Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gary Cooper personal blazer worn in "Now and Forever" from 1934

A tailor made blazer worn by Gary Cooper in the 1934 Paramount film "Now and Forever", also starring Shirley Temple and Carole Lombard -







                                                                            
This is one of the earliest Gary Cooper pieces that I've seen in the collecting market, and it originally came from the widow of someone who worked with Cooper for many years. It's a classic early 30's style blazer, made of a sturdy wool and is in remarkably good condition for its age. He looks very dapper in it... I can just see him standing next to a Duesenberg with one foot on the running board while wearing this! A great piece of classic 30's Hollywood. I'm so glad it survives... and from one of the great actors in Hollywood history and a personal favorite. I'm lucky to have this one...

In the image below, Cooper is show with his wife, Sandra Shaw, right after they returned from their honeymoon in Europe... 





The candid shot below is on the set of "Now and Forever". Looks like Coop is talking to a reporter...

The classic check pattern made it easy to match up seams and places where the little squares meet. It's most notable in the darker row to the left of the pocket, as well as where it gathers under the breast pocket (both seen really well in the photos above); also where the slit is on the lapel for a boutonnier, and where the seams of the lapel meet the collar. Matching up every little detail is important when authenticating a movie worn costume... even when the label looks right and the costume does too it can sometimes be wrong. It can be an alternate, made for a stand in or stunt person, or just a fake... all points to take into consideration when buying or bidding on a movie costume. All of us collectors have seen all of the above many times and have bought some unknowingly. Even the auction houses and some dealers sell things that are incorrect.  You can't be too thorough when authenticating a costume... research it as much as possible!

Getting back to this Cooper, the nice thing about it is that it's not a studio or costume company created piece at all. Since it's from his tailor, it's a one of a kind made for Cooper exclusively. And luckily he just happened to wear his own blazer in the movie. The scene is fairly brief, so I'm not surprised that he shot it wearing his own clothes. What's really cool is that he took the nice portrait photos with Shirley and Lombard while wearing it... Having an authentic personal item from a star is great by itself, and having photos of them in it is great too since they can be really hard to find and sometimes don't even exist. But then seeing the star wear the piece in a movie is icing on the cake...





"Basil Durant" of New York was the tailor, and his label is sewn into the inner breast pocket (studio and Hollywood costume company made jackets typically have a label here too). Cooper's name and a date of 11-21-33 are on the label -



A photo of him in it was also used for the cover of Photoplay magazine!


Another image of him with his wife, Sandra Shaw after they returned from their honeymoon... 


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