Look-of-the-Day

 

vera-ellen-3Merry Christmas!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it also happens to be “Pink Wednesday!”  We’ve found it hard in the past to come up with pink outfits for the holiday season, but while our mom was watching White Christmas earlier this month, we realized there was a perfect rose-colored dress for December 25th!  Vera Ellen dances with Danny Kaye in the 1954 film in a stunning pale pink chiffon frock.  Thevera-ellen-5 dressvera-ellen-4 has sequined details, really cute matching shoes, but the full skirt is just perfect for dance number she performs, which reminded us of Liesl’s famous dress in The Sound of Music.  It’s no surprise here, the lovely outfit was created by famous 20th century costume designer, Edith Head.  Another blogger whose site is called Ip & Audrey put it perfectly when she said Ellen looks “like a cream-puffed sugar plum fairy!”  Here’s hoping you have a wonderful Christmas! <3vera-ellen-6

Look-of-the-Day

emma-watson-3emma-watson-4While we’ve featured different school uniforms from TV and film for “Back-to-School Week,” Hogwarts is probably the most exciting and magical (obviously) of the private schools we’d like to go to!  Here is Emma Watson as beloved literary character, Hermione Granger, in her Hogwarts gear.  She and her two best friends, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, attend the wizard academy from the ages 11 to 18.  Since all three are members of the Gryffindor House, their gray uniforms tend to be punched up by their house’s colors – crimson and gold.  Over the years, Hermione goes from an adorable, frizzy-haired bookworm to a stunning, smart wizard, all while wearing various gray skirts (usually accordion), gray pullovers and cardigans piped with red and gold, white button-down blouses, Gryffindor-crested black cloaks, and red & gold ties and scarves that top off every outfit (that we were dying to buy as preteens).  Costume designer Judianna Makovsky was nominated for an Academy Award for her work on the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, while fellow Oscar-winning designer Lindy Hemming costumed the second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  The following six other Harry Potter films were outfitted by Jany Temime.  You can see Hermione’s complete transformation on In Style‘s website.  We love the curly-haired heroine so much, we actually wish the books had featured her as the star of the whole series! ;) emma-watson-5-daniel-radcliffe-1-rupert-grint-1

Look-of-the-Day

carey-mulligan-7Carey Mulligan plays Jenny Mellor in the 2009 drama, An Education, about a schoolgirl who grows up too fast in a London suburb during the 1960s.  Here, Jenny wears her school uniform in a couple of different scenes throughout the movie, sporting a gray A-line skirt, a cranberry-colored belt, a white-carey-mulligan-8button down blouse, a matching diagonally striped tie, with both a gray pullover, and a crested school coat with a coordinated scarf.  The color combo of gray and burgundy is always one of our favorite classic pairings for fall.  Jenny dons some other adorable vintage looks in the film, like floral, gold, leopard, and even a watercolor frock that we just adore.  But Mulligan apparently didn’t love her outfits as much as we did… She told Today, “I had to work my way into liking the costumesI was less keen on the school uniforms.”  Kate Scheyer, of Vanity Fair, pointed out that the film’s designer, Odile Dicks-Mireaux, created an arc of costumes to tell Jenny’s story of a teen that matures quickly by hanging out with an older crowd, beginning with the rain-soaked schoolgirl (pictured, bottom right) carey-mulligan-9that her suitor meets on the street… Basically a classic pedophile pickup, but it’s also a true storycarey-mulligan-10!

Look-of-the-Day

Today is the official first day of summer, and this “Fancy Friday” is certainly a sunny and simmering choice.  In Cairo Time, the ever elegant Patricia Clarkson plays Juliette, a Canadian magazine editor who ends up alone in Egypt, after her husband gets delayed in Gaza while on assignment from the UN.  He sends his dashing friend, Tareq (played by the incredibly sophisticated Alexander Siddig) to help show her around the exotic city.  This film is near and dear to this editor’s heart for a multitude of reasons: I spent the summer of 2007 studying abroad in Cairo, and this movie brings back incredible memories (both good and bad) of my first independent trip into the broad universe alone.  The other is that I attended the 2009 TriBeCa Film Festiva premiere of this film with my mother, and we got to see one of our favorite actresses (Clarkson) answer a Q&A with her talented director, Ruba Nadda.  Both were so smart and down-to-Earth, it was an amazing experience I got to share with my mom.  (I’m also well-aware how pretentious the last three sentences sound, but this film encompasses so many things I love!)  Tareq and Juliette’s friendship blooms on the shores of the Nile, and progresses into deeper feelings in the deserts of Giza.  Without giving too much away, this is the most pivotal scene of Nadda’s stunning story.  Clarkson’s character is whimsical and romantic in her soft, flowing robin’s egg blue gown with an embroidered waist, when she finally visits the Pyramids.  It’s certainly a cinematic treat for the eyes, and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful scenes ever captured on film, especially if the still pictured below is any indication.  Clarkson and Siddig’s elegance is matched by the subtly of this sweeping romance, and a stylish start for the summer.

