Movie Wardrobe: The Thomas Crown Affair

There are many movies out there that inspire us in terms of fashion and/or interior design…. So I thought I’d start a new segment on my blog about movie wardrobes that I love and that have influenced my taste and style throughout the years…

I’ll start this segment with one of my favorite movie wardrobes from the 1999 version of The Thomas Crown Affair which was designed by Kate Harrington. I loved Rene Russo ’s lead character, Catherine Banning’s wardrobe. The wardrobe was so impeccable and still relevant today, despite the fact that it was done 17 years ago.

 Harrington was hired with only two months “to pull the clothes together,” which left no room for her to create anything from scratch: not a sketch, a pattern, or garment. She settled on a wardrobe for Russo’s character from the 1997 Celine F/W collection by Michael Kors (one of Russo’s suggestions) and a few Halston creations.

Harrington’s approach was like doing a magazine spread. “That’s how I saw it. I’d just act like I was doing an entire Vanity Fair issue, cover to cover, only with Pierce and Rene.”  I’ve learned many lessons from Kate Harrington’s approach for this movie. Here are a few “lessons” worth thinking about:

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1. You don’t have to have a colorful wardrobe to make a variety of looks. Rene’s character in this movie rarely wore the same thing twice even though she wore a lot of the same neutral colors like cream, camel, grey and black. She never looked boring because she mixed and matched her neutrals all the time.

2. You must play with textures and materials. For example, Rene wore a cashmere turtleneck with a leather skirt…. and I love the look above where she stayed within a colour scheme but added interest by mixing 3 textures cashmere, fur, and leather.

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3. Invest in classic cuts because they will never go out of style.  All her clothes are in classic silhouettes – that sequenced black dress, the turtleneck sweaters, the mandarin collar on her gown, that stunning biker cut leather jacket and the list can go on! Her wardrobe was full of items that are a must in every wardrobe and that have stood the test of time.

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4. Always add a touch of “cool” to your look!. Rene’s character always looked cool even though she always wore very classic clothes…  Like those cool aviator sunglasses with her conservative turtleneck and skirt, those unexpected earrings with a traditional gown, and that bustier over a classic white shirt (above).

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Maria Callas The Exhibition

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The Exhibition is the first major exhibition dedicated to the greatest soprano of all time Maria Callas. Curated by Massimiliano Capella, the presentation marks the 40th anniversary of the death La Divina. It includes costumes and props jewelry, Private clothes, especially those by Biki, the Milanese stylist who fashioned the ‘Callas look’ during the Milan years, as well as several opera costumes; there are personal treasures and stage jewellery; hats, wigs and glasses; telegrams, letters, newspaper articles and photographs illustrating the successes, the scandals, and her loves.

The exhibition is on display until September 18, 2016, in Verona and will soon begin its international tour, from Athens to New York, from Paris to Mexico City…. I don’t have information about the international tour yet but I’ll add it at the bottom of this post as soon as I find some!

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The Curator Massimiliano Capella has used 2200 mannequins and has divided the exhibition into fourteen sections starting with America and Greece and ends in a small dark room with a video of Callas’s ashes being scattered on the Aegean Sea.

Here’s a quick background of her life for those of you who are interested:

I’m going to start from her “Milan years” because to me that’s where she rose and gave her greatest performances and, of course, it was at La Scala where she recorded many of the EMI recordings. On 17 September 1947 Callas had auditioned for La Scala with Casta Diva and O Patria mia, but the Artistic Director, Mario Labroca, didn’t think she was suitable. However, a substitution for Renata Tebaldi on 12 April 1950 in Aida launched a relationship that would continue for more than a decade. Between 1950 and 1962 she would sing 23 different operas, appearing on the Milanese stage 181 times.

Although critics and public were mostly enthusiastic about her vocal performances between 1947 and 1953, comments about her physical aspect were less favourable. Although she was quite tall at 1.73 meters (5’ 8”) she weighed almost 100 kilos (220 lbs); quite a large girl. In 1952 a tactless critic wrote, “It was impossible to distinguish between the elephants’ feet and those of Aida.”

So between the summer of 1952 and the spring of 1954, she lost 35 kilos, and in doing so – with the help of Biki – transformed herself into a style icon. Many of her outfits are reunited for the Callas exhibition. (The iconic portrait by Jerry Tiffany in New York for EMI in 1958 demonstrates how the transformation was complete).

In 1952 she made her debut at the Royal Opera House in London as Norma. London would later be the place of her last appearance in a complete opera, in 1965, and one of the dates of her final concert tour with Giuseppe di Stefano in 1973. But London was to also be the setting for a famous… infamous encounter.

