Thursday, February 02, 2012

Gender Fuck Thursday: Kate the Greatest

When it comes to gender fuck, new Hollywood has nothing on old Hollywood. Sure, we’ve got the magnificent Tilda now. God bless her androgynous ways. But then they had Dietrich. Garbo. And, yes, Hepburn. Sure there are two, but only one Kate the Great. Before today’s Great Panted One, Ellen DeGeneres, there was Kate the Greatest Panted One. And that one being Katharine Hepburn. While you can’t beat Marlene for smolder, you can’t beat Kate for fresh-faced, divinely cheekboned tomboy charm. And those pants, how she wore those pants. So today, in honor of one of my all-time favorite actresses and style icons, let’s revel in a woman who knew how to fill out a pair of slacks like second nature. As Kate told fashion designer Calvin Klein in an interview before 1986 Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award, her approach to style – particularly pants – was simple:
It was really because I couldn’t abide stockings. And I think the short skirt is really fundamentally hideous. I mean, you are breaking the line that should be carried to the ground. I love things that trail. Or I like pants. …. I think some of the style happened naturally – the pants came because I didn’t like stockings and I like low heels. …. Practical. I think this conductor’s jacket that I bought for two dollars and a half is sensational looking. …. I wanted to present something that looked as though it had just come out of the woods or something, and everyone thought, “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Oh, and one more reason to love Kate. When Calvin asked is she was influenced by any of the men she knew at the time:

No! I never dressed up for any man. If I thought he cared how I looked, I would have thought he was a fool. I really would have. The men dressed for me, you know. Nobody ever made a pass at me unless I fully expected them to and welcomed the notion.

Now, that’s one hell of a dame. And a very handsome dame indeed. An ode to Kate the Greatest Panted One.


sarcofugus said...

A damn awesome woman - and some pretty damn awesome pants to go with that as well.

Old Hollywood certainly rocked it far better than New Hollywood.

(Ellen's suit still kicks ass though)

lucy said...

I wonder if she was gay

Anonymous said...

I wondered (hoped? lol) if she was gay as well at times, or perhaps bisexual , however you can clearly see she is in love with Spencer Tracey in that one shot. I do love her in pants though...*happy sigh*

J9 said...

I'd never seen the skateboard pic - LOVE it! and love her!

Rachel said...

love love love that Kate. Jeez.

C. said...

Please bring me a dirty gin martini with four olives, STAT.

Anonymous said...

“Please bring me a dirty gin martini with four olives, STAT.”

Here you go darling.

“One of my all-time favorite actresses”

Mine too darling! Mine too! Hurrah that we find ourselves safely upon common ground again! ‘The Philadelphia Story’ and ‘Bringing Up Baby’ are surely two of the best movies ever to have been made in Old Hollywood?!

As for old Jimmy herself… Well, if the likes of that loose-fact-ed rascal Mann are to be believed, there was enough gender fuckery and general confusion going on there to fill several therapists’ note books! Certainly, if any of it was true, none of it seemed to hold her (or if the wind was blowing in ‘right’ direction ‘him’) back at all, did it? Perhaps that old New England stiff upper lip played a part? Certainly, I don’t recall any tales of old Jimmy frequenting the couches of New York psycho analysts??? That in itself makes the woman all the more endearing to me!

As for that alleged hidden life or hers. Anyone heard the one about her and her supposed ‘great love’ Spencer Tracy alleged bearding for each other?!! Old Hollywood, you gotta love it!!! :D Even if that particular tale is a load of baloney, I still bet she had to bung those old busy bodies Hopper and Parsons a near constant stream of cases of complimentary ‘quality’ liquor! (Her, or her studio bosses… Gotta love Old Hollywood! :D )

Anyone seen the Dick Cavett interview she did where she complained about the furniture? From anyone else it would have been obnoxious prima donna behaviour, somehow though Hepburn manages to get away with it. Just… "PD, is this just not you being the teeniest bit ‘star struck’?!!" *Cough ahem* Crashing on!

Anglophilia according to Katharine Hepburn: "I go mad when English actors are thought to be better than American actors, 'cause I think American actors are better than English actors...." (You go girl!!! :D )

Yes, Snarks old Hepburn was indeed “one hell of a dame”!


PS That great shot of her in her flying kit (‘Christopher Strong’?) doesn’t half remind me of granny!

PPS That weepy actress of the other day ought to pay heed to one of Hepburn’s personal principles, namely that one should not make a spectacle of oneself in public! It’s bad enough having a hysterical fit over a damned sloth… But having video tape evidence of said episode broadcast to the world?!!!!!

maya said...

When I was in High School (Kate was still alive), I wrote her a fan letter. I think it was the only one I've ever written. I received back a short, typed response signed by her. I've always meant to have it framed, but have yet to do so. Oh how I love her so. Thank you for this.

MakingSpace said...

Ah, total Kate love here...

Anonymous said...

Ouh yeah.... Viva Kate la diva!!
I can't believe I admired her before I was even a teenager.... How could I not have realised I was gay earlier...? How could my parents be so shocked when I told them???? :-P

Norma Desmond said...

Well. Isn't this just the happiest post of THEM ALL. All the love for this one, Snarker. All of it. :)

Anonymous said...

OMG, she looks like Jane Rizzoli...)

frannie said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE Kate! OMG I am reading ME-by Katharine Hepburn....Lovely, awesome, tomboy.

Anonymous said...

She was NOT his beard. There is no evidence of them having gay love affairs. A lot of the facts started in books have been proven false. Sure they could've been bi, anything is possible. Are you really going to believe a money hungry former prostitute turned author over the celebs themselves?! Good grief. They were very much together from 1941 - his death. A woman wearing pants & being independent doesn't equal !!!lesbian!!!