Designer, Movies

Movie Moments: The Designer Connection Part IV

Belle de Jour (1967), Director Luis Buñuel, Designer Yves Saint Laurent.

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As in the last Movie Moments post, ‘Funny Face’, this week’s designer collaboration is the product born of a friendship between a young designer and his muse. In this instance, it is Yves Saint Laurent who dresses a very young and beautiful Catherine Deneuve. She plays a wealthy young housewife who is not able to be intimate with her loving husband, but decides to live out her fantasies by becoming a prostitute (it is, after all, a Buñuel film). This she does only by day, hence the name of the film, ‘Belle de Jour’.

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Deneuve’s Severine is by turns aloof and sensual as the film explores the boundaries of morality. Her journey is enhanced by Saint Laurent’s impeccable costumes, classic and timeless, with a twist of fetish.

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Her bourgeois lifestyle is evident in the precise tailoring of her clothing, something even her colleagues notice, and covet. Her flawless style, from her hair down to her Roger Vivier Pilgrim pumps, speaks volumes about her character. Accordingly, her hair and clothing change as Severigne becomes Belle. Wool gives way to vinyl, rigorous up do’s give way to soft waves. Saint Laurent takes the transformation in his stride, giving us a collection of trendsetting costumes which have become iconic of 60’s style. The safari dress and the schoolgirl inspired outfit for example, continue to influence fashion designers today. I mean, who would say no to any of Severigne’s amazing coats? Eternally chic, and a testament to Yves Saint Laurent’s genius, Severine will continue to be reinvented in glossy mags, providing inspiration for day, or night.

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Designer, Movies

Movie Moments: The Designer Connection Part III

Funny Face (1957), Director Stanley Donen, Designer Hubert de Givenchy.

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Before there was ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, there was ‘Funny Face’. Yes, yes, yet another Audrey Hepburn film… However, this movie makes this list not so much for Audrey as for fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy. As film lore tells it, Givenchy first met Hepburn for her movie ‘Sabrina’. The film producers had asked Balenciaga for costumes, but being busy with a new collection, he sent them to see his young friend Givenchy. On hearing the name Hepburn, the designer expected to see a certain Katherine who was very famous at the time. Instead, in comes a young Audrey, dressed in ‘small pants and ballet flats’. His gowns fit like a dream, they clicked and became life long friends. He dressed her in life and for every film since, including in this fashion bonanza known as ‘Funny Face’.

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In a nutshell, this is a light musical in which a dowdy intellectual is turned into a graceful cover girl by a fashion magazine editor looking for something different. This means several things: there is singing, there is dancing (look out for the utterly awesome ‘Think Pink’ number). There is humour. There is a makeover- there is FASHION. Serious fashion. There is a sequence with an actual high fashion shoot in Paris. Really. And not just any fashion shoot, but one dreamt up by the film’s visual consultant Richard Avedon, and starring Hepburn in a myriad Givenchy gowns. Triple whammy! This fashion shoot spawned some of the most often copied images, even today (woman in a ladylike dress with colourful balloons, anyone?).

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In amongst the glamour, Hepburn has time for a dance at a beatnik club dressed in the slim black silhouette (with dreamy loafers!) she made into a worldwide trend. While this look is iconic, it is the Givenchy gowns which shine in this film. There are some real heart wrenchingly stylish moments, culminating in a wonderfully fresh wedding gown (come to think of it, hopeful brides should bookmark this whole film). Watch this film for some mammoth fashion inspo, but be warned- you may be moved to set up an impromptu fashion shoot/show with lengths of fabric and bits from your wardrobe during viewing. Heck, even the couch throw might do.

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Designer, Movies

Movie Moments: The Designer Connection Part II

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This week’s movie is not exactly a collaboration, but the result of a fashion designer’s foray into film direction. Tom Ford’s directorial debut, A Single Man, was a self funded labour of love, and is a thing of stunning beauty. It tells the story of an English professor, George Falconer (Colin Firth in an Oscar nominated performance), living in 1960’s Los Angeles, and struggling with the loss of his lover some months prior. The film follows him over the course of a day, the day on which he has decided he will end his life.

