Monday, 29 August 2011

Everybody's Starry Eyed


Recently you haven't been able to see any sort of celebrity event without at least one of these dresses making an appearance.

D&G kicked it off with their A/W show where the catwalk was littered with stars (as well as Victoria's Secret models)

Following this the same print has been in attendance at premieres, award ceremonies and it's even made the cover of at least three magazine including the September issue of Marie Claire on Anne Hathaway. There is no question that celestial inspired clothing is definately the print du jour.

And it looks as if the same print will be taking over our high streets before much longer too. Topshop and River Island particularly have been hot on the trend, with jewellery and tops adorned with the print.

My personal favourite look from this collection is on Evan Rachel Wood at the Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 premiere. Her quiff-ed hair and leather jacket make her stand out amongst the other dresses which have been wore identically to the catwalk.

My prediction is that we'll definately be seeing lots more of this print on the high street before much longer.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Best Dressed of the Week: Anne Hathaway

Best dressed of the week this week is going to Anne Hathaway attending the London Premiere of One Day.

She was dressed head to toe in McQueen, including a white lace dress which it's hard not to compare to another headline grabbing white lace dress by McQueen recently, a skull clasp clutch bag and tan peep toe heels.

Whilst the length of the dress is a little odd, is it full length, is it not? She finished it off perfectly with side swept retro waves and red lips and nails to boot.

She definately brought some glamour to the occasion and the look worked perfectly.

You can read my review of One Day here.

One Day

Anyone who’s gotten on a train, tube or bus during the last 18 months will be familiar with the distinctive orange jacket which covers David Nicholl’s One Day. After seeming to penetrate the book market the inevitable has happened and it’s been turned into a film.

Whilst it’s tempting for anyone who’s read the book to pick out omitted passages and chapters which were integral to the plot, the fact that the screenplay was written by Nicholls himself reassures you that he can’t have heartlessly shredded pages without any sentimentality or thought, surely? And if he hadn’t played a role in journey from text to screen it’s exactly what I’d be doing.

One Day follows the lives of geeky, grounded, northern-lass Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and priviledged, underachieving and cocky Dex (Jim Sturgess). The pair is followed over a span of 20 years and revisited every July 15th starting from 1988, where their nearly-but-not-quite romance starts on their graduation from Edinburgh University, until the present day in a story which everyone will surely be able to relate to in some way. We all have our own Dex or Em’s, the people with whom a relationship is never really off the cards, but it’s never really on them either.

Director Lone Scherfig (An Education) does a near perfect job of capturing the essence of each year and the soundtrack similarly has the ability to transport you back in time, however compared to the book the film seems to rather heavy handed-ly rack through the years at breakneck speed. Without the character’s internal dialogues to carry the plot, to someone who is unfamiliar with the original narrative the speed may be a little hard to keep up with. I could imagine the motivations of Em struggling to find her way post graduation, spending years working in a tex-mex restaurant and even her attraction to Dex difficult to truly understand without the detail we get in the book.

Nevertheless the on screen chemistry between Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway keeps you interested. Sturgess plays Dex throughout his egotistical years as a late night TV presenter overindulging in booze and drugs, through to his break down without fault and whilst the casting of an American lead in Hathaway to play Emma has been criticised, by the time the transformation from gawky and lost to successful and self assured does eventually arrive she is able to do her justice and to me it seems that late 30s Emma is the only place where Hathaway was really able to deliver the goods. Until this point it’s hard to buy into a beautiful Hollywood actress playing a lost-her-way Yorkshire lass, no matter how thick rimmed her glasses are or how frizzy her hair.

When the final plot twist does arrive in such a quick, unexpected and dry way, only a colder hearted person than me will be able to stop themselves from shedding a tear. By skipping the “happily ever after” Hollywood ending you’re left with a touching and emotional film that’s hard to shake off.



Sunday, 21 August 2011

Do it Like a Dude

The womenswear trend of adopting a more masculine style of dress has been in style for a while now and the autumn/winter catwalks showed no sign of it slowing down just yet!

D&G showed a more 'Victorian gentleman' style of dress while Ralph Lauren and Temperley London went for a sophisticated style featuring bow ties, tuxedo jackets and braces to complete the look.

