Marlene Dietrich as Maria Barker in 'Angel' Designed by Travis Banton


Three-piece jewel encrusted evening gown consisting of a fitted bodice with three-quarter sleeves; full-length skirt with train and matching stole trimmed with sable. The garment is solidly embroidered in a paisley motif with gold crystal caviar beads, seed pearls, gold sequins, small rhinestones, gold bullion thread and paste rubies and emeralds.




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Additional Notes

This garment is frequently referred to as the Faberge gown and was a highlight at the Hollywood Costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art under the coordination of Diana Vreeland. In her introduction to the book on this magnificent exhibit, Ms. Vreeland speaks of the creation stating: "When I think of detail, I think of Travis Banton's marvelous beaded dress for Marlene Dietrich in Angel- like a million grains of golden caviar. That is one of the most beautiful dresses ever." After "Angel" the dress was later reworked for Mary Astor, "Midnight," Paramount, 1939; Rose Hobart "A Night at Earl Carroll's," Paramount, 1940; Felicia Atkins, "The Errand Boy," Paramount, 1961; Fashion Model, "A New Kind of Love," Paramount, 1952; Barbara Hershey, "My Wicked Wicked Ways," CBS Television, 1985 and was used in Diana Vreeland Exhibit "Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design" 1975.

Marlene Dietrich was Paramount’s counterpoint to MGM’s Greta Garbo, both of whom were exotic foreign women. Some argue that, where as Garbo was more classically beautiful, Dietrich was a far better actress because of acting range. Dietrich is reported to have known film making from the inside and out and had a unique insight into lighting, costume design, camera work and most importantly, knew exactly what worked for her. “Angel” was Dietrich’s final film under her contract for Paramount and it was yet another in a string of privileged women who have an affair.

Travis Banton, who was chief costume designer at Paramount at the time, had a very close working with Dietrich and he created the most expensive costume he would ever design for the opera sequences in the film. Dietrich, who had the ability to acquire most of her costumes, wanted to keep the ensemble but, the studio refused and used it in multiple later films.



“Marlene Dietrich as Maria Barker in 'Angel' Designed by Travis Banton,” Film Costume Collection, accessed June 18, 2024,

Item Relations

Item: Images of Marlene Dietrich in 'Angel'
Still images from film This Item