Sunday, 27 January 2008

How gorgeous is she?


I love Catherine McNeil in a way I have loved no model that has been modeling in my lifetime- I think she is like the most amazingly gorgeous woman, a true model of staggering beauty. I only wish that Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin could have focused their cameras on her- that would have been spectacular!

Friday, 25 January 2008

Dressing up

I finally moved all of my stuff to my boyfriend's today. At the moment, all of my clothes are hanging on three racks we set up in the living room or still packed up in boxes in the floor. My boyfriend has decided to make the second bedroom into my own dressing room/ closet, but that will have to wait until he moves all of his production equipment out to our new loft office space. I'm trying to decide how to decorate my new dressing room, but I keep vacillating between something classically feminine or a little darker and more opulent. It's a rather hard choice, so hopefully I will be able to combine the both of them into some hybrid of the old Opium ads and Aerin Lauder's dressing room/closet/home office.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

obsessed...





Monday, 21 January 2008

I have a rather huge obsession with witchcraft and the history of it- I practiced Wicca for a few years but I have always been more interested in the history of the practice, the witch hunts and the influence of it on culture in Western Europe. I could write about the subject ad infinitum, but I'll save most of that for the book I want to write someday. Movies that deal with witchcraft, especially the horror movies made in 1970's Britain, have always enthralled me with their atmospheric mood of dread and the sei-historically correct costumes that highlight the heaving bosoms of the ladies.


- Click here for another funny movie.

Operatic acid


This is the kind of dress that makes me wish I could afford couture... The colour, cut, fabric and sequins are just perfection.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Gather the curtains, gather the darkness, gather me if only for a moment, gather the seconds for soon it could be going, gather the blessings, for the years are showing...

To a room with some lace and paper flowers...


I've been a little slow at posting- it's a hard thing to get in the habit of and I've been overwhelmingly busy. At the moment, I feel like my style is in a bit of a standstill- I've packed up all my clothes before my move to my boyfriend's place so I've been working with a very limited amount of clothes. I guess that should make me attempt to be more creative, but instead I just feel stuck. I had to have my photograph taken today and I was at a complete loss about what to wear. In the end I chose a long black Vena Cava gown and a vintage pink and gray rabbit fur cape- totally simple and glamorous. I'm hoping that the photos end up coming out a little like this...

Soft and feminine, delicate and ethereal...

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Bread and Fish

Themed dinner parties are always a good laugh- I enjoy having to pull together an outfit and then going to eat of the era food in perfectly orchestrated surroundings. Some friends of mine have a dinner club where they put on a differently themed party every few months- I've been to most of them (1920's, 1880's, Arabian Nights, etc) and they are always a fantastic change from regular life, especially for someone obsessed with fashion and decorative arts history. Last week, my boyfriend and I went to a Last Supper birthday dinner party. It was held as this huge artist loft on the Lower East Side where there were Picasso's hanging next to Dash Snow's in a perfectly choreographed jumble. They built a huge table out of timber, which was heaped with bread and all of these heirloom vegetables and Porgies. The food was perfectly delicious and was all a modern update of the type of dishes that Jesus himself would have eaten.


This was the first party that I really had to think about what to wear- the birthday girl said we could wear anything "religious," but I definitely wanted to be as historically accurate as I could (while still looking good). I ended up wearing this green chiffon gown of my grandmother's- a green chiffon slip underneath a green chiffon dress with dolman sleeves and buttons at the neck. I tied gold leather trim, that I stole from my work, under my bust so that the chiffon draped elegantly down in a rather Roman way. I also used the gold leather in my hair. Da Vinci's Last Supper has the apostles wearing brightly coloured, very drapey robes so I think my costume was a nice update on their clothes (especially with the gold Terry de Havilland wedges I wore on my feet).

Friday, 11 January 2008

Mad Love

Sunday, 6 January 2008

That isn't necessary, big boy...

Sky movies and Instyle magazine's list of the 10 most iconic movie costumes has had me pondering what I consider the best and the most iconic. Most of their list I agree with, but I definitely don't think that Atonement and Moulin Rouge should be on there. The green dress from atonement is amazingly gorgeous, but the movie is too new, too fresh. For something to be iconic it must be "an important and enduring symbol" - the key word being enduring. We'll have to wait and see if Keira's green dress stands the test of time- I have yet to see the movie so I really have no idea if the movie will be remembered as fondly as some of the other movies on the list.

A quick rundown of the list is:
1. Keira Knightley’s green dress in 'Atonement'
2. Marilyn Monroe' white number in 'The Seven Year Itch'
3. Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
4. Olivia Newton-John’s tight jeans in 'Grease'
5. Kate Winslet’s blue dress in 'Titanic'
6. Vest and tie worn by Diane Keaton in 'Annie Hall'
7. Nicole Kidman’s corset in 'Moulin Rouge'
8. Liza Minnelli’s socks and hat in 'Cabaret'
9. Cate Blanchett’s dress in 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age'
10. Vivien Leigh’s dress in 'Gone With The Wind'

I haven't had time to decide on my absolute favourite costumes or the ones I consider most iconic, but I figured I should write about a classic film that has some great outfits worn by one of the most beautiful stars ever (and some absolutely smashing dialogue). Sullivan's Travels is a very witty and sharp comedy from 1941 starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake. Joel McCrea stars as John Sullivan, a top Hollywood director who is being pushed by his studio to make Ants in Your Pants 1939, a sequel to his hit Ants in Your Pants. Sullivan desires to make a more socially responsible film, something highlighting the dispossessed in Depression era America, as he believes comedies have no place in an America overwhelmed by poverty. He sets off across America dressed as a hobo with no money in his pocket. Along the way he meets the gorgeous Veronica Lake, who knows much more the hardness of life than he does. Sullivan learns quite a few lessons about life over the course of the film, and the film includes quite amazingly realistic images of chain gangs and the poverty of the time. The script is fantastically funny, full of verbal jousting matches between Lake and McCrea. One of the best parts is after the hobo Sullivan encounters the Girl in a rundown cafe in Hollywood and takes her out in a car he's "borrowed from a director friend named Sullivan"...

