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Famous Hollywood designer born in Waco

August
18
1894

On this day in 1894, Travis Banton was born in Waco. When he was two, his family moved to New York, where he later studied at the Art Students League and the New York School of Fine and Applied Art before beginning a career as a dress designer. After designing for Norma Talmadge in the East Coast film Poppy (1917), he soon distinguished himself with costumes for the Ziegfeld Follies and other stage productions. Banton came to Hollywood in 1924 and garnered instant acclaim for his work on The Dressmaker from Paris (1925). As Paramount's chief designer between 1929 and 1938, followed by freelance film and TV work as part of his couture business, Banton dressed more than 160 films. He played a major role in creating images for movie greats Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert, and Mae West, and also dressed many other stars, including fellow Texans Pola Negri (Barbara Chalupec), Florence Vidor, and Joan Crawford (Lucille Leseur). A number of the films he worked on are recognized as classics, including Wings (1927), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Design for Living (1933), Ruggles of Red Gap (1934), Anything Goes (1935), My Man Godfrey (1936), Intermezzo (1939), Charley's Aunt (1941), and Mourning Becomes Electra (1947), among many others. Banton died in California in 1958.

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