Costume designer Walter Plunkett was born on this day in 1902. To celebrate the occasion, we offer you a French hood designed by Plunkett for Young Bess (1953), a fictionalized biography of Queen Elizabeth I. It was first published in 2010.
If you're a fan of Walter Plunkett's work, be sure to visit Designing Hollywood: Sketches from the Christian Esquevin Collection. Opening at the FIDM Museum on June 11, this exhibition features a selection of rare Hollywood costume sketches, including the work of Walter Plunkett, Irene, Travilla, and many others.
Released in 1953, the film Young Bess is a fictionalized biography of Queen Elizabeth I. Focusing on her life before she was crowned queen, the film is set in the late 1540s and stars Jean Simmons as Young Bess. The lavish, historically inspired costumes were created by Walter Plunkett, who had already earned a name for himself with his widely admired Gone With the Wind (1939) costumes. Plunkett began his career in film with a semi-successful attempt at becoming an actor in the early 1920s. He made the shift to costume designer in 1926 when he accepted a position as a wardrobe assistant at RKO Studios, eventually moving to MGM in the 1930s. Plunkett had no obvious background in costume design, apparently teaching himself the necessary skills on the job. This lack of formal training was clearly not indicative of his talents, as he quickly gained a reputation for creating historically evocative costumes for period films.