Sunday, January 23, 2011

Darwin from The Fall

Character: Charles Darwin
Actor: Leo Bill
Film: Tarsem Singh's The Fall (2006)

What is Darwin wearing?
- Red/Black/White fur coat (a.k.a. Darwin's Hide)
- Black bowler hat
- White collarless dress shirt
- White suspenders
- White jodhpurs tucked into...
- Black riding boots

The bowler hat (or Derby) is quintessentially British. Being created in 1849 by London based hat-makers Thomas & William Bowler, the bowler hat was popular among English horse-back riders, Charlie Chaplin's "The Tramp," persona, and western-outlaws like Butch Cassidy & Billy the Kid. It was also iconically wore in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange by Alex & his goons, forever locking it as a "staple" in punk's & skinhead's wardrobes. This could be why Eiko Ishioka decided to put Darwin in one, as well as pairing it with white undergarments and riding boots, such a Clockwork homage! Darwin is a "British outlaw," so of course he'd wear a bowler. He is one of the 5 characters in this band of merry misfits. Thank god he doesn't rape anyone to "Singing in the Rain" a la Alex.
Fit? Styled?
Darwin's fur coat is over-sized and overpowers his small/weak frame. Strength is not Darwin's power; brains are, so he has to appear to be stronger and more threatening to his enemies via his coat/size, similar to what a butterfly does with its wings (fake eye spots) to scare off potential predators. He looks bigger than he really is. Also red is such a bold color and paired with the contrasting black and white, he demands your attention. He's eye catching. Your eyes go directly toward him in ever shot, similar to how his friends look to him in a time of need. He is the go to guy.
Where is he wearing it?
Darwin wears this outfit the entire film, kind of like a cartoon character, his outfit doesn't change from day to day. This is his look.

Overall The Fall is a breathtaking film which doesn't sacrifice its story for visuals. It has mind-blowing production & wardrobe design, so much in fact, I could spend numerous posts analyzing each individual outfit and look, yet that would drive me to the brink of insanity, so instead, I've just decided to post various screen shots that left me speechless, like literally I told this film to "shut the fuck up" when I saw these. I hope you enjoy this pure eye candy and treat your eyes to The Fall today; it's currently on "instant watch" on Netflixs.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Laurie Strode from Halloween

Character: Laurie Strode
Actress: Jamie Lee Curtis
Film: John Carpenter's Halloween (1978)
What is Laurie wearing? Look #1
A modest forest green turtleneck, tan cable knit cardigan, knee length floral print skirt, cream tights, and penny loafers. She looks like she is going to teach her friends Latin or hound them for their overdue library books, instead of talking about boys. Laurie looks homely, conservative, covered, and virginal. She's very different then Annie & Lynda (the popular girls at school, who of course both have boyfriends).

How does it fit? Look #1
Laurie wears flattering garments, but still feels covered. Her snug sweater is a turtleneck and it has a cardigan over it. Her legs are showing, but are in tights. She is not in pants at school, like the other two girls, but changes into them later that night for Look #2.

How is it styled? Where is she wearing it? Look #1
Simply, Laurie feels non fussy, like she spent time getting ready, but not with the intent to attract the opposite sex. She got dressed to go to school, sit in class, take notes, and learn, not to pick up boys, flirt with them, and ask them to go to the homecoming dance. Laurie's hair often covers her face, while Annie's & Lynda's hair are both perfectly pinned back. Laurie is not so pulled together with belts, platform wedges, rolled up sleeves, or letter-men styled track jackets. Annie & Lynda appear to be older in a sexual way, while Laurie feels older in an elderly way.

What does this tell us about Laurie?
How do we view Laurie in it? Look #1
Laurie is not the bad girl, the slut, or the leader of this group of girls (like Annie & Lynda). She is the good girl (the final girl in Slasher film terms), the one who will be able to out run, out smart, and survive the killer due to the fact that she won't be distracted by boys, drinking, smoking, or sex. Laurie is the responsible, wholesome babysitter, who you can trust with your children... even when Michael Myers starts butchering people.
What is Laurie wearing/fit/style? Look #2
After school, on her way to her baby-sitting gig, she looks more similarly dressed to her girl friends, not so up-tight. Her hair is pinned back; she's wearing a navy v-neck sweater under an unbuttoned baby blue collared shirt, a pair of high-waisted flared jeans, and a heeled boot. The jeans are not as quite as body hugging as Annie's & Lynda's pairs, but still show off her long slender figure. It's styled similar Annie's school look, yet when Annie picks Laurie up, Annie's changed into a relaxed flannel and tank top. Laurie is always just one step behind; once again she looks covered up. Laurie's Look #2 appears to be telling us "yes, I can fit in with my friends."

