Archive for the ‘Christian Dior’ Category

The Saint Wears Black

February 14, 2017

THERE’S really only one stylish religious icon. It’s the image of Pope Joan wearing a tiara.  She appears on my blog with Amy’s hysterical outburst in ‘Big Bang Theory’ when Sheldon buys her the diamante encrusted headpiece as an apology gift.

Really this opening paragraph is just a way to get back in to my meanderings and connecting with today. St Valentine’s images are all too garish to collect and so I’m posting Fashion.

Sarah Pacini, the 20 year old high end, chicest street styles puts clothes you and I have in our wardrobes together twice a year and makes them look new. Here’s one for today which is inspiring me to layer up and walk.

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For ex convent girls there’s nothing as inspiring and intimidating than black, especially if spiked with white near the face. Sarah Pacini’s looks are much more friendly and relaxed. When the nuns layered up it was with thick pleated serge and heavy rosary beads.  Since ‘Roman Holiday’ when Audrey became everyone’s favourite gamine we are suckers for the sacred and everyday clashing together on our streets.

Saints should wear black. Then Rock chicks and Goth sweets can be doubly confused and no-0ne needs to do the embarrassing goody-goody Adele act, trying to disguise our passion for well-natured tarts and kindly villains.

So this brings me to my favourite, totally delightful destination, haunted by Hollywood stars,  gardens overflowing with exotic scented flowers, the sea pannning out from cliff tops over a never-ending sparkle of reflected sunlight, at 26 degrees on the breeze.  Yes we’re back to Normandy as this Oscar de la Renta number recalls the gardens Christian and his mother tended in Granville.

diorsgarden

Vivien Leigh – role model or victim figure?

October 15, 2013
Heroines from novels with green eyes.

Heroines from novels with green eyes.

Separating Vivien Leigh from  Scarlett O’Hara is almost impossible.

When she took on the role of the Pulitzer prize winning American Civil War heroine in ‘Gone with the Wind,‘ in 1937, she became the most viewed, the most famous actress of the 20th century.

In 1999 I was teaching in 6th forms in Yorkshire, and studying with Antony Easthope in Manchester.

Even so, one day, I caught Judy Finnegan and Richard Madeley on ‘This Morning.’ They were reviewing either the whole of the last century, or maybe it was just Cinema!

A viewer phoned in from around Cornwall.  She said Scarlett O’Hara was ‘powerful’ first and then ‘beautiful,’secondly.  So I had a Feminist role model to write about for a study on Film!

More surprising than this was the so called ‘confession’ from Richard.  He said he had carried a photograph of Leigh/Scarlett in his pocket ever since seeing ‘Gone with the Wind’ 20 years earlier!

‘Scarlett O’Hara and the post-bellum New Look’ became a chapter in ‘Fashion, Media, Promotion.’ I learned that the ‘post-war’ Latin tag usually referred to the American Civil War.  So people like my daughter, Sally, and my partner, Simon, thought I was better informed than in reality!  I chose it to go with the post WW2, Christian Dior, 1947 full-skirted sensation!

The V&A held a celebration of the ‘Golden Age of Couture’ in 2007.  There I discovered the tiny waist fetish and the massive audiences following Scarlett were part of the revival of Paris after WW2.  I also found actual connections between Vivien Leigh and Christian Dior.

Now I’m IT! On Wednesday 13th November at 1pm, in the Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, I’m giving a lunchtime talk!  Here’s the listing from the V&A site!

Vivien Leigh – role model or victim figure?

‘LUNCHTIME LECTURE: David Selznick’s, ‘I’ll never recover from that first look,’ gives us a clue to Vivien Leigh’s stage-management of her initial meeting with important producer of ‘Gone with the Wind’, the 20th century’s most watched movie.

Her co-stars thought her ‘blind ambition’ cost her too much, and laid the plot for further exploitation of her enigmatic beauty.

A hundred years since her birth, Jayne Sheridan tells her story of brilliance and despair.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/event/2875/lunchtime-lecture-vivien-leigh-role-model-or-victim-figure-4246/

L’homme Parisien, post-Modern witches and the dazzling eclectic

March 10, 2013

ysl-slimane-2Saint-Laurent-Paris-Fashion-WeekWe’re with ‘Vogue’ on Hedi Slimane’s  SL show for Paris Fashion Week.

Saying that he’s ‘master of the theatre,’ Jessica Bumpus saw rock chicks with immaculate styling and a rock edge aesthetic honed at Dior Homme, with Seventies billowy chiffon.  Liking oversized hats, with every look,  multiple neck bows, tuxedo jackets,  super skinny trousers with their ‘rock credentials.’ 

