Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Oscars Red Carpet 2016

2 of my favorites, 3 of my least favorites. The yellow dress was ok. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. But Alicia Vikander was so, so tan that it totally distracted me from anything she was wearing. Charlize Theron's deep V was way too low for me. I thought it made her proportions all wrong. And Rachel McAdams was a triple fail: I'm not crazy about that green, unnecessary long slit, and just look at that fabric! It was already wrinkled at the beginning of the night! *see below for commentary on the other two.

I realize I haven't done a post in over 4 months. But I could not let the Oscars come and go without having my say. Besides, the Oscars Red Carpet is practically the whole reason I began this blog in the first place!

And so, without further ado, I shall begin. I think I will start with the best and end with the worst. They are in no particular order (except for the first, which is my favorite).

Best of the Best

Olivia Wilde's stunning, pleated, white gown simply took my breath away. Normally, I am not a big fan of the plunging neckline, but the proportions really worked in this case. She took a risk in wearing the choker, but I think it really completed the look. And she actually did something to her hair!!! It seems like most just leave it in sexy waves these days. And, lets not forget the best part, the detail at the back! The way the fabric folded over her shoulders and trailed down the sides! Genius! Perhaps not my favorite Oscars dress of all time, but most definitely my favorite of 2016! AND, I just looked up the designer: Valentino!!! That explains it all. My favorite!

OK, so, I have no idea who Dorith Mous is. But this dress is so incredibly gorgeous that I had to include it. Not only does it fit her like a glove, but the silhouette somehow evokes Marie Antoinette for me (which is never a bad thing - unless you're talking about revolution). I could not figure out who the designer was, but I applaud them. I think it's so difficult to balance a classic look while trying to keep it looking modern. Amazing!

It took me a few minutes to decide whether or not I liked Cate Blanchett's dress. But for me, that's not a bad thing. Especially when I decide that I do, indeed, love the dress. Of course, not everyone could pull it off. But the mixture of quirkiness and elegance seems to suit Cate perfectly. And that color is so unexpected and beautiful. I'm so glad she took the risk!

I was surprised to find Julianne Moore on my best dressed list. She is usually WAY at the bottom. But this Chanel number is the perfect balance of chicness and elegance with a little hard edge thrown in. Plus, I didn't realize this at first, but it's lace!!! And we all know I can't get enough of that stuff!

So, it's possible that I only love this dress because of who is wearing it. But I think that is half the battle. You have to find the right dress for the right star. Although this one is a bit boring, Tina Fey looked so effortless and stunning that I actually gasped a little when I first saw her. It suited her (and fit her) perfectly. Plus, that amazing necklace was drool-worthy on it's own.

I thought this dress was so interesting and unusual, and it took Mindy Kahling to a much more elegant level than usual. The color combination was lovely, and I also loved her hair.

Honorable Mention

The truth is, I think this dress needed to be edited just a little bit. And if it were up to me, I would either remove the train, or the ruffles. But, even with them, she looked absolutely beautiful! And that belt really made the whole gown sing!

When I first saw this dress on Pryianka Chopra, I didn't like it. But on all of the close-ups, it was amazing!!! It is a bit busy, but all of that detail, in the end, is remarkable. Plus, she it so beautiful, she kind of forces you to love it in the end.


Lets all have a moment of silence for finding Kate Winslet on the worst dressed list.  :(  Not only was this dress extremely unflattering, but it pretty much looked like it was made out of garbage bags. Hopefully she will be back on top again next year! (ps - I love Leo!)

Unlike Kate, it is no surprise to see Heidi Klum on this list. But I am always so baffled at her crazy, wacky and usually hideous choices! This has SO much going on, and none of it is good. Especially for the Oscars! It honestly looks like she let a 6 year old girl choose for her. I mean, I love purple, but not like this. I love one shoulder dresses, but this one is waaaaay too extreme with the puffy sleeve. I love nods to the 70's, but these are all of the crazy 70's ideas rolled into one hot mess of a dress. She really needs to call Tim Gunn before walking out like this!

There is really nothing I like about this look on Jennifer Lawrence. Starting with the bleached-blonde bob, then the weird bodice that looks like it might be see-through, ending in this weird goth-big bird skirt. It's a terrible combination that doesn't work at all!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Man From U. N. C. L. E.

I know I'm a little late in posting about this movie, seeing as it was released in theaters clear back in August. But, I wasn't able to see it until recently, hence my tardiness. The moment I finished watching the movie I knew I wanted to do a post about it. The costumes were absolutely out-of-this-world amazing! 

Yes to the amazing color combination in this frame!

Elizabeth Debicki had some shots where she looked exactly like Audrey Hepburn. (You may also recognize her from The Great Gatsby.)

Seriously. Them men looked just as beautiful as the women in this.

Kelly green and white. One of the best color combinations ever!

I've said this before, I love a movie where the costuming takes on a character of it's own. Of course, this isn't always possible, depending on the tone of the movie. (For example, we couldn't have had ostentatious costuming in Schindler's List or True Grit.) But luckily for us - the audience, Guy Ritchie created a rollicking good movie which touched every aspect of the film, and more than satisfied all of our movie-watching taste buds.

This ruffle necked ensemble was a surprising and fresh slice out of the 60's style archives.

