|Pearls and booze and glares. Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey in BUtterfield 8.|
When I rewatched BUtterfield 8 recently I was struck by how many pearl necklaces were on the actresses. I do think every lady in the movie had one on! In the film Elizabeth Taylor plays, according to Netflix, “Gloria Wandrous, a stylish call girl who yearns to go straight, especially after she thinks she’s found Mr. Right.” Mr. Right refers to Weston Liggett, played by the foxy Laurence Harvey. Gloria’s friend Steve is played by Eddie Fisher, Liz’s then-husband (Number 4), and rounding out the all-star cast is Dina Merrill, who plays Emily, Liggett’s wife. The costumes were by Helen Rose and they were divine! Check out these great looks on Liz and Dina!
|Liz and Dina about a block from the Met.|
Since there were pearls on all the ladies throughout the film I started noticing and loving the sly use of them and how they help define each character—a demure single strand of small pearls on Norma, Steve’s girlfriend (Susan Oliver), two strands with a diamond clasp on Dina (and I’m betting they were real), playing a Manhattan socialite, and three strands on the older and wise-cracking neighbor Mrs. Thurber (Betty Field).
|A delicate single strand on Susan Oliver, who plays Norma.|
|Double strand on Dina (and I love the colors of her dressing area!).|
|A closer shot of the necklace on Dina, worn with pearl and diamond earrings.|
|A graduated strand on Emily’s mother, played by Carmen Mathews.|
|Three strands on Betty Field as Mrs. Thurber.|
The pearls on Liz were grand as well—two-strands, also with a diamond clasp, that she wears slightly draped down her back in the scene where she pairs them with the black satin cocktail dress with black gloves, which is such a great look!
|Love how these drape across Liz’s back.|
|A peek at the long sparkling earring to accompany the pearls. Laurence’s look here cracks me up.|
|Love this shot of Liz pouring bubbles for all!|
Liz wears the necklace again later with the fur coat she lifted from Dina’s closet at the beginning of the movie, but this time she wears the pearls in a more traditional way. What I particularly love about this entire costume is that Liz’s character is dressed in something that Dina’s character would wear, but she has none of her wealth or social status. This is modern day costuming at its finest, done so subtly and so well.
I know nothing of these necklaces—I would not be surprised if some of the actresses (especially Liz and Dina) actually owned the strands they wore and they were real—so if you have insight, do share what you know in the comments section. Strands of pearls were such a part of the look in the 1950s and early 1960s that I probably shouldn’t be surprised to see so many of them, but this may be the first film I’ve watched where nearly every female character wears them at one time or another!
|Blue necklace on Liz and yet another strand of pearls, this time on Kay Medford.|
Another jewelry look I loved included this fantastic blue necklace on Liz, which was amazing next to that olive green and was gorgeous with her coloring.
|Such a great necklace on Liz!|
I also loved the diamond brooch Dina wore at her waist in the last scene, when she is in a black silk dress. Given that her mother, Marjorie Merriweather Post, was one of the greatest American jewelry collectors of all time, I would fully expect that brooch to be real! (Side note, Dina turned 92 in late December, how’s that for longevity!)
|Note the diamond brooch at Dina’s waist.|
|Another shot of it.|
Let me know what you thought of BUtterfield 8, if you’ve seen it, as well as your take on the pearl necklaces. Make mine either a long double strand, like what Liz has on, or a shorter choker length, like Dina wears!