Archive for the ‘THE MOVIES’ Category

Mademoiselle C

Carine-Roitfeld-Mademoiselle-C-PosterAhhh 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.

Mademoiselle C Karl Lagerfeld Pushing a stroller Orange Juice and Biscuits Carine Roitfeld
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.


The return of the Pamflet icons: peaches the musical et la nouvelle LP de miss kittin

I hung out with my favourite two bad-taste broads from the early 2000s last week: PEACHES at the Sundance Film Festival and MISS KITTIN launching her new album at XOYO. This was not a nostalgia-fest: what I love about them both is that while the electro-pop music they helped to invent over a decade ago is now the mainstream, they’ve kept it so so fresh, interesting, seedy, euro-cool and independent. They don’t make popstars like this anymore unfortunately…

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Style on Screen: Hollywood Costumes at the V&A

I haven’t been to a truly awe-inspiring exhibition for quite some time now – there have been a few goodies at the V&A, namely the Baroque and Diaghilev ones, but nothing ever came close to the Golden Age of Couture (Anna-Marie and I were lucky enough to attend the magical opening night a few years ago and it was probably my most memorable experience in a museum ever – there were macarons!) Until now. Hollywood Costumes is huge, breathtaking and really rather emotional – yes, I actually cried.

Ohhh they tease you, they know how to lure you round and then BOOM! The most breathtaking collection of iconic costumes the world will ever see, all together in one place for the first time. Goths will rejoice at seeing costumes belonging to the Addams family (including Goth Idol Wednesday’s dress and two of  Morticia’s!) and I can’t believe I’ve been in the presence of Scarlett O’Hara’s curtain dress and Charlie Chaplin’s actual real tramp costume AND the Dude’s bathrobe!

Joan Crawford’s blood red gown from The Bride Wore Red was covered in millions of shimmering scarlet beads – that thing was ALIVE, pooling on the floor like liquid blood. I naughtily scuttled past the techy motion capture avatar stuff – borrrring, show me the pretty dresses!

The exhibition’s curators came up with endlessly ingenious ways of conveying the moving pictures that the clothes featured in – dynamic, inventive, witty, making full and imaginative use of technology – script pages turning before your eyes, bringing the clothes back to life, breathing life into hanging fabrics. There are digital ‘mood boards’ and screens facing each other showing an imagined conversation between Tippi Hendren and  Edith Head, costume designer on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

So why did I cry? Well, if you’ve watched a film scores of times, seeing some of these costumes is like encountering an old friend – I got this lovely familiar feeling when I found Lucy Honeychurch’s marvellously Edwardian white cotton frock from A Room With a View – that took me right back to afternoons at my friend’s house watching it on VHS, endlessly pausing and naughtily rewinding the bit where the boys dance naked round the pond in the forest and Lucy encounters them!

V&A Hollywood Costume exhibition

Some delicately embroidered cotton fabric holds so many memories – Lucy Honeychurch’s dress from A Room With A View

And when I saw Barbara Streisand’s golden gown from Hello Dolly I immediately welled up – that was a familiar sight from my childhood and was probably one of the triggers for my lifelong love of fashion.

Hello Dolly V&A Hollywood Costume exhibition

Barbra Streisand’s golden beaded dress from the scene in Hello Dolly where she sings with Louis Armstrong. SOB.

The final room actually made me choke up (again), it was so breathtaking. Seeing the costume Christopher Reeve wore in Superman flying from the ceiling, and Dorothy’s ruby slippers all small and scuffed and faded really brought home to me the vital role clothes have played in creating these characters who are part of our cultural landscape – it’s like looking into the 20th century’s wardrobe.

V&A Hollywood Costume exhibition

Tickets are selling out ridiculously quickly, especially at weekends so I would strongly advise you to buy yours NOW.

Hollywood Costume at the V&A runs until January 27, 2013. For more information and tickets visit vam.ac.uk


REVIEW! Not Like the Movies: Part of Me Part 2

SPECIAL GUESTPOST INCOMING >>> My friend Tina and I went to see Katy Perry’s Part of Me on Tuesday night. She’s a proper fan, I’m not. Which means THAT what she thought about the film  MATTERS...

[images above and below: tina at a katy perry gig, march 2011. v excited]

First off I should tell you I am a self-confessed Katy Kat who has been on the candy-coloured bandwagon since Katy’s first music video ‘Ur So Gay’ went viral. A kooky girl made up of Kate Nash wit, Alanis Morissette rasp and a good ol’ helping of Dita Von Teese. It’s no surprise after that introduction that I would be getting my ticket to Part of Me and moronically counting down the days until it was time to queue up for popcorn.

The film, which by the way has some rather impressive cinematography going on, follows Katy through her 124 performances of her California Dreams Tour, documenting over a year of her life. As a fan most of what is within the reel is familiar and there was a lot more concert footage than off the cuff Katy. However that’s not a criticism, in fact it jogged fond memories of when I was fortunate enough to see the tour in March 2011. Bit miffed they neglected to include the killer track ‘Circle the Drain’ from the final cut – a catsuit clad Perry is pretty essential don’t you think?