Her accessories were so amazing!

I wish I had a full shot of this coat. It took my breath away!

Perhaps the only down-side to the costuming was that Henry Cavill was so muscular that his skinny suits sometimes looked a little awkward. Not a big deal though. I'm not really complaining.

With each new scene, there was a new dress or suit or hat or accessory that took my breath away. I felt like a visual kid in a candy shop. The costuming was done by Joanna Johnston who has had a very diverse and impressive costuming career which includes: Lincoln, Munich, About a Boy, Saving Private Ryan and Forrest Gump (just to name a few). In this case, the costumes were so perfect and gorgeous that without them, the movie could have fallen flat. There was a very high sense of style and wit in the dialogue and direction, and I believe the costumes were the integral glue that held it all together. If you haven't seen it, you need to do so right away. I cannot wait to see it again. PS - The men are really great to look at as well!

See it!

To the best of my knowledge, I've never watched the original. I'm sure it was fantastic.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mail Order Fashion

My sister and I came up with a fun idea of doing a two part post. The first, compiled by yours truly, is on catalogues and fashion (including it's exciting history). She will be writing the second in a week or two based on the history of patterns! I chose catalogues because every time I see any old mail-order fashion item (whether it's from the 70's or the 20's) I have a secret fantasy that I could still fill out the order form, send it in, and magically receive the item. Straight out of time! I completely loved researching this one!

An early engraving of a Venetian printing press.
Before official catalogues, there were the more simple mail-orders. When I began my research of such, I assumed this practice began in the early Victorian period (when everything else started). The truth actually made my jaw drop. The first ever catalog was published in Venice in 1498! Can you believe it? These pamphlet-like listings were handed out during town fairs and first sold books or gardening supplies.

1700's shopping

A wonderful engraving by Hogarth of a London fair.
This seemed to continue steadily throughout the centuries, slowly picking up steam. The first modern mail order was formed in 1861 in Wales. With the establishment of the postal service in the 1840's as well as the expansion of the railways, the possibilities of true mail order commerce began to snowball. In the United States, the first real catalogue appeared in 1845 from Tiffany's. The first-ever Sears catalogue appeared in 1888 selling only watches. However, it grew rapidly, and by 1895 they were producing an 532-page catalogue that sold everything from car parts, to clothing, to groceries to kit houses. 

Ordering a house-kit is so mind boggling to me. Plus, I've seen this style of house many times. Were they all built from kits?

Hats from roughly 1905-1910. Aren't they lovely? And so reasonably priced!

From roughly the same period. A fur wrap for less than $2!

1910 Sears catalogue.

These prices are outrageous! But at least it's free shipping. (1916)
With the passing of each World War, catalogues increased in popularity. After the second, household incomes increased and the demand for mail-order goods increased along with it. An interesting development in this history is the addition of JC Penney in 1962. They were the first store to enter the mail order race with an already large retail store base.

I don't know how a girl is expected to choose just one of these! They are all amazing!!!
The 20's made huge leaps in presentation.  I would give my left arm for that plaid shift!
I love the stylized 20's drawings!

1934. I think the dress for $.59 is my favorite!

These gowns and drawings leave me speechless. I wish we could see more dresses like these at the Oscars.

Mid 30's. I chose this for the creepy cartoon man she's walking with. Plus, who doesn't love a sailor suit? 

This 1940's coat and hat combo! I need!

I just love 40's shoes! I'll take one of each!

Although retail stores grew, with shopping malls and strip malls, catalogues remained extremely popular throughout the 1980's and into the 1990's. I still remember the excitement from our entire household when we received the new Banana Republic or J Crew catalogues. I loved pouring over each page, perhaps marking the things I wanted most. The fashion possibilities were endless!

1950's dreamy dresses. I'll take the floral green one.

The Indian Touch! I am drooling over this 1955 dress/pant combo! I need to make myself one of these!

The 60's really did pastels right!

I love the posing! And the plaid!

1965 Spiegel cover. The Spiegel I remember was much different. I love that this entire ensemble (including the hair) is a rusty brown, then that pop of teal at the collar. Genius!

Look at these crazy late 60's shoes!
Something for everyone! 1972

Not my favorite style to come out of the 70's.

This, however, is pretty amazing. As is the hair!

1975. I couldn't help myself.

Now this is pretty sweet! Including the boots.

And now, catalogues seem to be more of a nuisance than an excitement. The internet has all but killed this once thriving corner of industry. Of course, mail-order is still alive and well. I would be nothing without my Amazon Prime! But it is now much more impersonal. The tangible feeling of holding a catalogue and then ordering something (which could often take weeks to process) is now gone. Do I love my two-day shipping? Yes! But I can't help but feel that something just beyond my reach has been lost forever. 

Oh 80's! I remember that I got a pair of corduroy culottes a lot like these for my 6th or 7th birthday.

A rainbow of colors and options.

The family that Star Wars' together, stays together.

Ah yes! The over sized sweatshirt and stirrup pants. I can't believe this look hasn't come back around!

The great thing about the older Banana Republic catalogue's is that their styles are pretty timeless. Seriously! Look at that dress and belt! Gorgeous!

This was my personal favorite when I was about 13 or 14.