Cleopatra is my go-to movie on a rainy day, it’s my all time favorite Hollywood epic. When I was a kid I would rent the VHS from our local video store and ooo and aww over the costumes & love story between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Even though it was over 3 hours long I would watch it at least a couple of times before I had to take it back – there was just so much to take in!
When I first fell in love with this movie I thought this was just how Hollywood was, so beautiful and dramatic. Now watching the movie (which I do every year) it makes sense that Cleopatra was the most expensive movie ever made ($44 million at the time, roughly $300 million today). There was a total of 26,000 costumes made for the film and the budget for Elizabeth Taylor’s costumes was around $194,000 – about $1,440,000 today. Yikes! Her phoenix cape was actually brushed with 24 carat gold.
I just love drooling over Elizabeth Taylor’s costumes, hair, and makeup in this movie. Personally I love the story line and romances throughout, it doesn’t hurt that the whole movie is like a 60s fashion show that keeps getting better and better. While playing Cleopatra Elizabeth Taylor had about 65 full costume changes from head to toe which was also groundbreaking at the time. Last year I got the chance to visit New York, and on a trip to a historic studio in Queens I actually got to see the Cleopatra wig that Elizabeth Taylor wore. I took at least 6 pictures of it that I will probably never do anything with, but it was amazing. I was one step closer to being a part of this amazingly beautiful world. Here’s just some of the amazing costumes designed by Irene Sharaff that she wore in this film, to me they are some of the most beautiful clothes I could ever imagine. Irene actually won an Oscar for her work on Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe in this 1963 film. Check out some key costumes below!
Check out this headdress and Cleopatra’s “winged” gown.
The structure of her green dress and gold headpiece make this another costume in my top 5. I love the geometric look and gold netting in her hair.
Here are some of the most stylish moments in the film, I can only imagine how fun it must have been to think up all of these amazing costumes! The black dress on the left is also one of my favorites of the film.
The yellow dress below is my favorite look. I love the color and structure of the dress so much. I also love her arm cuff and the flowing chiffon from her shoulder. Everything about this outfit draws your eye to her teeny waist. This dress has such a floaty, extravagant look to it.
Did you know that after this movie came out the “Cleopatra eye” became all the rage? Gold Egyptian style jewelry with snakes and cuffs was also very popular. I love the blue dress (bottom left) so much!
One of my favorite dresses in our shop right now is this 1960s Egyptian inspired gown from The French 75.
This beauty was likely inspired by the huge Egyptian influence of this film. You can find it up on our Etsy store here with lots of other vintage goodies.
I hope you enjoyed this look into the costumes of one of my favorite movies. Thanks for reading! xo