style brick road

Monday, 12 January 2015

Roman Holiday

As far as romantic comedies go - there's only one that one truly HAS to watch before judging the whole genre. Visually impeccable and a cult of filmography, Roman Holiday is a feature that possibly won't make your brain tingle heavily, but will definitely push your heart and cheeks into a big ol' stretch (aka grin). Although there's no super-deep messages hidden in the story of a rebellious heiress, these 2 hours are feel-good moments filled with good acting, dramatic visuals and just a well-rounded story with all its bits.

What made me talk about it here is (of course) the visual aspect that's kinda inseparable with any Audrey Hepburn movies as she's the kind of face that makes you stop and stare. And Roman Holiday is no exception - costumes that make you hold your breath (although not in an over-the-top My Fair Lady kind), and if my word and your eyes won't cut it - you've got the award to prove it. Edith Head was the lady behind many legendary costumes and the face behind the record amount of Oscars in the category of Costume design (8 of them - including the ones for The Sting, Sabrina and The Heiress, and respectively many many maaany nominations aka 35), a name any costume enthusiast will only dream about even attempting reaching in its career. Head was one of the first (if not the only) superstar costume designers that was just obliged to create stellar work and and be respected for it. Although I would love to eat my words, there's really no one who could achieve what Lady Edith did, although there are sure the names and the talents in the industry today (see Colleen Atwood and Catherine Martin). It's probably the same thing as it is with film divas - there's possibly no one like them today, who works with such significance, elegance, grace and poise. 

But personality aside, Edith Head was a genius whose outlet felt perfectly output in Roman Holiday. Having a rough 90% happening in a set of 36 hours (which was quite different for a visually rich 1953 film), the challenge was to give meaning to the costumes yet don't take from the exclusively romantic story between Joe (Gregory Peck) and princess Ann (Hepburn). It's the crisp white shirt (worn by most characters throughout the film) that symbolised a kind of romantic vision of the world, absolutely achievable yet elegant - the goal of deprived and sorrow character than Ann is. Stuck in a long nightgown rather than a pyjama she dreams off, little miss princess is challenged to put on her cropped version of a white button-up and run into the world. The most inspirational scene (hence my outfit) for me is the one where the princess gets her common wish come true - in an almost unconscious state, she gets a pair of striped pyjamas she always wanted. And that's when the romance began.

Not to blurt too many bits of the plot or to ruin the perfectly heartwarming moments, my own version of the Roman Holiday in an outfit came from melting the main trio into an outfit - Joe's white shirt, Ann's striped pyjama and Irving hipster-like (remember - it's 1953!) bearded, easy-going attitude (hence the non-ironed silk) and face. It's not even remotely accurate in terms of time or style, but rather a contemporary reference to one of the most romantic, most legendary movies ever made.

Vintage silk pyjamas, Minelli moccasins, United Colours of Benetton button-up, www.danielwellington.com watch & mom's bracelet from Kamena Duga

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Brokeback Mountain

Most of the times a piece of music/film/photography inspires my outfit, but this time it was a single piece of clothing that got the whole story rolling. As soon as I got my hands on this wonderful, one-of-a-kind looking polar bear shearling coat (because doesn't everyone need a polar bear shearling coat in their lives?) - I was having all kinds of different thoughts going through my mind on how to present it - and as everything happens for a reason, I was accidentally obsessively changing the channels on my living room tv (as I always do), and stumbled upon a scene from Brokeback Mountain where a stunning beige shearling coat was worn by miss Michelle Williams as Alma in the 2006 romantic drama Brokeback Mountain.

It's absolutely not the place and I am definitely not the person to talk about the wonderful things this film did to the society, how it brought up the closeted gay theme to the mainstream level of media and how more people started to talk about it. It's the time to talk about the magic of the costume design the great (yet deceased) Marit Allen achieved in a film that could have easily been a cliché of many aspects, but ended up being an epic visual story that will be remembered forever. That particular coat Michelle Williams wore may have appeared for not more than 5 seconds in feature film that is 134-minutes-long, though it's absolutely significant for the story in total. Shearling coats may have been a staple for the mid-century countryside crew, but in Brokeback Mountain - it brings a point of an iconic piece that is used for a recognition factor. Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) wore it throughout the film, while stopping to wear it just as the romance between him and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) has escalated and broke. Alma was the other characters that wore several variations of the jacket, while another symbol of the movie was definitely the cowboy hat - in a variety of 2 basic colours for men. The opening saw the black one being worn by Jack while the beige one was on Ennis' head, and throughout the film it almost became a symbol of homosexuality and relationship  roles (you could see them wearing the same coloured hat only once, at the point where their love was the most powerful).

I could mention even more objects (like an all-denim look or the last scene that shows clothes being used as stand-ins for characters)  all of which have a specific meaning, but the most interesting out of the bunch was the colour red. As always (see: Jaws 1), it is being used as a dramatic turn-point moment, a symbol of change and action, and Brokeback mountain is no difference. From Lureen (Anne Hathaway) who wears an all-red (including the hat!) outfit at the moment where Jack meets her at the rodeo and instantly sees her as the wife, through Alma's red printed dress from the kitchen scene where she admits to her ex-husband that she knows his true sexuality. All of those moments are turning points, specific timeline dots that interfere with the romance of the two protagonists. Marit Allen was a pro in using colour (which is not an regular case), which is not only shown in this particular piece of film but also in other collaborations with the wonderful Ang Lee including Hulk (green) and Ride with the devil (earth tones).

In my own set of eyes, it was extremely difficult recapturing the spirit of this film that is both simplistic and extremely strong in its costume department. Details were the most important bits, while incorporating the highest-ranking symbols (double denim, cowboy boots, big hat) was a challenge to avoid going into pastiche mode, and transporting it into hommage. Did I succeed? Well, you be the judge... And watch the film!
Wearing vintage polar bear shearling coat, H&M jeans and hat, vintage denim shirt, Isabel Marant x H&M boots and Daniel Wellington boots