Travis Banton began working at Paramount Pictures in 1924, after a successful career as a retail clothing designer in New York. Notably one of his designs was chosen by Mary Pickford as a wedding dress when she married Douglas Fairbanks. His first Hollywood movie was The Dressmaker from Paris (1925) and within the next few years he was creating lavish costumes for stars ranging from Florence Vidor and Bebe Daniels to Clara Bow and Evelyn Brent. In the 1930s he would reach the zenith of his career, when he would be personally chosen by the most glamorous stars in the world to make costumes for their films, most significantly for Marlene Dietrich's costume drama The Scarlet Empress, ('Catherine II' was one of the production titles, before being released as 'The Scarlet Empress'), alongside his talented cutter Ilse Medows. For this film, as described in the Paramount Press book, "The jewellery was copied from the original Russian jewellery. Twenty costumes were made for Dietrich's role of Catherine II" It was documented that lace from a priceless gown, originally made in 1914 for the late Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, was incorporated into one of Miss Dietrich's gowns and a story developed that components of Feodorovna's diamond and pearl tiara, as seen in a photograph of the Tsarina in 1899, were also incorporated into his costumes. Banton's designs went some way to help recreate the grandeur and give an ostentatious depiction of Catherine's Russia, in keeping with the look, that director, Josef von sternberg was seeking. It is also a possible explanation for the film's $900,000 production costs. However, it is also known that the arm length pearl bracelet seen in 'The Scarlet Empress' opening scene, in which Catherine gives jewellery away to the Church for charity, can also be seen in Claudette Colbert's costume for Cleopatra, 1934, also designed by Banton. Travis Banton would leave Paramount Studios in 1938, to be replaced by Edith Head.