Look-of-the-Day

This was actually one of the first photos our editors ever saved at theSkinnyStiletto as a fashion favorite – this “Tuesday Twosome” was one of the first reasons we even created the category!  In the 2002 comedy, The Sweetest Thing, Cameron Diaz, Selma Blair and Christina Applegate play best friends and roommates in San Francisco.  Instead of having the usual prude tone girly rom-coms tend to have, this film was aimed at women who had raunchy sense of humors!  Needless to say, our editors loved this movie as teens entering womanhood – especially since the two leads (Applegate and Diaz) played buddies with the initials C & C.  In this scene, Christina and Courtney are out clubbing: Diaz in a black, one-sleeved asymmetrical top, red shiny pants with matching stilettos, while Applegate has pinstriped pants, pink pointy-toe pumps, and a revealing denim halter with a cute belly chain (ahh, remnants of the 90s…)  Costume designer Denise Wingate (who also worked with Blair on the impeccable Cruel Intentions) outfitted the film, and did a great job dressing women at the turn of the century.  These girls were smart, cool, confident, sexually confident, and self-deprecating – I mean, who else could pull off those belly tops?!

Look-of-the-Day

This “Tuesday Twosome” is actually a trio of lovely “ladies” – Lady Mary, Lady Edith and Lady Sybil Crawley, to be exact.  The British beauties play upper crust Edwardian sisters of the internationally acclaimed television show, Downton Abbey.  Here they are in the very first episode of the series, after learning the Titanic has sunk, and as a result, they have lost two cousins in the disaster.  Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) sits front and center in a high-waisted, long grey skirt, a cropped lilac blouse, a white lace camisole with a string of long pearls.  Her youngest sister Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) certainly looks her match in a white-collared lavender dress with similar long, brunette locks swept back, just like her big sis.  Middle sister, and usually the outsider, Edith (Laura Carmichael) stands alone in a high-waisted black skirt, a dark silk floral top with her strawberry blonde hair worn short.  One of the editors at Damn, That’s Some Fine Tailoring noted that Edith is also the one mourning the death of their cousin the most (since she had romantic feelings for him), after attending a talk with the show’s costume designer, Susannah Buxton, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  For Crawley beauty tips, check out this post by Daily Glow!

Look-of-the-Day

The Quiet Man may be the most noticeable movie in America about Ireland, and is always a St. Patrick’s Day favorite.  John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara star in the 1952 film about an American boxer, Sean Thornton, that falls for a surly, sharp-tongued spinster named Mary Kate Danaher (love it!)  Here, O’Hara is wearing a black-belted green floral dress, adorned with white buttons and a lace-trimmed collar.  Without the wide collar, this would actually look pretty modern otherwise, and the material makes O’Hara’s emerald eyes pop (pictured, below).  She tops it off with a wide-brimmed straw hat, which looks gorgeous against her red locks.  According to IMDb, the national color of Ireland (green) is shown in nearly every shot of the film, but it only appears on one costume in the entire movie – this one.  Which makes sense, since it’s the first instance in the film when Mary Kate and Sean kiss!  Apparently bad weather and bickering is what gets the Irish going!  Erin Go Bragh! <3

Look-of-the-Day

We had a little trouble coming up with an Irish gown for “Fancy Friday,” and then remembered the 1992 film Far and Away!  Former spouses Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise star in the Ron Howard movie about Irish immigrants coming to America during the late 1800s, to stake their claim in American soil.  Kidman plays Shannon Christie, a wealthy girl who grows dissatisfied with her parents’ traditional views, and leaves for the US with Cruise’s character, Joseph Donnelly.  Shannon is accustomed to a cushier lifestyle than Joseph, so she emigrates across the ocean more dressed-up than her male companion.  She’s wearing a royal blue gown with a velvet top, leather gloves and purse, and a couple of fancy hats.  Shannon soon learns that rich clothing isn’t going to get her anywhere in this new land… Life is much tougher without money.  But she and Joseph decide to take part in a race across the wide plains of the Oklahoma Territory, in which the victors win part of the vast land!  Costume designer Joanna Johnston, who just celebrated her first Academy Award nomination for Lincoln, outfitted the film.  Fun Fact: Three of Ron Howard’s great-grandparents actually rode in the Great Land Run of 1893!