The trend seems to have slipped down all the way to our footwear, with brogue style shoes and loafers being a massive trends this summer. For winter the chelsea boot seems to be the shoe du jour, with Chanel teaming large, billowing top halves with a streamlined bottom, finished with a leather boot. Jill Sander adopted more of a wedge heel but similarly paired them with a straight silouette on the bottom half.

Asos have a classic interpetation of the Victorian style shoe for £50 at the moment, but if you're not brave enough to go for all out masculinity a heeled pair, like the Asos acorn leather platform as shown in the bottom left is a far more wearable style.

Will you be wearing a pair of Chelsea boots this Winter?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Best Dressed of the Week: Rose McGowan

Best dress of the week this week is going to Rose McGowan at the Conan the Barbarian premiere in LA. The former Charmed actress wore a sequined Blumarine full length gown which gave a very mermaid like feel to her outfit.

The colours sparkled beautifully and she paired it with loose side swept curls. Her pink lipstick finished the look and I think she looked amazing! Blumarine have some fabulous dresses and I hope we see more of them on red carpets soon!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Pixar's Brave

Pixar's latest release is set to be Brave, a 3D animated spectacular set in the Scottish highlands. The synposis from Disney reads as follows:
Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In Brave, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.

The first thing that strikes me about this film is that it's a completely new direction for Disney. Firstly, Merida is visually distinctive from other females Disney have presented us with. She has firey red hair, no hour glass figure, I wouldn't expect her to break into song or her movements to be light and graceful and she certainly doesn't seem as if she needs rescusing by a Prince.

Secondly, the aesthetics just of the trailer and the poster alone set a very dark tone for the film. Comparing just the colour palette and the pace of the trailer with that of previous Pixar releases, Up or Toy Story 3 even, we can gather than we're not in for a comedy caper or a light hearted adventure.

To me this seems like a breath of fresh air in terms of female representation. My dissertation was written about the representation of females by Disney so I like to think I know a fair but about the subject. From the looks of Merida so far I can anticipate a female who's able to stand on her own feet, far removed from the passive females we taught children about in the 1930s and 1950s where Snow White waited for her Prince to rescue her and Cinderella's only worth came through marriage.

Children do learn about the world they live in and the role they're expected to take in adult life from the films they watch as children, so it comes as a great relief that we're finally starting to see Disney re writing some of the outdated ideas they taught us years ago.

If you're interested in reading my dissertation you can download it here. All I ask is that you please don't re write my ideas and claim them as your own (duh!) and if you do use it at all reference me. Enjoy. :)

In terms of Brave, I can't wait to see the full length feature and see where it fits in with the rest of the Disney view point.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Best Dressed of the Week: Kelly Osbourne

Earlier this week Kelly Osbourne made an appearance on the Jay Leno show and whilst her comments about Kate Middleton seem to have got most of the attention, I particularly like the vintage look she was going for.

She wore a cream silk dress cynched in at the waist paired with some sparkly pink stiletto platforms. She finished off the look with some pin curls and red lipstick. Whilst the style might not be for everyone seeing someone outspoken and not waif life in the media is always refreshing, she has a unique style and knows how to dress for her shape. I personally always look forward to seeing what she'll be wearing to events.

Friday, 5 August 2011

The Rise of the Funny Women

Following the box office success of Bridesmaids, there has been a lot of talk surrounding the changing roles of women in comedy.

By all accounts Bridesmaids didn’t stick to the formula which makes for a box office smash, the central cast are all female, and this fact alone is something which makes the film somewhat of a boundary breaker. But even more than this, it’s actually laugh out loud funny, and it’s the women who are getting these laughs!

Past Trends

If we look back at the comedy genre during the last 10 years the highest grossing have been as follows: Meet the Fockers ($279m), The Hangover ($277m), Bruce Almighty ($242m), My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($241m), Wedding Crashers ($209m), What Women Want ($183), Hitch ($180m), Elf ($173m), Meet the Parents ($166), The Proposal ($164).

