RIP Tony Scott

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What a shock. I woke up this morning to hear that Tony Scott leaped to his death off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.  It reminded me about Leslie Cheung’s death (he too, leaped to his death, but off the Mandarian Oriental Hotel in HK.) and how shocking that was.  He was still producing hit TV shows and films, still directing his fast-paced action films.  It begs the question, why?  Why would someone with still so much to offer, consciously, deliberately, kill himself?  We can’t assume anything at this point.  We can only remember what he left behind.

He gained a Hollywood calling card with “The Hunger,” and blasted onto the A list, with “Top Gun.”  Both films were sexy and stylish.  He has been criticized throughout his career for choosing style over substance, but hey, he was the director, not the writer, so for me, he tried to make the material look as good as possible.

Him and his brother Ridley, were some of the first feature directors to come from the world of commercials.  That is oh-so common nowdays, Rupert Sanders (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) a recent example.  Their stuff was so graphic and sexy, it perfectly fit the 80’s look.

A lot is being made about the brothers relationship, and how he never got the respect Ridley gets, but who really knows how much that factors into all of this.  Since he’s producing partners with is brother, I’m sure their relationship is peachy keen.  As for not getting as much respect… There are many “respected” filmmakers who are living off chips and salsa, right now, envying a fat paycheck.  I’m sure Tony was OK with being a good, if not great director.  Even if he didn’t have Ridley’s caché, he certainly influenced a whole generation of testosterone-filled, amped up action directors.

Smoke and shafts of light. A Tony Scott trademark.

One hot shot, a muscle jet, and American flag draped in the background. Over the top? Why not, it’s a Tony Scott film. How big was this movie? Wingman, need for speed, is still peppered in everyday conversation.

He was 68. Photo: Gus Ruelas, AP.

 

 

 

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Contempt

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Jean-Luc Godard’s, “Contempt,” 1963, features the ever-gorgeous Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli, as Camille and Paul Javal.  Paul is rewriting a film adaptation of Homer’s, The Odyssey, for producer Jeremy Prokosch, Jack Palance, and directed by none other than Fritz Lang (playing himself).  Paul sells out his writer’s integrity by trying to make it more commercial and his wife’s affection by basically handing her to Prokosch.

Ok, this has nothing to do with fashion, but isn’t Fritz’s monocle gangsta? Fritz Lang.

Here’s Paul saying, “No, you ride with him, I’ll take a cab.”  You can figure out the rest. Love Brigitte’s super wide headband. Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, and Jack Palance in the car.

Camille practices being a seductress. Playful or is it Godard’s comment on how easily we are seduced by her? Brigitte Bardot.

Pouty, sexy Brigitte Bardot.

A cute shot of her in a hat. Brigitte Bardot.

Here she is looking soooo different in a black wig. Brigitte Bardot.

On a trip to Capri Paul tells Camille to go on without him, again. Really? It’s sun-dappled Capri, your wife looks like Brigitte Bardot and you’re telling her to go have fun with another guy?

I love the full skirt with the pink pullover, demure, but on her, super sexy. Brigitte Bardot.

I’ve read that Bardot’s hair is the most referenced hair by uber hair stylists. The long bangs (fringe), volume on top, long, thick, somewhat bedroom tousled, is pretty much seen every season and in countless editorial shoots.

Brigitte Bardot.

Camille leaves Paul for Prokosch (Jack Palance?) Only in the movies.  Let’s just say it ends badly.

Brigitte Bardot and Jack Palance.

Film poster. From IMDB.

Vivre sa Vie

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Jean-Luc Godard’s ,”Vivre Sa Vie,” 1962, Anna Karina, plays Nana, a down-on-her-luck aspiring actress who falls prey to the dangers of prostitution: moral, psychological, and physical turmoil.

Could be a Chanel ad if it were not so melancholy. Anna Karina.

Her bob and black and white outfits remind one of Uma Thurman’s Mia character in “Pulp Fiction.” Anna Karina.

The prim ruffled shirt, cardigan and skirt belie her new profession. Anna Karina.

