While discussing preparations for the ball, it transpires that Rory will be wearing a crinoline under her dress, and Dean will need to wear a cummerbund.
A crinoline is another word for a hoop skirt, previously discussed.
A cummerbund is a broad sash worn around the waist, these days usually with a dinner jacket or tuxedo. Originating in Persia, they were adopted by British officers stationed in India, and adopted as an alternative to the waistcoat. A cummerbund is worn for black tie events in North America.
DEAN: It’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. RORY: And doesn’t Neil Young look cool? … If you’ll notice, he’s wearing a tux. DEAN: Neil Young looks cool because he’s Neil Young, not because he’s wearing a tux.
Neil Young (born 1945) is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter, musician, and activist. His career started in the 1960s, and includes membership of critically-acclaimed rock band Buffalo Springfield, folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and solo work backed by his band Crazy Horse. His distorted electric guitar playing has earned him the nickname “Grandfather of Grunge”. He has won several Grammy and Juno Awards, and been named one of the great musical artists in history, defined by his guitar work, deeply personal lyrics, and signature high tenor vocals.
Neil Young has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – in 1995 as a solo artist, and in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield. He has served to induct others into the Hall of Fame six times: The Everly Brothers (1986), Woody Guthrie (1988), Jimi Hendrix (1992), Paul McCartney (1999), The Pretenders (2005), and Tom Waits (2011).
However, Neil Young doesn’t seem to have worn a tuxedo for any of his appearances at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, preferring a more casual (and occasionally more cowboy) look. When he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1982, he did dress in evening wear: not a tuxedo, but tailcoat, ruffled shirt, waistcoat and bow-tie [pictured].
It seems awfully unlikely, but just possibly they are watching an old video of this somehow (or it appears in a documentary or clip show???), and Dean mistakes it for the Rock and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. It feels as if Rory and Lane might have put it on expressly to persuade Dean that men can still look cool in formal wear.
CHRISTOPHER: Well, did you tell her about Barbara Hutton, Doris Duke, Gloria Vanderbilt? LORELAI: Yes, and she’s perfectly willing to marry Cary Grant, get offed by her crazy butler, and start designing blue jeans as soon as the ball ends.
Barbara Hutton, previously discussed. She was first dubbed the “Poor Little Rich Girl” at her lavish debutante ball in 1930. She married seven times. Her third marriage was to Hollywood actor Cary Grant in 1942; although he genuinely seemed to care for Hutton, they divorced in 1945. Grant did not seek or receive money from her in the divorce settlement. He was probably her best husband.
Doris Duke (1912-1993), billionaire tobacco heiress and socialite, dubbed the “Richest Girl in the World”. She was presented as a debutante in 1930, at a ball at the family home in Newport, Rhode Island. She was widely travelled, with an interest in the arts and horticulture. She was the first non-Hawaiian woman to take up the sport of surfing. A keen philanthropist, she donated money to AIDS research, medicine, and child welfare, including supporting the education of black students in the South. Duke died from a stroke, but rumours persist that she was murdered by her Irish butler, Bernard Lafferty (1945-1996). No charges were ever laid, and Lafferty died in his sleep only three years later. He wasn’t “crazy” so much as an alcoholic.
Gloria Vanderbilt (1924-2019), heiress, socialite, artist, actress, and fashion designer. During the 1930s she was the focus of a scandalous child custody case between her mother and her paternal aunt, Gertrude Whitney, which Gertrude won after Gloria’s mother was declared an unfit parent. Gloria made her debut in 1940. Vanderbilt studied both acting and art, managing to have successful careers in both, as well as becoming an author. A model at 15, she ventured into the fashion industry in the 1970s, and in 1976 launched a line of blue jeans which were an immediate success.
(The picture is Gloria Vanderbilt as a sixteen-year-old debutante).
CHRISTOPHER: Where are you? LORELAI: Helsinki. CHRISTOPHER: Really. LORELAI: Yeah, I finally got the girl band together and after a week opening stateside, we headed across the Atlantic and now we’re huge with the Nordic set.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland with a population of over 600 000, although the greater Helsinki urban area is over 1.5 million. It is the most northerly metropolitan area with more than a million people, and the most northerly EU capital city. It has one of the world’s highest standards of living, and has been rated among the world’s most livable cities.
Lorelai told Max that her dream was join The Bangles, and this is another reference to Lorelai forming a girl band. The Bangles did tour Scandinavia in 1986, but never played Helsinki.
“The Nordic set” is a media phrase, more common in the early 2000s, for the fashionable Scandinavian crowd (such as Danish supermodel Helena Christensen).
LORELAI: A debutante ball] is like animals being up for bid at the county fair, except sheep don’t wear hoop skirts.
A hoop skirt is an undergarment designed to hold the skirt of a dress into a fashionable shape. They were particularly popular in the mid nineteenth century. They are still worn today for historical costumes, and formal gowns, such as under a wedding dress.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.