Laurie's Look #2 becomes dissolved throughout the ending of film. She removes her sweater, but even as Michael Myers is chasing her, her button up doesn't come off, undone, or unbuttoned for that matter. She stays covered unlike Annie, who spills popcorn butter on herself and wears a men's white over-sized dress shirt around until her death or Lynda who's pretty much naked during her death. Laurie survives the film. Is this because she wasn't undressed? Did her clothing save her from Michael Myers? Maybe, until the sequels anyway... no, it was her actions in the clothing. Laurie Strode happens to be one of the few smart 17 year olds, who did what she was told in a horror film, kept the two children under her care safe, and managed to protect herself in the process. Her sweet, naive, yet strong "ultimate final girl" look is reflected in her clothing right from the start. We know right off the bat, this girl's gonna live!
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Diane Freeling from Poltergeist (revisited)

The reason why Diane's clothing was picked?
To fool the audience into thinking the horror is over. It lets them take their hair down, take off their pants, change into their "favorite" sleep shirt and block out the world with Diane, taking a fake breather before having to survive the climax of the film. + The jersey dress is a reddish orange, a take charge, in your face, kind of color, which the audience will be easy to follow during Diane's ordeals (a.k.a. swimming around with skeletons in their half installed in-ground pool and not letting her children get sucked back into their closet.)
How does Diane's clothing fit?
The fit of her clothing is over sized and slouchy, hanging loosely off her frame, making Diane appear smaller (weaker) then she really is. Never underestimate a mother on a mission.

How is Diane styled?
Diane is anti-styled, she's styled effortlessly. She's very simple with no make-up, no shoes, and no pants. She's not glamorous. She doesn't plan on impressing or seeing anyone else besides her family for the day. She has changed out of her "day" clothes and is now relaxing in her "private" clothing in her "private" bedroom space. She's lounging comfortably behind closed doors.

Where Diane goes in her clothing & how it changes how we view it?
Diane looks comfortable in her bedroom, yet vulnerable in the next scene as she's being dragged around its ceiling by the poltergeist. Her look changes due to her situation and her locations going from private to public spaces. Her "private" attire looks inappropriate outside her house, for example not wearing any pants in public, especially at the end when she is at the Holiday Inn.
Overall, putting Diane in a garment the audience knows, wears, or can recognize themselves really grounds her character and her look. It makes her poltergeist situation more real life and tangible, placing them or their moms in Diane's pant less predicament. When Diane is thrown into public areas in her pant less look, we feel exposed for her. We feel out of place. We want to stay hidden in the comforts of her house with her, yet her house has become a house of horrors and SHE MUST GET OUT!
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Diane Freeling from Poltergeist

In Poltergeist (1982) Diane Freely, played by JoBeth Williams, is a loving wife and mother of three, who has a little ghost problem in her suburban household. While some may question her mothering skills in the beginning of the film, I mean her daughter is taken into the television by mischief ghosts while she's not being watched, but Diane does redeem herself by going "into the light" and brings her back, re-birthing her as a WARRIOR MOM! So when it comes time to save her children once again at the last leg of the film, you better believe this lady is not going to let them get sucked back into their closet.

