Movie Muse: Valley of the Dolls

Jacqueline Susann’s novel Valley of the Dolls exposes the rise of three beautiful young women from small town America to Hollywood success, and their spiraling decline into the drug-addled underworld of the rich and famous. With millions of teenage girls devouring the novel secretly under their covers, the book was as controversial in the 60s as it was successful, and it still captures audiences attention today; Alexa Chung recently tweeted, “Reading Valley of the Dolls. It's goooooood.”  Inevitably the book was made into a movie, starring Patty Duke, Sharon Tate, and Barbara Parkins, and directed by Mark Robson.

With its sumptuously costumed and heavily made-up leading ladies constantly exploding into tearfully manic monologues, the film is fabulously campy and famously poorly-acted—Parkins once told a sold-out crowd, “I know why you like it… because it's so bad!" Memorable for its shocking (for the era) portrayal of taboo subjects like drug addiction, abortion, and suicide, Valley of the Dolls is a must-see for vintage fashion lovers and those who want a glimpse at the dark side of Hollywood glamour.



Channel the ultra-feminine 1960s beauty looks from Valley of the Dolls:

1. Swedish fashion designer Ida Sjöstedt drew from Valley of the Dolls for the concept behind her Secret Garden Spring/Summer 2011 collection.

2. The transformation of Neely (Duke), Jennifer (Tate) and Anne (Parkins) into glam starlets are head-to-toe, from fur coats—all that Anne is left with after her plummet out of stardom—to statement jewels, like these Trina Turk Athena Hoops – $80.

3. Keep your 1960s-inspired bouffant as high as the dolls’ with L’Oreal Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold UV Hair Spray – $14.99.

4. Neely, Jennifer, and Anne spend a great deal of the film in their boudoirs, flouncing, seducing, and sleeping off a night of Hollywood parties in frothy lingerie, like this Betsey Johnson Double Layer Tricot Babydoll – 69.

5. The liberties taken by director Robson in the film adaptation are as numerous as Anne’s husband’s affairs, and the story is watered down for timid 1960s audiences, so read Susann’s original novel, too. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann – $11.20.

6. Achieve dramatic 1960s bedroom eyes with Forever 21 Dramatic Length Lashes – $2.80.

7. The murder of the devastatingly beautiful Tate just two years after the release of the film contributed to its cult status, but the fabulous wide-leg jumpsuit she wears as Jennifer deserves a little credit. Imitation Penelope Jumpsuit – $350.

8. The “dolls” in the title refers to the slang term for the pills that the film’s main characters are addicted to, but we recommend sticking with delicious and fun Good & Plenty Licorice Pastels 6 lb bag – $19.50.

Photos: bert-trashboi.blogspot.com, bookcoverarchive.com, fashionfilmstudies.blogspot.com, lovemaegan.com, mecho.com.au