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In 1959, when Callas was one of the core members of the international jet set, a party was held at London’s Dorchester Hotel after the opening of Medea at Covent Garden on 17 June 1959. The event was held at London’s Dorchester Hotel after the opening of Medea at Covent Garden on 17 June 1959. The event was hosted by Aristotle Onassis. the picture above was taken at the event!!!! The next month Callas and her husband were already guests aboard his yacht Christina and the fatal relationship began.

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Her relationship with Onassis ended in 1968 when he left her for Jacqueline Kennedy.

In 1969 she did interpret one of her opera characters again for Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film of Medea; though on this occasion she wasn’t required to sing. Piero Tosi’s magnificent costume for the film is part of the exhibition, so is the favourite black leather jacket that Callas wore during this period. Various documents on show illustrate the intimate nature of the friendship between the director and his leading lady.

The final rooms contain some of her hats, bags, shoes, turbans and other accessories which Biki so carefully labelled in the early years to help her young protégé coordinate the right hat with the right gown. Biki continued to dress her when she lived in Paris, as well as Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Hérmes and Alexander for her wigs.

In the early ‘70s she appeared at Juilliard for the legendary workshops, directed I Vespri Siciliani together with Di Stefano in Turin, and Di Stefano convinced her to join him on an around-the-world concert tour which finished in 1974.

27 November 1973: Maria Callas gives a farewell concert at the Royal Festival Hall.

In 1975, Onassis died in a Paris hospital, a few months later Pasolini’s murdered body was found on the beach at Ostia near Rome, and the following year saw the death of another friend and mentor Luchino Visconti, who once said that he’d only started directing opera because of Callas.

She died of a heart attack on 16 September 1977. She was 53.

The Wide Leg Pants are Back!

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Thank God the wide leg pants trend is back (Not that I’ve ever stopped wearing them)… I’m not a person who follows trends for the sake of them being the latest thing!!! … I normally stick to what suits my body shape and style… So I’ve been waiting for this trend to come back for a while! Not so I can start wearing them (like I said I never stopped) but because now I can easily find them everywhere! …Hooray for that!!

To me, there’s nothing chicer than a pair of wide leg pants or better yet a wide leg jumpsuit!! My favorite brands for wide leg jeans are 7 for all Mankind and Zara. For wide leg pants, my favorite are Ellery and Celine. And for the wide leg jumpsuits, my absolute favorite Brand is Rosie Assoulin…Chloe comes a very close second, though!

The wide leg pants are a statement unto themselves. Even the most classic or simple look like the one above looks dramatic and far from boring.

Hermès Window Display by Frank Plant

This post has been sitting in my draft box waiting for me to remember it since January!! I can’t believe that I totally forgot about it!!

 Hermès always manages to create beautiful window displays. This year they have commissioned the sculptor Frank Plant to design their windows… I loved it so much that I thought it is worth posting even if its so late!!

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Better late than never right?

Selfridges Celebrates Shakespeare 400th Anniversary with the Most Creative Campaign Yet

 To honour Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, Selfridges has made its biggest and most creative campaign yet … They are opening a temporary in-store theatre and a series of collaborations with designers, musicians and drama groups.

The campaign, created in-house, also sees Selfridges collaborating with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) and The Faction theatre company. Shoppers will be able to watch a play being rehearsed and musicians playing in the store throughout the event.

The window displays will include one-offs from Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, Maison Margiela, Marques’ Almeida, Dries Van Noten, Erdem, Craig Green, Givenchy, JW Anderson, Gareth Pugh, Rick Owens, and others.

The windows will launch in two phases (Act I and Act II) with the first inspired by Bard’s romances and comedies and the second by the tragedies.

The campaign started from 4th of July but will stay until 24th of  September. It will be the longest-running creative project yet for the Selfridges… I just can’t wait to see it when I’m back in London.

One of the brands collaborating with Selfridges for their campaign is Olympia Le-Tan. She has turned to the great bard’s most famous works to inspire a capsule limited edition bags that are exclusively sold at Selfridges during that period.

My favorite Shakespeare play of All Time is Othello!! Othello to me is what Romeo and Juliette is for others!…. Who doesn’t want to be loved the way Othello loved Desdemona?…. Anyways as I was writing this post I ordered The Othello bag even though I already got the Midsummer Nights Dream! Because … well, why not!

