Mad Men in black and white

Happy Easter everybody!

I came across these absolutely stunning photographs by James Minchin III on the set of Mad Men and had to share them with you all. Also, who’s been watching season 5? It’s sure great to have Don Draper back in my life I have to say …

Aren’t they just lovely?

See more here.

The Artist; colour was important for the BAFTA winning black and white film.

The film industry has been going crazy over the new black and white near-silent film The Artist  – so crazy for it that it’s been winning pretty much everything this year. Whether you sat down and watched the Golden Globes and the BAFTA’s this year or caught some of the highlights, you are sure to have seen the charming Jean Dujardin explain how his agent rejected him in the past for having too much of an ‘expressive face’ or the life-saving Jack Russell Terrier, Uggie jumping around on stage.

Here’s a quick run through of how well loved this film is – six nominations for the Golden Globes (the most of any 2011 film) and won three; Best Motion Picture in Musical or Comedy, Best Original Score and Best Actor  in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Dujardin. It was also nominated for twelves BAFTAS (again the most of any film from 2011) and won seven – the most wins of the night including Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Dujardin (I bet his agent is kicking himself.) With the OSCARS fast approaching (27th February) the film is set to be winning even more awards as it is nominated for ten including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor for Dujardin (again) and Best Supporting Actress for his co-star  Bérénice Bejo. Not bad, not bad at all. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do right away.

Oh no. Now I’ve gotten carried away and forgot to mention the most important part, well, in terms of this blog post … Mark Bridges (Boogie Nights, The Fighter), the costume designer of The Artist walked away with the BAFTA for Best Costume Design just over a week ago and very deservingly so.

Those of you who follow me on the On Screen Fashion Twitter  page or my personal Twitter page or even those of you who know me personally will have heard me say this – “What a face!” – Dujardin really does have the best face, so very like-able.

Ok, I’m losing track again.

Based in the late 1920s and early 1930s, The Artist is based in old-school Hollywood where silent films are going out of fashion and the birth of the talkies is apparent. Maybe surprising to some but a lot of the costumes in the film are bold, bright colours with a lot of detail to liven up the scene and brighten up the characters. As said by Bridges himself – “Things that you wouldn’t notice in color suddenly showed up when it became black and white,” he said. “A simple beaded flapper dress suddenly became maternity wear.”

While admiring the costumes throughout the film, e.g. the coral, 1920s silk dress we see Peppy Miller wearing with the royal blue tie and ivory cloche hat, I couldn’t help but find it hard to imagine these costumes ever worn in the ‘real world’ – they are just too charming and Hollywood-film-like… if that makes sense. In the film the dress is shown as a medium-grey tone but has a wonderful contrast due to the tie and collar – without this contrast the dress would have looked very dull and shown Miller very differently emotionally, as well as physically.

Dujardin portrays George Valentin – the silent film expert who has to deal with the heartache of his career potentially being over due to the talkies replacing silent film. Bridges used many images of John Gilbert – a silent film actor of the same period for inspiration for Valentin’s costume – the pair are almost identical and even both rock moustaches. We see two very different sides of Valentin in the film, costume-wise, to highlight the changes that are happening in his life. The upbeat, happy Valentin wears a dapper black suit, white shirt, white bow-tie combo whereas the depressed Valentin is shown (after just sold his expensive suit to make money) – staring hastily at his reflection in the shop window wearing a grubby grey suit and a messy, unbuttoned shirt underneath.

With just eight weeks to gather all of the costumes, and after a lot of silent film watching, Bridges found it difficult to find clothing in a wearable state – being 80-years-old and all. Some of the dresses worn in the film were real dresses from the 1920s but many had to be remade in silk because of many of the wearable dresses being cotton which wasn’t the look he was attempting. Being based in Los Angeles amongst excellent costume rental shops, tailors, dressmakers and shoemakers, I’m  sure it would have made the fast-moving experience a little easier, and anyway – everybody can do with a little pressure in their working-lives right?

When I didn’t think that everything in this film could be any more charming (his face, the dog, her face, the dancing…), I go and read that Bérénice Bejo is going to start wearing her costumes on the red carpet. How lovely is that?

Good luck to The Artist and all of the awards it is nominated for at the OSCARS (especially for Best Costume Design).

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