this show for three years before landing a Broadway part in Eddie Cantor's "Banjo Eyes," now going by the name Virginia Mayo. 

 It was at this time that she was scouted and came to the attention of Sam Goldwyn, who signed her to a five year contract as one of his Goldwyn Girls for $100 per week. Her first popular film was 1943's Jack London, starring Michael O'Shea, who, though married at the time and 14 years her senior, would later become her husband. 

 Virginia Mayo and Michael O'Shea on the set of Jack London

Virginia Mayo and Michael O'Shea on the set of Jack London

She quickly became popular as an actress personifying the role of the dream girl, or girl next door. Though she was known to draw audiences for her looks alone, she landed her first starring role in 1944 opposite Bob Hope. This opened up a new genre of film in comedy, while continuing to play mostly wholesome, good-girl roles. 

In 1946 she broke her previous stereotype by accepting a role in The Best Years of Our Lives, as the gold-digging Marie Derry. Her performance was well received by critics, and the production became the largest grossing film domestically since Gone With the Wind. at the height of her career in the late 1940's, Mayo was considered the definition of Hollywood beauty. 

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Star for a star

Virginia Mayo was one of the first actresses to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February of 1960. 

She continued to produce prolific work into the 1950's, including The Flame adn the Arrow with Burt Lancaster, and The story of Mankind with Vincent Price, Hedy Lamar and Cesar Romero. Her film career slowed in the 1960's, although she continued to appear act in movies and transitioned into TV during the 1970's and 1980's with such series as The Love Boat; Murder, She Wrote; Santa Barbara; and Remington Steele. 

Joseff's Star Signature Spotlight: Edith Head

Joseff's Star Signature Spotlight: Edith Head

It's well known that Joseff got into the creation and rentals of jewelry for films by first falling in with the costume designer crowd. Edith Head is arguably THE most famous designer of the classic Hollywood era. She designed not only for films, but for the stars themselves. Naturally, she was a regular of the Joseff of Hollywood studio, coming in to pick pieces complementary to her work, or to ask Joseff to create such pieces. 

 Edith Head's signature in the Joseff of Hollywood guest book dated February 8th, 1946

Edith Head's signature in the Joseff of Hollywood guest book dated February 8th, 1946

Born Edith Claire Posener 10/28/1897 in San Bernadino, California, Head went on to become one of the most well-recognized costume and fashion designers of all time. As a child, she was raised by her mother and step-father, moving often to follow his work. 

She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1919 with a Bachelor's of Arts in Letters and Sciences, with honors in French. She went on to earn her Masters Degree in Romance Languages at Stanford University in 1920. After graduating from college, she took a position at Bishop's School in La Jolla, California teaching French. 

She quickly became discontent with simply teaching language to her students, and instead sought a position teaching both French and art at the Hollywood School for Girls, despite no real experience or formal education on the second subject. In order to hide her inexperience and improve her drawing skills, she took night classes at Chouinard Art College in secret. 

 Class picture from the Hollywood School for Girls where Head taught French and Art. 

Class picture from the Hollywood School for Girls where Head taught French and Art. 

The student body at the Hollywood School for Girls was almost exclusively daughters of the Hollywood elite, including those of Cecil B. Demille, Louis B. Mayer and Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. This exposure gave her the in to pursue a higher paying position as a sketch artist in the Paramount costume department in 1926. It is rumored that when she interviewed for the position with head costume designer Howard Greer, he commented that he'd never seen so much talent in one portfolio and hired her on the spot. Head later admitted that most of the sketches had actually been the work of her fellow art students, "borrowed" just for that interview. 

That night I made the rounds at Chouinard (Art School) and collected all the students’ best landscapes, seascapes, oils, watercolors, sketches, life, art, everything.
— Edith Head

In her early career with Paramount, she had some comical design flubs. Perhaps most famously, she was to design costumes for the Candy Ball in Cecil B. de Mille’s film, “The Golden Bed." She designed them to have real candy elements, which soon ended in disaster as the pieces of her design either broke or stuck together. 

 Head's candy ball costumes were redesigned to use real marshmallows for the film "The Golden Bed"

Head's candy ball costumes were redesigned to use real marshmallows for the film "The Golden Bed"

After this first series of blunders, she worked closely with Howard Greer, improving swiftly and by great measure. Her first seriously noted influence was in her designs for Dorothy Lamour's sarong style dresses, meant to show off her signature "exotic" image. This iconic look is often imitated by modern designers popular within the "retro" or "pinup" fashion circles.

By the 1930's Head had become one of the most prominent designers that Paramount had under contract, known to get very involved in the process with her subjects. This set her apart from most other designers of her time, who worked mostly with the film directors to choose a look. Head's approach helped her design tailored to each subject, and helped become so sought after by the actresses of the day that she was often "loaned out" by Paramount to other studios at the specific requests of the actresses in each film. 

