Practically Magic Style

sandra-bullock-3-nicole-kidman-5camilla-belle-6There’s a little witch in all of us.”  In the 1998 film Practical Magic, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman play very close, but very different sisters that share the same secret – they’re witches!  Sandra Bullock plays the “good” sister, Sally Owens, who just wants to fit in and have a normal life, while her counterpart, dianne-wiest-1-lora-anne-criswell-1Gillian (played by Kidman), just wants to have fun and ignore the townspeople that have judged them for so long.  Their styles are as different as they are from Day One: Sally is soft and innocent (played by a young – and still gorgeous – Camilla Belle, pictured above left), while Gillian (played by Lora Anne Criswell, pictured above right) dresses “edgy” for a kid in feathers and shear fabrics, although here she’s practically “angelic.” 😉  Besides being blessed with special powers, the Owens women all face the same curse that their ancestor Maria accidentally cast upon them: their beloved husbands tend to die!  After being impregnated by a married villager in colonial times, Maria is sentenced to hang but snaps the rope with her abilities, stockard-channing-1-dianne-wiest-2and puts a spell on herself that she will never fall in love again.  Instead the spell has more power than she realizes, and after a few centuries it’s a full-fledged curse, and all the men the Owens women love are “doomed to die.”  After their father is killed, Sally and Gillian’s mother dies of a broken stockard-channing-2heart, and they are left to be raised by their crazy aunts Jet and Frances (played by the incredibly talented Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest, pictured above and below).  The aunts have a different parenting style than most, but they focus on the basics: eating dessert for breakfast, getting drunk in backyard dianne-wiest-3picnics while discussing dead boyfriends, and making their nieces wildly uncomfortable (HELL YES!)  The aunts also dress like freaking queens: they love lots of over sized accessories, BIG hats, long necklaces, antiquated parasols and luxurious fabrics.  As the movie progresses, the writer hints the aunts don’t age, so it’s hard to guess what time period they’re dressing from… jewelry from the turn of the century, dainty lace gloves from the 50s, exotic silks from the orient, and embroidery from the 19th century… maybe ALL stockard-channing-5-dianne-wiest-5of the decades they have lived through!  Aside from being fiercely stylish, they also teach the girls to hone their craft.  Even at a young age, it’s clear Sally is the more naturally-gifted witch, but as the girls grow up, it’s Sally who wants to hide her talents, while Gillian wants to be noticed for sandra-bullock-6-nicole-kidman-7nicole-kidman-8Sandra-Bullock-7who they really are.  After the Owens sisters grow up, Sally stays in town, gets married to a nice local boy (who unfortunately meets the same untimely demise as her dad), has babies and opens a botanical shop, while Gillian takes off for an “exotic” lifestyle (really just drugs, bad parties and terrible boyfriends…)  After one of Gillian’s beaus beats her and then attempts to kill her, Sally accidentally poisons him and the sisters are forced back together to try and cover up his murder!  sandra-bullock-8(Or bring him back to life… Whichever nicole-kidman-9plan works first!)  The film was costumed by Judainna Makovsky, the extremely talented visionary who brought The Hunger Games to life onscreen.  The movie was made in 1998, and while you can recognize some of the 90s fashion, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman wear the clothes so well, it makes us want to break out our middle school wardrobes!  (Although, my longstockard-channing-3-dianne-wiest-4 floral skirts and cropped sweaters did not look that cute…)  Since the Owens women are sorceresses of the earth, it makes sense that they wear clothing indicative of their natures: Sally is light and pure, while Gillian is dark and mysterious (much like their aunts, too).  Sally wears beautiful, subtle florals, while Gillian wears rich earth tones.  Both styles are bewitching in completely stockard-channing-4nicole-kidman-10different fashions.  Historically, witches of the same family supposedly do not look like each other, which is why the filmmakers chose Bullock and Kidman, who look nothing alike (same for Channing and Wiest).  But their opposite hair colors also tell a tale: Sally’s warm, chocolate locks fit her girl-next-door sweetness, while Gillian’s fiery red indicates her wild personality.  After the aunts decide to leave, and let the younger Owens sisters solve their sandra-bullock-9nicole-kidman-11own problems (the not-so-dead, abusive boyfriend might be back from the grave?!), Sally and Gillian have to make some major decisions.  A gorgeous sheriff (played by the impossibly cute Aidan Quinn – just look at those eyes, pictured below) nicole-kidman-13investigating sandra_bullock-10sandra-bullock-11stockard-channing-6-dianne-wiest-6Jimmy’s disappearance rolls into town and for some reason, Sally can’t lie to him – or about her true self any longer!  Gillian tries to get rid of Officer Gary Hallet with her adorable nieces (pictured, above) who also have opposite hair hues.  (Fun Fact: A very young Evan Rachel Wood plays Sally’s oldest girl!)  But the daughters nicole-kidman-14soon realize Sally cast a spell for the perfect man as a little girl, and the sheriff fits every item on her list!  Now it’s time for the Owens women to all stick together, banish the curse and save Sally from herself!  Sally’s hair tells another tale, too… it shows her character arc: her hair starts out straight, and the more she accepts herself, the wavier her locks get.  It’s a subtle metaphor for the sweet witch – she’s been trying to conform her whole life, but when she eventually admits who she is and how she really feels, she lets the true Sally show.  Gillian’s style also changes throughout the duration of the film – it starts out a little skanky, but by the end, she’s wearing more conservative and sophisticated clothing (pictured, left).  Both sisters, however different they are, rub off on each other in good ways, but they are always strongest when they are together!sandra-bullock-12-nicole-kidman-15

