Archive for the ‘REVIEWS’ Category
It might seem like this autumn’s been full of over-hyped, disappointing books, but there are still plenty of less flashy little wonders out there and Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties – Observer writer Rachel Cooke’s first book – is definitely one of them. In ten neat essays on some unconventional and highly successful British women of the 1950s, she sets out to suggest that our ideas about life for women during that stuffy grey decade could do with a rethink. Her chosen subjects (she admits that she had trouble getting her ‘poor heroines’ down to just ten ‘they were too many, not too few’) aren’t only artsy writer types – instead they come from various backgrounds including law, architecture and film and show what women could and really were doing work-wise before the ‘revolution’ of the 1960s. Read More…
Ahhh I love me a good fashion film. From Lagerfeld Confidential to The September Issue, they bring to life a world that you only usually encounter on a glossy, two-dimensional surface, or for a few fleeting, ephemeral moments during a catwalk show.
The latest is Mademoiselle C, a documentary that follows Carine Roitfeld after she leaves her position as Editor in Chief of French Vogue and starts on her first project, which comes to be called CR Fashion Book.
She leads in this impossibly glamorous, luxurious life, yet you still get to see that this is a real woman with feelings – when she tears up talking about her daughter Julia having a baby and how she hopes she’ll be as good a grandmother to Romy Nicole as her own mother was to Julia, it’s moving and the anxiety she expresses on leaving French Vogue to strike out on her own is completely authentic.
Leaving the comforting familiarity of any job you’ve done for a long time and having to establish yourself as an individual is daunting, and even though she’s living in a different universe to most of us, where money and connections are really no obstacles, such is her honesty and warmth, I found I could identify with her situation.
Carine has a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous, making me feel that if she wasn’t a superglam fashion editrix, she’d just be a fun, jazzy French lady who shamelessly enjoys the finer things in life – food, wine, clothes – who could be your mate’s (sexy-as-F) mum. There are delightful moments of humour in the film – Karl Lagerfeld pushing a pram, Donatella Versace’s totally deadpan expression (or is that the surgery?) on being told by Carine that she has become a grandma.
She has a sweet, genuinely loving relationship with Tom Ford – they’re like an old married couple who understand each other’s thoughts and intentions before they’ve voiced them. She even manages to make monogamy look chic and sexy, having been with the same man for 30 years (without marrying him.)
Some people get angry with fashion documentaries that seem to be all about the surface gloss of the business, but I think they’re missing the point – fashion’s substance IS the superficial. Honestly, I love the artifice and luxurious fantasy of it all. This is a world where, quite literally, your feet don’t touch the grubby ground, instead moving seamlessly from car to carpet, spike heels sinking into the deep, plush pile.
In the show notes to his final collection for Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs wrote “I take pleasure from things for exactly what they are, revelling in the pure adornment of beauty for beauty’s sake. Connecting with something on a superficial level is as honest as connecting with it on an intellectual level.” That’s what makes a fashion film like Mademoiselle C – or Funny Face, or Valentino: The Last Emperor for that matter – such an unashamed pleasure.
Honestly, I don’t know what’s wrong with people these days – we all seem to expect every piece of pop culture we consume to be heavily laced with irony. That’s fine, if you care about being cool, but what about just being happy? Having fun?
This is why Iron Maiden fans have been scientificially proven* to be immune to the culture of self-consciousness that’s sweeping the world and why I think you should see The Great Gatsby with your Amaro filter switched off.
I never fancied Leonardo DiCaprio when I was a teen – just didn’t get the greasy-curtains-baby-face thing – I was more into Keanu. But Leo is amazing as Jay Gatsby – charismatic, childish, eager, mysterious, often funny and very beautiful – like the earnest, star-crossed lover he played in Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet all grown up – still golden, but slightly tarnished.
He also looks really young – Gatsby is meant to be 32 and Leo is 38, but he looks lean and lithe in his snappy duds – high-waisted trousers, preppy sweaters, cool silk/cotton suits in candy pink, – just like the sportsman and former college boy Gatsby would love to be.
In fact, with Baz at the helm for both films it’s clear why he chose Leo to play Gatsby (a casting decision I’d found rather confusing initially) – he’s still Romeo, single-minded in his obsessive love for a girl who can’t possibly live up to his expectations, because the real life Juliet/Daisy could never compete with the fantasy version that he’s cherished in his heart and imagination for so long.
The Gatsby/Romeo/Lurhmann love-in chimes perfectly with the waves of ’90s nostalgia we’re currently surfing and it actually helps me make sense of it all a little bit more. Yeah, I know I said the ’90s were fun-not-cool, but maybe, looking back, they were pretty cool.
Liv Tyler reminiscing on Into The Gloss about how much fun she and Gwynnie and chums used to have on the red carpet in their ratty vintage furs and make-up-free faces reminded me that this was maybe a more sincere time – and is it coincidence that it was pre-internet? Anyway…
It’s a proper, old-fashioned bad romance – so many fictional characters meet their downfall while chasing a dream (I’m thinking of Newland Archer in The Age of Innocence, but his ‘doom’ is just a comfy, stultifying life in New York high society) and I think it should be enjoyed in that spirit.
Sure you can sneer at the sentimental scenes – and many of the jaded, cooler-than-thou hacks at the press screen I attended did – but that was their loss. Sometimes it’s nice to give in to a lush, lavishly-costumed spectacle of a film with beautiful people melodramatically grappling with their fates (and each other).
So I’m enjoying my post-cool Leo crush with no shame. With that same lock of hair falling into those deep blue-green eyes, he’s still the golden boy of the ’90s, just a little wiser and sadder and therefore a great Gatsby.
Yvan Rodic’s long been one of my favourite streetstyle documenters, mostly for his dedication to and role in the mythologising of Sundays at Bric(k)-a-Brac Lane during the 2000s. Sundays used to be a day when you could get away with wearing at best what you had on the night before or at worst some skinny jeans and massive sunglasses. Over the last decade that dress code has changed in London, which is partly (no) thanks to him.
Whether you cared about getting on the east ldn-comedown catwalk or just wanted to watch, it’s always been fun keeping up with Face Hunter’s blog, a place for more playful and individual style than the grown-up chic spotted by other bloggers.
In the three years since his first book, his focus has shifted from street looks over to travel and this volume combines his personal photoblog with his fashion one, keeping the focus on style, but also glancing across at nightlife, food, interiors, street scenes and other adventures.
The photographs are arranged by city with an introduction to each by FH and I of course flicked to the London section first. Sadly it reminded me how much style has to do with the weather: the chapter-fronting snap for London is a shot of Oxford Circus in the rain, umbrellas the only splashes of colour in the grey and it’s not the capital’s dressers who shine in this volume either. [yeah, I totally blame the weather.] Read More…
Eli Akingbade is the newest addition to the Pamfamily. A high school student who lives in London, she loves film, taking photos, Quentin Tarantino, travelling and discovering treasures in charity shops… She’s kinda obsessed with America and New York especially. Check out her film blog and fashion and musings here and here.