Give a frock Friday

When the film Atonement came out in 2007, this dress became indelibly fixed on my brain. I adore the hypnotising shade of green and the 1930s silk, cut on the bias. Designed by costumier Jacqueline Durran, this talented lady has also designed costumes for Pride & Prejudice (2005) – again for Keira Knightly, Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002) and lately for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) (awesome film!) and the soon to be released Anna Karenina, which also stars Keira Knightly.

I haven’t read Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel Atonement of which the film was based on, but I came across a blog which says this: Ian McEwan spent several pages on Cecilia choosing her dress for the eventful dinner in the novel. He describes her final choice, “As she pulled it on she approved of the firm caress of the bias cut through the silk of her petticoat, and she felt sleekly impregnable, slippery and secure; it was a mermaid who rose to meet her in her own full-length mirror.” Film director Joe Wright insisted to costumier Durran that the gown must have the same feel and so she came up with a flowing bias cut green silk gown that would flow with actress Keira Knightley’s movement, as if she were underwater. Of the dress design itself Jacqueline Durran said: “I know quite well that I didn’t make a 30s dress. We were creating a remembered moment of someone else, so I pulled details I liked from the 20s and 30s and worked out which ones would combine together to make something that suited Keira.”

Cecilia also wears diamond star hairpins and a cuff bracelet, all designed by Chanel for the film, and even though Jacqueline Durren didn’t win an Oscar for her beautiful creations for Atonement, her design surely has earned her a place in film history, something which will live on.

I think I am going to feature more frocks from films from now on. Do you have a favourite that you would like me to feature? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Enjoy your weekend x

Michelle as Marilyn

I am so looking forward to seeing Michelle Williams in the new film My Week with Marilyn.  I’m not sure when it opens here in Australia (February 16, I think?) and when it does open, I am going to be the first in line.  
Michelle Williams in character, photographed by Annie Leibovitz for American Vogue, October 2011.

Marilyn and new husband Arthur Miller (played by Dougray Scott) in a scene from the film.

I have always been an admirer of Marilyn Monroe, I read everything and anything I could get my hands on over the years.  

Set in 1956 and based on a memoir written by Colin Clark, a third assistant director on The Prince and the Showgirl, the movie Marilyn was in London to make along side British thespian Sir Laurence Olivier.

Watch the trailer for the film below:


I have read some interviews with Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh (whom I adore) and it has given me even more incentive to see it because they both seem to be so invested in their respective roles.  

Biopics always face a tough audience because they are always going to be judged and scrutinised by die-hard fans.  This is the first film about Marilyn to be made in some time, just when you thought there are no tales left to tell…  


Personally, I can’t wait.




Kisses!

Heidi 

They don’t make them like they used to.

Today is Valentine’s Day and so I felt like writing a little about what I believe is one of the best romantic comedies ever.  


Of course even if you haven’t seen it, you will most likely know of the very famous scene when Meg Ryan’s character Sally proves a point to Harry (played by Billy Crystal) by faking an orgasm in the middle of a crowded cafè because he doesn’t believe that women  may be “faking it” with him in bed.



My favourite scene is when Sally and Harry realise they are falling for each other but are too afraid to admit it.  They have begun spending more and more time together, each sharing parts of their recent breakups from long-term relationships where they both get to support and give advice to each other, along the way becoming friends.  

When Harry Met Sally has an excellent supporting cast in Carrie Fisher (Marie) and Bruno Kirby (Jess) both playing their roles to perfection.  I am sure MGM could easily have developed a sequel with just those two characters in the lead.  



Meg’s character Sally Albright is described by Harry as one of the worst kind of women because she thinks she is low maintenance when really, she is high maintenance.  I do love the way that Sally orders her meal.  I too am someone that likes things how I like them, but I don’t think I would go to the extreme of ordering pie like Sally does.  I’m not that big a fan of dessert for starters! 