Anna Karina.

The fur-trimmed coat is lovely. Anna Karina.

Choosing to shoot in black and white adds to the starkness of Nana’s reality.  At once, she looks innocent and deeply repentant.  Anna Karina.

Jean-Luc Godard, 1962.

A Woman is a Woman

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Jean-Luc Godard’s “A Woman is a Woman,” 1961, is his surprisingly light-hearted stab at romantic comedy/musical, but also trying to simultaneously subvert the genre.  Strippers having babies out of wedlock aren’t exactly subjects of bouncy Hollywood musicals.

Angela, his real-life wife Anna Karina, is a stripper who wants to have a baby.  Her boyfriend Emile doesn’t, but ridiculously suggests that she uses his friend Alfred, JP Belmondo, do the job.

Don’t know if it’s a “Singing in the Rain” reference with the umbrella (since it’s not raining), regardless it’s a nice pop of color. Anna Karina.

The white trench, black gloves, and red updo, tough and unexpectedly chic. Anna Karina.

Love that she has red tights, too.

She changes into her stripper costume. Anna Karina.

She does a little song. Anna Karina.

I love the thought of the sailor top as a jacket thrown over something super femme like this bustier. Anna Karina.

Her hair and makeup are super sweet. Anna Karina.

“A Woman is a Woman,” poster. Jean-Luc Godard.

James Bond Exhibition

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For all you vacationing fashionéastes on a jaunt through Europe this summer, check out The Barbican Centre’s “50 Years of James Bond Style,” in London.  What pops into your mind when you think of Bond, James Bond?  Girls, gadgets, guns, and of course, sharp suits.

They have everything from sets, to props, to costumes.  Connery’s Savile Row tuxes, Brosnan’s Brioni suits, to Craig’s isty bitsy swim trunks.  They even made a life-size Jill Masterson, covered in deadly gold paint.

Yes, Pussy Galore is in this one. Subtle, non?

http://www.barbican.org.uk/bond/#info-tab

 

Anna Karenina

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With the success of their, “Mad Men,” inspired collection, Banana Republic brought on Jacqueline Durran, costume designer for the upcoming, “Anna Karenina,” to design a capsule collection for Holiday 2012.

The designs will feature 19th century, Russian touches for both apparel and accessories, for men and women. The film once again pairs director Joe Wright with Keira Knightley.  Are you dying!!!  I LOVED his version of P&P.  I hope they go bold.  I read there will be velvet, faux fur, and lace.  Sounds perfect for Holiday.  Great choice Banana.

So retail is FINALLY (!) timing collections with the release of the movies by which it’s inspired.  FINALLY.  Before a movie would come out, designers would swoon, and you’d see the influence six months to a year later.  Now they’re doing strategic partnerships that give valuable PR to the films and the retail establishment since films are promoted many months ahead of its release date.

I want that hat!  And that aubergine skirt color offset by the white and gray fur, love it!  It looks like a painting.

So much fun you can have designing the costume jewelry from this era.

They better have some great wool coats, nipped in at the waist, and leather gloves.  It looks FANTASTIC!  It’s one of my favorite books, and I can’t wait.

Check out the trailer:

http://focusfeatures.com/video/anna_karenina_trailer

Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen

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Ari Seth Cohen turned his blog into a book. He has a thing for older ladies, albeit, stylish ones. And gents too. They can be eccentric or classic, just as long as they are expressing their own individuality.

I love one of the ladies’ quotes, “If everyone is wearing it, then it’s not for me.” Take that H&M! In a world of fast fashion, youth obsessed culture, it’s nice to see older folks with a wink and smile in their creative ensembles. We will all be this old one day, if we’re lucky. We can still march to the beat of our own drummer, in Red Wings or wing tips, you decide.

Who needs a stylist when you’re stylish? (Should be on a t-shirt, or at least a coffee mug.)

http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com/

Nora Ephron RIP

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Boy, I was pretty surprised by this.  I saw her on Bill Maher’s “Real Time,” a couple of years ago and you would’ve never guessed she would be gone so soon.  She was one of the few successful female writer directors.  No niche, indie films, these were humongous, big bat swinging, box office hits, “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle” (I actually worked on that film!), “Julie and Julia.”

