In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re featuring Maureen O’Hara from the 1952 classic The Quiet Man for the 4th year in a row! Mary Kate Danaher’s brother won’t give her her dowry, and her husband is an Irish-American boxer (John Wayne) who won’t fight him for it, which only makes her angrier. Most of the film, she’s pissed off but she’s smiling brightly here, at the end. O’Hara is wearing a cornflower blue button-down shirt, a full red skirt with navy piping, a white apron and a sky blue scarf crisscrossed over her chest. The stunning redhead looks good in anything, but the combination of red, white and blue looks gorgeous on her (and supports her husband’s national colors!) Éirinn go Brách! <3
Tonight, the 86th Academy Awards will air, and our final “Look-of-the-Day” from an Oscar-nominated film is Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets. Hunt won Best Actress for her portrayal as Carol Connelly, a single mom who works as a waitress, and ends up romantically-involved with an high-maintenance, best-selling OCD author named Martin Udall (played by Jack Nicholson). It’s one of this editor’s all-time favorite movies. Here, Carol enters for their first date in a lovely, patent leather-belted red shirt dress with white polka dots and matching buttons. Ali Basye of On This Day in Fashion references costume designer Molly Maginnis’ comments about the outfit from the book Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design, “Jim Brooks told me repeatedly that this was the most important costume in the movie… It was important that the dress have the feel of a housedress and yet make Helen’s character feel like she looks great.” Martin, always charming, takes the wind right out of her, by commenting, “I don’t get this place. They make me buy a new outfit, and they let you in with a house dress.” Carol is ready to walk out on him, but he convinces her to stay, by revealing the best compliment of all. <3
This “Look-of-the-Day” is from the surprise 2005 Best Picture winner, Crash. It’s a sublime film, and this is one of its many difficult scenes to watch. Thandie Newton plays Christine Thayer, the wife of a successful Hollywood director (Terrence Howard). The couple is pulled over (for their race, more than any other reason), while driving home after a party in LA. Christine gets sexually assaulted by the arresting officer, while her intimidated husband looks on helplessly. The white cocktail dress she has on is very sophisticated, with a draped collar, but it also has a hint of sexiness with low-cut side panels. She looks picture perfect as a tasteful upper-class woman, but unfortunately, she doesn’t feel that way. This is a great example of an outfit being able to tell a story: before Thayer is groped, she looks stunning and sure of herself, but here, she resembles a lost child with covered, hunched shoulders who has been scared, betrayed and hurt.
In featuring Oscar-nominated film costumes this week, we had to come up with a gown for “Fancy Friday.” While scrolling through past nominees, we forgot Raiders of the Lost Ark was nominated for Best Picture in 1981! It probably isn’t the first film that comes to mind for glamorous outfits, but Indiana Jones’ love interest gets to wear some beautiful clothing. Karen Allen plays Marion Ravenwood, a spunky bartender/journalist/adventurer who Harrison Ford’s character falls for in the Steven Spielberg film. A sassy, blue-eyed, brown-haired tomboy that gets to run around Egypt and Europe with the sexiest archaeologist known to man? As a child, I pretty much wanted to be her when I grew up. (I got to do most of that, but I’ve yet to find a historian that happens to look like Harrison Ford… Or fight Nazis lol.) At the climax of the film, Marion sports a beautiful creamy white satin gown (technically a nightgown) while she gets kidnapped by the villains. Beforehand, she and Indy do get to spend some downtime together though… Costume designer Deborah Nadoolman told TheRaider.net, “Karen Allen’s character was hard to get right. It was tough to transition a self reliant trousered tomboy into a glamorous wench who could wear a white tulle gown followed by a very bare white bias cut satin slip.” Well, we think she nailed it! In the film’s fourth installment, the two characters cross paths again, and when Marion tells Indiana there must have been other women, he tells her they all had the same problem: “They weren’t you, honey.”
Our “Look-of-the-Day” posts this week feature looks from Oscar-nominated films, in honor of the upcoming award ceremony. Here is one of our all-time favorite actresses, Donna Reed in From Here to Eternity. The clean-cut Midwestern star was most famous for her classic 1950s/60s television show, but what most people don’t know is that she won an Academy Award for playing a prostitute in the 1953 film. Our editors always adored her from having watched It’s A Wonderful Life every Christmas since they were little. While that movie seems to stand the test of time, From Here to Eternity feels extremely dated upon recent viewing. Other than the iconic beach scene, the only memorable part of the film is Reed. Her subtle performance far outshines the other major stars in the movie. Here she is as Alma “Lorene” Burke in a sexy black halter dress with sequined straps, dark lipstick and chandelier earrings. The sultry look was much different than the lily white characters Reed normally played, but she still manages to look very lovely as a lady of the night.
This Sunday, the 86th Academy Awards will take place, and leading up to the ceremony we’re featuring some of our favorite looks from Oscar-nominated films. Here is Jessica Chastain in her first nominated role as Celia Foote in 2011’s The Help. The beautiful redhead plays an almost unrecognizable curvacious southern blonde, who isn’t as ditzy as she seems, and is one of the most interesting characters in the film. Here, Celia and her husband attend a local black-tie event, but everyone else’s husbands’ eyes are on her in this gorgeous hot pink gown that accentuates her hourglass figure. Since Celia’s originally from a different social class (and she nabbed the town queen’s first love), her conservative neighbors of 1960s Jackson look on green with envy when she enters the room.
For Valentine’s Day, we usually show our favorite looks from romances, and since the Day of Love fell on a “Fancy Friday,” it only made sense to feature a romantic gown. (Apparently, RED is the color we like for this holiday, considering it was last year’s choice and also our first Valentine’s post). Here is the magnificent Cate Blanchett with Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This is one of this editor’s all-time favorite cinematic dresses, and I’ve wanted to write about it since we started theSkinnyStiletto. Blanchett plays Daisy, a girl who falls in love with the boy next door, but the only problem is, he’s trapped in the body of an old man who ages backwards. Here, he’s come to admit his true feelings for her, but it’s a bit awkward as she’s a bright, youthful dancer and he’s still deep into middle-age (at least physically). Costume designer Jacqueline West (who was nominated for her work on this movie) described how it was her favorite look of the film to Elle: “The red dress has become kind of an icon piece. It was a compilation of some different Claire McCardell designs that I loved. The long ballerina-length skirt in 1947 – no one else was doing that really in America. It was strictly in Europe, in France. McCardell’s favorite color was red, and I put the hooks and eyes that she used on a lot of her clothing down the front as an homage to her.” West also went on to say it was also Blanchett’s favorite, and director David Fincher doesn’t like red, so Blanchett said having never worn a red dress himself, he “was perhaps not aware of its power.” The result was stunning, and the most memorable part of the film is the way Daisy performs her ballet sequence for Benjamin in the gown (pictured, below). It’s the moment when the viewer realizes that they’re destined for each other, even if they’re at opposite ends of their lives.
Merry 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. The dress 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! <3
While 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!
Carey 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-button 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 costumes… I 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) that her suitor meets on the street… Basically a classic pedophile pickup, but it’s also a true story!