October 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
Anytime I sit back and watch A Little Princess I am immediately transported back in time to being an 8 year old kid seeing this enchanting film for the first time. Memories of feeling in awe of the entire spectacle of the costumes, the sweet & uplifting story and the sweeping soundtrack flood my mind. Fast forward 14 years and the experience remains as feel-good as ever.
This sweet movie tells the story of Sara Crewe, a young girl who is suddenly plucked from her exotic and carefree life in India with her loving Dad, played by a young Liam Cunningham, to the big city of New York where she must go to boarding school whilst Dad has been drafted to fight in WW1. The adjustment to begin with is understandably shaky for Sara as she is forced to abide by strict rules under the stern eye of the nasty headmistress Ms. Minchin. Her charm, vivid imagination and strength very quickly captures the attention of the other girls. Her belief that ‘all girls are princesses’ doesn’t bide well at all for Ms. Minchin who clearly holds onto a great deal of resentment, bitterness and hatred in her own life and so makes life very difficult for her.
As you can see the set design and costumes are incredible and a sight to behold. Vibrant hues of rich green, orange, yellow and cream fill the screen beautifully and I can vividly remember sitting back in awe when I was younger as I took in the entire spectacle of this movie. Ribbons, sashes, and gorgeous head gear all featured that finished off much of Sara’s lovely outfits.
June 15, 2014 § 2 Comments
The bygone era of the 1920’s is considered by many to be an era of great change. America experienced what is widely referred to as the Roaring Twenties whilst in Europe it became known as the Golden Age. A new age where jazz music became the soundtrack of many sprawling cities and a more edgy and distinctive culture and society emerged after World War 1. The birth of mass culture resulted from an economic boom after the war because many people had more income at their disposal, and parts of society became consumed by consumerism. Many older generations did not flirt with the racy, modern mass culture. But for much of the youth the 1920’s was certainly roaring indeed.
A newer,liberal woman blossomed during the 20’s. Hemlines became shorter, shapes were looser, hair was popularly cut into bob hairstyles. The restriction of corsets and bodices no longer had to be endured by women and instead their clothing moved with their bodies freely and comfortably. The flapper dress, popularised by the 1920 film The Flapper, became one of the most familiar fashion symbols of the era. This short-hemmed, loose-fitting dress was further immortalised by actress Louise Brooks.
The 1920’s are long gone but never too far away from our minds and imagination. Australian designer Johanna Johnson’s couture dress designs can certainly attest to that, that’s for sure. Looking at her 1920’s-influenced and art deco-inspired gowns I am immediately transported into a world not unlike that depicted in F.Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, The Great Gatsby. Her utterly delicate, billowing designs radiate an ethereal quality and grace. Their cuts are loose but form-fitting, the off-white metallic silk serves to further add to the overall ease and freedom of her designs. That new breed of 1920’s woman spoken of previously is all there, in a more elegant fashion, etched in every seam and contour.
The main ethos behind the Johanna Johnson brand is to:
“Reignite the romance and craftsmanship of yesteryear” *
It’s so wonderful to see a designer such as Johanna embracing the past in her garments. The addition of her head pieces, waist belts and jewellery enhance the whimsical, dreamy beauty of the gowns and finish the entire look. Her vintage-inspired gowns are loved by actress Christina Hendricks who is a fine example of the kind of woman who can wear the hell out of her kind of designs. Her feminine, hourglass figure fills every inch of fabric seamlessly creating a gorgeous silhouette.
* Quote taken from http://www.johannajohnson.com
September 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
Take one book ranked among the greatest works of American literature, and one Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!). What do you get? A spectacularly visual re-imagining of a novel written by F.Scott Fitzgerald emblazoned with Luhrmann’s trademark bombastic and lush style of film making. Personally I quite enjoy his movies because they are unique. The visuals are often loud and overrun the screen, but at the same time there is a story to be told in the midst of it all.
The Great Gatsby is no different. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the mysterious and titular character Jay Gatsby, the film is set in the summer of 1922 on the prosperous island of Long Island, New York. The story is narrated by would-be writer Nick Carraway played by Tobey Maguire, as he recounts his momentous memories of that summer. He arrives in town not knowing a single soul except for his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), and settles in a quaint little cottage overshadowed by the illustrious mansion and estate owned by his new neighbour, Gatsby.
There is absolutely no denying the impeccability and beauty of the twenties-inspired costumes in this film. Every outfit is suited to each and every character, their background and their personality. Interestingly with Gatsby, his perfectly calm and groomed exterior belies the man beneath it, as Nick soon finds out. His complete look is carried off with aplomb by DiCaprio showing just how well the Actor can wear the hell out of a suit. In true scene-stealing style Gatsby doesn’t appear in the movie until the 30 minute marker and boy does he make a fashionable entrance in a scene that is over-the-top but very ‘Luhrmann’. We see his introduction through the wide, innocent eyes of Carraway who, before this, had only wondered who Gatsby was. It isn’t until he attends one of his raucous parties that he finally meets the man everyone is talking about.
Catherine Martin is not only the costume designer, she is also the director’s other half. Martin did a fantastic job in this movie. It is quite possibly the most beautiful film of the summer. Catherine worked alongside Miuccia Prada and Brooks Brothers to create the twenties-inspired costumes that the cast wear, including Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio. The designer has long been fascinated by the book’s time period, due to the social revolution that took place after World War 1.
