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Midnight in Paris: 1920s chic

Woody Allen’s latest film Midnight in Paris gives me nostalgia for past fashion eras, in particular, the 1920s. Being a lover of 1920s prohibition drama Boardwalk Empire I am forever lusting over the beaded flapper dressers and stunning antique jewellery, so I was happy to see similar costume in Midnight in Paris. 

If you’re not familiar with the plot, the film is based around Gil (Owen Wilson) a Hollywood screenwriter (obviously, resembling Woody Allen during this time) who is faced with relationship troubles and is transported through different eras at the stroke of midnight while holidaying in Paris.

It’s hard not be completely in awe of the costumes back then, especially if worn by famous literary author’s such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, as well as legendary artist Pablo Picasso. The stylish three-piece-suits and stunning evening dresses represent the characters well, they are true artists and living legends – you wouldn’t expect anything less than luxury.

Gil himself is very Woody Allen inspired in his costume – the tweed jackets, loose-fitting white shirts, smart fitting trousers and a chunky belt – all he needs is some chunky framed glasses and he would resemble him completely.

The two women in Gil’s life during Midnight in Paris are completely opposite to each other, not surprisingly due to one being from the 1920s and the other his fiancée of the present day, 2010.

One is Picasso’s mistress Adriana (Marion Cotillard) who is ultra feminine, elegant and glamorous. Her wardrobe is a dream – vintage dresses with extraordinary beaded detail, unusual accessories, in particular the watercolour design bag with subtle fringe detail shown above which you would imagine to have just a matte lipstick and gold compact mirror inside.

Ines (Rachel McAdams) on the other hand is very different. She has a classic European look to her style – very travel inspired and classy. McAdams was draped in designers such as Chanel, Dior and Hermes (all French designers) for the role and I’ve already seen a noticeable amount of film lovers complimenting the above white shirt and belt combination – could this be a hot spring/summer look in 2012?

A few more shots from the film:

Midnight in Paris is available on DVD now.

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Top 5 fashion in film moments of 2011

2011 was a a year with plenty of stunning costumes and I set myself the challenge to narrow them down to just five … five!

In no particular order here are my top five fashion in film moments of 2011:

One – Black Swan

 

Despite the controversy  surrounding the film’s costume design due to the Mulleavy sisters (who are a part of the fashion company Rodarte and contributed towards the fashion choices in the film) not getting recognition at the BAFTA’s whereas the overall costume designer Amy Westcott did, Black Swan to me, is an obvious and memorable choice in fashionable films when I think back throughout the year 0f 2011. Although I am in no position to point fingers and decide who deserves what in terms of recognition for the costumes, what I do know is that it is undoubtedly award-winning worthy.  The phycological thriller takes the aspect of the white swan symbolising the pure and virginal side to the lead of Swan Lake, Nina (played by Natalie Portman) whereas the black swan is highlighting the evil and powerful side, therefore it’s not surprising that the performance costumes are colour coded black and white throughout. The jewel-encrypted bodices, feather tutu’s and the illuminating head pieces are so impressive but don’t expect to see your childhood dreams of ‘I want to be a ballerina when I grow up’ envisioned on screen, as the wardrobe choices and identity shown are much more dynamic. The film heavily influenced the catwalk and fashion world with designer Chanel taking their dark and ballerina-esque clothes into the Spring season and French footwear designer Christian Louboutin designing his very own ballerina shoes with an eight inch heel. Now, they would be far too painful to wear.

Two – My Week With Marilyn

 

Marilyn Monroe was the definition of glamour and a 1950s sex symbol so it’s probably not much of a shock to see this film in the top five. Michelle Williams portrays Monroe in the British Drama My Week With Marilyn which focuses on the particular time in her life when her husband Arthur Miller leaves the country. Monroe is so iconic that it would be a tragedy to portray her wrongly – in terms of fashion everything is spot on but we see her behind the scenes – the private side of her, not the glamourous gowns but the signature dark black shades, white stiletto heels and wool overcoat. She’s so stylish it’s probably not long until the high-street shops are stocked full of Monroe inspired items with shoppers wanting to recapture the 1950s subtle and classy look. Costume designer Jill Taylor created the vintage-style wardrobe for the film in just six weeks, purchasing items from vintage fairs and shops, auction houses and markets to give an honest and true to the character depiction of Monroe. The film is focused at a weak and vulnerable part of Monroe’s life, therefore this is played on a lot showing her wrapped up in a dressing gown, highlighting the need for comfort, not the Hollywood glamour. A must see film for everyone, especially those who adore 1950s styling which is easy enough to recreate today – grab a shirt, pencil skirt, stiletto heels, dark sunglasses and throw in some hair curlers and you are good to go.

