Authentically Chic: The Black Dahlia

Seeing that black and ladies are making their comeback this fall, I wanted to mention The Black Dahlia. I recently watched the 2006 film and was inspired by the fashion as well as the story – which is a gruesome tale of horror noir set in LA during the 1940’s.

Elizabeth Short was from Massachusetts and came from a not-so-happy family. She skipped to Miami in 1942 to work on an airbase. There she met and fell in love with a dashingly handsome serviceman from Cuba. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, he didn’t make it back from the war. This gave Miss Short a bit of drinking problem and caused an arrest at age 15. Here is her mug shot:

Elizabeth would go on to fall in love with another serviceman killed in World War II. After his death and great deal of more drinking thinking, Elizabeth moved to Hollywood, California. There she established a persona and was given the name Black Dahlia. Believed to be inspired by the movie Blue Dahlia, which was popular at the time, Short’s individual style and reflective grace, called the name into existence. Elizabeth was a very beautiful woman, tall, with raven hair. She wore Black Dahlia as some wear a uniform: tight-fitting black dress, silky black stockings, sheer black underwear, flattering black shoes.  She would often wear a white flower in her hair and a jet-black-stone on her finger. Here are some examples taken from the movie The Black Dahlia, which is directed by Brian De Palma:

Hilary Swank’s character, like many woman of that time, copied Elizabeth Short’s look. There were also others, with less than noble personas that copied the way she was killed. Found on January 15, 1947 by a woman walking her 3-year-old child, Elizabeth’s body was mutilated and severed at the waist. Her face had been cut into a joker-like-grin and there were signs of sexual assault and torture all over the body. This horrific crime, even by today’s standards, gained national attention and made Elizabeth Short a superstar in all the wrong ways. After 60 years the story still remains embedded in today’s fashion, celebrity and culture.

Mia Kirshner plays Elizabeth Short in The Black Dahlia

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