Women I’ve Undressed
The Fabulous Life and Times of a Legendary Hollywood DesignerOrry-Kelly
4 February 2016
Published by Allen & Unwin
Orry-Kelly created magic on screen, from Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon to Some Like It Hot. He won three Oscars for costume design. He dressed all the biggest stars, from Bette Davis to Marilyn Monroe. Yet few know who Orry-Kelly really was – until now.
Discovered in a pillowcase, Orry-Kelly’s long-lost memoirs reveal a wildly talented and cheeky rascal who lived a big life, on and off the set. From his childhood in Kiama to revelling in Sydney’s underworld nightlife as a naïve young artist and chasing his dreams of acting in New York, his early life is a wild and exciting ride. Sharing digs in New York with another aspiring actor, Cary Grant, and partying hard in between auditions, he ekes out a living painting murals for speakeasies before graduating to designing stage sets and costumes. When The he finally arrives in Hollywood, it’s clear his adventures have only just begun.
Fearless, funny and outspoken, Orry-Kelly lived life to the full. In Women I’ve Undressed, he shares a wickedly delicious slice of it.
If you love or even like Old Hollywood, if you hanker after parties where Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Hedy Lamarr and Jean Harlow chew the fat in Spanish costumes under camellia-strewn bowers, then Orry-Kelly's Women I've Undressed: the Fabulous Life and Times of a Legendary Hollywood Designer is a little bit of paradise.
There's something completely compelling about this very talented, very outlandish, gay Australian rascal's journey into Hollywood.Gillian Armstrong, the Oscar-nominated director of Women He's Undressed
A sumptuous coffee table fashion tome but the text reads like a racy Jackie Collins novel... Women I've Undressed is a frank and brutal account of Hollywood's golden era, of its stars and their foibles, their individual weaknesses and Achilles' heels, the details that only a personal tailor gets to see, but more importantly, this book brings recognition to one of the most talented costume designers of the era... He was Hollywood royalty, but despite those Oscars, he was not a household name. This book will likely change that.'
Delightful... Kelly was an extraordinary character... A camp romp through the Golden Age of Hollywood with some gloriously indiscreet asides, peppered with Kelly's exquisite sketches and photos of stars in his frocks.
Australian Women's Weekly
He writes with deep affection... His book is beautifully designed and illustrated... Orry-Kelly's pen portraits bring the city and the period pungently to life.
Several books have already laid bare the fractious relationship between movie star and designer, but Orry-Kelly's account of life as a prominent Hollywood costume designer leaves most of them in the ha'penny place. Found in a pillowcase and kept under wraps by his family for half a century, it is an Aladdin's cave of memories and moments.
Sunday Business Post
Those of us who assume Hollywood costume designers are as camp as Christmas - e.g. Cecil Beaton or Dame Edna's son Kenny - will need to have a rethink in the light of this tremendous book.
A work of art... He proves as elegant a writer as he was a fashion designer... Women I've Undressed is a must for fashion freaks and movie buffs alike.