Cathy Horyn, banned from the shows, was tentative in her report, for the New York Times.  Viewed from streamed images,  her words lack the tones of a disappointed critic.  I think she really liked it, but isn’t saying! You wouldn’t either, if you weren’t invited, would you?

Business of Fashion loves the idea that Slimane has gone for “commercially lucrative” pieces but hopes the label won’t be too distracted away from its original YSL roots towards a sort of ‘All Saints Laurent!’

Reminding us of Yves Saint Laurent’s controversial 1971 Nazi-inspired show, seen as “a tour de force of bad taste” at the time, BoF thought Slimane’s collection might be a deliberate attempt by the ‘complicated designer to provoke negative reactions’.

For BoF, Suleman Anaya also asks the question about where YSL might be heading under Slimane’s baton. Is it another top luxury brand removing itself from the kind of high-concept fashion that receives ‘lavish editorial praise but performs middlingly in stores?’  Or is it going for ‘money in the bank for retailers.’

Isn’t this what everyone hopes will happen to all Fashion?  Slimane’s tactics can’t be  bad if YSL is also seen as a lifestyle brand for musicians and those who want to hang out with them.   To me Anaya is totally on the button as he winds up with the assertion “It’s tough, but it’s luxury, down to those heavily embellished (and surely expensive) leather boots.”

How is Slimane doing it?  It’s probably the seven years with Dior, designing menswear, which gives him the gift to capture traces from the extraordinary creative and vulnerable masters who preceded him.  It’s also  his schooling in Art History and  Tailoring.  His visit to the offices of Le Monde,  when he thought he wanted to be  a journalist is telling.   For  the creative spirit,I think, it’s all about wanting to communicate thoughts and feelings. It’s what makes Fashion’s heart beat.

 

Mary Quant’s late husband, the debonair lothario, Alexander Plunket Green, supporting his wife’s exceptional talent, told me that sharp, tailored, clothes, rather than peasant looks, are what’s needed to underpin optimism during an economic downturn. 

Slimane, as  a French  Fashion national/natural, is doing it all.  Re-interpreting Yves from beyond ‘peasant,’ through Punk, away from ‘grunge’ through to a democratised high street, to thrill Beats, Hippies, New Wave and Digital Natives.  Keeping us all wanting to join the parade. So why is the Fashion jury still out on Slimane?  The renaming to ‘Saint Laurent’ seems neat and his eclecticism,  dazzling.

 

As  an original Fashion victim, I want to look as much like the post-Modern witches on  Slimane’s Paris Week catwalk, as the cyber princesses in their fluorescent trenches at Christopher Bailey’s  S/S 2013 London show!

http://www.businessoffashion.com/2012/10/a-wake-up-call-for-ysls-pr-team.html

Stars in Dior, from screen to the streets

August 19, 2012

TWO other men, easily as  interesting as William the Conquerer, came from La Manche, Normandy.

One, the sensational Christian Dior whose New Look,  (1947) promoted by the American journalist Carmel Snow,  began a democratization of style which fascinates Vivienne Westwood to this day.  The other, is Roland Barthes, the mid 20th C writer, transforming the way we think about popular products, like Hollywood, cars, margarine, wrestling, strippers and especially Fashion…

I knew Granville was Dior’s birthplace and that his home is a museum, but didn’t  know that this summer, 2012, celebrates the many Dior connections with the movies.  On show, inside the house, La Rhumbe, seen above left, in pink, are Dior creations from 1947 to now.  From the Robert Altman film Pret a Porter, to Jude Law in  Dior Homme, from Fahrenheit; Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman, Natasja Kinski, Ava Gardner, Zizi Jean-Maire to Rachel McAdams, in Woody Allen’s, Midnight in Paris, all are costumed by the House of Dior.

Dior did not go back to Granville, once he was forced, by the 1929 Wall Street crash, and subsequent worldwide depression, to seek his fortune in Paris.  I did go back.  How could we not re-visit the  gardens, perfumed with a cornucopia of blossoms, overlooking a spectacular coast?  Then to discover that high on another hill, over the town, there were stories of Collette’s relationship, with the master couturier,  in a museum space devoted to  collections of Richard Ancreon, another of CD’s amis. Malcolm McLaren really got it right when he said Dior knew everyone.

It would be fun to think that Dior  and Barthes met one day in, say, a cafe on the Boulevard Saint-Michel, when they were both around to sample the joys, and  talk of the pleasures, in that most especially aesthetic of  cities.

Above right is the illustration Anton Storey created for FASHION MEDIA PROMOTION  the new black magic to encapsulate the ideas he and I have about Barthes.

http://www.hud.ac.uk/research/researchnews/fashionintheageoftheimage.php