Let’s take a look at Mia Farrow’s sweet two-piece suit she wore during her wedding to Frank Sinatra. At The Wedding Secret, we understand the importance of looking back at dresses and weddings of history, both as inspiration and to see how things have changed.
And, though a lot has changed since Farrow and Sinatra got hitched, her wedding outfit was fairly modern.
American actress and model Mia Farrow married Frank Sinatra on July 19th, 1966. He was 49 at the time, and she was just 21. The unlikely couple had met two years previously on the set of Sinatra’s film Von Ryan’s Express.
Mia was Sinatra’s third wife, and she was younger than two of his children. As a result, he insisted on eloping and having a wedding in secret. It is rumoured that one of Sinatra’s friends said of the coupling “Marry Mia Farrow? I’ve scotch older than her!” Nonetheless, the two were head over heels for each other.
Now, before we go on to discuss Mia’s wedding dress, or rather suit, let’s have a look at the styles of the time.
The mod movement, or subculture, began in London in the late 1950s, eventually influencing trends all over the world. Drawing its roots from music, mod started with stylish young Londoners. The dominant elements of mod subculture included fashion, music and art.
The name mod comes from the word modernist, meaning young listeners of modern jazz and bebop. The fashion included tailored suits, motor scooters and amphetamines. This drift away from the working class jazz movement to psychedelia happened in the mid 1960s. London became known for its fashion, music and pop culture – referred to as ‘Swinging London’.
Mod fashion encompassed a wide variety of styles, with mod subcategories such as “soft mod” or “peacock mod”, being coined for the eclectic mix of trends. For some, mod went in the punk rock “skinhead” direction, while others went for the bohemian, hippie look.
Mod fashion was always innovative, creative, bold and brash. Mod underwent a revival in the ’80s and ’90s and is still apparent today. Mod is still prevalent on the catwalks of this era; three-piece suits, Chelsea boots and mini dresses are on heavy rotation in the fashion world.
Mod was considered a fashion revolution, the youth driven movement signified individuality and the importance of fashion. Many leading fashion houses followed suit, including Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Givenchy. Most notable however, was Mary Quant; her boutique in Chelsea was credited as the beginning of the ‘London Look’. Her designs challenged the fashion world; she made mod fashion affordable and readily available to the masses.
Mia and Mod
So, where does Mia Farrow, and her wedding dress, fit in to this? Well, mod continued to spread and held great influence in the United States. By the time she tied the knot the American mod movement was in full swing.
For female mods the dress code was androgyny, short haircuts, men’s trousers or shirts and flat shoes, with little makeup, dominating the trend. Skirts started getting shorter, popularised by fashion favourites – Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton.
Mia cut her hair herself – with nail scissors – earlier that year. The pixie hairstyle became synonymous with her name. Although rumour had it that she cut the locks for her role in Rosemary’s Baby, and Sinatra hated it, neither of these were true. She also readily wore shift dresses and other mod fashions in her roles and as a model for photoshoots.
Before her career as an actress took off, Mia found work as a fashion model after her mother left and her father died. This was four years before her marriage to Sinatra and the mod movement was hitting America. She was often dressed in mod style dresses with peter pan collars for such shoots. When her acting career started to take off, she left the modelling industry behind.
Never one to blindly follow convention, Mia chose to rock this young and hip fashion at her own wedding. She and Frank Sinatra tied the knot at Sands Hotel in Las Vegas on 19th July 1966. The ceremony was short, supposedly only lasting fifteen minutes. In that time they said their vows, legally became man and wife, posed for photographs and cut a wedding cake provided for them by the venue.
She proudly wore a two-piece crisp white skirt suit to go with her short pixie hairstyle. She looked the epitome of ’60s mod on her wedding day. Mia’s short hair perfectly complemented her delicate features, and her pale clean-cut suit looked effortlessly sweet and chic.
The suit was neatly tailored and incorporated a bow around the waist with a cropped, double-breasted jacket on top. She wore limited makeup and just a simple bracelet around one wrist, remaining otherwise androgynous.
The couple often flew to Sinatra’s base in Palm Springs, California. They headed here, to Bill Goetz’s house, for the reception immediately after the wedding. In the evening, Mia swapped one formless dress for another. This one, although also white, featured a heavily embroidered floral lace overdress with shamrock imagery. Together they cut a second wedding cake.
Sadly, this was to be a short-lived marriage. With two dresses and two cakes, the marriage lasted just two years. He made her promise to leave the world of acting, but asked her to appear in his film The Detective. When she refused, he filed for the divorce. Sinatra served Mia with the divorce papers on the set of her film Rosemary’s Baby in front of the entire cast and crew. The divorce was finalised the same year.
Frank went on to marry model and showgirl Barbara Marx in 1976, and they remained married until his death in 1998. Meanwhile, Mia married composer André Previn from 1970 till 1979, when she started a long-term relationship with Woody Allen.
Mia and Frank remained close friends, and there is reportedly contention about who fathered some of Mia’s children.
Mia herself was a style icon, and even when the wedding to Frank Sinatra was supposedly private, the world got to see what she wore. What are your thoughts on Mia’s wedding outfits?