Art Collectors: Herb and Dorothy Vogel

f53945b695088ec7474dc688431aa6f9Herbert Vogel (August 16, 1922 – July 22, 2012) and Dorothy Vogel (born 1935),

My Husband and I love watching documentaries and one of our favorites is the award-winning Herb and Dorothy by Megumi Sasaki. We love it so much that we have been watching it at least twice a year ever since it came out!!!

This documentary tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary couple with modest means, Herb, a postal clerk, and Dorothy, a librarian, who together managed to build one of the most important collections of Minimalist and Conceptual art.

Spending all of Herb’s salary for art, and living on Dorothy’s paycheck alone, the Vogels amassed over 5,000 works of art. In 1992, the Vogels donated their collection, estimated at several million dollars, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

At the core of this film is a love story that celebrates not only the couple’s passion for art but also their dedication to each other. It is through their loving partnership that the viewer experiences their remarkable story. I’m sure that most of you out there have seen it already but if you haven’t yet please do…. its a must!!!

I’m planning to watch the “part 2” of this documentary soon … the 2nd one is called HERB & DOROTHY 50X50. This one focuses on the final chapter of the Vogel’s extraordinary life and their gift to their country, raising various questions on art, and what it takes to support art in today’s society.

In 2008, legendary art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel made an announcement that stunned the art world. The Vogels launched a national gift project with the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington DC that would constitute one of the largest gifts in the history of American art: to give a total of 2,500 artworks to museums in all fifty states.

This came sixteen years after the Vogels had transferred their entire collection to NGA, the majority as a gift, making headlines in 1992. During those years at the NGA, the collection had grown to nearly 5,000 pieces, too large for any one museum to contain. As a solution, a national gift project titled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for the Fifty States was conceived. Though their collection was now worth millions of dollars, the couple did not sell a single piece, instead of giving fifty works to one museum in every state.

On July 22, 2012, Dorothy declared their collection closed after the passing of her husband Herb. Dorothy works to create a living tribute to their partnership, the collection they created together, and the overwhelmingly positive legacy they have left on the American art world for generations to come.

Can you imagine? On two lower middle-income government paychecks? and living in a rent-controlled small one bedroom apartment in Manhattan? They have collected almost 5,000 pieces of art, most by major artists….Oh, and Btw where do you think they stored their valuable collection before it was all donated? All their collection was stored in their tiny little apartment… under their bed! In the bathroom … every nook was stuffed with art…. they barely had a place to sit!! they had 2 chairs that they left for them to sit on and haven’t seen their sofa in years before all that art was sorted out!

They donated about half of it to the National Gallery of Art, and the other half (in 50 piece increments) to museums in all 50 states!!!

How incredible were those two?

Featured artists include Will Barnet, Robert Barry, Lynda Benglis, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Chuck Close, Sylvia Plimack, Lucio Pozzi, James Siena, Pat Steir, Richard Tuttle, and Lawrence Weiner.

The Art of Packing

Louis Vuitton has dedicated a cute video about packing. They show us how to make the most of our luggage space and more importantly how our clothes can remain in good shape once we have arrived! I mean honestly who better to show us how it’s done other than the most famous luggage luxury brand? Hope they keep making more and more of those short videos with those helpful tips!

The Art of Mixing 101

This apartment in Beirut belongs to Nabil Dada…. What I love about this place is that it has that museum feels about it without being sterile!….Everything is so carefully curated. The furniture and art have obviously been collected over time and with a lot of thought… I can’t imagine the memories and stories that each piece carries with it!

I’m so in love with this place…. It is by far the closest place I have seen (on the net) to my personal taste and style!

I love the armchair above, the style is very MCM yet the fabric is very medieval? classic? I love the Taccia table lamp on the far end corner!

I like how those 2 sphinx are floating above this small reflective water feature…. everything feels very well thought of….

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Do you recognize that sofa? It’s Zaha Hadid (may she RIP) love that sofa … I kind of have mixed emotions about where it’s placed, though!…but it could just be the angle where the picture has been taken from?

Can you see the corner to the far right of the picture? Doesn’t it look cozy? I love that there are those little cozy corners around the apartment. I think that having those cozy corners helped to give the place a homier feel and sort of balanced it more!

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I guess he adds more dining chairs when needed … I can’t blame him for not wanting to cover that Ron Arad dining table with chairs, though…. its just so beautiful!

It is not easy to mix the old with the new, the oriental with the baroque with Egyptian sphinx! And yet Dada has mixed them all… He has mastered the art of mixing to a perfection…. Wish it was as easy as he made it look like!

I have seen more picture of this apartment in magazines but couldn’t really find many online… I will add another post about this place if I do come across more pictures 😉

Pictures via taken from their website