Vivien Leigh wears Molyneux

Home from Hollywood’s High-Lights Wears the Simplest Summer Wardrobe by Molyneux

British Vogue, June 1941

She returned to England very quietly. The bombing was making such a noise that even Scarlett O’Hara in the flesh–that much publicized, swan-necked, glint-eyed Southern siren, and our local girl made very, very good–was practically unrecognized.

She and her husband, Laurence Olivier, settled in a tiny Chelsea cottage (since bombed to uninhabitability), happy to be home again after their long glittering Hollywood exile. Before her husband joined the Fleet Air Arm, they looked up all their old friends, went around and joined in the one-night shows to get funds for the many war organizations, helped at canteens, and played Shakespeare as part of an entertainment for troops. Olivier worked at Denham, in that much discussed picture, 49th Parallel. Vivien Leigh reads plays, feverishly, hoped to do a play here, and eyes the Shakespearean roles, at the Old Vic, if they should re-open. Her last American picture, Lady Hamilton, with Olivier as Nelson, will be shown here soon. She has no plans for new pictures, either side of the Atlantic.

She has always liked to live simply, and now that that way of life is so necessary, she does not fret for orchids. She prefers the slow-moving dark brown cosiness of an English pub to all the chromium cocktail shakers of this bar or that. In their tiny London garden, she and her husband grew lettuces, spring onions, potatoes…it faut cultiver nos jardins, literally, today. She likes a few very good clothes which she says last for ever and ever. Her preference is for simple things and large-brimmed hats which make her fragile, pointed little face appear even smaller.

She finds war-time London absorbingly interesting; new, real and vital, yet truly London. Above all, she is glad to be back among her own people, to be sharing with them the rough and the smooth: not hearing it reported on the radio, as a far-away nightmare, but living it, a part of real life–her life as an Englishwoman.


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