Ava Gardner sported a tailored wedding dress for her nuptials to Mickey Rooney in 1942
Bianca Jagger has gone down in history for having been one of the first women to get married with a non-traditional outfit in 1950. In fact, an actress had done it much earlier, but with less hype: Ava Gardner chose a suit for her wedding to Mickey Rooney in 1942. For the occasion she decorated the essential blazer with a floral brooch and completed it with a fascinator with a veil.
Ava Gardner, Joe Yule, Mickey Rooney – 1942
© John Kobal Foundation
The two had met a year earlier on the set of The Broadway Boys (Busby Berkeley and Vincente Minnelli). Rooney was the lead and, at the time, was one of Hollywood’s most celebrated stars. Ava, on the other hand, was not yet famous and was only 19 years old. In his memoirs, published in 2013 with the title “Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations”, the actress talked about that meeting “I clearly remember the first time I saw him, probably because he had a fruit bowl on his head … He was disguised as Carmen Miranda, with fake eyelashes and breasts and lipstick.” It was love at first sight and that same evening they had their first date. They both had a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios so they had to ask permission from Louis B. Mayer, the studio director, to get married. Mayer was not thrilled with the idea of marriage as he feared the reaction from fans. But eventually he agreed. On one condition: that it was a discreet marriage between a few close friends. The two pronounced the fateful yes in Ballard, California. They divorced a year later.