Lauren Bacall: Style Icon

One year ago this week, actress Lauren Bacall died at the age of 89 after suffering a stroke. Here, we look back at her legendary career and iconic style, an ode to a by-gone era of when glamour truly reigned in Hollywood.

The phrase “style icon” is too often tossed around these days to describe just about any starlet that happens to show up on a red carpet in a designer outfit or an outrageous getup. (Hello Rihanna!)

True style icons are those whose fashion sense and wardrobe is utterly effortless. Whatever they might be wearing not only looks suitable but supremely flawless. They tend to have a look of such ease in what they are wearing, you can’t picture them wearing anything else but.

Lauren Bacall was such a style icon. The legendary actress, who passed away on Aug. 12, 2014 at age 89, will be remembered for her movie roles with some of the great names from the Golden Era of cinema: Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, Rock Hudson, John Wayne and, of course, Humphrey Bogart, whom she married.

But it is also her sense of style that will be remembered and cherished, an ode to a by-gone era of when glamour truly reigned in Hollywood.

Bacall started off as a model, catching the eye of the esteemed fashion editor, Diana Vreeland, who put her on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. It is said that this cover catapulted her to Hollywood and a role opposite Humphrey Bogart in the 1944 film, To Have and Have Not.

Despite her young age (her early 20s), Bacall soon captivated Hollywood and America with her grace. She not only carved out a career of playing strong women, but she built a signature look that showed equal parts elegance and strength.

She embodied this era of film noir cinema with her glossy wavy dark hair, strong-shouldered suitings and high-waisted fluid trousers.

That’s the other thing about style icons – you can look back at their pictures, despite the decades that have past, and still sigh at the perfection, poise and how their style still stands the test of time.

Printed LadyLauren Bacall, circa 1945. Not afraid to play up her femininity, here Bacall wears a mid-riff baring summer outfit in a bold floral print.

Portrait Of Lauren BacallAt just 19 years old, the model turned actress was already displaying a sense of sophistication and elegance with her fashion sense.

Lauren BacallDec 1944. Bacall played up her striking features – the full bushy eyebrows, the strong jawline and wide lips. Her glossy dark hair was often styled with a side part and cascading waves.

Lauren BacallCirca 1955. The actress strikes a pose in a full skirted evening look.

Portrait Of Lauren BacallCirca 1950s. Even in a casual at-home look, Bacall exudes elegance, grace and style.

Lauren BacallCirca 1950. She cultivated this signature look early in her career and it continued to serve her well through the decades – the strong shouldered suit.

The DuPont Show of the WeekChalk it up to another era where they didn’t know any different. But Bacall certainly knew how to make holding and smoking a cigarette glamorous and seductive. It was said she had a two-pack-a-day habit.

Bogart And BacallCirca 1955. Married to Humphrey Bogart, here Bacall looks the height of Hollywood glamour in a brocade dress, mink wrap and pearl necklace.

Lauren Bacall SmilingIn Rome 1987. Bacall continues to embrace – and cuts a striking figure – in her strong shouldered jackets and high-waisted pants.

41st New York Film Festival Sponsored by Grand Marnier - "Dogville" Premiere - Inside Arrivals and Green RoomOct 2003. Here she accessories her black pant suit with a striking scarlet red scarf, draped dramatically over one shoulder.