2013 Kentucky Derby Rundown

The Kentucky Derby always reminds us that spring is here, and summer isn’t far behind… Yesterday, this editor was perfecting her mint julep while working a Derby Day party, in honor of the historical horse race.  Like all things southern, the mint julep is both traditional and designed to combat the sweltering heat of Kentucky.  (And there is nothing this editor loves more than bourbon straight from the good ole’ south.)  While we crowned Luke and Caroline Bryan the Best Dressed couple of the May 4th race, here were are a few of our other favored looks.  Krysten Ritter (pictured, top left) was sporting our favorite frock designed by Dolce & Gabbana: soft yellow silk, trimmed with white lace and adorned with pastel blossoms in bloom.  Although we didn’t like her shoes, the dress paired with a wide-brim cream and sky blue Christine A. Moore hat, and Ritter’s serious but sultry stare, brought to mind Maggie of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  The official colors of Kentucky Derby 139 were blue and yellow, so Ritter especially did a good job incorporating the hues into a classic southern look.  Our other favorite head-to-toe look was Miss America winner Mallory Hagan (pictured, bottom left), who looks like she stepped straight out of Dynasty in her sophisticated dress complemented by her black and yellow topper.  Supermodel Coco Rocha was nearly perfect in a Zac Posen lavender suit, and a stunning orchid chapeau by Philip Treacy, if it weren’t for that horrible purple lipstick!  But our favorite hats of the day were two unnamed guests: the black, white and magenta beauty (pictured, top right), and a white and Tiffany blue topper decorated with peacock feathers (pictured, above right).  Who cares about the the horses when you have all these stylish beauties prancing the grounds?

Look-of-the-Day

Having gone to college in the south, this editor likes to romanticize southern traditions and style from every now and again, and the Kentucky Derby is one of those times… Every year images of wraparound porches, Spanish moss, southern belles, and sweeping plantations fill my head with fond memories of living below the Mason-Dixon Line.  Here is our choice for the best-dressed pair at this year’s May 4th Kentucky Derby races.  Country singer Luke Bryan sported a j. Lindberg suit of clean white and baby blue, a plaid pocket square, sharp tan shoes, and a white Stetson fedora.  Wife Caroline Boyer Bryan was his classic complement in a floral Roland Mouret dress and a beautiful chapeau by HeadCandi with a teal ribbon, purple flowers and magenta feathers that brought out the colors in her shift.  They were sophisticated and southern, without making a mockery of themselves, like so many other stars did by trying to stand out…

Look-of-the-Day

Yesterday, the world lost Britain’s “Iron Lady,” and today we’re featuring the next generation of United Kingdom icons for our “Tuesday Twosome.”  The first day of spring falls in March, but it usually doesn’t feel like it until April.  Today, it definitely felt like spring had definitely sprung – since it was 80 degrees here in New York!  What better outfit to feature for rebirth than Kate Middleton in this stunning floral number by Jenny Packham?  Here the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are attending a charity polo match in the summer of 2011 outside of Los Angeles.  Kate is sporting a silverish lavender De Gournay hand-painted chinoiserie silk dress with taupe L.K. Bennett heels.  Prince William looks like a sophisticated prep in a navy blazer, crisp button-down and white trousers.

