Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cinema Style: Lisbeth

Cinema Style: Lisbeth

This set was completely unexpected.  I knew that I wanted to move on from The Dark Knight Trilogy for some more movie sets, but I was at a standstill as to what movie or character I was going to review next. Luckily, my Netflix Instant Queue led me to the answer.

I have always had a love for a good crime mystery. When I was younger, I used to watch the Murder, She Wrote series starring Angela Lansbury, even though many of the episodes originally aired years before I was born. I went on to watching Law and Order, which introduced me to Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Although not as popular as the Special Victims Unit series, it still remains one of my favorite television shows. It was not just the complex crimes and search for who did it (many times, it is revealed to the audience early on who the killer in question is); it was the performance of Vincent D'Onofrio as the character Robert "Bobby" Goren. His complex back story revealed throughout the series sheds light on his unorthodox methods to seek justice. Though he is many times questioned by his colleagues and partner about his actions, his search for the truth always serves as his redemption.

Vincent D'Onofrio as Robert Goren

My love for Lisbeth is similar to that of Bobby. She is someone who has been through tragedy, hardships, and stripped of her rights as a free person because of her search for justice against her father. And yet, though she appears to be stone cold and apathetic to the average person, she has a great capacity for love. She demonstrates this throughout the series, whether it is the scene where she feeds her former guardian Holgar after he suffers from a stroke, or saving Mikael's life towards the end of the first film. What is equally remarkable are the sacrifices the characters who are close to her are willing to go through in order to protect her. Mikael puts his career and relationships on the line in order to seek justice for her. Paolo and Miriam nearly burn to death in a barn, though they could have at anytime revealed what they knew of Lisbeth's whereabouts. Her own doctor Anders goes against the prosecutor's wishes in order to help Lisbeth while she is confined to the hospital.

So what makes these characters do this? How can some people so easily hate and wish her harm while others seem to almost gravitate to her? Noomi Rapace does a remarkable job of telling the story through body language and looks rather than language (In comparison to other protagonist or actors that are first billed, Rapace does not seem to have as many lines as would be expected). Although she may spit venom with nearly every word she speaks, her gestures tell another story; her holding Mikael's hand as they lay together, the brief smile she gives Anders, the nod she gestures towards her lawyer Annika signaling their triumph.

Millennium Trilogy movie posters

The set has the familiar lack of color that Lisbeth dons in the trilogy. A mix of punk rock and biker clothing pieces and accessories ties them all together. The hairspray is one which Lisbeth uses amply to create her head turning mohawk she displays at her trial. The stack of books represent the scientific DNA textbook she is given by her doctor in order to pass the time as she awaits her trial in her cell. The necklace was a special touch; I thought it was funny how she insisted on having some pizza to eat while she was recuperating, and Dr. Anders pulls enough strings to give her some, if just so that she can become stronger both physically and mentally. I did try and include three things to represent the three book titles: the dragon piercing, the Alicia Keys lyric from "Girl on Fire", and the Burt's Bees chapstick.

I always found it interesting that Lisbeth's father asserts himself to be a survivor, but through him alienating himself from those who have helped him, he ends up being killed. As a parallel, Lisbeth does not ask for help from anyone, but people come together in order to protect her, making Lisbeth the true survivor.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cinema Style: Bruce

Cinema Style: Bruce

It seems as though it has taken me forever and a day to finish this set. Most of the issue came with trying to figure out who exactly Bruce Wayne is in order to frame a proper set around the character.

Unlike what it may appear, I do put a lot of thought into my sets, some more than others. Trying to embody a character with an outfit piece and some accesories became more challenging than I originally anticipated, especially for the complex character of Bruce Wayne. I originally struggled with whether I should do one for Batman or Bruce Wayne, which I believed to be two different style entities in themselves. Because I did the last set for Selina rather than "Catwoman", I decided to go with the person rather than a character within a character.

But even this decision did not end my puzzlement. Bruce himself wears two masks in the films: the playboy billionaire that the public sees, and the terrifying vigilante jumping off rooftops. But which is truly Batman? Certainly not the former; Rachel Dawes makes a point in Batman Begins that Bruce's true face is the one criminals fear. However, if Bruce Wayne is solely "Batman", then I do not feel he would have made a point to repair the Bat's autopilot in order to live out his life in peace without being that persona; he would have given up his will to live altogether.