I love Sally’s hair and makeup in this part of the film, (it is 1977 after all) I love that she sprays hairspray on her hair before getting out of the car!  


By the time the film ends in 1989, her wardrobe has changed but her style has remained the same. Tailored and classic New York of the era. I love her hat in the scene where Sally and Harry are taking a walk together in a park.  I have a hat just like it which I refer to as my Annie Hall hat because Sally’s hat looks like Annie’s



Today the classic split screen dialogue between Sally and Harry would be played out with Skype instead of on the telephone.  I like how this method was updated in You’ve Got Mail with Kathleen and Joe’s romance playing out on email. Makes you wonder how it will all happen over the next twenty years.   



They don’t really make them like they used to anymore.  I struggle to find a romantic comedy that I can watch over and over with the same fresh eyes as I do When Harry Met Sally.  Of course, it may be just me? What do you think? Has Hollywood made a romantic comedy in the last decade that you would consider to be a modern classic? 


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"These were Italian."

Romancing the Stone (1984, directed by Robert Zemeckis), is one of my all time favourite movies.  I love it because of the memory of seeing it at the movies when I was 11 or 12 with my friend Ondine (we were with her big sister, who’s name was also Heidi – she was on a date and was supposed to be keeping an eye on us, but, well, as I said, she was on a date), so her little sister and I, well we were left to our own devices and when the movie got a bit scary for us we kept running out into the foyer and buying more popcorn and waiting for the scary part to be over so we could go back in.  These are fun memories for me, and after the movie came out on video (yes, good old VHS), my friend Ondine and I watched it over and over and over until we knew all the dialogue to death.  Later we began using my Dad’s video camera to film each other acting out lines from the movie.  Our favourite was of course, the classic:

Jack: “My minimum price for taking a stranded woman to a telephone is $400.”

Joan: “Will you take 375 in travellers cheques?”

Jack: “American Express?”

Joan: “Of course”

Jack: “You’ve got a deal.”

Over the years I have spent more time watching this movie (we’re into the hundreds of times here) and as I’ve matured I’ve learned more about the characters and of course began to understand nuances in the story that as a naive young girl used to fly right over my head.

The main character, Joan Wilder (played by Kathleen Turner) is a romance novelist, and from the opening scene we discover that she is obviously a dreamer and lives her life through the protagonist of her books, Angelina.  Angelina is everything that Joan isn’t.  Powerful, confident, sexy and she always gets the guy.  The film opens in her apartment and when Joan is completing her latest novel.  She is single, lives with her cat (called Romeo) and after she’s finished, we discover there has been nothing else going on in her world, she is essentially chained to her desk, she most likely hasn’t left her apartment for days.

Romancing the Stone was written by Diane Thomas, a waitress who was paid (if memory serves) $200,000 for her manuscript but sadly, Diane was killed in a car crash just after the film’s release.  This has always reminded me a little of Margaret Mitchell who wrote Gone With the Wind.  She was hit by a car and killed while crossing the street and never knew the impact her book would have on audiences.

Joan Wilder and her editor Gloria, played by Holland Taylor.

Joan in her apartment on hearing her sister has been kidnapped and held for ransom for a treasure map that was posted to her by her sister’s husband before he was murdered.

The biggest influence this movie had on me is that it made me want to be a writer. Kathleen Turner’s character Joan Wilder was for me, the ultimate transformation from bookish type who never gets out of her apartment, who lives vicarously through her the characters she creates for her books to a self-assured, confident and stunning goddess.  Of course I always dreamed that I would live through a similar experience, but to date this hasn’t happened.

Another favourite scene is after they’ve gone down the mudslide, Joan is recovering from the shock of the slide (and Jack landing face-first between her legs), she is trying to pull herself together while her clothes are falling apart.  Jack chops the heels of her shoes with his machete:

Joan: “These were Italian”
Jack: “Now they’re practical.”
Joan: “Is nothing I own sacred to you?”
Jack: “Only your $375 dollars.”

