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Tag Archives: 100th anniversary

Titanic: A Film to Remember

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the day the Titanic fell to the bottom of the Atlantic, and we wanted to honor the vessel and her passengers, by discussing costume designer Deborah Lynn Scott’s intricate and beautiful early 20th-century Edwardian dresses that Kate Winslet wore in the film that was made fifteen years ago.  In order for this editor to write this piece, and do it justice, I decided to watch it for the Nth time.  (Our other editor got to see it in 3D last week, and said it was truly spectacular.)  Having been just shy of my eleventh birthday, when I first saw the film, all I knew was Leonardo was incredibly handsome; I hated Kate Winslet, because she was making out with my future husband; and I adored all of the dresses Kate’s character, Rose DeWitt Bukater, got to wear.  I no longer hate Kate – I have actually grown to appreciate her as a phenomenal actress, but I am still in love with all of the designs that earned Deborah Lynn Scott her Academy Award for Best Costume Design.  Scott’s resume is as diverse as it is magnificent.  She was the head costume designer for mega blockbusters like Back to the Future, all three Transformers movies, and the hugely popular, Avatar, but aside from the action-packed films she’s done, including others like Minority Report and The Patriot, you won’t be shocked to find out that she’s best known for her beautiful craftsmanship on this James Cameron creation.  Scott has been quoted as saying that she likes to design for all different time periods because they give her, “an incredible opportunity to delve into history, which is a real educational experience,” and she has proven her ability to tell stories through her variation of designs.  Scott studied theater at California State University at Northridge and ended up catching a big break working as a costumer on the set of E.T.  She was eventually promoted to costume designer and has been expanding her extraordinary range ever since.  While watching the feature, I noticed the beautiful subtleties of Rose’s transformation that is partially aided through her costuming.  Rose is first seen in a frock we’re fanatics about (we featured it in one of our first posts) – she appears in a fitted, pinstriped, high-collared suit and a major statement of a hat, but the dress that Rose is wearing at the end of the film, though equally stunning, has a completely different meaning to its presence in the movie.  Rose’s gowns that she wears to dinner are extremely formal, adorned in painstakingly, perfected bead-work complemented by satin and lace, in dark hues of scarlet and maroon.  For Rose’s daytime outfits, they are similar in style as well as color, gold and lime, with long, white sleeves, empire-waists, satin trains, and lace embroidered collars.  For the dress that withstands that most action and longest screen time, Scott created nearly two-dozen copies of the multi-layered, flowing, pastel sheath Rose wears, because she goes through the most physical scenes in it (pictured, above left).  It made sense that this pink and lavender dress was looser than the others in terms of fit and material, but it was also softer and uninhibited, showing the changes Rose was preparing to make with her life once she departed the Titanic.  (Note: Today’s Look-of-the-Day honors a character who is born to survive, just like Rose was.)  In the scene where Rose and Jack are running through the engine room, the dress could easily resemble the paintings that she loves so much.  The movement of the dress alone is filmed in its own shot to show the beauty and existence of Rose’s new found freedoms; freedom to do whatever she wants and the freedom to experience them with the love of her life.

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Girl Scout Power

[A uniform] gives a certain prestige in the community. When a girl is seen in uniform, people recognize her as a girl who is courteous and obliging… The uniform puts every girl on the same footing…[and] makes a useful dress for her to work and play in at the meetings.”Reads the Girl Scout Leader’s Manual, circa 1917.  Today, the Girl Scouts celebrate their 100th anniversary, and despite some recent criticism from wackos like Rep. Bob Harris, the Girl Scouts remain a great jumping off point for young girls.  (Fun Fact: 69% of female US senators, 67% of House Representatives, and 80% of female business-owners were in the Girl Scouts!)  What people generally associate with the nonprofit is delicious cookies, and the color green!  It’s serendipitous that the Girl Scouts’ centennial falls during “Irish Week,” a country whose national color is also GREEN!  The Girl Scouts were founded by Savannah-native Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low (whose portrait is pictured, left).  Following her husband’s death, she moved back from London to her hometown in Georgia.  She had met Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of scouting, while living in England, and decided to create a similar organization for young girls, when she returned to the states.  Eventually, the Girl Scouts blossomed into a huge American youth organization, with over 50 million alumnae.  Their uniform color was originally navy blue, then changed to khaki, and finally became the official green color they are today.  The Girl Scouts’ official webpage has an adorable exhibit on the uniforms used during the last 100 years.  (Our favorite has to be the 1934 Mariner uniform for girls interested in the sea and sailing!  Why didn’t they have that when we were little?!)  Some notable former Girl Scouts include Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric (pictured in uniform, right), Mary Tyler Moore, Sandra Day O’Connor, Tipper Gore, Lucille Ball, Janet Reno, Barbara Walters, and Gloria Steinem, among many others.  Even international supermodel and Project Runway host Heidi Klum’s eldest daughter, Leni, is a Brownie (pictured, below center)!  Sporting green has certainly produced some powerful women, so here’s to another hundred!  Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!


Look-of-the-Day

This may seem like an odd look to start off the New Year with, but today would have been the 100th birthday of author Charles Addams.  Above is his creation, Morticia, come to life as Anjelica Huston in the 1991 film version of The Addams Family.  This twisted comedy is both hilarious and gothic – an odd combination, which makes it unique.  One of this editor’s oldest friends watched this movie everyday for a year when we were younger, so it always reminds me of her – we loved Morticia’s daughter, Wednesday.  The fantastic Ruth Myers was the costume designer of this movie, who made Huston look extremely glamorous and sexy, while being completely covered in head-to-toe black!  The above dress is corseted in beautiful beading and dark lace, with a tight skirt that gathers on the floor, giving Huston an almost spidery look when she walks.  Myers was nominated for an Academy Award for her creative contribution to the film.  Huston looks like she’s about to cast a spell with her lovely long red nails, and she must have cast one over us, because it’s still one of our favorite film wardrobes 20 years later!


South Pole Chic

This time of year usually revolves around the North Pole, but this week the news has been all about its magnetic opposite.  Yesterday was the 100th Anniversary of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (pictured, above) reaching the South Pole – making him the first human to ever set foot on the continent.  About 10 years ago, this editor’s father made her read an article on the Antarctica voyager, Sir Ernest Shackleton, (pictured, below) in National Geographic.  He was trying to illustrate the importance of hard work and determination, but being a teenage girl, the most memorable part I took away from the remarkable story was the fact that Shackleton outfitted his crew in Burberry.  The British label is eponymous with glamorous raincoats, so it was quite surprising to learn that the chic clothing line was the choice of a rugged adventurer.  Thomas Burberry, the company’s founder, invented the waterproof fabric gabardine (for those of you Seinfeld fans – that’s the thin layer of cloth separating Kramer and his private parts from his friends, when he decides to stop wearing underwear).  The company went on to make coats that would keep these explorers, including Amundsen, dry and warm in extreme temperatures and conditions, which started the company’s tradition and reputation for creating resilient outerwear.  The men on these ships would generally wear wool layers and top it off with a Burberry gabardine coat.  (Fun Fact: This editor got a Burberry trench for college graduation from her parents, and it is the finest piece of clothing I’ve ever – and probably will ever – own.  Tim Gunn said one Burberry trench should literally “last a lifetime.”)  Burberry is also committed to supporting the imagination and vision these voyagers held, by creating the Burberry Foundation, which organizes opportunities for young people with dreams.  So when Santa enjoys himself by the fire this year, remember it was Burberry keeping his brothers on the other side of the globe warm enough to live to tell about it.  Saint Nick brings presents, but these men brought us the extraordinary tale of seeing the world – and never giving up.