The classic rom-com, “When Harry Met Sally.” This set the bar for which all others are measured.

She did it with brains and wit.  She wasn’t some comely beauty that batted her eyes  into that position.  She was married to Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein) and helped him do a draft of “All The Presidents Men.”  Their draft didn’t make the cut, but the powers that be took notice.  She learn to write screenplays, and write them well enough that she could leverage that into directing gigs that performed spectacularly- worldwide, not just here.

Nora, we will miss you.

Cleopatra at California Science Center

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Two countries constantly in the the spotlight now are Greece and Egypt.  It’s fitting that Cleopatra decides to show up in LA now.

Cleopatra, I had forgotten so much about you.  When I think of you, Liz Taylor comes to mind instead.  I went to the new Cleopatra: The Exhibition (not the most earth-shattering title, I agree) at the California Science Center to get reacquainted.   Cleo was actually Cleopatra VII, descended from Ptolemy, Alexander the Great’s general, which makes her Greek, not ethnically Egyptian (Lots of Ptolemys and Cleopatras in that family tree!).  But she was the only one in her family to learn Egyptian so that made her very popular amongst the common folk.  She was a skilled politician but the might of the Roman army was too great even for her.  She was the last Pharaoh of Egypt.

Many of the artifacts were found submerged at what was Heracleion, the site of Cleopatra’s palace and temple.  It was destroyed by earthquakes then a tsunami.  Others were found along the eastern Nile delta.

Found at Heracleion.

Colossi, gigantic statues of kings and queens, stood guard at temple openings. Only priests and the Pharaoh were allowed in, but you were allowed to worship the colossi.

Some rings that would look at home at Barneys.

A gold coin.  I guess this is why people want to go back to the gold standard.  Gold lasts.

Absolutely amazed something this delicate could survive for thousands of years underwater! Alabaster. Translucent. Just amazing.

This looks like David Yurman, no?

Gorgeous bracelet and earrings. The bracelet is gold leaf and agate from 117-138 A.D., and the gold and pearl earrings are from 332 B.C. – 313 A.D.

This stunning gold and carnelian necklace is from 332 B.C. – 313 A.D.

Cleopatra saw herself as the earthly embodiment of the goddess Isis and Aphrodite. The knot on this toga is a detail associated with Aphrodite.

I thought jewelry designers/fans would get practical inspiration from this post.  But if you’re a history buff like moi, it’s just thrilling to see stuff like this in person.  This is the only west coast appearance of these artifacts, so check it out if you can.

http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/Exhibits/SpecialExhibits/Cleopatra/Cleopatra.php

Colleen Atwood for HSN

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She’s done some of the most most memorable costumes in recent film history, “Edward Scissorhands,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Chicago,” to name a few on her storied resume.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-snow-white-side-20120520,0,1149832.story

And now, with the raves she’s getting for “Snow White,” a collection with HSN.  The video at the top is a real treat for you film costume fans!

http://www.hsn.com/snow-white-and-the-h/atwood-by-colleen-atwood_c-fl_a-9233_xc.aspx?rid=2683

While clothes themselves are not my thing, it’s good to see that these designers can parlay their film work into design work for the masses.  Janie Bryant (Mad Men) and her collaboration with Banana Republic is another recent pairing.

I was expecting to see jewelry in the HSN collection, weren’t you?  The costumes were great, of course, but the medieval, sinister jewelry really stood out to me.  Maybe Colleen didn’t design it, or maybe HSN only wanted her to design clothes based on the movie.  Whatever the reason, opportunity lost, I think for HSN.  I sure it’ll inspire Chrome Hearts, Roxanne Assoulin, or Tom Binns.

Love the chains and the fingertip talon ring.

More fingertip talon rings.

Close-up on one of Ravenna’s costumes.  The snake metalwork is wicked.