So Bruce Wayne is somewhere in between. A man, not a creature. He believes in justice. He misses his parents. He has had some, err, women troubles through the movies. He likes his toys; both Batman and Playboy enjoy driving in the fast lane, whether it be in the Tumbler or a Lamborghini. He is definitely a techie and researcher, making the Otterbox iPhone and the typewriter important in their own right. He enjoys being talked about and making a scene; he excitedly reads the newspaper in Batman Begins to see that both Batman and Playboy had their own articiles dedicated to them.

The dress was the most difficult part of the puzzle. I ended up going with this one for two reasons: the texture and the color. The texture of the dress looks pieced and put together similar to Batman's armor in the last two movies. The color itself is very important. The blue undertone of the dress connects to the idea of the "rare blue flower" Bruce is sent out to retrieve in order to figure out the answers he is searching for. It represents the search that Bruce sets out for himself to achieve, and stops at nothing not only to take the flower to Ra's al Ghul's lair, but also to figure out the true power that such small things -like a little flower at the top of a mountain -can hold. The journey does not come full circle until is able to see another "rare blue flower": Selina, in their final scene in the film. Her blue dress is striking compared to her usual black dresses and dark ensembles back in Gotham. Just as the first flower symbolized the beginning of Bruce's jounrney to become Batman, the second flower symbolizes the new beginnings of Bruce Wayne (or whatever alias he goes by in Italy).

Yes, I can very well be over analyzing the movie and costumes, but I enjoy doing so.

If you're interested, I came across another analysis of the tie between the flower and the dress over on The Bat and the Cat tumblr page that is different from my own, but quite interesting nonetheless.

Next, it's time to move on to another movie. So many choices! I am trying to veer away from Disney ones, mostly because I have done so many in the past, and concentrate more on live action movies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cinema Style: Selina Kyle

Cinema Style: Selina Kyle
This set was a lot of fun to put together. I love Nolan's version of Selina Kyle/Catwoman compared to other interpretations of the character. In the past -at least to me -Catwoman seemed to only represent the sexy villain trying to seduce Batman to her side. Nolan's character seemed more realistic; she is portrayed as a struggling poor young woman, and though she does have skills in the seductress department, she is still human. She cries when she thinks that all of her work is in vain. She is scared when the bad guys surround her. She is not so human that she is the damsel in distress character either; she is able to carry her own and work with Batman, not simply being saved by him.

Selina Kyle's costume in the movie seemed to reflect a different sort of intrigue than what would normally be associated with Catwoman. It is made up of minimalist and dark color pieces that have a close fit, but no overtly revealing cuts. To me, this allows her to blend in more with the upper class she steals from. The outfit is just enough to fit in with the rich, while not enough to make her stand out from the crowd; a perfect combination for a cat burglar.

I came across the long sleeve dressed and instantly knew it would be something Selina would have in her run down studio apartment. I felt as though she would appreciate the Chanel eau de parfum, and may even use it a time or two prior to going to the latest gala. The pearl string necklace is a homage to the one which she steals from Bruce Wayne at the beginning of the movie. I chose the shoes to be the one non-traditional piece to her ensemble, and maybe purchased with the money made from one of her heists.

Cinema Style: Bane

Cinema Style: Bane

To say I'm a big Nolan fan would be an understatement. It is only fitting that I create a set surrounding one of my favorite bad guys.

Even though I've made a number of other outfits inspired by movie characters (Ariadne, Bella), those were mainly based on me trying to get the outfit as close to what is worn in the movie as I could. With this set (and the others I will be creating in the series), I tried to concentrate more on the character rather than the costume. For instance, the shirt I chose for the Bane set reads "If not now, when?" which reminded me of the liberation he tried to inspire the struggling people of Gotham with. I did try and make the jacket as close to the one worn in the movie, just because I knew that there were already jackets that were similar to them. The watch is also a necessary component. It represents the timer for the bomb that will inevitably go off in Gotham, fulfilling Ra's al Ghul's original plan.

I will most likely make a couple of other sets around characters from The Dark Knight Trilogy (Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle) before movie onto other movies NOT by Nolan.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spring 2013 Trend Report

With the wrap up of Spring 2013 fashion weeks around the world, the trends for the upcoming season has been revealed to the masses. A number of designers shared similarities in what they believe will be hot commodities in the future. After sorting through ( a lot!) of pictures covering the runways, I've come up with a list of must haves for spring.

The color next season just might be no color at all. Designers like Brood, Marc Jacobs, and Juan Carlos Orbando (pictured left to right above) showed how dynamic the contrasting colors can be. The color duo also bleed over onto other trends of the season, including the always spring worthy floral and art deco prints.

Stripes played a big role on the runway. Dolce and Gabana, Jonathan Saunders, and Marc by Marc Jacobs all brought out their own colorful lines to the stage. I'll be looking forward to the trend, along with playing between the contrasts of stripes and dots, a forbidden combination that can work quite nicely if put together correctly.