This was the first movie I saw with Michael Douglas (that I can recall anyway) and he is funny, a little irreverent and yes, even a little bit sexy.  This movie was made in 1984, so come on, he was a lot younger then!  I certainly never wanted to marry the guy, but he plays the swashbuckling-anti-hero pretty well I think.

Michael Douglas’s character Jack Colton is a cad, and he plays it to perfection.  In the shot above, Joan has just made an agreement with Jack for his help in taking her to a telephone – of course she expects him to carry her bags for her but he has no intention of doing anything for her except what they agreed upon.  A little bit further along he ends up tossing her suitcase over the edge of a cliff to save time.

Joan is such a great character because she starts out as this little mouse and ends up being the lion that roared.  In the beginning she’s afraid of living life outside her apartment but ends up fighting for her life, falling in love and over a waterfall, navigating the jungles of Colombia and fighting off a war-lord (and very nasty piece-of-work).

Joan and her sister Ellen are confronted by scary Zolo.

The end scene of the film when Joan is walking down the street to her apartment is such a complete change from when we first see her on screen. Her hair is flowing, she is wearing make up, her clothes are more womanly and she is so relaxed, not concerned about the attention she is receiving from the men on the street.  At the beginning of the movie, she is so matronly, we the viewer have no idea there is a beautiful and confident woman hiding behind the bun, glasses and boring beige clothing.

Joan at the end of the film, after all her adventure – what a difference a few days away in Colombia can make?

I read somewhere that a remake of the film is scheduled to be released in 2011.  I just hope it is nothing like the original, because you can’t remake the chemistry between Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

I hope I have inspired you to either watch Romancing the Stone whether for the first time or for the 100th time.  I love movies that are about writers, especially if it gets them out of their comfort zone, which is exactly what happens to Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone.

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More Sand than Sex, or the City



Garance Dorè was spot on with her review of Sex and the City 2 – not much sex and even less city”.


So what I have to say about the movie is probably gonna hurt some of you hard-core fans out there (and believe me, I’m one of them), because I do so love the Sex & the City series, and I loved the first movie too, but…  


Michael Patrick King should have relinquished some of his control and allowed the story and the screenplay to have been written by someone else this time around.  A fresh take is what the girls needed and unfortunately what we were given was not what we all imagined or indeed hoped for.



Yes, it was funny, even funnier than the first, and yes there was fashion but frankly, I was left wanting more of the old and what we got was a bunch of women complaining about their perfect lives with their perfect wardrobes and even though they had been flown 6500 miles across the world to a dream destination with royalty extras, it still wasn’t enough.  I mean, how much do these girls need to be fully satisfied?  

 Who goes shopping in a souk in this get up?  I mean, seriously?



My favourite thing in the movie was Carrie’s necklace of a crescent moon and falling star.  Unfortunately if I want one of my own I will have to have it made of make my way over to Turkey as it was a piece picked up by Patricia Field when she was there.  Sigh…


I did love Carrie’s flowing dresses, but as my best girlfriend Kirsty said, now that SJP is in partnership with Halston, there is no real Carrie outfits in this movie.  Most of them were Halston.

I just felt that the fashion took over the film ( which was not that difficult a thing to do as the plot was weak to begin with).  And that ridiculous Yohji Yamamoto hat that Carrie wears on the plane – oh lordy, fashion victim!  It looked like she was wearing a crab pot on her head and who would wear such a huge hat onto a plane in the first place?  Surely customs would confiscate it from you before you even made the first class lounge? Mind you, it wasn’t the only silly hat worn in the movie.



The real star of the movie for me was Carrie and Big’s apartment.  I loved it, especially their coffee table and their bed-head.  Oh and the walk-in closet was a-maazing!



Another peccadillo was (and yes I am nit-picking here), but if Miranda is such a busy working mother, how in the world would she find the time to go shopping for her wardrobe? 

