Lucille Ball and Carol Channing are comedic legends who used their unique senses of humor and leadership skills to create a path for women in comedy. Although many know Ball and Channing for their humor, they are also fashion icons.
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What people remember of Lucille Ball is her immense talent on her television show, “I Love Lucy.” She stunned viewers with her jokes and physical comedy, while dressed to the nines as a classic 1950’s housewife. Ball’s costumes, created by costume designer Eloise Jensen, represented an American suburban housewife in an apron, fitted collared dress, high heels, and a curly red updo.
Ball’s off-screen wardrobe was a more upscale take of her on-screen costume. She favored fitted couture gowns and wore famous designers like Balenciaga and Norman Norell. Ball wasn’t afraid of making a statement and embraced Hollywood glamour to the fullest with sequins, gold lamé, and bold coloring.
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The comedian Carol Channing was as fabulous as she was animated. Nothing Channing has worn is intimidating; it is bright and friendly with a sense of glamour. Channing mixes classic shapes with revealing necklines in glittering fabrics. As she has gotten older, she has covered her neck and chest, but only with more sparkles. Throughout her career, Channing has consistently worn her hair in a short, thick blonde cut. She once added some variety to her signature hairstyle by having famous hair stylist Vidal Sassoon transform it into an asymmetrical bowl cut.
For more on Lucille Ball and her wardrobe, check out the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown, NY. More information about some of Carol Channing’s greatest fashion moments can be read here at the National Museum of American History.