Last spring, it was all about peak-a-boo backs and midriff revealing tops. Next season, it's a combination of the two. Dresses and tops will look great with cut outs in the front. If you're one for a bit more modesty, try the cut out look with sheer coverings, just as Nicole Miller and Jason Wu (left and center) brought to fashion week. Feeling daring? Go for a dress like Erdem's (right) as a nice addition to your summer dress wardrobe.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Business: The New Casual

Enjoy the Moment with

While looking at some past and present clothing trends -and the upcoming ones for Spring 2013 -I see that casual wear has been redefined. Maybe it's young people's clothing maturing or if stores and designers are pushing the trend, but it's becoming obvious that the tight graphic tee shirts and ripped jeans are no longer what defines cool but causal". When I traveled to Europe two years ago, one of the first things I noticed was how to tell a tourist from a local. If they were wearing shorts with a word across the bottom, tight tee shirts, or ripped jeans, they were most definitely an American. To prevent such a mix up -because not many people who are tourists want to be noted as being a tourist -I dressed how I would for special occasions back home: pretty blouses, flowy tank tops, light weight cardigans, and dark denim.

As is always the case, the trends of Europe eventually trickle down to the department stores of the US, and for this fall, it's becoming obvious that the put together look is what is in. The set and clothing above -all from InDressMe -resembles what someone might wear to a job interview. The clean cut blazer, the embellished ankle booties, and the large briefcase satchel all seem like the equation of woman trying to balance the seemingly impossible in the workplace: trendy - trashy + head turner - disapproving looks from someone your mother's age. 

This raises a question: if casual is being redefined, does that mean that business casual will also be affected? Will the looks that are worn in offices ever resemble that of what is worn on the streets, or even what's  trending in the magazines? For now, maybe not. But there's still time. After all, it took six months for the trends I bought in France to come to the states.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boot Up for Fall

Boot Up for Fall

This set, so unlike the elaborate ones that I typically post on here, is what I made to go along with a newspaper article I wrote for my college. I was given the task of writing up trends that I saw around campus. I hadn't realized until I was actually observing people how difficult this would be, espcially on a small college campus. Girls typically throw on some yoga pants and a sweatshirt and call it a day. Those who don't are often times have their own indiviual style that is not main stream or are still wearing the trends from last spring.

Fortunately, I persevered and saw that one thing that was going to make an inevitable appearance this fall were boots. With all of the different boot trends that were introduced by designers for the fall 2012 season, I concentrated on just three.

The first one -and my personal favorite -are the lace up heeled boots. I like the shoe mostly because of its versatility. Though some from the front resemble combat boots, the heeled aspect gives it a more stylish touch. The platform versions with chunky heels that are in department stores remind me of a pair my older sister used to own a few years ago. By the time she moved out and left behind some of her stuff, I thought they were odd looking, seeming to just throw a sneaker and a heel together to make something only mildly coherent. Though I'm still not a fan of the chunky heel, I do think the stilleto versions give an outfit a sleek add on.

Knowing that me going on in 300 words about how much I love heels (and completely capable of running in them to my next class) was not going to be relatable to a college audience, I shifted to two other trends that were alternatives to the lace up heels. The first were combat boots. During the summer, I scowered eBay for a decent pair of Doc Martens that I could get my hands on. Though the $100-250 pricetag is well worth it -a woman I work with has had hers for 20 years, and they have hardly any visible wear and tear -my budget was not allowing me to partake in such expenditures. I found some over at Marshall's, and am satisfied with them (for the moment).

One other trend I came across was the biker boot, which I was not familar  with prior to this assignment. I knew they were out there, but did not realize they were a trend until I was comparing notes from Vogue's 55 Boots to Buy Now feature and store websites. They remind me of equestrian boots, except more... hardcore. I love the studded Christian Louboutin ones I featured in the set, and wish I could get my hands on a pair. I'll probably be on eBay this week to grab myself a pair.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Timeless Romance

Pretty Romantic

This set was inspired by an answer I posted to Polyvore about what pieces are needed to achieve the soft, feminine. Although my answer was voted the best, I did come up with dresses, skirts, and blouses that helped show the romantic trend. In my opinion, the look itself is timeless; the only differences through the years are what particular pieces are used for the look. During Summer 2012, pastel colored high-low skirts, bustiers, and sheet blouses are readily available in stores to get the look. Bow accented shoes and bags paired gold jewelry complete the romantic look for the modern girl.