Travis Banton


Travis Banton

Travis Banton (August 18, 1894 - February 2, 1958) was the chief designer at Paramount Pictures. He is considered one of the most important Hollywood costume designers of the 1930s.

He was born in Waco, Texas. Travis moved to New York City as a child. Banton was educated at Columbia University and at the Art Students League where he studied art and fashion design.

An early apprenticeship with a high-society costume dressmaker earned him fame. When Mary Pickford selected one of his dresses for her wedding to Douglas Fairbanks, his reputation was established.

He opened his own dressmaking salon in New York City, and soon was asked to create costumes for the Ziegfeld Follies. In 1924, Travis Banton moved to Hollywood when Paramount contracted with him to create costumes for his first film, "The Dressmaker From Paris."

Beginning with Norma Talmadge in "Poppy," Banton designed clothing for Pola Negri and Clara Bow in the 1920s. In the '30s and '40s Banton designed for such stars as Kay Francis, Lilyan Tashman, Sylvia Sidney, Gail Patrick, Helen Vinson, and Claudette Colbert. Ultimately, Travis Banton may be best remembered for forging the style of such Hollywood icons as Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, and the inimitable Mae West.

Glamour, understated elegance, and exquisite fabrics endeared Travis Banton to the most celebrated of Hollywood's beauties and made him one of the most sought-after costume designer of his era.

When Designer Howard Greer left Paramount, Banton was promoted to Head Designer and was responsible for dressing the studio's most illustrious stars. Banton eventually left Paramount to start his own business, and also designed for Twentieth Century-Fox from 1939-1941 and Universal from 1945-1948.

Actresses he designed for

*Clara Bow in "It", 1927
*Mae West in "I'm No Angel", 1933 and "Belle of the Nineties", 1934
*Claudette Colbert in "Cleopatra", 1934
*Loretta Young in "The Crusades, 1935
*Marlene Dietrich in "Shanghai Express", 1932, "The Scarlet Empress", 1934 and "The Devil is a Woman", 1935
*Carole Lombard in "My Man Godfrey", 1936 and "Nothing Sacred", 1937
*Alice Faye in "Lillian Russell", 1940
*Linda Darnell in "The Mark of Zorro", 1940
*Linda Darnell and Rita Hayworth in "Blood and Sand", 1941
*Betty Grable in "Moon Over Miami", 1941
*Rita Hayworth in "Cover Girl", 1944
*Joan Bennett in "Scarlet Street", 1945
*Merle Oberon in "A Song to Remember", 1945
*Joan Fontaine in "Letter from an Unknown Woman", 1948

References

Chierichetti, David. Hollywood Costume Design, Harmony Books, 1977. ISBN 0517526379.


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