The one aspect of Katy’s rise to fame which ultimately differs from the majority of female pop icons, ignoring the multitude of wigs and cosmetics, is that she is wholly authentic. She’s a life-size alternative Barbie doll, without going to the extremes of Gaga’s mindboggling weirdness or the squeaky clean marketing facade forced onto 90s stars such as Britney and Christina. Call it a narrow escape or a blessing, but her final straw move to Capitol Records allowed Katy to be herself. Along with her family and friends, who were and still are at the centre of her brand, Katy just got it right. She’s a role model who young girls can laugh with, relate to through her quirky lyrics and be enthralled by her rotating bras.

A special shout out is in order to Katy’s grandma who gives a sparkling insight into a teenage dream that came true. Her comedic flair is just too good to be scripted and believe me when I tell you some of her retorts had me in stitches. Even after Katy’s adolescent struggle with her strict religious upbringing you can see how close knit and supportive her family are. Mom Perry might cringe at the lyrics behind ‘I Kissed A Girl’ but she is still front row rooting for her daughter.

It’s refreshing to see a female superstar that isn’t playing the good girl gone bad – she can sing about taboo subjects and dance around in corsets, yet everything she does has that air of playful child-like innocence. Perhaps that’s why it was so gut-wrenchingly hard to watch her world come crashing down through her separation from Russell Brand. In the film it feels honest, raw and from Katy’s view wholly unexpected, and although we only see one side of the story you do come away wanting to slap Brand silly. The breakdown prior to her huge Sao Paulo show is not really the talking point of the film. For me it is where, waiting in the wings, wreathed in tears she forces a smile on her face and goes on with the performance. Even if you believe the film is just another check in the promotional logbook for Katy, this resilience, dedication and selflessness is something Katy should be applauded for.

Does the film give us fans everything we want  to know? Not particularly. However unlike Britney’s For the Record, which made the grey area of Spears’ very public crisis pretty much black, Part of Me keeps it real.

In a nutshell I left the cinema with my Katy Kat whiskers freshly primed ready for the next chapter and safe in the knowledge that Russell Brand is a moron.

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REVIEW! Not like the Movies: Part of Me

[above: me & my katy perry chapstick]

Part of Me: my first 3-D film and my first full-on encounter with Katy Perry, she of plastic skin, perfect hair (wigs) and ecstatic pop songs. A diary of her 2011-12 California Dreams tour interspersed with pre-fame Katy footage and interviews with her friends and staff, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a pop star’s tour video… Except that this is Katy Perry and this is in the cinema and in alarming, bubbles-popping-from-the-screen 3-D. And then there’s the massive dramatic irony in the fact that we know that by the end of the tour she and Russell Brand will have divorced.

As someone who’s more of an observer than a proper fan of KP phenomenon, liking a few songs, her carefree silliness and devotion to ridiculous costumes, POM to me is the about the hard work, misery, self-denial, make-up and Twitter-addiction (this must be the first film I’ve seen with Twitter in too. Web two dot nought!) involved in modern day pop stardom. It’s reality TV but with very little reality – the only time the poor (not at all literally) girl gets to hang out with her two best friends is when they come to see her on the Japanese leg of her tour and they visit a weird kitten cafe and take pictures of each other on their iphones. And then of course there’s the little matter of where the hell her husband is (which I won’t go into here).

Katy Perry likes to think she’s  following in the trailblazing tradition of Madonna, but come on, we all know that she’s far too nice for that. This is PG where Madonna’s iconic tour flick In Bed with…* was rated 18. Madonna is and was cold and prickly, her armour on and guard up, but Katy’s warm, bright-eyed and never takes herself too seriously. Madonna’s embarrassed by her fans, but Katy’s got to love hers because they’re tweeting in her face every second or she’s meeting them and politely answering their questions at pre-concert meet&greets. Awkward! What they do have in common though is all that hardcore stuff: ambition, focus and determination.

There are so many mega popstars in the world right now and, cleverly, Katy’s invited most of them to be in the film and say how amazing she is. How on Earth did she get away with that? There’s Adele, Jessie J and (pop BFF) Rihanna all doing talking head, we heart Katy bits. Even Lady Gaga reluctantly makes a cameo in a scene at the American Music Awards where KP is collecting a special award for being the second artist ever to score five number ones off the same album, ‘I’m smiling under this mask, I’m so happy for you, really.’

From beginning to end we’re in Katy’s rainbow-crazy, Willy Wonka world and we’re constantly told this is her vision, this is what Katy always dreamed of, even way back when she had dirty hair and was in her angsty Alanis Morisette phase. I believe her, I really do, but I was surprised to discover in the technicolour-live segments that Katy really can sing. If she’s never compromised her ‘artistic vision’, then why are so many of her studio tracks so overproduced that she could almost be mistaken any one of her contemporaries? Cheryl might need a bit (a lot) of programming, but does Katy Perry? It doesn’t sound like it. Maybe it’s all part of the kittie-cartoon sheen or maybe that’s just the standard popstar vocal polish these days, but whatever it is, it’s good to see that there’s someone real underneath it all.

* The making of this post involved quite a lot of watching In Bed with Madonna on Youtube as I haven’t seen the film for a while. Bloody hell, HOW many times has Lady Gaga seen it? I wondered…


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