Lilly Pulitzer: Queen of Prep Dies

Lilly Pulitzer automatically brings to mind vivid images of hot pink, bright yellow, and apple green, dancing across summer dresses patterned with fruit and flowers.  The heiress-turned-fashion-designer built a business around a simple concept and execution that has remained popular for over 50 years.  Lilly Pulitzer was born Lillian Lee McKim on November 10, 1931 to socialite parents in Roslyn, Long Island.  She was the middle daughter of three girls, between Mary “Mimsy” Maude and Florence “Flossie” Fitch.  Her mother was an heiress to Standard Oil, and Lilly and her sisters attended the Chapin School in Manhattan, alongside a soon-to-be notable classmate, Jacqueline Bouvier.  She attended Finch College, before leaving after one semester to work as a midwife’s assistant and as a volunteer at a Veterans Hospital in the Bronx.  Shortly after, Lilly married Herbert “Peter” Pulitzer, Jr., after meeting him on vacation in Palm Beach.  The grandson of publishing magnate, Joseph Pulitzer, the two enjoyed living on the family’s Florida estate, among groves of citrus trees.  After having three kids in five years, and growing bored at home, Lilly started selling juice of the fruit from her husband’s groves.  Squeezing the juice out of the fruit stained her clothing, so she made sleeveless shift dresses of brightly-colored cotton.  Pulitzer’s customers loved the shifts so much, she started selling them at $22.00 a piece.  The dresses soon outsold the juice, quickly moving from Palm Beach to around the world (especially after former classmate Jackie Kennedy started wearing them).  The frocks were soon dubbed “Lillys.”  In 1959, Pulitzer became the president of her own company, Lilly Pulitzer, Inc., and she designed until the early 1980s.  Her brand became popular with some of the wealthiest women in America, including the Kennedys, the Rockerfellers, and the Whitneys.  (Fun Fact: This editor was prepping, pun not intended, for a friend’s yuppie-themed party in East Hampton this weekend by whipping out my copy of The Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa  Birnbach.  She mentions the Lilly Beach Dress as the quintessential item to wear for “lunch on the terrace at the club,” or something “to put on over the bathing suit.”)  The company faced bankruptcy in 1984, but was revived by Sugartown Worldwide in the 1990s.  Pulitzer retained the role of creative consultant, but was no longer involved in the administration of the company.  Eric Wilson of the New York Times reported, “Part of her reluctance to promote herself, she often said, came from her upbringing. She meticulously avoided personal publicity, as was once common to people of bottomless wealth, though she remained interested in the company.”  Ha, if only the so-called “elites” of now retained the same kind of old-world modesty – the dreadful “Real Housewives” or the Kardashians would never exist…  Lilly Pulitzer was as bright, sophisticated and classic as the brand and era she represented.  The “Queen of Prep” will be sorely missed.

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

Ah, yet another gorgeous redhead nominated this year – Amy Adams!  She’s nominated for the fourth time in her terrifying role as a cult leader’s wife in The Master.  Here she is attending the AFI Fest Premiere of On the Road.  She’s wearing the “Sera” cocktail dress from Dolce & Gabbana.  The black strapless dress has a 1950s feel with a full skirt and the adorable floral detailing, which is appropriate considering that’s the time frame of the film she’s promoting!  Adams accessorized the look with yellow diamond earrings from Bulgari and black Roger Vivier “Cage” sandals.  Perfect for spring, which is almost here…

Look-of-the-Day

Jennifer Garner turned 40 this year, but in this 2004 flick she was only 13 Going on 30!  In the film, Garner plays a preteen who turns into a grown woman overnight, and many of her wardrobe pieces reflect that – very girly and full of frills, flowers and fun!  Here, she’s sporting the perfect outfit for spring – a strapless floral corset, a soft yellow pleated skirt with a matching tote bag, and an adorable rose pendant necklace created by Tarina Tarantino.  It’s hard to believe Mrs. Affleck is nearly middle-aged!  With those dimples and sweet smile, she’ll always look like a girl to us!

Look-of-the-Day

Oscar week continues, as we talk about some of our favorite looks from various Academy Award nominated flicks!  Costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux was actually not nominated for her beautiful work on An Education, but she certainly should have been!  This is the fourth outfit from the 2009 film we’ve featured, which looks just stunning on the adorable Carey Mulligan.  This floral frock nips at the waist and has what seems like a faded blue and gold hydrangea pattern.  With black sunglasses and Audrey Hepburn bangs, she’s the epitome of a early 60s sophisticate.  A perfect look for the warm weather we’ve been having here in New York!

Look-of-the-Day

We’ve mentioned that one of our editors was almost named for this 1954 classic, but we’re amazed that we’ve only featured Sabrina one time over the last year, when nearly every look in this film could be walked down a runway!  Here is our idol, Audrey Hepburn, playing the title character, with the object of her affection, William Holden as David Larrabee.  Sabrina is the daughter of the Larrabees’ chauffeur on Long Island.  After studying culinary arts in Paris (and becoming a woman along the way), Sabrina returns to New York barely unrecognizable to her childhood crush.  David invites her to a party at his home, and she sports this stunning strapless black and white gown with long white gloves and black pumps.  The column dress has a detachable overskirt with an underlay of black tulle, and was hand-embroidered with silk thread and jet beads.  Hubert de Givenchy personally created most of the outfits for Hepburn, yet Edith Head went on to receive the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (which was not without controversy, since Givenchy did not receive due credit for his spectacular work.  Although Givenchy has been the one forever associated with the gorgeous wardrobe in the film.)  Fun Fact: The relationship that developed between Hepburn and Givenchy on the set of Sabrina resulted in a lifelong friendship, and Audrey became the French designer’s muse!  This work of art has to be one of our favorite fashion moments in history, and the perfect “Fancy Friday” tribute to romance this February.