Doris Day’s White Evening Gown from Pillow Talk

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I got an e-mail from one of my readers, Kim, a while back, talking about the designs of Irene Lentz, a costume designer who worked on some Doris Day movies that she recommended to me, one of which was Pillow Talk. I have to do further viewing before I can be familiar with her work, though — it looks like Pillow Talk was costumed by Jean Louis (who, credited for “gowns,” probably designed this costume) and Bill Thomas. Anyways, whoever designed them, I love Doris Day’s outfits in the movie. Her character is an interior designer, and she always looks fabulous: the movie was released in 1959, and her clothes are right there between smart 1950s femininity and 1960s clean style. The movie itself was something I had to kind of turn off the overly serious and feminist parts of my brain to enjoy: I know it’s supposed to be a light-hearted sex comedy, and the way the guy manipulated the girl (and her revenge) was really quite amusing. Still, when viewers are supposed to take the baby at the end as proof that our hero and heroine achieved ‘happily ever after’, it signified to me “she’s got three, four years tops before he gets bored of her.” Yeah, call me a cynic but I can’t watch a movie like that without scripting out a few months worth of premarital counseling for the dysfunctional couple in my head. Doesn’t mean I don’t have the other Day/Hudson movies on reserve at the library…

10 thoughts on “Doris Day’s White Evening Gown from Pillow Talk

  1. lol I read the plot on Wikipedia. I agree they’ll probably need lots of counseling. I couldn’t find any screencaps or pictures of the real dress online. I’m going to pop over to the library and see if they have it.


    I think you are much too hard on your skills. It’s like me and playing piano. I feel sometimes like I play the “same” thing all the time. It may be same-ol-same-ol for me, but everyone else still enjoys it very much. We’ll get there. :)

  2. Yeah, I actually drew this dress closer to the beginning of the month than the end, and just got discouraged and never scanned it. That’s how I get into the habit of letting the site go for a month…

    I looked all around for a picture or video with this dress, but nothing! It’s so cute and fresh on her. Sadly there’s no close up of the brooch, either. I kind of faked it. ;)

  3. Is this the white gown with the draped back? I remember seeing Doris Day in a movie many years ago as a child and saying that I wanted to get married in a dress like that.

  4. Kim, I don’t think this one had a draped back. As I remember it, the back is really open and plunges down to a few inches above the waistline, but it’s all skintight and not draped or loose. I’ll keep an eye out for Doris Day in a draped back gown though…

  5. No, that back isn’t draped. It does have a square cut out that goes down to her waist. I watched the movie this afternoon. :blush: Cute!

    I love the front, but I’m not in love with the back. Oh well.

    I LOVED the green outfit with the feathery hat that she wears when she tells Jonathan she’s breaking their date. :)

  6. Wow! I’m new to your site. You are so talented. I wish that I could draw clothes for paper dolls. I’ve been a collector since I was in preshcool.

    Have you done other Doris Day movie outfits? Have you seen the movies that she stars in “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” and “On Moonlight Bay?” The costumes in both films are beautiful – 1918 – 1921 ish period.
    Also, have you seen the movie that Angelina Jolie was nominated for Best Actress, The Changeling? It had beautiful costumes also.

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