While spending the last night in their now supposedly "clean" house, Diane puts her children to bed, takes a relaxing bath, and dons a comfy (most likely her husband's) oversized long sleeved red jersey with the number "65" printed on the front & back. She sits on her bed, in a pair of white floral print mid rise underwear, brushing her blown out perfectly curly hair. She looks valuable, sexy, and slightly exposed with her bare legs showing.
After being dragged around her ceiling, she knows pretty damn well the Poltergeist is back! She can't get to her children and runs outside screaming for help, trying to recruit neighbors to join her one woman "team." Will anyone help her? Nope. She realizes it's all up to her, turning her into mama quarterback! A woman who must save her children and lead them to victory, crawling through the mud, falling into the freshly dug swimming pool, and running down the long hallway which appears to stretch on forever. She screams...
Will her husband help her? Nope. She's got this. She busts into the children's room, swings her daughter over her shoulder, drags her son out by his hand and runs for it, bolting down the last stretch of land, around the side of the house and to the car (the goal), as she dodges rising caskets that launch corpses hell-bent on tackling her. They all drive off in the car and in the last shot of the film; they all walk to their rented room at the Holiday Inn. Diane is barefoot, bruised, and muddy, yet looks beautifully dissolved. She only has the clothes on her back, but she wears her daughter, alive and asleep in her arms, like the most expensive article of clothing she's ever possessed.
Overall to me, Diane's final look represents the "typical all-American mom night time" outfit. I can vividly picture my own mom sleeping in a similar oversized tee as a child and there's something familiar and comforting about that. I see my own mom in Diane through her wardrobe and my personal investment in her surviving and protecting her children is greatly increased because of it.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Little J from Gossip Girl "Easy J"

So it should come as no surprise that the Gaudy God watches Gossip Girl, us xoxo-ing double "G" gals need to stick together. Last night's episode "Easy J" brought back everyone's favorite under aged, smoky eyed hot mess Jenny Humphrey (Little J) played by actress/singer Taylor Momsen. Now it's hard to tell if life has imitated art or if art has imitated life, because Jenny's & Taylor's style have become inseparably similar. I often find myself asking "How old is she?" thinking about my younger sister, who is the same age, wearing and acting that age inappropriately. It looks like she is often playing dress up in her older sister's (or very young mother's) closet. The progression of her character over the past four seasons has gone from her signature peter pan collared plaid school girl uniform to a Brooklyn based Debbie Harry does "Pretty in Pink" vibe to her now present morning after, leather donning, garter belt and stocking covered Courtney Love grunge attire.
In "Easy J" Little J comes back to NYC breaking the superficial banishment based upon her by Blair Waldorf after sleeping with her now ex-boyfriend. The reason why Little J left the city is still a mystery to the general public (a.k.a all the Gossip Girl followers), who follow all of the main character's drama via blog on this guilty pleasure show. The viewer is left to wonder will Little J go back to her petty ways and wage war against Blair in this episode? Her first two looks in the show keep this question unanswered?

Look #1 "The Return to New York" outfit
Little J wears an olive green mini dress with an oversized greenish-brown cashmere cardigan, black tights, and black heeled oxfords. She still has her long extension filled "peroxide blonde" hair, dark reddish-brown lip, and smoky eyes, yet it's softer. Her pearl & chain layered necklace sums up her look entirely. She's more in neutral browns verses the blacks and deep reds of last season, where she hit rock bottom. This look could go either way? Is she back for revenge or to start over?
Look #2 "The Back to Black Party" outfit
This is a classic Little J look from last season. She's been screwed over by Blair in the previous scene and she wants revenge, planning to reveal the true reason why she left NYC at a huge benefit party. She's back in all black with a sheer, leopard sequin print cocktail dress that shows her legs that go on for days. She stomps towards Blair at the climax of the episode, looking twice her age, in break-your-neck-high-heels... She's angry, she's feisty. Will there be a cat fight? Her face with dark raccoon eyes and maroon lips reads "MEGA BITCH!"
Look #3 "The Returning to Hudson" outfit.
After refusing to stoop back down to Blair's level, Little J decides to stay with her mother in Hudson for a little longer as all this drama blows over. She has wiped off her black-caked on make-up to reveal a clean fresh face, an innocent face, the kind she used to have back in season one before all this drama happened. She wears her blonde locks pulled to the side in a purple chunky knit Rasta-beanie and oversized soft cream cardigan. The look feels very soft, age appropriate, urban, and very Brooklyn based. Something you would throw on running out the door for class, coffee in hand, to feel comfortable yet effortlessly chic.

(Look #3 photo unavailable.)

Overall the character of Little J is an idealized version of a seventeen year old teenager who acts twenty-something, drinks, smokes, parties, and is an aspiring fashion designer in New York City. She has her own edgy individual style (usually expensive & designer filled) which she infuses into her own fictional fashion brand on the show and wardrobe. Her look feels "pretty" & "reckless" which just so happens to be the name of Taylor's band in real life.

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