Joan Crawford and Her Luscious Lips
Figure 1: Flapper Joan (1926-1928), before her "new look", had decay between her teeth and around the gumline. Also, both her lips and her eyebrows were very thin.
Figure 2: Joan (1930-1934) changed her mouth by over-painting her lips and capping her teeth. Her lips looked fuller, and she didn't raise her top lip as high when she smiled.
Joan Crawford's career spanned over 40 years — the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Joan Crawford fulfilled the fantasies of the average American shopgirl of her day. The "Crawford Look" popular in the 1930s (tailored and elegant) was very similar to the "Dynasty" look of today: broad shoulders, sleek, sophisticated clothing, large eyes, heavy eyebrows, thick eyelashes, full sensuous lips, and beautiful teeth revolutionized the 1930s!
Figure 3: Joan Crawford in the 1960s always maintained the smile of a movie star. Note on the left side how much longer her front teeth are as compared to the left back teeth.
Yes! Teeth! One of the reasons Joan Crawford looked so different in the 1930s from the 1920s was that she had her front teeth capped, which made her lips look fuller, her teeth longer and whiter, and helped give her a "femme fatale" smile.
Born Lucille Lesueur (1906), she signed her first five-year Metro Goldwyn Mayer contract in 1925. On the road to becoming a movie star, Lucille Lesueur changed her name, her makeup, her clothing style, and her smile.
M.G.M. changed her name to Joan Crawford in 1925. She lost 20 pounds in 1927 to accentuate her beautiful cheekbones and she made the transition from silent to sound pictures in 1929. Her throaty voice really did fit her popular screen persona.
The Crawford clothing "look" began in 1929 when M.G.M. costume designer Adrian discarded Joan's flapper frills and froufrou for more sleek, tailored and sophisticated clothing. The Crawford shoulder pads arrived in 1932.
Joan changed the look of her face by accentuating her beautiful eyes with false eyelashes, heavy mascara and heavy eyebrows, and by changing the shape of her mouth.
In early publicity photos, Joan had a thin upper lip and her smile showed a lot of gum tissue (Figure 1). She suffered from decay between her front teeth and around the root areas.
At this time (1928-1930) there were no tooth-colored fillings and the only solution to decay was porcelain caps or crowns (Figure 2). Only the rich and famous could afford such dental work. Joan's salary from M.G.M. in 1931 was $137,000, approximately $1,370,000 in 1987 money.
In the 1980s, teeth no longer need to be capped in order to remove decay, or to be made longer. Teeth can be filled and lengthened with bonding. Another solution can be porcelain veneers. These are the front halves of porcelain crowns, which can be applied to the front of natural teeth in order to make them appear fuller.