Katherine DeMille as Princess Alice of France in 'The Crusades' Designed by Travis Banton


Two-piece period gown of black silk crêpe, full-length gown, fitted bodice, full skirt with train, double-layered sleeves lined with gold lamé; full-length matching cape lined with gold lamé. Both garments are embroidered with gold and silver bullion, glass blown pearls and steel marcasite beads in an ornate floral motif.



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Katherine DeMille was adopted by legendary director Cecil B. DeMille when she was nine years old. She chose to be an actress and was usually cast in supporting roles, playing disgruntled exotic villainesses. She declined her father's offers for acting roles, instead preferring to prove her worth in the industry and did quite well for herself in films without her father’s influence. However, it was reported that the role in the Crusades was a Christmas gift given to her by her father. The film was a big old-fashioned, highly romanticized religious-historical epic based on the Holy Wars. Because the film bore very little resemblance to historic fact, the critics were critical of the film, but because DeMille’s superb ability to create spectacle, the film was a financial success due to its sheer entertainment.

Travis Banton gave a nod to the period of The Crusades in his women’s costumes for the film. But they also were firmly based in the bias creations of the 1930’s. He created lavish costumes for the role of Princess Alice, dressing her mostly in black or dark colors to contrast her against Loretta Young who was dressed in white. As was the practice of the studios, the costume was later altered and worn by an extra in the film “A Connecticut Yankee,” 1949 and later by Mildred Natwick in “The Court Jester,” 1956.



“Katherine DeMille as Princess Alice of France in 'The Crusades' Designed by Travis Banton,” Film Costume Collection, accessed May 28, 2024, https://filmcostumecollection.omeka.net/items/show/1139.

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