It was a time of incredible change where we basically go from a 19th-Century world to a modern, mechanised world reliant on machines in the space of five years
Although maintaining the authenticity of original clothing was paramount to both Martin and Luhrmann, the idea of reconnecting audiences with the story was also a key focus. The modern soundtrack helped, no doubt.
Baz was describing to me about the modern music in this version of Gatsby and he said to me, ‘We’ve got to get the audience to feel how it must have felt to hear jazz for the first time at a party’.
April 28, 2013 § 2 Comments
The darkly comic Fight Club was ranked number 10 by Empire magazine in its issue of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. Having seen it for the first time not so long ago I can safely say, I’m down with that. I thought it was a great movie. The ensemble cast is made up of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton – the former starring as Tyler Durden, one of my all time favourite characters in film. If that wasn’t enough there is Marla Singer, played by the gorgeous and super talented Helena Bonham Carter. Marla is a fantastic character that Helena breathed life into. Edward Norton plays the narrator, an average-Joe who is living a dead-end life. He is in need of something to change his life. Tyler and Marla will take care of this – that is all I will say without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. The trashy chain-smoking Marla has a very unique look that says so much about who she is. Below is a clip introducing Marla to the audience and to Norton’s character.
Marla wears a lot of black: black clothes, black eye makeup, sometimes a dark lip and always black messy hair. Her character is darkly witty, strong-willed and her philosophy of life is that she may die at any moment. She goes to cancer support groups because they’re cheaper than seeing a movie and there is free coffee. That’s how Marla rolls.
Fight Club is based on the titular novel by Chuck Palahniuk. In the book she is described as thus:
“The girl is infectious human waste, and she’s confused and afraid to commit to the wrong thing so she won’t commit to anything.”
March 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
A Woman is A Woman or Une Femme est Une Femme was Danish actress (that’s right, she really was not french) Anna Karina’s first foray into feature film acting. Before this she would have been found advertising many soaps and toiletries on massive billboards around the world, which is what introduced her to her future husband and director of Une Femme est Une Femme, Jean- Luc Godard. Godard is quite iconically known as the most radical french filmmaker of the 60’s and 70’s for challenging film tradition and experimenting and identifying with what is known as French New Wave. This film is very much associated with it, and of course because of the fact it was made in the early 60’s the styling is very much a nod to mod fashion!
I fell in love with Karina’s on- screen style. I love the kitten eye makeup, her colourful bright stockings, cute fringe, and flirty feminine dresses. Everything works together brilliantly. This was no doubt helped through her input into costume designer Bernard Evein’s ideas.
The movie has buckets of charm just like Ms. Karina herself. She plays Angela, a young girl working as a stripper who desperately wants to have a baby with her boyfriend Emile. It has quite possibly the tamest strip club in the world that looks like it operates as an Italian restaurant on the side. What sets it apart is the unique style of Godard. The use of on screen graphics to give insights into the character’s motives, the all-too-sly speaking directly to the camera, the stop and start motion of the movie’s scoring and the accentuation of moments and dialogue by music which is artfully well done. Godard continued to have wife Karina star in a series of his films released after this wonderful gem.
So after seeing A Woman is A Woman I’ve not only developed a massive girl crush on the lovely Karina and her adorable style, I’m now resigning myself to watching more Godard classics for more light-hearted fun and charming caper. Why not join me and expect more fashion moments to come soon after. Au Revoir!
August 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
I recently dug out my copy of Inglourious Basterds, a 2009 movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. It has a great WW2 story line and with his signature style added, it really is a thrill to watch again. French actress Melanie Laurent stars as an escaped Jew who seeks revenge for the horrific death of her family at the hands of the SS in Nazi- occupied France.
I really liked how Melanie’s character Shoshanna dressed. In many scenes she is very casual and goes about her day without makeup or any styling so as not to draw attention to herself, being an undercover Jew and all. Heba Thorisdottir who was the makeup artist on the set, described Shoshanna’s daily look as ”clean and glowing” and used products from the Kanebo Sensai range to achieve it.
Taupe eyeshadow and a peach toned blush were applied to complete the look.
Towards the end of the film, all of the stops were pulled out in spectacular form for the German Movie Night at the cinema she owns. In badass form, she plans to burn it down and all of the Nazi party members in it, with style.
Pretty snazzy eh? What a stunning red dress. I love the scene where she is getting herself ready for the night of her revenge. Everything about it is brilliant; Shoshanna applying her makeup in tune with David Bowie’s Cat People, the song itself, and finishing her look with a beautiful head piece and she’s ready to burn down the house. Literally. Check it out below.
If you fancy channeling the gorgeous look, Polyvore created a great one for inspiration.
For this scene, Heba Thorisdottir really enjoyed the challenge of customising colours to create the perfect cream blush that you see Shoshanna apply.
” It was a very specific scene and Quentin knew exactly what he wanted in the scene so we didn’t exactly follow the period. Quentin wanted a cream blush but a lot softer consistency than are on the market so I actually had to sit down and make it! The color had to be very specific as well so, I dragged Quentin in the makeup trailer and sat him down and we had a lot of fun with making the color just perfect! ”