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The Marion Nixon Dress

Pictorial Review 4232, from 1928

If you’ve read previous posts, you know I have a particular love for Pictorial Review patterns, because of their connection with my grandmother, so when I saw this dress, it made me smile. It’s Pictorial Review 4232, from 1928, which was shortly after my grandmother had my dad. She likely had only recently left Pictorial Review, so again, this may be a pattern she had a hand in choosing. Oh, my heart.

In researching this pattern, I found that it was advertised as “The Marion Nixon Dress,” because it was designed specifically for the actress of that name. She worked at Universal Pictures, and was quite beautiful. Gorgeous, in fact.

Marion Nixon

Ms. Nixon had quite the career, mostly playing wholesome roles. She was one of the minority of actresses who was able to successfully transform from silent movies to talkies. She retired from acting at the age of 32. She died in Cedars-Sinai Hospital on February 13, 1983, from complications following open heart surgery. Her age went unreported at the time, as different references gave different ages, and she always referred to herself as being 31-plus.

I find it particularly interesting that she had a dress named for her in 1928, because this means that Pictorial Review was doing what Hollywood Pattern Company would do later: associating patterns with a movie star. And for good reason, because Ms. Nixon was not only a popular actress, but also was president of the Beauty Arts Institute, which did merchandising of beauty products nationwide, and who set the standards for beauty professions of the time. Talented and smart — the greatest combination. Add her beauty and it displays a picture of a woman who I’d love to have a long dinner conversation with.

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