Friday, August 22, 2014

Film&Fashion Fridays : Brian de Palma's Phantom of Paradise

We all know Brian de Palma as a stylized, excessive filmmaker who likes to borrow and rehash left and right - just think of Blow Out (the sound engineer's Blow Up), Obsession (father/daughter Vertigo) or um...Scarface.

If you thought his love of pastiche, collage and general eccentricity were showcased in these films, Phantom of Paradise takes all of his quirks and mannerisms to the next level.

Released one year before Rocky Horror, Phantom of Paradise is a mesmerizing shape-shifting rollercoaster of music styles, cinema tropes and emotion.
Probably the best way to describe it would be as a melodrama-horror-thriller-comedy-musical.

Blending both musical and literary myths from Faust and the Picture of Dorian Gray to the obvious Phantom of the Opera, this explosive blend is a highly entertaining (and disturbing) commentary on the music industry and the obsession of fame and youth in general, spiced up with epic glam rock numbers and insane costume/production design.

I mean Winslow aka The Phantom goes from uber-geek to what basically looks like a black leather straight jacket (ok, we would call it a bondage leather jumpsuit today) complete with black lipstick and Eyes Wide Shut-worthy silver bird mask. To me this completely explains Marilyn Manson- you can not not see the connection here!

Jessica Harper (you may remember her from Stardust Memories) playing Phoenix the corrupt innocent singer pretty much rocks the 70s boho look that's making a comeback right now- kimonos, long long dresses and probably one of the best use of sequins in evening wear.

The music changes from rock'n'roll revivals to folk, hair metal and simply grandiose 70s rock operas. ''From grease to glitter. And beyond".
Just check out the trailer.

Pretty much neglected at the time of its original release in 1974, the film has been recently rediscovered and even restored and re-released in a few lucky places. Go see it in theaters if you get the chance!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

White Magic - Jardin Albert Kahn

The Jardin Albert Kahn is probably one of those infamous Parisian hidden spots you keep hearing about; sure, we all love Bois de Vincennes, Buttes Chaumont and Jardin des Plantes, but this little garden is really something special. Or maybe less so as more and more French bloggers started using it as a backdrop for outfit photos.

It's a story of a romantic banker who wanted to travel the world but instead he sponsored other people to do it , strongly believing that knowing other cultures would lead to peace and understanding among people.

The garden comprises six carefully planned regional environments, from a Vosgian forest (the guy actually had boulders and rocks transported from the actual mountain for authenticity!), a Japanese garden buiolt under the supervision of a real stone mason from Japan, complete with koi pond and an English rose garden.

It is pretty much pure Victorian eccentricity, only a few decades later.

It is a very quiet and nice spot, not to mention complete with an entire museum celebrating his life and work that displays an impressive number of autochromes.

Autochromes are like a gateway drug - they're super pretty and show Edwardian fashions in color and David Hamilton hues, so they appeal to the fashion geeks but the process is also super freaky and fascinating ( colored potato peel dust anyone??) so the tech/photography geeks are all over it.

For some reason the contemporary art world remains skeptical; maybe it's because ''beauty'' has been a pretty unpopular concept for the last two centuries.

This late '20s-early 30s eyelet dress complete with my 30s boater hat seems like the perfect outfit for my first garden visit; it was just one of those places I've been planning to go to for over 2 years now but alas it only happened this year. I like to believe I've been waiting for the right outfit.

And seeing the photos on this film roll, I like to believe I did.

The dress is very old but in perfect condition and it will be in the shop next week; I think it would make a wonderful bridal dress!

Also for some reason they let me in for free with my student card, so I should be all the more motivated to return!

You can read more about the fascinating story of Albert Kath here.
The English version is pretty poor unfortunately, but I will try to write more about it, especially since I have another batch of photos to post.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Film&Fashion Fridays: Leave Her to Heaven

Leave Her to Heaven is one of those classics that needs no further introduction- every single shot is perfectly composed with somptuous decor and envy worthy costumes. Not to mention the rich, saturated Technicolor hues!

As mentioned in my previous post, this movie is a unique blend of film noir and melodrama - something like a cross between Double Indemnity and All that Heaven Allows, but that would be an understatement of its dramatic genious. It's no surprise that John M. Stahl directed the original Imitation of Life in the 1934.

There's jealously, travels, breathtaking mountain scenery and just well...too much love. And murder.

The costumes were designed by the legendary Oleg Cassini, which would explain why Gene Tierney looks so impossibly stylish both in a night gown, a bath robe or a wide-legged pantsuit. Or that's just Gene Tierney and her amazing looks.

I was lucky enough to see a print of it at the Cinematheque a few years back, but the new Blu Ray releases look pretty great also.

But seriously - this is an absolute must for any vintage and/or cinema lover!