Three – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

 

It’s always nice to see Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law on the same screen so I was very much looking forward to seeing the second installment of Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows and I wasn’t disappointed – plot wise and fashion wise. Before I start I thought it best to mention first that in the film we see Downey Jr. in a dress and I thought I would also assure you that there are plenty of clever and humorous scenes in which we see Holmes camouflaged in some outrageous disguises … something that fictional character Sherlock Holmes is well known for doing so. Watson played by Jude Law and Sherlock’s sidekick is radiating style, obviously well groomed and with fashion a clear interest in his life, with his perfectly non-creased shirt,  a Harris tweed jacket, top hat and leather gloves. Holmes is looking dapper too but in his own way – he has that look that he’s just thrown something on yet looks high-class with a slightly scruffy look – whereas it’s very obvious Watson takes pride in his clothing. In one scene in the film we see Holmes wearing a wideawake hat (similar to a trilby), a heavy coat jacket, embellished waistcoat, smart trousers, a silky scarf and round teashades (glasses) – all of which is spot on or extremely similar to the Victorian era in which it is set in. Many of the clothes from the first Sherlock Holmes (2009) were kept and used for this film, as well as sourcing clothes from Cosprop – a Hampshire based costume hire company, specifically original period costumes. A brilliant wardrobe for a brilliant cast – a must see film, even if it’s just to see Downey Jr. in drag.

Four – Drive

 

What a year Ryan Gosling has had and to be involved in my opinion the best film (on all counts) of 2011 he has quickly became a favourite to many in the film industry. Drive, based on a Hollywood stunt performer (played by Gosling) who also has second job as a getaway driver is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and has an outstanding cast in the form of English beauty Carey Mulligan , Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston (see this post) and Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks. A man of very few words (the film has little dialogue – not that this is a bad thing), Gosling wears a silver-white satin jacket which is inspired by Korean souviner jackets from the Fifties and has a scorpion motif on the back which becomes his trademark look throughout most of the film – a memorable wardrobe choice. Gosling looks effortlessly cool throughout the duration of the film (and offscreen I may add) with a slight colour coding in his costumes – the caramel brown gloves match the inner collar of his jacket which in turn matches his shoes. Gosling or the ‘unnamed driver’ wears a variety of well known brands during the film including a vintage Levi’s denim jacket which had to be multiplied by twelve due to the amount of blood in the scenes and a Henley t-shirt which originated from soldiers who wanted to wear an extra layer underneath their wool and fighting jackets which gave off a scruffy mechanic look. Only Gosling could pull of the costumes in the film, I couldn’t quite imagine the likes of say, Seth Rogen pulling off the satin jacket, aviator sunglasses and toothpick in mouth combo. Sorry Seth.

Five – The Help

Mad Men eat your heart out. Costume Designer Sharen Davis created some beautiful pieces for book adaptation The Help which is based during the 1960s and focuses on the time when African-American maids worked in white households in Jackson, Mississippi. The styling has 1960s written all over it – women’s retro tweed suits, cat-eye sunglasses, simple tea dresses and bold floral print tailored dresses – basically my idea of heaven, being a big fan of Mad Men as well. The accuracy of the costumes is perfect and presents the era properly – head to toe the characters are dressed appropriately – everything down to headwear – bows and silk scarves are included. A lot of the characters including Skeeter (played by Emma Stone) wear the classic a-line skirt with a patterned blouse or a sleeveless shirt with high-waisted trousers… very Joan Holloway or Peggy Olson. The pastel colours with full skirts nipped in at the waist are very flattering and capture a very feminine look for the cast. Oh how I wish I was born in the 60s.

There you have it, my top five fashion in film moments of 2011. What are yours?

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