From Russia We Love

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  Anna Karenina is an epic story written by famed novelist Leo Tolstoy.  (Which was actually made popular again, due to its appearance on Oprah’s book list a couple of years ago… Oh, society.)  Director Joe Wright, of Atonement and Pride & Prejudice, brought the Russian epic onscreen, and didn’t really do a good job of it.  Although it took this editor three viewings just to get through the film, the only thing that kept me interested was Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran’s extraordinary work, and seeing it on one of our favorite girls, Keira Knightley.  We actually featured Durran’s most famous creation, the stunning emerald number that Keira sports in Atonement, in our very first “Look-of-the-Day.”  In an interview with Glamour, Durran said, “At the first meeting I had with the director, Joe Wright, he told me that he didn’t really want to make it historically accurate, costume wise: he wanted to stylize it.  The way he wanted to stylize it was to concentrate on the silhouette of each character and to take an 1870s silhouette, but simplify the surface details so that it really had the architectural simplicity of 50s couture.  What I had to do immediately was look at the 1870s shape then strip away all the surface detail and just be left with that pure shape.”  The combination of the two eras resulted in a stunning wardrobe, with inspiration from vintage Balenciaga, Lanvin, and Christian Dior.  Anna appears in an off-the-shoulder scarlet gown and strings of pearls in one of the opening scenes (pictured, above right) – the lady wore red alright, considering this scene marks the beginning of her affair with Vronsky (played by the miscast Aaron Taylor-Johnson).  Her romantic competition, Kitty, is played by the young and innocent Alicia Vikander (pictured, above with Taylor-Johnson).  Durran told the Daily News, “Kitty’s white dress really evolved from the idea of her being a debutante and being a child.”  Especially, since it’s covered in little pink ribbons and roses.  Knightley’s Anna Karenina is clearly the most striking individual at the party in red, while everyone surrounding her is in stark white.  If there’s one thing we learned from this version of Anna Karenina, it’s that Keira Knightley can wear a hat.  Be it a veiled topper adorned with a large rose (pictured, above left), or an embroidered stunner atop her curls (pictured, above right), or looking like she walked right off the set of Doctor Zhivago in a fur-trimmed Cossack hat (pictured, top), Miss Knightley looks purely stunning in any topper.  Her bold brows, high cheekbones, and magnetic eyes are certainly a director’s (and a costumer’s) dream for closeups.  At the dance where both Anna and Kitty dance with Count Vronsky, Anna is dressed in a black ballgown (pictured, below right).  According to the New York Times, Durran said, “It is one of the most famous costumes in literature.  The way the dress is described, and why it is the most perfect dress for that day, is because it frames Anna’s beauty.”  Knightley sports a dark taffeta gown, and two million dollars’ worth of Chanel diamonds, against a sea of pastels, which “functions visually, because Anna is standing out against this society.”  (Fun Fact: Keira Knightley is a spokeswoman for the famous French brand’s fragrance.)  According to Vanity Fair, “As Anna falls in love with Vronsky, her clothes become lighter in hue to reflect her lighter mood, before returning to darker shades to complement her growing anxiety and paranoia.”  After publicly divorcing her husband Alexei (played by a creepy Jude Law) for Count Vronsky, she appears at the opera in a beautiful, fluffy white gown, adorned in diamonds and a white fur stole (pictured, above).  Anna causes quite a scandal by attending the society event, now that she’s a “ruined woman.”  Jacqueline Durran’s favorite costume of the film is the asymmetrical ivory gown and pillbox hat Knightley sports in the tearoom scene (pictured, below).  Our editors’ favorite costume is the gray gown with the black lace overlay that Keira wears toward the ending of the film.  She looks distraught and depressed, but the gown is truly beautiful.  Although, her best accessories obviously hail from her hatted scenes, or ones where she’s dripping in diamonds from Chanel.  The movie may have stunk, but the costumes were some of the most stunning of 2013.  Best of luck to Miss Durran!