Cue the Casablanca influence here on Miranda.  



I did love Miranda and Charlotte’s Cosmo-fueled heart-to-heart about motherhood.  I was able to relate only too well and laughed out loud.



Was it just me or does anyone else feel like Samantha’s character is the only one of the girls still the same?  I’m beginning to think of Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as boring old fuddy-duddies now which sadly makes Samantha look way too over the top.



One last thing, the flashbacks – why did they even bother with them?  Such little time on screen, I think it would have been better to actually show them meeting each other, it would have been much more fun, don’t you think?



Oh, and Carrie’s Chanel dance mask sunglasses – a bit much perhaps?  

As always, Carrie’s (and SJP’s) hair is perfect and very enviable, as is her gorgeous headband.



And what was up with Samantha’s hair and makeup at Stamford and Anthony’s wedding?  


(The lady doth protest too much, methinks.)


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Hedy Lamarr: Hollywood’s Most Legendary Beauty?

Legend tells us that Hedy Lamarr was the most beautiful woman ever to grace the silver screen.
It is a fairly bold statement because when you look back, beautiful goddess were never something lacking on the silver screen.
Beauties such as Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner and Veronica Lake. These ladies have gone down in Hollywood history for their extraordinary beauty.

Ava Gardner and Veronica Lake
Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth

But, Hedy was different…

Austrian born Hedy Lamarr’s career was dominated by male movie moguls from the beginning and she never stood a chance.  She is most famous for the first nude scene in a movie (Ecstasy,1932).  But she was so much more than this.  In Hollywood, she was usually cast as glamorous and seductive. Her American debut was in Algiers (1938). 

Her many films include Boom Town (1940), White Cargo(1942), and Tortilla Flat (1942), based on the novel by John SteinbeckWhite Cargo and in 1941, she was cast alongside two other Hollywood beauties, Lana Turner and Judy Garland in the musical extravaganza Ziegfeld Girl

The more I ponder, the more I see that her struggle was not very different from many starlets and their same drive for cinematic glory today.  Much like fashion today; it is constantly changing, not always understood and we are hard-pressed to keep up with it.  


Hx

Something to Get Your Teeth Into

I literally just came across these amazing pictures of Kristen and Rob in character as Bella and Edward.  They are divine and of course I felt absolutely compelled to share them with you all immediately!  The photographs and interview with Kristen and Rob featured in this December’s issue of US Harper’s Bazaar.


 
This one is my absolute favourite, reinventing the meadow scene… sigh!
This is the subscription only cover.




To read the interview with Kristen and Robert, click here.
The intention of the shoot was to vamp Bella up a bit, make it as gothic and sexy as possible.  Mission accomplished, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the magazine!


Sweet dreams everyone!


Hx





Source: US Harper’s Bazaar Dec 09 issue.

Le Divorce: An American In Paris

Le Divorce (2003), directed by James Ivory, tells the story of Isabel Walker (Kate Hudson), a young American woman who comes to Paris to help her pregnant sister Roxy (Naomi Watts) only to find upon her arrival that her sister’s husband has left her to be with his married lover.  

One of the primary pleasures of Le Divorce is its cast. Leads Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts, are well cast as sisters. The supporting cast is filled with great names such as Glenn Close, Stephen Fry, Stockard Channing, Sam Waterson, Matthew Modine, Bebe Neuwirth and Leslie Caron. Based on the novel by Diane Johnson, Le Divorce was billed as a comedy but I while there are humorous moments, the film is also punctuated with moments of tragedy, loneliness and deep sadness. This film has two plots. One plot, which I shall call Roxy’s story, and then there is Isabel’s story and of self-discovery. 