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Falconer is by nature a fastidious man, rendered clear in his preparations. As he dresses for the day, Ford’s own obsession for detail is evident- he had the professor’s Savile Row suit ‘aged’ to suggest a man who, albeit not affluent, cares about quality. The dresser, his clothes, his desk are laid out just so, the colour palette restricted. The achingly stylish scenes have been likened to fashion ads. I see more than fashionable exactitude- the beautiful scenes become highly emotive if seen through the professor’s eyes, that is, for one final time. Falconer goes through his day believing it will be his last, but his very resolution allows him to finally connect to his surroundings and the people he encounters in a way he has not been able to do since his great loss. It is a journey of desire and despair, isolation and deep longing, of great love. Can you tell how much I LIKE this film??

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Tom Ford’s aesthetic is present throughout, in the flawless elegance of every shot and in the polished restraint of the acting (the performances by a ridiculously good looking cast are impeccable).

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It is present in the beautiful sets- they searched for months for the right house until coming across the Schaffer House by architect John Lautner, a mid century dream.

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And finally, as expected, Ford’s stylistic influence is most definitely present in the costumes. It might have been the amazing team behind TV series Mad Men that carried the costume and design departments, but Ford’s calculated hand is ever present, in every detail, down to the last pink cigarette.

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Feel good, Movies

Movie Moments: The Makeover Part VII

The makeover films you’ve been reading about the past few weeks make the top of my list for style inspiration. There are countless makeover movies not mentioned here, but there are certain favourite scenes which warrant acknowledgement. Here they are:

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Jamie Lee Curtis’ transformation from timid dowdy housewife to vampy (but still clumsy) secret agent in True Lies (1994, Dir. James Cameron). Who knew what tearing into your Sunday frock and a bit of vase water could do! I vacillate between total awe and absolute embarrassment watching the hotel room scene. You know the one.

The envy inducing sequence in National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985, Dir. Amy Heckerling) where the Griswalds shop up a storm and make themselves over Italian style. Postcard perfect!

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Frances McDormand’s delicate portrayal of Guinevere Pettigrew (that name… sigh) in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008, Dir. Bharat Nalluri) is divine. Her makeover begins with a silk scarf, a simple gesture. All the same, a new outfit serves only to render seen the tender beauty of a strong resourceful woman.

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The many reincarnations of best friends Romy and Michele in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997, Dir. David Mirkin) are close to my heart. I love a matching outfit as much as I love dressing for an occasion, and this movie delivers big time on both those counts. Romy and Michele make themselves over and over and over depending on place and mood. Cute gym outfits? Check. Hot club outfits? Check. Business women’s power outfits (business women’s lunch specials anyone?)? Check and check. Spice Girls eat your heart out.

There you have it. Hollywood makeovers aren’t always serious or stylish (Mrs. Doubtfire, anyone? I can’t remember which bled more, my eyes or my ears…), but they are always awesome fun! A couple of hours of gratifying fashionable escapism. A life transformed from the outside in. But while most of us don’t have the means to call on a Hollywood costume designer for our wardrobe rejuvenation, there is help at hand. Seriously fun and chic help. You may or may not want to film your style journey, but you can decidedly star in your own makeover. Catalina’s a Hollywood grade fashion genius. And she promises not to use vase water.

 

 

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Feel good, Women

Friday Night

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Friday Night. It’s a beautiful thing…throwing off the shackles of the working week and letting your hair down.

This is a perfect Friday night outfit. You can just imagine the beautiful white shirt and sharp black blazer (both must-have wardrobe staples) earlier on in the day being paired with pencil skirt or slim trouser at work. Smooth day to night transition with the addition of leather something…shorts in this case but easily could be leather leggings or skirt.

So if I was heading out tonight for a night on the town (and I had these killer legs!) I would want to wear this excellent outfit…take two must-have staples and just add leather.

I haven’t mentioned the shoes yet because I was saving them til last. I can’t stop looking at them…They are amazing! Not sure how long I would last in them but frankly I don’t care because they are just too perfect.

Enjoy your Friday night!

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Feel good, Men, Women

I feel pretty, oh so pretty

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So I should probably say that this little blog is a “work in progress”…it’s only taken me a thousand years (well, at least 5) to get this happening and now you’ll have to bear with me whilst I make it pretty.

I can make outfits pretty…but computer things are another story! Yikes.

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