One out of ten of these films has a female lead, the other nine only represent women as being defined by her man or quite frankly, off her rocker and playing a very attractive, but ultimately subsidiary, character. Very few of these women generate the laughs independently or are seen as being funny in their own right. Instead, they are quite often the straight character for whom the comedy happens around.


Germaine Greer seems to think that this phenomenon is because women don’t need laughs. Funniness is seen as a trait which males adopt in order to get the girl whereas girls rely on the gifts Mother Nature bestowed on them to attract a man and so inherently women are put on the sidelines to be nothing more than a pretty face. However, is it evolution which is to blame for the lack of female comedy in these films or is it the fact that the overwhelming majority of writers of these films have been male?

This is where Bridesmaids has also bucked the trend with a team of two female writers, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. And low and behold, females can infact be funny! Who knew?!

My prediction is that Bridesmaids will lead the way for more female lead comedies in the future, getting women away from the undeveloped, “stand there and look pretty” roles they’ve been forced to occupy up to now, and instead really driving the comedy themselves without the assistance of a man.

Flawed Women

If we take a closer look at the films driving this change of direction we can already see a significant shift in the messages these films deliver about the role a female ought to adopt in her life. We see Kristen Wiig continually messing up, having a tantrum at her best friend's bridal shower, not quite being able to find her way in any area of her life in Bridesmaids , Cameron Diaz as the cigarette smoking, not giving a shit Bad Teacher and Jennifer Anniston giving what is cited to be one of her strongest performances as a bad girl with the execution to do whatever the hell she wants in order to satisfy her somewhat deviant sexual needs in Horrible Bosses.

These women are allowed to mess up, make mistakes and act, if we're honest, exactly like men have been acting in comedy for the past decade. And in my opinion it's a breath of fresh air for women everywhere to see females on screen demonstrating that they have flaws, they're just like you and I and sometimes their ever perfect lives and appearances aren't quite so perfect.

In September we also have the release of What’s Your Number starring Anna Faris as the ever single Ally who has got through a string of men and is still no closer to finding the infamous, and rather notorious, "one". Already it looks as it this film will be another film in the sub genre to propel the idea that a woman is perfectly able to generate laughs (and box office success) without relying upon a male.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits is the second title within six months to centre around the hypothetical “can friends have casual sex” question following the rather unremarkable No Strings Attached staring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.

Unlike No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits plays on its self awareness of the rom-com genre to invite the audience into a playful inside joke. Passing references are made to Nicholas Sparks novels, Katherine Heigl’s lies about love and a faux rom-com staring Segel drives much of the narrative. The effect is to nearly, but not quite, convince you that Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are just like you. They have relationship problems, family problems, they make fools of themselves and even make references to TV programmes and series you’re familiar with! (Passing references are made to tropes any audience member will be familiar with, Harry Potter, the Hudson river crash, Will and Grace)

And it’s the chemistry between Timberlake and Kunis which prevents this film from becoming just another rom-com. Timberlake gives a shrewd performance as Dylan, a web site editor from LA who is head hunted by Jamie (Kunis) to become the editor of GQ. Following a weekend of selling the sites and sounds of New York, Dylan predictably caves and accepts the job, leading to a friendship forming between him and the bolshie but privately vulnerable Jamie, whom Kunis is able to credibly pull off.

Following a late night viewing of the pseudo rom-com which is both the inspiration and the differentiating factor of Friends With Benefits, the pair decide to give no strings sex a go, leading to the sort of sex scenes which have always been excluded from the genre. There’s certainly no pans across the room resulting in the action slowly slipping from the mise en scene here. Yes it’s beautiful people having sex, and your eyes can’t help but wonder to the strategically placed sheets which hide two of the hottest properties in Hollywoods’ frames, but let’s be honest, this is half the reason why we’re here and the film certainly delivers on that front.

Rather unsurprisingly feelings between the two aren’t dropped at the foot of the bed, and the pair end up falling for each other in the sort of scene the film has satirised throughout. Whilst the script did somewhat let down the potential chemistry between these two, the performances were for me spot on and injected new life into what is an over worked genre and what the film lacked in plot, it certainly made up for in it’s zeitgeist references and comedy one liners.