In 1948 The Academy Awards created a new category for "Costume Design." Head won a total of 8 awards during her career, with 35 total nominations. 

 

Her many famous subjects proudly wore her designs, and Edith Head became synonymous with Hollywood fashion. Some of her most famous works were worn by Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. 

In 1967 she left Paramount after 43 years to work for Universal Studios, rumored to be sparked by her close working relationship with Alfred Hitchcock, who had also moved to Universal several years prior. 

 Edith Head working with Alfred Hitchcock at the Universal lot

Edith Head working with Alfred Hitchcock at the Universal lot

During 196's & 1970's, Hollywood changed from prominence in film to television. She designed the costumes for "Bewitched" character Endora, and even appeared on screen in a cameo as herself in the murder mystery series "Columbo." In 1974 Head was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a star on Hollywood Blvd. 

Edith Head died October 24, 1981, just days short of her 84th birthday. She remains one of the most memorable costume designers in Hollywood history

 

Inside Joseff's Studio Guest Book

Inside Joseff's Studio Guest Book

After the recent discovery of Joseff's studio guest book, we have decided to dedicate ourselves to a weekly blog post featuring the story behind a single signature in this star studded slice of Hollywood history! Please check in regularly for our new weekly feature: Joseff's Star Signature Spotlight!

 Such a simple and unassuming exterior. This was almost overlooked when beginning to uncover long buried items among the archives. 

Such a simple and unassuming exterior. This was almost overlooked when beginning to uncover long buried items among the archives. 

Spanning from 1945-1953, this book found in the Joseff of Hollywood archives contains well over 300 signatures from the hottest names in Hollywood, from actors & actresses to costume designers and artists!

 Sneak peak into this treasure trove of famous visitors to the Joseff of Hollywood studio.

Sneak peak into this treasure trove of famous visitors to the Joseff of Hollywood studio.

We hope you'll join us on this adventure into our guestbook. Please enjoy!

Customer Story: Wedding Bells

Customer Story: Wedding Bells

Here at Joseff of Hollywood, now run by the third generation of Joseff family members, one of our favorite things is hearing from our customers what Joseff has meant to them. Often these stories are sweet, but quite simple and short ("I remember my grandmother wearing her favorite piece..."), but sometimes a truly touching and remarkable one comes through that simply must be shared. Such is the case with Alyson Burton, nee Lea.

We first learned of Alyson through an Instagram post from @forties_face_flossy with a picture collage, and a simple story caption that mentioned she'd acquired these Joseff bell earrings from an American dealer years before getting married, and had known she would wear them on her big day. 

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We reached out to learn more, and received the sweetest love story between a woman and her earrings...

Alyson describes how being brought up with old films from the 1930's and 1940's influenced her style and manner. A true "vintage" spirit, she was often found "dressing up," aspiring to Old Hollywood glamour while wishing to be (and pretending of course) wearing those costumes and jewelry she saw on screen.

In particular, she remembers watching Gone With the Wind, and of all things, falling in love with a smaller, lesser known item. "One particular pair of earrings captured me the most. These were the ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ bell earrings that Una Munson wears in her portrayal of Belle Watling in Gone With The Wind. I’m not sure why I loved them so much? Perhaps it was because I watched Gone With the Wind at Christmas time, and they conjured up seasonal novelty. Either way, I had to have some"

She describes searching for them for years once discovering that they were made by Joseff of Hollywood, visiting specialist vintage costume dealers, antique shops and fairs in the UK where she lives, and even a few in in New York. Finally, she stumbled upon a pair from an American dealer online and was thrilled. She says she knew even at that time they would be the pair she wore on her big day. 

When the time came to get married, she says she was amazed that everything just fell into place, as her fickle nature wanted everything just right down the most minute detail. Finally, Alyson Lea and Mr. Andrew Burton were married during a small ceremony in their Town Hallin Wentworth on October 30, 2015. 

An absolute vision on her wedding day, Alyson paired her Belle earrings with a 1930's silk satin bias cut dress of vintage perfection previously worn by a Florence Emily Bulland (it was, when she discovered it 10 years prior to her union, accompanied by a picture of Ms. Bulland wearing it in 1936, and Alyson knew she simply must treasure it and show it love once again). Our bride decided to forego any headdress or veil so not to detract from her beautiful earrings, but opted instead to further enhance the vintage look with a clever victory V hairstyle. 

Wedding photographs were taken afterwards in the Ornamental Gardens Of the nearby Wentworth Woodhouse - the largest stately home in the UK, once home to the Fitzwilliams one of the richest families in England through the 18th and 19th century.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the NEW Joseff of Hollywood Website

Welcome to the NEW Joseff of Hollywood Website

Presenting the new and improved joseff-hollywood.com website. A big thank you to AfallaStudios for creating an updated look to Joseff of Hollywood. (Click image for more)