Travis Banton was born in 1894. He was educated at Columbia University, the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts and the Art Students League, New York. His early design career took place in New York with the couture house of Madame Frances and then at the house of Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon). In 1920 Mary Pickford chose one of his designs for the wedding dress which she wore when she married Douglas Fairbanks. Furthermore for a while he worked with Hattie Carnegie.
In 1924, Producer Walter Wanger enticed Banton to Hollywood to work as assistant to Howard Greer for Paramount Pictures. He worked as a costume designer for the film "The Dressmaker from Paris" (1925) starring Leatrice Joy. During the 20's he created costumes for many leading actresses such as Bebe Daniels, Pola Negri and Clara Bow. In the 30's he designed for Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Kay Francis, Greta Garbo, Carole Lombard and Mae West. In 1927, he became Designer in Chief at Paramount and set the hallmark of elegant, sensuous clothes, often cut on the bias.
He left Paramount and joined 20th Century Fox in 1939 and stayed there for several years. He worked for Universal Studios from 1945 to 1948. During his film career, Banton designed costumes for more than 200 productions. He and Marlene Dietrich worked on many films together and dreaming up attire for her was a creative act for both Banton and Marlene. In the 50's he returned to his own successful couture business while also working at the fashion house of Howard Greer. He worked until the end, his last film being "Auntie Mame" for Rosalyn Russell in 1958. He died the same year at the age of 64.
One of his signatures was dressing women in men’s clothes.