Yesterday I finally managed to watch a TV film I’ve had recorded since September last year; the BBC biopic about Welsh diva Shirley Bassey, simply named Shirley. I’ve never really considered Shirley Bassey a style icon, but this totally changed my mind. It follows her career rise in the late 50s and early 60s, and along the way treats us to some amazing fashion from the period.
The film itself I was ambivalent about. Ruth Negga as Shirley was magnificent, but the storyline itself came across as disjointed and seemed to finish with too many loose ends to be satisfying. The main event here was really the costumes and make-up, which were the best I have seen in any film for quite a while. In fact some of the screenshots I have included below show close-ups of the incredible early 60s make-up, which I’ll be using as a guideline next time I want to try that style on myself.
My favourite outfits were those where she is walking along the pier in a fur coat and head scarf, and the little suit and pill box hat she gets married in. In fact I’d love to find out if this was based on her real-life wedding dress, it is so chic and unusual. I’m also now keen to find a gold coin bracelet, which you can see worn in several different scenes.
I managed to find the entire biopic on youtube (in several sections), so if you want to see Ruth Negga in action you’d best hurry and watch it before it is inevitably removed.