Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fashion in Films (Audrey Hepburn Classics): How to Steal a Million

Simon: "Yes that's fine, that does it."
Nicole: "Does what?"
Simon: "Well for one thing it gives Givenchy a night off." 

     When Audrey Hepburn's character, Nicole Bonnet, was planning how to steal the Cellini Venus statue with Simon Dermott, played by Peter O' Toole, from a Paris museum to help conceal her father's art forgeries, Simon duly noted the incredible amount of Givenchy that Nicole wore. The Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn movie-costume-design collaboration, relationship, and friendship was well established by the time How to Steal a Million was filmed. And like any other designer-and-actress-relationship (Natalie Portman with Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, Karl Lagerfeld with Blake Lively, Elle Fanning with Marc Jacobs) the Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn dynamic was one that flourished even off the big screen. As a matter of fact, when Givenchy first heard word of a Miss Hepburn stopping by his atelier to pick out some dresses for an upcoming Hollywood film, he was expecting to meet the other Hepburn -- Katherine Hepburn. 

     Audrey Hepburn first met Hubert de Givenchy when she was sent to Paris by director Billy Wilder to pick out some designer originals for the second major film that she was just cast in, Sabrina. Audrey just finished shooting Roman Holiday, the film that catapulted her to movie stardom and earned her her first Academy Award, and since the movie would not be released in America for a month, the young actress named Audrey Hepburn was relatively unknown, which explains Givenchy's innocent mistake of expecting the other famous Hepburn. From that initial meeting, Audrey who was 24 years old, and Hubert 26, bloomed a friendship that lasted for a lifetime. In each other they found someone who loved clothes as much as themselves and a friendship that would extend beyond films and fashion. 

     When I first watched How to Steal a Million the one scene that really stayed with me was when Nicole Bonnet was meeting Simon Dermott at his hotel bar at the Ritz to propose a museum heist. The camera scans Audrey from the ground up wearing black leather pumps, black textured stockings, a delicate black lace Givenchy dress with a matching 3/4 length lace jacket and a mask. The lace mask was beautifully wrapped over her face and around her super mod-60s hair do and it absolutely did not hide the gorgeous and sparkling eye make up and diamond statement earrings that accompanied the entire look. The intent of this scene was for Nicole to be incognito so she could discuss something very confidential without raising any suspicion, but if I was in that bar at the same moment of their meeting, my attention would be completely on her because she looked so stunning. 

     Every single look in this film, minus her faux museum cleaning lady outfit, was pure Givenchy and it's absolutely heaven. The first time Audrey's character Nicole Bonnet came on screen driving a red Autobianchi Bianchina Special Cabriolet, she was decked out from head to toe in a creamy white Givenchy ensemble -- white skirt, blouse, coat, gloves, stockings, shoes, scarf, hat, belt, and even stockings. The entire ensemble had a very British-Mod-60s feel to it (the movie was filmed in 1966 afterall) but once she stripped off the layers of outerwear and accessories inside the house, a beautiful peplum-like blouse is revealed which was cinched at the waist to accentuate her impossibly small waist, and a skirt that came just below the knee. I really can't think of anyone else that can pull off such a bold Givenchy look like this other than Audrey. The rest of the outfits in the film incorporated a little more color -- a pink coat, a yellowish and citrus green skirt suits, a navy double breasted coat -- and a lot more accessories and other assortment of hats which she is famously known for. 

     The comedy, wit, and storyline of this romantic comedy about an art museum heist is very classic Audrey, but it's really the clothes in her movies that always leave a lasting impression and never stops inspiring me. Apparently that black lace Givenchy creation that I love so much was sold in a London auction for $100,000 (holy crap!) Why can't we go back to the time when glamour and grandeur was deemed normal in everyday dressing? When dressing was actually regarded an art instead of just comfort? Why can't we have both? Maybe a hotel bar rendezvous while wearing conspicuous Givenchy lace masks should be in order. We'll all definitely look like we're up to no good. 

Love, KB

almost thirty years after they first met
Audrey Hepburn seen here walking with Hubert de Givenchy
along the Seine in Paris

Monday, May 21, 2012

T.V. Obsession: The Carrie Diaries

     After last week's Gossip Girl season 5 finale, the CW released their fall line up which includes both good and bad news. The bad news is that Gossip Girl's 6th season will be its last which makes me simultaneously sad and relieved at the same time. I mean, even the most avid Gossip Girl fans who tune in every week since its release in 2007 have to admit that the storyline and all of the new (and may I add confusing) and surprising character matches and missed connections is weighing the entire series down. You do NOT want me to get started on the entire Blair and Dan romance. And what's up with Serena's character due to her unrequited love and dwindling popularity on the Upper East Side? BUT for a piece of good news! The CW also confirmed that they have picked up The Carrie Diaries which is a show based on the book series written by the same author of Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell

     If the title and bushy blonde hair didn't make it obvious enough, The Carrie Diaries is a prequel to the Sex and the City franchise which follows a young Carrie Bradshaw, who will be played by the actress AnnaSophia Robb, in the 80s during her senior year of high school. The show is said to also have the familiar names from Gossip Girl, creator and executive producer Stephanie Savage along with the show's famed costume designer Eric Daman. And of course author Candance Bushnell also serves as one of the show's executive producers. Which makes a lot of sense since she's the one who pretty much wrote the story which inspired the show (and not to mention the HBO series.

