Unordered List

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pre-Fall 2013: DSquared, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, and Prabal Gurung

Previously: Ports 1961, Pringle of Scotland, Vera Wang, and more. 

I probably complain way too much about the aesthetic mid-season lookbooks. You know, they way the photoshoots are often just a series of sullen-looking teenagers standing in a glaring white refrigerator unit while wearing a minidress. WELL. DSquared's lookbook is not so. The clothes themselves are not exactly groundbreaking, but they are stylish as hell. And better yet, the model and her poses are full of personality.
"Make a comment about my socks and sandals. I dare you."

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Menswear and The Hour.

Previously: Bel Rowley and Freddie Lyon.

I should probably save myself some time and just rename my blog "Not all suits look the same, you know!" since that's what I always seem to end up writing about. My favourite movies for costume design are often ones where the characters wear nominally similar outfits like uniforms (Alien; Master & Commander) or suits (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Inception), thus forcing the costumers to be extra thoughtful about differentiating each character's personal style. Since The Hour is a 1950s office drama it definitely falls into this category in terms of menswear, although the women do get a little more leeway. In fact the costume designers took pains to make sure each of the female characters has a very distinct dress sense -- even to the point of anachronism, in the case of Bel's unrealistically glamourous office attire. For the men this job was a little trickier since they were hampered by the ubiquity of the modern suit, but they still managed to include a great deal of character-specific variety within those parameters.
When he first appears, Hector seems like the ultimate upstanding English gentleman: masculine, confident, and soberly dressed. However, part of these assumptions stem from the way he clashes with the far more eccentric and scruffy-looking Freddie, a relationship that changes drastically in season 2. Actually, Hector has a very relaxed way of wearing a suit. He looks comfortable, and wears rather more casual styles than many of his peers -- paler, and often made from thicker, softer fabrics, which fits in with his past as a sportsman and a soldier. Freddie's transition from youthful rebel to ambitious adult journalist is illustrated explicitly by his new wardrobe of narrow, black suits, and as soon as he starts wearing them he begins to stand taller and have better posture. Not so with Hector, who was always comfortable in a waistcoat and tie -- and looks it. I think the difference is that Hector is happy to look conventional and has never really thought about dressing any other way, whereas Freddie's new appearance of conventionality is just a veneer he puts on for his own purposes.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Pre-Fall 2013: Ports 1961, Pringle of Scotland, Vera Wang, and more.

After the spectacle that was Chanel's Mary Queen Of Scot's-inspired show, I was fully prepared for the rest of Pre-Fall season to underwhelm me. And here, living up to those expectations, are some of the highlights of the first couple of days.
Ports 1961 was actually one of my favourite shows so far, for all that they went for that old favourite of mid-season lookbooks, the "teen zombie in a refrigerator" photoshoot. Focusing on Autumnal colour-blocking, this collection was dramatic and strangely oppressive -- perhaps thanks to the model's undead gaze directed straight into the camera.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Chanel Pre-Fall 2013: Lagerfeld, King of Scots?

Click here for previous Chanel posts.

As a Scot, I can be kind of snobbish about supposedly Scottish-themed fashion shows. However, this season's Chanel managed to avoid any of the expected ugly-tartan pitfalls and turned out to be just as spectacular as last year's Pre-Fall India collection. I suspect this is partly down to the fact that Karl Lagerfeld has the luxury of visiting Imaginary Scotland, which is significantly different from Real Scotland in that it primary contains castles and expensive whisky rather junkies, mud, and football hooliganism. Had it not been snowing on the night of the show, I can only assume that Lagerfeld would've hired kilt-wearing male models to grate ice-cubes onto the audience from the parapets above.
pics from
One of the problems with the backwards nature of fashion seasons is that when you're looking at Summer clothes it's usually Winter in real life, meaning that one's critical faculties are occasionally taken over by thoughts like: "WHY would anyone want to wear a floral miniskirt when everything is so damn cold?" Not so in this case, wherein the "Pre-Fall" (ie, Summer, as we would say in non-Fashionese) collection looks entirely suitable for the weather we're having in real life. I found it immensely comforting to know that all the models striding through the chilly hallways of Linlithgow castle got to wear flat shoes and blankets instead of looking knock-kneed and frostbitten as they so often do.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Star Trek Into Darkness teaser trailer theories.

If you thought my posts on The Avengers were in-depth, then gird your loins because Star Trek is gonna be 10,000x worse. Despite being raised in a household without access to television (yeah, I know, I'm making up for lost time now) I've always been a maximum Star Trek fan thanks to a combination of tie-in novels, and a mother who subscribed to xeroxed Bring Back Trek zines during her own childhood. So you could say that I'm kind of invested in this movie. 
This trailer really takes the name "teaser" to heart because it's so damn uninformative that the Star Trek corner of the internet is already self-cannibalising. WHAT IS HAPPENING? NOBODY KNOWS, BUT EVERYONE'S CAPSLOCK KEY SEEMS TO BE STUCK ANYWAY. To be honest, it would still inspire this type of reaction even if it was just a couple of shots of the Enterprise flying around and Kirk flossing his teeth. Unfortunately, we can't even analyse the style of the trailer for ~hidden meaning~ because it's clearly just following the same formula as the recent Avengers, Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3 trailers: vaguely apocalyptic danger, with the villain providing an ominous monologue in the background. The biggest question right now is Who Is Benedict Cumberbatch? There were already three popular theories knocking around -- Gary Mitchell, Sybok, and Khan -- but I think that all three can still be backed up by things we see in the trailer.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Costume design and "The Hour": Bel Rowley and Freddie Lyon.

(N.B. This post is mostly about costumes so I've tried to keep it as spoiler-free as possible. There are a couple of minor characterisation spoilers, but nothing plot-related for either season.)

I recently mainlined the entire six-episode first season of The Hour, and it quickly rocketed to the top of my list of Best Historical Dramas Ever. Basically, it is flawless. I think it's fair to say that I'm pretty easy when it comes to overtly feminist historical dramas, but while The Bletchley Circle is great, The Hour goes a lot deeper than a three-episode crime show could ever manage. On top of working with the intriguing premise of the birth of TV journalism, the main characters are all beautifully three-dimensional and interact with the same levels of humour and emotional complexity as seen in The Good Wife. 
I love the way The Hour manages to integrate an obsessive attention to historical detail with a few necessary elements of romanticisation. They sourced period-specific pencils for the characters to use on set, but at the same time the basic concept of the show relies upon a 28-year-old woman being the producer of the BBC's flagship news programme. Obviously in 1956 this would be impossible but The Hour makes it effortlessly believable, and Bel's relationship with the two male leads -- Freddie the writer and Hector the presenter -- is the heart and soul of the show. As for historical detail, The Hour bears most of the hallmarks of a classic thriller about journalism, censorship and government conspiracies, and the topics Freddie and Bel investigate are very well chosen. The first season focuses on Cold War paranoia in London while the Suez Crisis rages on overseas, and I'm already obsessed with the amount of historical detail going in the background of season 2. Freddie, Bel and Hector are currently looking into corruption and vice in Soho, and we're already starting to see hints of Rachmanism and precursers to the Profumo Affair -- even though in 1957, all that was still unknown to the general public.