Tag Archives: French

Portrait of The Artist as a Movie

The Artist is a silent black and white movie that is sweeping this year’s award season!  The French movie features Jean Dujardin as a famous silent film star named George Valentin in the late 1920s, and Berenice Bejo plays Peppy Miller, who becomes an overnight “it” girl.  Both actors have been nominated for Oscars this year, along with Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and, of course, Costume Design!  The designer of this film, Mark Bridges, is celebrating his first Oscar nomination for The Artist, but has had an interesting and varied career that seems to have gone unnoticed by the Academy.  Some of Bridges’ prior work includes Boogie Nights, The Fighter, Blow, The Italian Job, and There Will Be Blood.  Not exactly sweeping romances that demand big ball gowns, but they are definitely films that demand particular looks and eras, which Bridges perfectly captured from oil fields to 1970s porn.  The Artist begins in the late 1920s and proceeds through the early 1930s.  Dujardin is so handsome, he looks like he could be Gene Kelly’s French brother, and Bejo is so creative and easy to watch, she makes dancing with a hanger look like there’s a person under that suit jacket (pictured, above left)!  While the roaring 20s and old Hollywood glamor are always favored time periods to celebrate, Bridges had the extra hurdle of making the costumes look apropos without having colored film to show the stunning outfits of the movie.  Bridges discussed this difficulty with CNN, “Without the color to communicate the language of telling the story, I was trying to tell the story through textures, whether it be lamé, sequins and beads for Hollywood, or very flat rough textured wools to communicate down-on-your-heels, or the elegance of satin lapels for evening wear, or the shimmer of a beautiful nightgown.  It became a story of textures telling the story.”  Bejo certainly looks adorable in delicate white gloves and loose-fitting garments of the 1920s, as an ordinary citizen, but she looks right at home as a Hollywood starlet in minks, diamonds, satins, silks, pearls and evening gowns, after finding success in Los Angeles.  Peppy Miller’s headgear definitely matches her first name, adding whimsy to Bejo’s head of curls and firmly cements the film’s era.  Dujardin’s wardrobe is just as dashing as he is, as he sports three-piece tuxedos and suits, white bow-ties, black studs and one hell of a moustache.  This editor kept wishing to see the film’s wardrobe in color, but was actually disappointed once I saw the real-life versions on mannequins, which are now currently on display at FIDM Museum & Galleries in Los Angeles (pictured, bottom).  Guess the black and white film really created charm and magic for me!  Congrats Mark!


Jean Paul Gaultier & Amy Winehouse?

Seems like an odd combination, but the French fashion designer’s latest collection was apparently inspired by the late British soul singer.  Gaultier debuted his Spring/Summer 2012 Collection at Paris Week a few days ago, sporting models with sky-high, messy brunette beehives, hoop earrings, black winged eyeliner and even fake beauty marks above their upper lips – all trademark looks of Winehouse, who died last summer at the tender age of 27 from effects of alcohol and drug abuse.  An a capella group also sang Winehouse’s hit, “Rehab,” in the background while the models walked the runway.  Gaultier stated the following, after his show last Wednesday, “She was an icon of fashion and truly, the sense of how she mixed the clothes – it was great.”  Not everyone thought it was a flattering portrayal though… Winehouse’s father, Mitch Winehouse, was particularly upset about the models’ aesthetic, telling The Sun, “It portrays a view of Amy when she was not at her best, and glamorizes some of the more upsetting times in her life.”  Her father is referring to Amy’s heedless behavior, like her constant cigarette smoking that was depicted in the show (pictured, below).  Amy Winehouse’s close friend and fellow Brit, Kelly Osbourne, also had some angry feelings about the show, taking to Twitter to say, “Although JPGaultier was paying homage to my dear friend & icon to the world i found it to be lucratively selfish and distasteful!”  Gaultier stands by his decision though, telling Women’s Wear Daily, “I think Amy Winehouse was truly a fashion icon,” and added that he thought she was overlooked by fashion magazines.  Whatever Gaultier’s intentions, his show was still unique, glamorous and modern, but possibly a little too soon (six months?), and a little too morbid (the models ended the show by sporting black veils), to pay proper tribute to the singer’s life and style.


This editor mentioned last week that she had just returned from a mid-January vacation to London and Paris, and while looking through my favorite Gossip Girl looks, I decided to go with Blair’s Spring 2010 Bensoni polka-dot dress when she goes to Paris, too!  Miss Waldorf has a veritable Cinderella moment, when she forfeits one of her beautiful stiletto pumps in exchange for a mysterious date (what is she – crazy?!), while visiting an art museum.  Alas, Blair soon realizes that her prince isn’t what he seems though (hmm, we’ve all been there…), and that maybe Paris isn’t as magical as she once thought it was.


Grace Kelly’s wardrobe in To Catch a Thief may be one of the most stylish costume ensembles in the history of film.  Or at least, according to us it is :).  We’ve mentioned the stunning white number Kelly wore as Frances Stevens in the 1955 caper hit, and here is another gem from the famous film about a jewel thief.  Kelly wore this two-piece rose crepe top with white wool embroidery and full pleated-skirt during the famous drive scene with Cary Grant.  (Eerily, it is apparently the same road that Kelly was killed on 27 years later…)  A long pink silk scarf and delicate white gloves make this a terrific choice for a summer on the French Rivera.  Costume designer Edith Head was Oscar-nominated for her glorious work on the movie, which eventually paid off – this outfit is currently being auctioned off between $30,000 and $50,000 by Paramount Pictures!  (According to the fab site Penny Dreadful Vintage.)  It’s sad to look at clothes like this, when we know the season is almost at an end…

Words on Fashion

The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.” – Hubert de Givenchy


In celebration of Bastille Day, we had to pick our all-time favorite French girl, Marion Cotillard for July 14th!  Here, the brunette beauty was wearing a lovely light grey belted suit by Christian Dior to announce the Bike in Style Challenge winners in New York.  Her funky shoes were designed by the controversial John Galliano for Dior (the label who Cotillard is the face of).  The strappy silver stilettos have little fertility goddess figurines for heels… which must have worked, because the French star recently welcomed her first child with long-time lover Guillaume Canet!  Always elegant, even when she has an edge – Viva la France!


Silk is the only film of Keira Knightley’s that our editors dislike.  She’s been Robin Hood’s daughter, a sword-fighting debutante, Elizabeth Bennett, a passionate aristocrat-turned-nurse, a model/bounty hunter, and an aggressive archer named Queen Guinevere; in Silk, she’s the forgotten wife of a French merchant who has a thing for Asians.  Borrringggggg.  She’s having way more fun here than she does in the entire movie!  But at least she got to wear one cool outfit!  The 19th century promenade dress is accessorized nicely with a parasol, small straw hat and a drawstring silk bag.