     A couple of months ago, a photo of AnnaSophia Robb dressed as Carrie Bradshaw and styled by Eric Daman was released on the internet. The photo features a young Carrie Bradshaw dressed in a sparkly A-line dress complete with red pointed pumps, a waist cinching belt with a heart buckle, and a leopard print cardigan -- which I might add is very true to Carrie -- with New York City skyline in the background. There are a lot of questions going on in the internet as to who will play the other three girls, but if you have the books starting with the first one, The Carrie Diaries that was released in 2010, then you should know that Carrie doesn't even the girls until the second book. SPOILER ALERT: If you read the books, Carrie met Samantha and Miranda first during the second book Summer in the City, released in 2011, and meets Charlotte in a train at the end of the book with that particular storyline explored in the not-yet-released third book. 

     I can't even tell you how impatient I am over the release of the third book especially after finishing the second over a year ago. All I know is that the third book can't come soon enough (is it even written yet Candace Bushnell??!?) and for my fall TV line up to begin. For the meantime, I guess we should just all enjoy our summer and perhaps take the time to read the books 1 and 2! Cheers. 

Love, KB

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Vogue Archives: June 2008 Sarah Jessica Parker

gold chiffon evening dress by Versace
Manolo Blahnik d'Orsay heels
bracelet by Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga

     It was when I watching a Sex and the City re-run one night that I ultimately decided that I've got to invest in those season box sets. I thought that it was time that I finally watch ALL of the episodes and those wretched re-runs are almost never shown in the right chronological order. That initial thought was the catalyst which started this unintentional quest for all things Sex and the City and of course finding out more about Carrie Bradshaw (who is my favorite character btw.) After all, I was only eleven years old when the HBO series began and nine when Candace Bushnell wrote the book which ultimately inspired the television series, so I obviously had a lot of catching up to do. After having purchased and watched all six seasons (which actually came in 7 box sets in total because the sixth season was split in two parts) -- and by the way they were re-designed from those tacky plastic covers they initially came in into these super cute new covers that had a memorable Carrie Bradshaw moment set against a very clever New York City skyline backdrop made out quotes from the show -- I also managed to track down a copy of the book in it's original cover that was published in 1996. 

     And when I thought that I was done obsessing over Carrie, I just remembered the June 2008 Vogue cover story which accompanied the release of the first movie. I remember buying this copy after finally watching the movie with some college girlfriends and crying my eyes out, especially during the jilting wedding scene. The cover shoot, titled Rebel Romance, which featured both Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth (Mr. Big) was styled by Phyllis Posnick and photographed by none other than one of my favorite photographers, Annie Leibovitz. The concept for the shoot was supposed to be their imaginary honeymoon, but Anna Wintour and the rest of Vogue ultimately decided that the only honeymoon destination island for this couple is Manhattan. The spread is pretty much self-explanatory -- Carrie with Mr. Big seen in several New York City landscapes (on the observation deck of Rockefeller Center, in front of Bergdorf Goodman, a suite in the Plaza hotel, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera, and ascending steps at Central Park) complete with glamour, romance (or should I say heavy PDA and almost borderline inappropriate?) and of course the latest and greatest fashions (the clothes almost make you wonder if Patricia Field had a hand in it all!) Oh, and of course don't forget the Manolos. Come to think of it, the theme of this entire shoot is pretty much the premise of Sex and the City: The Movie but that doesn't mean that it's any less fabulous

Love, KB

banded washed-silk evening dress and gloves by Lanvin
black pumps by Christian Louboutin

Vera Wang wedding gown from the fictional Vogue shoot in the SATC: the Movie

Dior Haute Couture wedding gown

boucle suit by Chanel
Lanvin Hat
Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere pumps 

Nina Ricci silk-satin dress and shoes 
Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere necklace

Alexander McQueen peacock lace-and-tulle dress
Chanel pumps
De Vera antique neklace

Marchesa satin-organza dress
Christian Louboutin pumps

Narciso Rodriguez wool dress with a banded back

Versace chiffon dress
Manolo Blahnik heels

Dolce and Gabbana chiffon evening dress

baby pink Christian Lacroix 
Haute Couture taffeta-and-organza dress
also featured in the fictional Vogue shoot for SATC: The Movie

Carolina Herrera duchesse-satin-and-gazar wedding dress
Dior hair piece

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