Speedos

KIRK: And those are some self-portraits.
LORELAI: Aahh! Kirk, you’re nude!
KIRK: No no, I’m wearing Speedos. They’re kind of flesh coloured.

Speedo is an Australian brand of swimwear, founded in 1914 by Alexander MacRae, and now part of the British Pentland Group; in North America it is manufactured for and marketed by PVH. Due to its success, the name Speedo has become synonymous with racing bathing suits, particularly for men.

(In fact it turns out Kirk was actually naked, but Lorelai and Max agree never to discuss it again).

Elizabeth Taylor

LORELAI: Hey Mom. I was in the neighborhood, ’cause there’s that wedding dress place on Willow. Elizabeth Taylor bought one of her dresses there.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011) was a British-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian. Beginning her career as a child actress in the 1940s, including a part in Lassie Come Home, previously mentioned, she became one of the most popular movie stars of the 1950s. She successfully continued her career in the 1960s, including as the female lead in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, previously discussed, for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award. She remained a well-known public figure for the rest of her life, and is regarded as one of the great screen legends.

Elizabeth Taylor was famous for her many marriages, marrying eight times to seven men. Her marriages were to hotel heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton in 1950, British actor Michael Wilding in 1952, producer Mike Todd in 1957, singer Eddie Fisher in 1959, Welsh actor Richard Burton in 1964, and then again in 1975, Republican politician John Warner in 1976, and construction worker Larry Fortensky in 1991 (ending in 1996). None of her marriages lasted a long time (she was widowed about a year after marrying Mike Todd), and this is another hint to us of the probable fate of any marriage between Lorelai and Max.

Elizabeth Taylor did not buy any of her wedding dresses in Hartford, and only had a traditional white wedding dress for her first wedding to Nicky Hilton [pictured]. It was made by MGM costume designer Helen Rose (who also made Grace Kelly’s wedding dress), and was a gift to Taylor by the studio. Her other wedding dresses were stylish gowns, with the most “wedding like” of them being for her last wedding, to Larry Fortensky. It was a pale yellow floor-length lace gown by the designer Valentino, and given to her by him as a gift.

Victoria’s Secret

RORY: Are you okay?
LORELAI: I’m perfect.
RORY: Really?
LORELAI: I have hit a level of perfection that has rarely been seen outside the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.

Victoria’s Secret is an American company which designs and makes women’s lingerie, swimwear, sleepwear, and beauty products. Founded by Roy Raymond in 1977, it is now the largest American retailer of women’s lingerie. Their iconic mail-order catalogues were famous for being sexy yet tasteful, showing beautiful models in elegant poses; the catalogues were discontinued in 2016.

Princess Grace

PARIS: You have to go to college.
LOUISE: Princess Grace didn’t go to college.

Princess Grace, born Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was an American actress who began her career on television and starred in several Alfred Hitchcock films, such as Dial M for Murder (1953), Rear Window (1953), and To Catch a Thief (1955). She also starred in the classic western High Noon (1952) and the musical High Society (1956), winning a Best Actress at the Academy Awards for The Country Girl (1954).

She retired from acting to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, becoming Princess Grace of Monaco, and having three children. As a princess, she founded children’s charity AMADE, formed the Princess Grace Foundation for artisans in Monaco, and became known as a fashion icon, being inducted into the Best Dressed Hall of Fame in 1960.

Louise is correct – Princess Grace, who came from a wealthy family and attended prestigious private schools, was rejected by Bennington College in 1947, due to her low scores in Mathematics. However, she graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, the oldest acting school in the English-speaking world, so she did have a distinguished tertiary education.

Bustle

LORELAI: I tried on three different [wedding] dresses, one of which gave me a rash. And I gotta say, has anyone missed the bustle? ‘Cause I haven’t.

A bustle is a type of framework intended to support drapery at the back of a woman’s dress, which could either jut out at the back, have numerous heavy folds, or support a train. It was a fashion popular in the 19th century, but still in use for formal gowns and wedding dresses.

Taffeta and Cotillion

RORY: Why don’t you go to a wedding dress place and try a real veil on?
LORELAI: No way.
RORY: Why?
LORELAI: Too much taffeta, it gives me cotillion flashbacks.

Taffeta is a smooth plain-woven fabric made from silk. It is considered a luxurious fabric suitable for ball gowns and wedding dresses.

In American usage, a cotillion is a formal ball, often for presenting debutantes to society. However, Lorelai is most likely talking about cotillions as a class for younger girls, perhaps aged 10 to 13, to prepare them for their future debut in society. Such classes teach social etiquette, followed by a formal party where they put what they’ve learned into practice. We later learn that Emily teaches these classes, and probably taught Lorelai when she was younger.

Diana

LORELAI: And then there’s the full on Diana [veil].
RORY: Right, right.
LORELAI: Which is nice, but it just might be a little …

Lorelai is referring to Diana, Princess of Wales, born Diana Spencer (1961-1997). Diana married Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir apparent to the British throne, in 1981. At their wedding in St. Paul’s Cathedral, she wore an ivory silk and lace vintage-style wedding dress with a 25 foot long train; her tulle veil was likewise very long, and floated behind her as she walked.

Diana and Charles divorced in 1996 – another famously disastrous marriage to give a hint to Lorelai.