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  • Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Samantha Lord wearing a dress with ruffles in the 1940 film "The Philadelphia Story."
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    The Philadelphia Story

    1940

    Costume seen on Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Samantha Lord

  • Ann Rutherford as Mary Thomas wearing a dress with ruffles in the 1940 film "Keeping Company."
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    Keeping Company

    1940

    Costume seen on Ann Rutherford as Mary Thomas

Additional Images

About the Costume

What a costume! Katharine Hepburn wore this beautiful dress as Tracy Samantha Lord in the 1940 film adaptation of The Philadelphia Story. It appeared again the same year in Keeping Company on actress Ann Rutherford as Mary Thomas.

Though not always accurate, a good clue for which production originated a costume is the release date. In this instance, however, Keeping Company was released December 27th, 1940, and The Philadelphia Story was released December 26th, 1940…so that doesn’t tell us much.

So who was the dress originally created for? Here are some good clues for determining who wore a costume “first” when costumes appeared in the same year.

  • The dress appears to fit Hepburn better, indicating it was made for her.
  • The Philadelphia Story, though released at the same time as Keeping Company, was considered a “Bigger” picture, with a larger budget, more prominent stars, and far more hype surrounding it. Keeping Company would have been considered more of a “B” picture. The Philadelphia Story almost certainly would have had all original costumes on its main cast.
  •  The Philadelphia Story has its costume credit as “Gowns by Adrian.” who was the head costume designer for MGM at the time. Keeping Company had costumes designed by Dolly Tree, though she is uncredited.

This means that, almost certainly, the gown was designed by Adrian for Hepburn and used later by Ann Rutherford. 

 

About the Costume

Have you seen this gown somewhere else? Do you need to be given credit for this sighting? Do you have corrections, additions or changes you would like to make?

Have you ever watched a film and noticed a character walk by in a gown that you just know you’ve seen before? Recycled Movie Costumes is dedicated to documenting the life of a costume through its various appearances on film and television.

Additional Images

About the Costume

What a costume! Katharine Hepburn wore this beautiful dress as Tracy Samantha Lord in the 1940 film adaptation of The Philadelphia Story. It appeared again the same year in Keeping Company on actress Ann Rutherford as Mary Thomas.

Though not always accurate, a good clue for which production originated a costume is the release date. In this instance, however, Keeping Company was released December 27th, 1940, and The Philadelphia Story was released December 26th, 1940…so that doesn’t tell us much.

So who was the dress originally created for? Here are some good clues for determining who wore a costume “first” when costumes appeared in the same year.

  • The dress appears to fit Hepburn better, indicating it was made for her.
  • The Philadelphia Story, though released at the same time as Keeping Company, was considered a “Bigger” picture, with a larger budget, more prominent stars, and far more hype surrounding it. Keeping Company would have been considered more of a “B” picture. The Philadelphia Story almost certainly would have had all original costumes on its main cast.
  •  The Philadelphia Story has its costume credit as “Gowns by Adrian.” who was the head costume designer for MGM at the time. Keeping Company had costumes designed by Dolly Tree, though she is uncredited.

This means that, almost certainly, the gown was designed by Adrian for Hepburn and used later by Ann Rutherford. 

 

What a costume! Katharine Hepburn wore this beautiful dress as Tracy Samantha Lord in the 1940 film adaptation of The Philadelphia Story. It appeared again the same year in Keeping Company on actress Ann Rutherford as Mary Thomas.

Though not always accurate, a good clue for which production originated a costume is the release date. In this instance, however, Keeping Company was released December 27th, 1940, and The Philadelphia Story was released December 26th, 1940…so that doesn’t tell us much.

So who was the dress originally created for? Here are some good clues for determining who wore a costume “first” when costumes appeared in the same year.

  • The dress appears to fit Hepburn better, indicating it was made for her.
  • The Philadelphia Story, though released at the same time as Keeping Company, was considered a “Bigger” picture, with a larger budget, more prominent stars, and far more hype surrounding it. Keeping Company would have been considered more of a “B” picture. The Philadelphia Story almost certainly would have had all original costumes on its main cast.
  •  The Philadelphia Story has its costume credit as “Gowns by Adrian.” who was the head costume designer for MGM at the time. Keeping Company had costumes designed by Dolly Tree, though she is uncredited.

This means that, almost certainly, the gown was designed by Adrian for Hepburn and used later by Ann Rutherford. 

 

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Credits

Sighting Credit:
  • Kim
Photos provided by:
Costume Designer:
  • Adrian (Adrian Adolph Greenburg)

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