My Conversations With Edith Head

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Girl can pose!

Last night I had the opportunity to see Conversation With Edith Head a one woman show starring Susan Claassen.  This is a wonderful look into the world and mind of  Edith Head.  And, for a 90 minute play with no intermission time really flew.   Continue reading

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What A Way to Go indeed! Edith Head’s costume designs

I’ve been reading one of Edith Head’s biographies and have come to her work on What A Way To Go with Shirley MacClaine and Robert Mitchum as well as Dean Martin, Gene Kelly, Paul Newman and Dick Van Dyke. This 5 minute clip will give you a quick look at a few of  the fabulous costumes from this movie.  Apparently Mitchum and MacClaine were having an affair at the time so their constant I-love-you’s might not have been all that hard to utter.  And, yes this is a movie for which her work was nominated for an Oscar for Costume Design.  If you love costumes, Edith Head or just a silly movie this fits the bill.   Check it out!

A bit of dance and romance to forget all our troubles

Oh my.  I have been using my time wisely.  I have this new blog that I follow Beguiling Hollywood and it  has revived my  love of old movies.  Way back in the old days our local channel 2 would show old movies on Sundays and in the wee hours of the night.   I watched countless old movies from Charlie Chaplin to grand musicals, old fashioned love stories, war movies and everything in between.  My first choices to revisit were classic Fred and Ginger.  Swing Time and Top Hat.  I would go back over and over to view the dance numbers and find myself being completely transported to this dreamy, happy place of beautiful people in glorious dresses dancing cheek to cheek.   From Swing Time Fred is doing the  Bojangles of Harlem number and it is stunning in its modernity with the three shadows dancing behind him.  Come to find that idea of the shadows was from Hermes Pan choreographer and long time close friend to Astaire.

Of course my favorite from Top Hat is the feathers dance or Cheek to Cheek number.  That dance and the dress too has a rightful place in dance and movie history.   The feathers dress was blue and must have been beautiful to see in person.  It is now housed in the Smithsonian.  Google it, You-tube it, Wiki it whatever, it’s awesome.  For both movies the costume designer was Bernard Newman.  Beautiful designs and a master at dressing Miss Rogers.  But, credit also goes to Rogers who  from being a dancer and someone who loved fashion knew the value of having the right costume and  didn’t let the clothes wear her.  When you watch her dance notice what she does with a dress, how she swings it, holds it and so forth.  Even in scenes where she is not dancing you will see her do these tiny gestures with her costume. I believe these were her own costume notes to herself.  Like early on in Top Hat notice what she does with the silky robe. Cool.

I was reading about Ginger Rogers and her dancing technique and how that particular swing of skirts harkens back to a form of dance called Skirt Dancing.  This form of dance has a unique and beautiful history that is well worth reading.  There is folkloric skirt dancing as well as a more modern version that became popular at Folies Bergere.   Two of the most popular Skirt Dancers were Cyrene from Spain and Loie Fuller, French.  Here is a look at Loie Fuller (or it may be a student, some say it’s not her).  It’s beautiful, sensual and hypnotic.  These skirts used upwards of 100 yards of fabric.  She created the lightning techniques as well.

When you see Ginger dance you see a bit of the Skirt Dancer too.  And, one final note an early student of Loie Fuller was none other than Isadora Duncan.  Loie Fuller was an amazing woman and really worth checking out if you are interested at all in the history of dance.   Now, there are far better writers on the subject of dance, Hollywood, movies and so forth, my little post is just a taste, but I hope you go out and investigate these treasures further.   For me I’m going to steal away and watch the documentary Ballet Russes.  

The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann and the beautiful 20’s

Vicki Lester (name might ring a bell for some) writes the blog Beguiling Hollywood, offering  glimpses, analysis, and juicy tidbits on old and new Hollywood.  She mentioned that the new Baz Luhrmann The Great Gatsby trailer is out.  The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. Take a look below.  It looks like Baz is certainly giving it his touch. What do you think. It’s coming out in December.

I think this resurgence for the delicious  and de-lovely clothes of the 20’s is a wonderful thing.

Here is a look at Dicaprio and McGuire in Brooks Brothers suits.

The Great Gatsby 2012

The men’s costumes are designed by Brooks Brothers.  The women’s costume designer, which from what is presented in the trailer are stunning.  The designer Catherine Martin Baz’s wife and collaborator is an amazing costume designer creating costumes for Moulin Rouge. Here is a great interview with Catherine Martin regarding the costumes for MR as well her design ethics and process.  Gossip around the w.w.w. was that Mucci Prada and Ralph Lauren were all thought to be the designer for the movie.  So I wonder if Ralph Lauren did the collection as a nod to the 1974 movie or maybe there was something else going on.

You may know that Ralph Lauren was the costume designer for the 1974 version directed by Francis Ford Coppola.   Fashionistas will  recall the 1920’s inspired Spring 2012 RTW collection by Mr. Lauren.  Below are a few examples. Plus I have more on my Pintrest if you are interested in looking at this beautiful collection.  And, I have a ton, a TON I say of images on the Tumblr site The Blue Thread too.  Love that period.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 RTW

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 RTW

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 RTW

Any opinions on the remake?  Are you a stalwart fan of the Redford/Farrow version.  Do you think it did justice to Fitzgerald?  DiCaprio as Gatsby?  McGuire and his monotone voice is not making me happy but then it was only 2 minutes of video.   Regardless I think the gorgeous costumes will lure me in.

What do you think?