 

Isabel arrives in Paris, the quintessential California girl. Very quickly she takes it upon herself to become the mistress of her French uncle-in-law Edgar. In order to woo Edgar, a man much older than she, Isabel changes her hair and buys expensive lingerie from La Perla and calls him up whereby Edgar invites Isabel to lunch where the “frisson” is apparent and the rules of engagement for the affair are laid down by Edgar. Shortly after she receives a hand-delivered Hermès Kelly bag symbolising the beginning of the affair – a symbol which we later discover Edgar has used many times before.

What I love about this movie is that it so cleverly illustrates some of the cultural clashes between American and French views regarding marriage, divorce and adultery and their inevitable incompatibility.  

Glenn Close’s plays an American writer making Paris her home and it is such a great role for her. She looks fantastic, her long, grey hair so beautiful and so French. I enjoy her wit and intelligence, and her role as mentor to Isabel makes me Iike her even more. One of my favourite scenes is when Glenn’s character talks about writing a book on French women and how their scarves alone could fill entire chapter.  I love it!

Isabel meets Yves through Glenn Close’s character Olivia Pace and they become casual lovers, even throughout her affair with Edgar.
Sam Waterson, Stockard Channing, and Thomas Lennon are each excellent as members of Roxy and Isabel’s Santa Barbara-based family. The film is a love letter to Paris, which is of course one of the reasons why I enjoy watching it so much.  Director James Ivory presents a portrait of the city that’s so infused with romance that it’s impossible for Isabel to feel terribly displaced for too long.  It embraces the city’s food, culture and language enthusiastically. 

As we watch Roxy and Isabel ride through their individual romantic roller coasters, the two plots complement each other well. Isabel’s might superficially feel a bit frivolous, but the seriousness of her sister’s life diffuses some melancholy throughout her scenes. By crosscutting between the two narrative threads, the film seems to be both commenting on the inevitable fall that awaits the younger, more idealistic sister and suggests new possibilities for Roxy and when the film does end, I always feel that I am not ready yet because I would like to follow the characters around a little more as some of them were just beginning to get interesting.
  

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I Heart Audrey as Coco

The magnificent Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel.  She was hypnotic!



I have just returned from seeing Coco Avant Chanel ( – yes I am aware that I am well overdue in seeing this wonderful film, but my life just doesn’t allow me to get to many movies these days). 

I loved it!  What a woman, so much guts and determination, so inspirational!  I loved how the director illustrated how Coco’s talent was born and also how she drew her inspiration – how obvious it seemed to her.  She simply saw things differently and she never let convention hold her back.   



She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind nor let society tell her how to behave.  She broke free of the ties that others felt bound to and wore her clothes how she wanted to wear them.  It just makes me feel so proud to be a woman… I mean, how lucky are we that  Coco was the woman who gave us Pret-a-porter – she gave rise to the way we dress today.

If it wasn’t for Coco, would we still be wearing corsets?  I wonder?  She took a gift for tailoring and millinery, and turned it into an empire.  She was a true trailblazer.  

Coco’s classic suit interpreted by Karl Largerfeld, in my favourite colour green – it’s on my wish list, of course.  


Thank you Coco for being so brave.


Ciao for now,


Hx

Great Expectations

To say I am eagerly anticipating the release of the film NINE would be a massive understatement.  I cannot tell you how many times I have watched the trailer, hoping against hope to see something new or gain further insight into the production.


To watch the trailer for NINE, click here.


November VOGUE in America features four of the cast members on its cover, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Kate Hudson.  



Shot by Annie Leibovitz, another portrait features all the female leads; Judy Dench, Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson, Fergie, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren.


To read the VOGUE article written by Plum Sykes, click here.

To all of my friends and followers and readers, thank you for your lovely comments these past couple of weeks.  Life has been very challenging but so far, so good.  We are feeling very much at home with our family here in Oz.  Yesterday we experienced the joy of spending the day all together.  Three generations of us, and it was just as I expected – wonderful and touching, and so lovely watching my girls bond with their cousins… I couldn’t ask for anything more.  Pure joy.

Ciao for now,


Hx


Source: Style.com, Vogue.com, Coutorture.com

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