Glamour originally was a term applied to a magical-occult spell that was cast on somebody to make them see something the spell-caster wished them to see, when in fact it was not what it seemed to be. In the late 19th century terminology, a non-magical item used to help create a more attractive appearance gradually became known as 'a glamour'. Today, glamour is the impression of attraction or fascination that a particularly luxurious or elegant appearance creates, an impression which is better than the reality. Typically, a person, event, location, technology, or product such as a piece of clothing can be glamorous or add glamour.
Virginia Postrel says that for glamour to be successful nearly always requires sprezzatura - an appearance of effortlessness, and to appear distant - transcending the everyday, to be slightly mysterious and somewhat idealised, but not to the extent it is no longer possible to identify with the person. Glamorous things are neither opaque, hiding all, nor transparent showing everything, but translucent, favourably showing things.
The early Hollywood star system in particular specialised in Hollywood glamour where they systematically glamorised their actors and actresses.
Late in the 19th century the common meaning shifted to being applied to ordinary objects and jewellery without connotations of supernatural, merely upon the effect that it has on appearance. This is a sense used in this article and to some extent is the way that it was used by the early Hollywood system.
In modern usage glamour is often confused with style or beauty; but they may be considered to be distinct, although glamour may give the appearance of beauty or present as a personal style.
"Glamour doesn't just happen, people don't wake up in the morning glamorous." - Virginia Postrel
"Glamour is the result of chiaroscuro, the play of light on the landscape of the face, the use of the surroundings through the composition, through the shaft of the hair and creating mysterious shadows in the eyes. In Hollywood, stars as far apart as Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Rita Hayworth and Dolores del Rio, own and acquire glamor, technology and willingness to refine the beauty of its own... Are indecipherable magic of the cinema, substance of the dreams of a generation and the admiration of the following meeting", -filmmaker Josef von Sternberg, .
Early Hollywood movie stars were often seen as particularly glamorous, this was due to the operation of the early Hollywood system where extensive methods were used to make the stars glamorous. For example photography was done in rooms which had been specially painted to flatter the skin tone of the actors and actresses, and attention was paid to hair and clothes. Notably this was successfully done with:
- Marlene Dietrich
- Joan Crawford
- Grace Kelly
- Hedy Lamarr is quoted to have said "Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."
- Sean Connery
- Marilyn Monroe
- Brigitte Bardot
- Maria Felix
Glamour icons are people that are thought to epitomise glamour, that have an individual style that makes them more attractive.
- Brigitte Bardot
- Audrey Hepburn
- Imelda Marcos
- Queen Elizabeth II
- Naomi Campbell
- Diana, Princess of Wales
- Stella McCartney
- Gloria, Princess von Thurn und Taxis
- Princess Isabelle, Countess of Paris
- Claudia Schiffer
- Marella Agnelli
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Aishwarya Rai
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
- Sophia Loren
- Ava Gardner
- Joan Collins
- Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Hereditary Princess of Monaco (well-known worldwide simply as Princess Caroline of Monaco)
- Princess Grace of Monaco (also well known as Grace Kelly, her birth name and artistic name, as she wasn't a Princess in her own right, but rather consort of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco)
Glamour photography is the photographing of a model with the emphasis on the model and the model's sexuality and allure; with any clothing, fashion, products or environment contained in the image being of minor consideration. Photographers use a combination of cosmetics, lighting and airbrushing techniques to produce the most physically appealing image of the model possible.
Many forms of architecture employ glamorous motifs to enhance the appearance of what may be otherwise mundane buildings.
|Look up glamour in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Beauty - attractiveness
- Elegance - simple grace and dignified propriety
- Glam rock - a type of music where the musicians used outrageous glamours such as platform shoes and outrageous hairstyles
- Glamour photography Photography which shows a model, often nude or seminude
- Sprezzatura - to appear as without effort
- Style - dressing according to a school of thought
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