The Mirror Mirror Has Two Faces

Mirror Mirror is the other Snow White story up for the Academy Award for Best Costume this year, like Colleen Atwood’s work on Snow White and the Huntsman.  Both films actually bombed at the box office, and while they tell the same tale, the two films have very different tones.  While Huntsman tells the darker side of the legendary fairy tale, Mirror Mirror is its comedic complement, but it actually has the sad back story.  Its costume designer, Eiko Ishioka died last year after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  This was the last film she outfitted.  She previously won an Oscar for her work on Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula.  According to The New York Times, famed director Coppola said their success was due, “90 percent because she was a genius, and 10 percent because she could not understand a word I said.”   Ishioka was undergoing chemotherapy while working on Mirror Mirror.  Director Tarsem Singh told The Hollywood Reporter, “You would never have known.  She only had two speeds.  Full throttle and stop.  We never had to wait for costumes.”  Ishioka’s incredible use of primary colors throughout the film was a stunning visual experience, especially against the beauty of the film’s two stars (and their tresses), famed redhead Julia Roberts (pictured, above), and the raven-haired Lily Collins (pictured, top right and below).  Singh commented on Ishioka’s work while discussing the evil queen as, “a person who only cares about power… She turned the queen into a peacock, literally a red peacock. You can see her from a mile away.”  (Pictured, top left).  Lily Collins was ideal casting for the girl with, “skin white as snow, lips red as blood, hair black as night,” since that’s how pretty the actress is in day-to-day life!  As Snow White onscreen, we see her first appear in a beautiful pastel pink, blue and yellow gown, decorated with tiny flowers.  According to THR, “Ishioka’s only direction was that the princess was ‘connected to nature.’  Tarsem recalls, ‘She came back with a feminine gown with embroidered hummingbirds, butterflies and flowers that said it all.’” (Pictured, top right).  When Snow attempts to flee, she sports a stunning sunflower-colored cape (pictured, above) that looks strikingly dramatic against Collins’ stark brunette locks.  During the pivotal ball scene, Ishioka came up with the concept that every attendee would be dressed as a different animal (pictured, above).  Prince Charming was played by up-and-comer Armie Hammer, who dressed as a rabbit, while Snow herself had a costume of another stunning white creature, famously known for starting out oppressed: an elegant swan.  The author of the THR article believes the low neckline and wings she wears represents the princess’s desire to break free from the evil queen’s hold on her.  Julia Roberts looks practically like a sister of Queen Elizabeth I, with extravagant ballgowns, high frilly white collars, and famous red hair (pictured, below right).  The Queen’s nemesis becomes quite sporty when she is rescued by seven tiny friends, and hides in the local forest.  In this version of the fairy tale, Snow White learns to sword fight, and dons pants!  (Much more interesting than cleaning up and keeping house after seven small men, I guess…)  Ishioka dressed Collins in a teal peasant blouse, billowy black bell pants, and a dark corseted vest decorated with gold leaves – another nod to the princess’s connection to nature (pictured, above left).  It’s our favorite costume that Collins wears in the film, while the stunning wedding creation Julia Roberts dons is clearly the other winner (pictured, below).  According to the Daily News, the queen “wore gowns with high collars and sharp shoulders to evoke the feeling of power and danger.”  If you look closely, the bodice has intricate detailing that spreads into crawling vines over the skirt, just like poison ivy, indicating what a sneaky creep the queen is.  The wedding gown weighed 60 pounds, measured eight feet in diameter, and needed seven people to move it!  Fun Fact: Between the wedding dress, the peacock gown, and the peach and gold embroidered frock, Julia Roberts wore over 100,000 Swarovski crystals between the three costumes, and all three dresses were handmade!  Snow White’s wedding gown is definitely different than her evil stepmother’s (pictured, bottom).  She wears a bright blue gown with orange sleeves and a bow, supposedly a tribute to Disney’s classic cartoon version of Snow White.  (Originally, the dress was red and blue, but it apparently looked too similar…)  Ishioka wanted Snow White to look like a gift to the prince and the audience, wrapped up with a bow.  Eiko Ishioka never saw the final film, but the real gift was her uncanny ability to tell a story through costume.  Her work was truly the “fairest of them all.”