“And I Had to Wear Last Season’s Miu Mius:” Unexpected Designer Pieces in Orange is the new black (2nd season)


Today a Twitter friend of mine linked me an interesting article by Megan Angelo about the rise of anti-fashion tv shows like Orange is the New Black, in opposition to the super-fashion shows like Gossip Girl and Sex and the City, which stirred every fashionista’s wet dreams some years ago. The setting and the plot of the show created by Jenji Kohan don’t leave much space to variety and fantasy, yet the costume designer Jennifer Rogien has recently explained how she succeeded in customizing every inmate uniform so as to let their personalities shine through. Noticing subtle details in the orange or khaki uniforms is certainly fascinating, but my fashion-lover heart doesn’t beat for those. Gorgeous fashion can’t turn a mediocre tv show or film into something good, but if the show is extremely good (as in the case of Orange is the New Black), some designer fashion hints can definitely spice things up. These were totally missing in the first season, but in the second one we were given three fantastic and totally unexpected moments [1].

oitnb_morello_prada.jpgThe first two designer pieces appear in the 4th episode, A Whole Other Hole. One of the most intriguing sub-plots of the show are the flashbacks with which we learn the reason why a character is in jail. In this episode the flashback is about Lorna Morello (Yael Stone), the romantic inmate who always wears a bright red lipstick. She ran a mail scam ordering items online and receiving them, but calling the companies claiming they never arrived. She’s a compulsive shopper who can’t resist the charm of designer clothes and accessories.
(more…)

Anatomy of an Outfit: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen at the CFDA Awards 2014


A week has passed since the last CFDA Awards (which took place at the Lincoln Center in New York), yet I’m still thinking about two outfits, those sported by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Move over, Crystallized Rihanna: the two former teen stars caught my attention and made it to the top of my best-dressed list of the event.

olsens_cfda2014The designers, who won the Accessories Designer of the Year award, brought their trademark minimalism to a sublime level, sporting two similar outfits by The Row, pairing it to elegant jewellery and awesome shoes. Ashley wore a black silk dress with long, wide sleeves, crew neckline and belt at the waist. Mary-Kate opted for a more original dress,cut like an overcoat, made of black silk shantung, featuring kimono sleeves and belt at the waist.
(more…)

“She Was Burnt In a Fire:” Agatha’s Leather Gloves in David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars


I’ve seldom experienced the unique and eerie feeling of being “called” by a movie. It happens when you’re not particularly interested in a film, but there’s something in it, something suddenly appealing and compelling which forces you to go to the cinema and get lost in it. It’s recently happened to me with the latest work by David Cronenberg, Maps to the Stars, based on the novel Dead Stars by Bruce Wagner [1].

It’s a wild and sad story of people lost in a sun-scorched Hollywood where self-promotion, money and celebrity hide dark (disturbing family secrets and addictions) and eerie aspects (ghosts from the past haunting the present and pushing the protagonists to the limit). The character who has caught my attention is Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska): she appears out of nowhere into the lives of the limousine driver/actor/aspiring screenwriter Jerome Fontana (Robert Pattinson) and of the troubled actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore). She shares the same obsession with celebrity which drives all the other characters, but her appearance reveals a different story. Agatha is a freak, like those of the 1932 Todd Browning film: one side of her face is covered in scars (the remains of a fire she started in her family house) and the same can be said for her décolletage, arms, hands, chest and legs, which she always keeps hidden. The make-up-less face and her childish bob haircut add jarring notes.

maps-to-the-stars-img04Her style is minimalistic: she wears loose t-shirts in neutral shades (black, heather grey) and a black top underneath, black leggings as tights and flat strappy sandals. She wears an aubergine skirt and a black bandage dress only once – the latter in a very important scene. The most striking elements of her outfits are obviously the black leather gloves [2] she never takes off.

(more…)

“And Prove That True Love Conquers All!”: Motherly Love and Modern Romance in Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent


Most of us have learnt about classic fairy tales thanks to the Disney animated adaptations, but probably younger generations will learn about them through the movies that have been released recently. Mirror Mirror (2012) by Tarsem Singh and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) by Rupert Sanders have paved the way to Maleficent, the latest jewel in the Disney crown. Directed by Robert Stromberg (an American special effect artist who has now made his directorial debut) and strongly influenced by its protagonist and executive producer Angelina Jolie, the film is a dark tale of violence, hatred and revenge. Everybody knows the plot, based on La belle au bois dormant by Charles Perrault and Dornröschen by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, but there two elements which break the traditional story.