Sullivan: Don’t you think with the world in its present condition, with Death snarling at you from every street corner, people are a little allergic to comedies?
The Girl: No.
Sullivan: Perhaps I don’t make myself clear.
The Girl: Say, how come you know a picture director well enough to borrow his car?
Sullivan: Well, as a matter of fact, I used to know most of those boys. But naturally, I don’t like to mention it in a suit like this. As a matter of fact, I used to be a picture director.
The Girl: Why you poor kid!
Sullivan: Don’t get emotional. I’ll be all right.
The Girl: What kind of pictures did you make?
Sullivan: More along educational lines.
The Girl: No wonder. There’s nothing like a deep-dish movie to drive you out in the open.
Sullivan: What are you talking about? Film is the greatest educational medium the world has even known. You take a picture like Hold Back Tomorrow . . .
The Girl: You hold it . . .


The gorgeous cream wool coat and silk dress she is wearing when she meets him suit her perfectly, and highlight her fantastically shimmering blonde locks. This is a total aspirational outfit- a struggling actress who can't pay her rent, she has this one outfit that makes her appear as if she has already achieved all of her goals- quite a change from the poor boy's clothes she takes on later in the film. I'm posting a video of the scene where they meet below- while the script is hilarious on paper, on film Lake's sassy comebacks and sweet looks make it the best scene in the film.



Another great outfit from the film is Lake's matching hat and suit at the news conference after Sullivan's sudden re-appearence. The fur pompoms on the tie of the light coloured, sharply cut suit are a great addition to an already cute outfit. The matching velvet beanie perches exquisitely on Lake's famous hair- my grandmother gave me a hat very similar, which I will definitely have to start wearing after watching this film again last week.

And just look how well-cut her robe is! If only I could find one with bell sleeves, wide lapels and rounded shoulders! The platform peeptoes make it even better... Veronica Lake was actually 6-7 months pregnant during the filming, and her pregnancy is definitely the most obvious in this scene- the robe has one button right on top of her belly but Edith Head expertly cut the robe so that it falls elegantly around the belly without emphasizing it.

Veronica Lake was one of the great film beauties, but its interesting to find that the look that she is known for, the look that made her famous- that of the witchy gowns and peekaboo locks- was all created and wasn't her at all. Edith Head wrote in her autobiography, The Dress Doctor, "Veronica was a girl who actually wore tweeds, flat heels, bulky sweaters, her hair pulled back into a hairnet. And this was the girl we transformed with a hair-do (long, blonde, floating over one eye) and clothes (long, floaty, unearthly chiffon) into a glamorous nymph, half witch. Veronica got a kick out of the transformation. 'Pardon me while I put on my other head,' she'd say. We'd created a personality that didn't exist…It was an experiment that proved what clothes could do. Once Veronica was through with work, changed into her own clothes and went out into the world, no one recognized her, ever." The peekaboo hair that became her earmark was a hugely popular hairstyle in the early 1940s, but during WWII she changed it to encourage women to take safer hairstyles while working in the factories. The US government put out this rather fantastic period safety video with her:

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Day, New Year

New Year's is usually one of my least favourite holidays- it seems to give license to every person who hasn't drank in a year to consume a ton of alcohol and throw-up everywhere. I've managed to always avoid going out on New Year's, just going to dinner parties and keeping it pretty low-key. Last night I went to a dinner party at the apartment of a well-known fashion designer and filmmaker, and it was totally fantastic- a great crowd of fashion insiders and other interesting people. I wore my favourite black moss crepe and satin Ossie Clark gown with an opera coat from 1910- blue velvet with gold lame and fox fur trim, one of the most beautiful things I own. My boyfriend and I had a great time there, and I had some of the most absorbing conversations I've had in awhile. Afterwards we met up with some other friends and went to my boyfriend's best friend's loft where I passed out with a bottle of Wild Turkey in my hand... Overall, a very enjoyable night...

I'm rather looking forward to 2008- the second half of 2007 was rather awful for me, so I'm hoping that I can change everything around a bit in my life. I would think I would be frightened faced with so many changes in my life, but I can only express my current mood as excited and full of anticipation.

Black Ice

Ever since I first saw some of Stan Brakhage's films I've found them to be incredibly inspiring in all aspects of my work. For one of my final papers, I wrote an essay on his hand-painted films, which this is one of. I spent hours in the library in my school watching all of these films carefully, analyzing them for any differences and decoding his thoughts and techniques- it was a truly great way to spend a couple of weeks. The quality is pretty awful on this video, but there is a still enough visible to give you an idea of the beauty and the rhythms he created by painting directly onto the film.

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