What’s Behind the Folding Screen?

Jean Harlow?

For sure the blonde bombshell, and countless other bombshells — blonde or otherwise — have done a costume change behind one such screen. We’ve seen them all do it in the movies, and we loved how they did it! Those scenes were provocative all the more because everything is suggested while nothing is actually revealed.

Dolores Costello leaning against an asian screen

A portrait of Dolores Costello, Drew Barrymore's grandmother, leaning against a folding screen. Image from www.theshoppedesigns.com

That’s why behind every folding screen we find the wealth of emotions and aspirations that we associate with it. Old Hollywood bombarded us with a slew of images from a world so removed from our own comparatively mundane existence—scenes of glamour and glitz, opulence and lusciousness. And oh, how we fed on them, for they were the stuff of fantasies.

A selection of folding screens

Image from www.casasugar.com

The folding screen represents for us mystery, excitement, and enticement in concealment. They just infuse the atmosphere with a heady dose of the exotic Asian mystique. In our mind’s eye we see one of these ever-present in every bombshell’s dressing room, right alongside racks of slinky dresses and mirrors framed by lights. There’s even a flimsy feathery dressing gown provocatively thrown over it for effect.

Mirrored Folding Screen

Image from Apartment Therapy

Harlow, Hayworth, Bardot, Turner, Monroe—they personified that much-coveted sophistication and allure. Watching their movies, we all wanted to be them. We all wanted to emulate their confidence, their sass and oomph. We still do, actually, whether we know it or not. After all, don’t we now all want to be Carrie Bradshaw or Serena van der Woodsen, Scarlett Johansson or Catherine Zeta-Jones?

Bardot and the folding screen

Brigitte Bardot changing behind a folding screen. Image from thecoolist.com

Perhaps we want a little bit of that something-something into our living space. Why not? It would be like having our own little piece of old Hollywood. And if having a folding screen in the boudoir would make us—geeks, suits, and regular worker bees—feel a little bit like the glamour girls we are in our daydreams, then pretty please, let us have it.

So what’s behind the folding screen? We could actually find our inner Harlow back there.

2 Responses to What’s Behind the Folding Screen?

  1. Pat Millar says:

    What a unique, exciting and beautiful post. Has me thinking about where to add a screen in my place.

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