01 (9)The first is the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora (Elle Fanning). The princess, born to King Stefan (Sharlto Copley) and Princess Leila (Hannah New), grows up alone, isolated from her native family and unattached to the three fairies who should look after her. The only constant presence in her life is the dark witch, who follows her like a shadow, ready to help her or make her play; no wonder Aurora thinks she’s her fairy godmother. This Maleficent doesn’t see Aurora as a threat, but treats her like a daughter, despite her attempts to scare her and to get rid of her at first.
(more…)

Red Carpet Heroines: Sofia Coppola At the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival


Remember what Sofia Coppola looked like in the 90s? The hip thick-eyebrow cinema royalty embodied the spirit and the style of that decade. I really miss that phase of hers, but I guess time changes everything. The multi-award winning director is currently on the French Riviera, in Cannes, where she’s attending the 67th Film Festival as a juror. I don’t know if she’s experienced enough for such an important role, but her presence there gives me the chance to focus on her outfits. I’ve never been a fan of her plain style, but believe me when they say we are attracted to those who are totally different from us. I’d never dress like her, but I admire her consistency. Moreover, I’ve got a thing for uniforms and she seems to wear two – black in the evening, basic colours during the day, another reason to admire her.

sofiacoppola_marcjacobs_cannes2014The outfit which sealed the end of the 67th Cannes Film Festival is probably the best, a beautiful dress with an elegant leaf print. This Breadfruit gown is from Marc Jacobs spring 2014 collection: made of silk jersey gown, bordered by contrast sleeves and a gathered detail on the back, it has an Empire waist and beautifully works the contrast of dark red, white and black. It looked lovely on her.

sofiacoppola_valentino_cannes2014_closingceremonyOn May 24th Sofia attended the closing ceremony and the screening of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars wearing a romantic blue silk dress, a custom-made piece by Valentino. She balanced the simplicity of the dress (short-sleeved, with a long skirt gathered at the waist) with a stunning necklace by Chopard, made of white gold, pear-shaped diamonds and rubies. She wore flat sandals and styled her hair in a soft half-updo. Such a perfect way to say goodbye to the Croisette and to her experience as a juror.
(more…)

COSTUME INSTITUTE GALA 2014 – CHARLES JAMES: BEYOND FASHION


Gone are the days in which the Costume Institute gala was the IT fashion event of the year. Believe it or not, there was a time when the grand opening of a fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was really exclusive. Now everybody can see what it’s been turned into: most of the outfits seen on the red carpet yesterday speak louder than a million words. Celebrities can wear skimpy/artsy outfits whenever they like, but Costume Institute galas have a memo, which is usually connected to the subject of that year’s exhibition. If attendees were clueless about punk in 2013, imagine what they did in 2014 with Charles James. The Anglo-American couturier, famous for his ballgowns, should have been paid homage to with a proper ballgown, not with crop tops and skinny trousers! I think I’ll need some time to forget some horrors (sorry, Lena), but my best-dressed list will help me.

The Winners!

img-stellatennatmetgala_215617482725.jpg_gallery_maxStella Tennant was simply stunning in a feathered powder blue ballgown by Burberry, which she accessorizes with pearl grey satin pumps and gold jewellery (a cuff bracelet and a necklace) and diamond earrings. She’s pure class, and clearly showed how it’s done, leaving embarassing antics to celebs.

(more…)

“Because The Moon Is The Same Wherever You Go”


Writing personal posts is always a weird experience. I don’t like it, but sometimes life urges you to do so. I’m writing this at night, while everyone else in the house is sleeping (cat included). Night is my favourite part of the day because I can finally focus on myself and my thoughts, so that’s clearly the best time to write those thoughts down. The reason why I’m sitting here at this witching hour is that today is my 40th birthday, a birthday which asks for a pause and some considerations.

Do I feel different, now that I’ve reached this age? If you ask me, I feel just the same. True, my body is getting old (no reason to deny it, because ageing is an unstoppable process), but my spirit kicks ass. I’ve changed a lot in the last 10 years, and sometimes I feel I’ve hidden part of myself somewhere, after covering it with thick skin. Life has forced me to do so because I need to take action when things don’t work the way they should and/or when I can’t change them. Changing myself (my attitude towards others, towards life in general, but my physical appearance, as well) seems the easiest and most convenient option, so be it. I’ve always liked changing and evolving, so it’s no big deal. Despite this, sometimes I turn to that part of myself I’ve hidden somewhere. I turn to it as if I were talking to an old friend, as if I were returning home after some time away. I turn to it and I feel my old self again. It’s a fleeting moment, but it’s so sweet, so heart-warming, so reassuring, that I’m starting to want it back. Yours truly is not a one-trick pony: I know I can’t be the romantic, heart-shaped-eyed, naïve girl I used to be, because life would swept me away again, but I can let the guard down through music.

It’s not a case that I’ve started buying vinyls again and that my most recent purchase is this album. Me listening to dream pop? Nonsense! Yet, I feel a certain connection to all the lyrics in this record, and Hope Sandoval’s voice is comforting, like embracing that part of myself that I’ve hidden somewhere. It all comes back for a bit less than one hour; after that, life loses that peculiar blurriness and everything is back into place: I can be the hard-working, hard-napping, sporadically chatty, usually dry-witted woman I’ve become, but I know that my old soft self is still around and nobody can take it from me.

Fade Into You has been featured in a multitude of tv show and cinema soundtracks [1], thus following the infamous steps of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It’s a totally mainstream song but I’m strangely cool with that, because at the moment it’s having a therapeutic effect on me, which is what I need right now. Being 40 doesn’t necessarily mean feeling like a 40-year-old person, so no need to worry: I can keep on wearing my rock t-shirts and Converse hi-tops, strong of the fact that I have all the rights in the world to dress like I used to when I was 20. Right?

[1] I cringe at the thought it’s part of Starship Troopers soundtrack, but it’s also in Jawbreaker, a balancing act which sounds perfect.