On the Frontiers of Fashion – William Desmond Taylor

Photographs courtesy of Steven Bibb
Daily Mirror reader Steven Bibb sent these photos from a recent tour of Paramount. Keep reading for more details….

You had a posting a few months ago on William Desmond Taylor, and I thought I would share some photos with you that I took last week.  My family founded Paramount Studios, and I was at the studio last week on a personal tour of the archives.Paramount has been renting out their costumes for decades, and only recently has there been an active effort to remove from circulation historically significant costumes for preservation, with the hopes of opening a studio museum on the lot…though this is still years away, if it actually happens.

The jacket shown in the photos is a cutaway tuxedo jacket, with label indicating it was owned and worn by William Desmond Taylor.  The date on the label reads 1911, making the jacket 100 years old.  The jacket was in mint condition, which is amazing considering that it was not stored in any type of temperature controlled environment.

According to the archivist, the jacket is the oldest piece of wardrobe in existence at Paramount, and most likely personally belonged to Taylor and was absorbed into studio wardrobe, as Taylor began as an actor and later went on to become a director.

I saw many wonderful pieces of wardrobe, costume sketches and jewelry on my tour.  Some of which it is unknown who actually wore the costume.

As an example of some of the other items I saw, in the photo of the labels, the black and white cape in the foreground, was worn by Carole Lombard in the 1936 film “Love Before Breakfast.”

–Steven Bibb

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, Hollywood, Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On the Frontiers of Fashion – William Desmond Taylor

  1. Stacia says:

    Wow, that is amazing! Thanks to Steven for sharing. That jacket is in terrific condition for the age; my dad’s WWII Navy stuff has been in pretty good storage for years, is several decades newer than WDT’s jacket, but it doesn’t look that good.


  2. Fibber McGee says:

    Sadly, the Hollywood studios and other entities have been neglectful in preserving artifacts of Tinsel Town’s history. Every once in a while I come across someone who has a gown or some other artifact that was “borrowed” years ago from a studio or costume company and never returned. For a long time dumpster diving was a profitable sport in Hollywood, too. I have a wonderful 8×10 photo of some chorus girls in a Laurel and Hardy flick. The original 8×10 film negative was found in the trash outside of the Hal Roach Studios. Also found thrown away were pads of stationery with wonderful line drawings of all the Roach stars — L&H, Zasu Pitts, Thelma Todd, the Taxi Boys, Charley Chase and the Our Gang kids. I have an original of this, too. Great stuff.


  3. William Desmond Taylor says:

    Give me back my tux please!


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