Glass coaches, diamond tiaras and blue jeans

Cinema Fashionista

Fashion’s power probably reached its zenith when Kate Middleton married the heir to the British dynastic throne of the United Kingdom in April 2011.  Prince William had fallen in love with her, it is said, as she paraded down the catwalk at a charity Fashion show in their shared university town of St. Andrew’s, near Edinburgh, in Scotland.  The signs of the harem had transmitted themselves to the virile young royal.

There is a Cinderella quality to this story and clothes played their part towards this happy ending.  Not that Kate Middleton had set many fires, or brushed many hearths, but she now  rides in glass coaches and wears diamond tiaras.

Her days at boarding school mixing with the Home Counties crowd, and Sloane Rangers set, put her on the right track. She’s an interesting mix of American preppy and English Burberry.  Her love of the outdoors means she is…

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Forget the broomstick for London Fashion Week!

DevilIssieThe last time I saw Toby Howarth it was Hallow’een.  The seven years old ingenuous angel asked, “Haven’t you come on your broomstick?’ It wasn’t difficult to guess the sort of thing his aunt and mother had been saying about me!

I’m superstitious about wearing black when visiting children, so I expect he thinks I’m at least a white witch!

Because I’m going to see him again, en route from London, I’ll be clad in shades of blue from head to toe.  I did plan on wearing ‘Le Casual de Marithe Francois Girbaud’ in gris et noir for the Burberry A/W show in Kensington Gardens.

Must try to get to Sassoon’s on  way to the 2pm Fashion bash.  I need to have a look for the Anne et Valentin ‘Objet 3’ spex now necessary for the little blue-stockinged teacher rather than the post-Chanel, Parisienne, fashion writer!

If Christopher Bailey spots me at the show, in close-up, maybe his next collection will be the look this strange little narcissist can adopt whether as witch, blue-stocking or fairy godmother in glasses.

Rushing off to Dorset means I’ll miss the Isabella Blow at Somerset House but here she is, above left, in a scene from ‘FASHION MEDIA PROMOTION  the new black magic,’  with another wonderful maverick Anna Piaggi! I will fantasise a meeting with them on the train!

Vivien Leigh – role model or victim figure?

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.

It’s a jungle out there

1960s heavy metal bangle which I have in a one row version.
1960s heavy metal bangle which I have in a one row version.
It wouldn't have made any difference to the surprising outcome but I wish I'd been wearing this.
It wouldn’t have made any difference to the surprising outcome but I wish I’d been wearing this Jil Sander.

I may be getting my Media muddled but the ‘Jungle out there’ heading will be for this piece and a Pinterest board.

Sad story about Pauline Boty’s short life. Photograph posted on ‘Romantic Moment of the week.’  Here I’m playing with Time, through Postmodernism, with the TimBL technology which  delights us every day.

Yesterday I wore an Italian black ‘She’s So’ skirt and a typical Marithe and Antoine Girbaud jacket, with the Jensen bracelet seen in this blog.  Others looked like escapees from the 70s and not in a good way!  Still looks  don’t count if you’re wielding the power.

To say there was a culture clash would be overstating it!  My colleagues know how fast the world is changing  but they held on to their tightly defined parameters like security blankets and I feel sad for them.  Why wouldn’t I?  Kate is about to buy a Yamaha piano, not a bike.  I’ll be able to sing with her as well as with John Wilson, every Monday.  He and I are developing a strange strident German songspiel style which makes us smile!  We’re also doing a Bridget Jones version of ‘Without You!’ As soon as we’ve made a short film I’ll post it here  instead of this slightly manic Fashion moment.

Fashion loves Controversy

Fashion loves controversy.  When the ‘Devil Wears Prada’ came out, in 2003, Lauren Weisberger was regarded as a disloyal spy, who had ratted on her employers.  The New York Times called the The Devil Wears Prada ‘trivially self-regarding’ and ex-colleagues of the fledgling writer, at Vogue, asked themselves the question, ‘Why should we publicise this thing?”

After script-writer, Aline Brosh Mckenna, had worked her magic, on the film version, (2006) and Meryl Streep had given a finely balanced performance as the brilliant Fashion editor, Miranda Priestly, then, perhaps, the interloping intern, Weisberger, was, partly, forgiven.

I did not expect my book to cause any such ripples.  How wrong I was. Christian Dior’s Wikipedia  page is currently running a line, quoting ‘Fashion Media Promotion, the new black magic’, saying that the designer was not the only Parisienne making clothes, for Nazi officers and collaborators, during the German occupation in WW2.  That anyway they were doing it to keep the French Fashion industry afloat.

Fans of ‘Gone with the Wind’ hate the idea that costume designer Frances Tempest thinks the clothes were not democratically designed and that a ‘particularly repellent Salmon pink’ was featured.

A curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art loathes my tongue-in-cheek description of Malcolm McLaren, as a Dior-scholar, and the irritating computer misspelling of Karen Dunst’s name makes one of her fans furious.

These petty squabbles and angst are a stroll in the park compared to the Vivienne Westwood  museum fiasco, filmed on British Style Genius.  We may all be too polite, and subtle, to raise it, but I’m still holding my breath!

We know who wears the Prada!

The Devil Wears Prada started a panic in the Fashion publishing world because Lauren Weisberger had worked as an intern for Anna Wintour.  Everyone at Vogue kept quiet about the book because, I was told, they thought, “why publicise this thing!”  When the film came out no-one in the Fashion business minded, the script tied the whole of the industry together and made everyone realise how skilled Fashion people are.  In  IMAGES OF PASSION Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Givenchy’s, we discover who actually wears the Prada!

Above right: Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway play together in the Fashion game!


Fashion savvy?

Will Gompertz didn’t show at the Naim June Paik symposium, on Friday, at Liverpool’s Film/Media centre, FACT.  So  this weblog is mainly directed at him.

Hadley Freeman’s column in The Guardian, is witty, New York in its, acerbic, one-liner style; Dorothy Parker might well be an ancestor. But on Thursday night’s, BBC 2, Culture Show her, non-Freudian, Fashion slip was showing.

Reviewing fourteen year old Tavi’s career, as a Fashion blogger, Freeman associated her with Anna Wintour; revealing  a strange ignorance of the Fashion game.  Tavi might, one day, edit/create/design more than just her own blog but Anna Wintour is not a writer.

If Freeman has seen ‘The September Issue’, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ or the Marie Claire, vehicle, ‘Running in Heels,’  she would know that Fashion editors do not compete with writers.  They commission works to fit in with overall concepts for specific editions. They collaborate with creative directors to invent new visual forms.  They consult with industry leaders and Fashion designers to inspire cults and trends.

In, David Frankel’s  film, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ the Fashion world is tied together; its links with the Media and with the clothing industry are revealed  (p.4 * ‘Fashion, Media, Promotion, the new black magic’).

With successful Fashion academics, and writers, in Britain and America and millions of sophisticated Fashion consumers there could be a Media trick to be turned, on something like the Culture Show, with more inclusive, Fashion-savvy, angles waiting to be explored.

Above right: *Celebrating Fashion’s links with Hollywood.