the aviator

Thelma the Cigarette Girl

In The Aviator, Howard Hughes has a brief flirtation with Thelma (Josie Maran), the cigarette girl in a supper club. Cigarette girls worked in speakeasies and clubs during the 1920’s, offering cigarettes, cigars, or other novelties from a tray they carried around their neck. Similar to a cocktail waitress, this tipped position was given to young, attractive women who were typically dressed similar to saloon girls, flappers, or burlesque dancers. Due to their portrayal in film, cigarette girls became a staple and grew in popularity until the end of Prohibition, when they moved to public nightclubs. Thelma’s outfit is similar to a belly dancer and can be achieved with similar clothing, though the belly dance skirt will need to be cut to the appropriate length. Cigarette trays are an expensive vintage item now, but they can be easily made with a shallow box and some ribbon.

Noah Dietrich

In The Aviator, Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) is Howard Hughes‘ chief executive officer for his business empire. He served Hughes from 1925 to 1957, before they had a falling out over Dietrich’s capital gains income. Though the portrayal is accurate in terms of style, personality, and mannerisms, one criticism is that the film downplayed his role in Hughes’ success.

Errol Flynn

In The Aviator, Errol Flynn (Jude Law) is a 1930’s actor known for his romantic swashbuckler and action roles. He was known for his charm, good looks, and off-screen scandals. He crossed paths with Howard Hughes many times during their respective careers.

Jean Harlow

In The Aviator, Jean Harlow (Gwen Stefani) was an actress and sex symbol in the 1930’s. She got her start in film in Hell’s Angels, directed by Howard Hughes. She was one of the biggest and most glamorous stars of the 1930’s, known as the “Blonde Bombshell,” “Platinum Blonde” and the “Laughing Vamp,” though she tragically passed away at age 26.

Faith Domergue

In The Aviator, Howard Hughes finds a new love interest in 15-year old Faith Domergue (Kelli Garner), after Katherine Hepburn leaves him. Because of her experience with Hughes, Faith Domergue was launched into a successful film and television career. Set in the 1920’s to the 1940’s, her wardrobe is demure and typical of the era.

Ava Gardner

The film, The Aviator, chronicles the career and demise of Howard Hughes, the aviation pioneer and film director. He briefly dates Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale) during this period. Throughout her film career, Ava Gardner became known for her elegance and sophistication, often portraying women of royal lineage. This is reflected in Kate Beckinsale’s performance and wardrobe in The Aviator.