Throwback Thursday: Dorothy Dandridge

When a woman is as equally talented as she is beautiful, it is a lethal combination.  Actress, singer and dancer, Dorothy Dandridge held many audiences spellbound by her beauty, but her talent was also undeniable.  She was the first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her leading role in the 1954 movie Carmen Jones.

Although Dandridge had many successes early on in her career, she suffered much heartache. She married dancer and entertainer Harold Nicholas in 1942, and she gave birth to her own child, Harolyn, in September of 1943. Later she discovered that Harolyn was born brain-damaged.  Her marriage to Harold ended in 1951. She went on to marry a second time in 1959 to Jack Dension. However, their marriage ended in divorce in 1962 among allegations of domestic violence and financial mishandlings.

Sadly after Carmen Jones, Dandridge’s career started to falter. She was tied to a contract with 20th Century Fox, but executives claimed that it was difficult to find her leading parts. She had a short career revival with her role in the 1959 movie Porgy and Bess, but by 1961 the movie offers were not coming in, and she returned to performing mostly in theaters and in nightclubs.

In 1965, Ms. Dandridge was planning a comeback. On September 8, 1965, Dandridge spoke by telephone with friend and former sister-in-law Geraldine "Geri" Branton about her plans to go to New York the next day to prepare for a nightclub engagement. However, hours after her conversation with Branton, Dandridge was found dead by her manager, Earl Mills. There were conflicting reports about her death.  A Los Angeles pathology institute determined the cause to be due to an accidental overdose of a prescribed antidepressant. The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office believed that Ms. Dandridge died of a rare embolism connected to a fractured foot she was recovering from. She was only 42 years old.

Ms. Dandridge’s positive legacy has outlived the tragedies in her life. Her style is timeless and impeccable, and her resilience in the face of hardship remains inspiring. Many stars from Janet Jackson, to Beyonce and Halle Berry have cited Ms. Dandridge as an inspiration and many entertainers have tried to recreate her looks. Today we are going to show you how some of Ms. Dandridge’s iconic looks can be translated in bridal fashion.

The Halter Neckline 


Ms. Dandridge looks angelic in these gorgeous gowns which feature halter top necklines.  The halter top wedding dress is perfect for the bride who wants to feature her décolletage, but needs extra support on top. If you love halter top dresses, try these looks by CB Couture, Demetrios BrideMaggie Sottero, and Simone Carvalli.

CB Couture

Demetrios Bride

Maggie Sottero

Simone Carvalli

The Sweetheart Neckline

Ms. Dandridge loved to wear dresses with sweetheart necklines.  This neckline, which became popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s, has become a favorite among brides. If you are ready to show your gorgeous arms and shoulders consider these looks by Allure Bridals, Simone Carvalli, and Sophia Tolli.

Allure Bridals

Simone Carvalli                                                                            Sophia Tolli

Embellishments and Sparkle 

If you want to sparkle like a diamond on your wedding day, a wedding dress embellished with crystals is a must. Ms. Dandridge is captivating in her dress which features intricate crystal detailing. These Pnina Tornai wedding dresses will ensure that you shine on your big day.

Old Hollywood 

Dandridge looks so elegant in this fitted satin gown with detachable train.  If you love this Hollywood glam look check out these dresses by La Sposa and Pronovias.

La Sposa


Carmen Jones

Dandridge is known for her Oscar nominated performance as Carmen Jones. Her most iconic look from the movie is her fire-red pencil skirt with a front split, that was coupled with a low-cut, off the shoulder black blouse with short sleeves. Literally translating this look into bridal may be too casual. However, if you want to pay homage to Carmen Jones, why not wear an off the shoulder wedding dress. We love these styles by Romona Keveza, Carolina Herrera, and Sophia Tolli.

Romona Keveza                                                                            Carolina Herrera

Sophia Tolli

A trailblazer in the entertainment industry, Ms. Dandridge's style and grace is timeless.

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