Diary of a Lost Girl, 1929

Diary of a Lost Girl offers fascinating insight into the late 20s/ eary 30s culture in Germany. [Spoiler] The basic plot follows Thymian (Louise Brooks) a young girl who has an unfortunate tendency to pass out at inopportune moments. The first, on her 17th birthday, results in her rape and resulting pregnancy. When she refuses to marry her rapist, she gets sent to a Reformatory and her baby goes to a midwife. With family drama in the background, she escapes with a schoolmate to live in a brothel. Her second unfortunate bout of unconciousness consigns her to a life of prostitution. Through a series of improbable events she winds up as a widowed countess, in a position to rescue her schoolmate from her continued harlotry. The morality comes on strong, but it’s an engrossing and beautifully made film.

For the first half hour or so I was thinking I wouldn’t have much to show in terms of fabulous costumes, but thankfully things stepped up when Thymian runs away to the brothel. Since I have already synopsized the plot, I think I’ll just put up all the pictures I have, then point out the details at the end. So, here we go.

Brothel Ensembles

Thymian's Charm School-mate

Deco Dancing Dress

Thymian's Transformation

Good Times Gal

How I wish my hair could look every day

Fit for a Countess

Black & White Hat Society

Here are the prevalent details that I noticed across many of the dresses:

1. The fabrics are incredibly lightweight, but present in high volume and layers. That also means loads and loads of skin showing through the dresses- arms, necks, and legs.

2. Asymmetry, especially in the hemlines- most of the hemlines that I saw were handkerchief.

3. Lots of V-shapes- seen in the handkerchief hems, but also neck- and back-lines. Actually, a general emphasis on geometry, reflecting the tastes of the Art Deco period. So, not just Vs, but also squares.

4. Sparkle! So much shine- while there wasn’t a lot of jewelry, the fabric was its own accessory. The fabrics had lots of metallic treads woven in, or were embellished with beads or stones to give a very decadent feeling.

5. The silhouettes range the range from tight-fitting to fairly loose and drapey, but the prevailing detail is a dropped waist and general disregard for the necessity of undergarments.

4 responses to “Diary of a Lost Girl, 1929

  1. I’m putting in a request for a how-to on that scrollwork on the transformation dress–with suggestions on how to use it … Love the cloche-style hats, too!

    • You would pick the hardest thing- I’m already thinking through the deco dress. And I have a few ideas for the scrolled embroidery- it may take me a while to put together a demo post, but I think I can pull that off!
      I love the hats too- if only my hair would respond well to hats!

      • Louise Green makes a lot of cloche hats, releasing new ones by the season. I love how in this film the charm shool pal has the hair Louise eventually ends up with! In the brothel clothes, the dress on the far right seems the simplest and easiest to make now. But an embroidered skirt?? spectacular. Good show!

  2. Pingback: Get What You See: Diary of a Lost Girl « PaleWriter·

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