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The Boxtrolls – Takes Living in a Box to Another Level

The Boxtrolls, Animation, Film, Review

Release Date: 2014
Rating: PG
Language: English
Runtime: 96min
Productions Company: Laika Entertainment
Cast Includes: Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Jared Harris, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright

On the surface this is a children’s film, though perhaps one that’s better appreciated by adults in its detail, a paradox of subtle and flashy styling but not really knowing whether it should have been a none-too-deep action caper or a crafty look at cultural prejudice. It went for both and lost something along the way, visually enticing but weak in its storytelling. Still, one for people who like dark/black humour or just those with/related to kids who like a bit of a thriller.

Who are the boxtrolls, what are they?

Vermin, dangerous, dirty; they’ll kidnap your children and kill them.

Will they?

They live underground. Lock your doors and windows, don’t go out at night, they lurk in the shadows.

Do they?

Ten years ago in a town called Cheesebridge sometime in the Victorian era a scientist and a baby went missing, the scandal has since come to be known as the ‘Trubshaw Baby’. Much like the Pied Piper of Hamelin (the fictionalised accounts not the theories) something had to be done. Cue Archibald Snatcher the rat err scratch that the boxtroll catcher (akin to the child catcher re: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) who makes a deal with the mayor Lord Portley-Rind, membership to the council in exchange for boxtroll extermination.

The Boxtrolls, Animation, Film, Review, Archibald Snatcher

Ten years later the boxtrolls are still little trolls that wear discarded boxes as clothing, hide in them like turtles if necessary, and have a habit of taking metal things left outside that aren’t so discarded even if they’re nailed down. One however isn’t very troll looking, in fact he’s very boyish looking and like every other troll he’s named in conjunction with his box, in his case that’s ‘Eggs’. Eggs is the adoptee of Fish and both are greatly upset and confused over the ever dwindling population of their peers. Where are they are all going and why does the town/city hate them so much?

On the journey to discover the answers to those questions and also who he is – he is a troll, how can he not be, he’s not a boy (hey says) – he uncovers some sinister secrets, some dastardly plans and a girl called Winnie who doesn’t seem very nice either.

Can Eggs save his friends and family, can he prove everyone wrong? (Will the town stop lauding street theatre and music hall?)

The Boxtrolls, Animation, Film, Review, Cheesebridge

Cheesebridge

People vs Boxtrolls simplified to Us vs Them

Remember The Wombles and The Jungle Book? The boxtrolls are a quiet though not quite unassuming species, like those furry recycling critters they collect items and make castles (not really, but usable and inventive items) out of other’s trash. They’re furtive and timid; scared of humans, scared to be seen and scared to stand up for themselves even if good at stacking up together (*ahem*). They have however one human member.

The Boxtrolls, Animation, Film, Review

This is a US production with a very British feel. The characterisation is very clear cut and cliché down to their pun-full names; the trolls are misunderstood, hunted and abused – that much we get, people do that to everybody and everything. That they’re all meek and frightened with every last fibre of their being is a bit dubious, no blame there just a little cynical. Enter one generally clueless, mild mannered and nice boy and then one very attention starved/needy, rude, forthright girl. They’re both the product of their environments and too young to have developed much from their initial personalities but one thing they have in common is determination and interest in finding out just what exactly is happening to the missing boxtrolls, even if her interest is macabre…

The Boxtrolls, Animation, Film, Review, Eggs, Winnie Portley-Rind

An interesting switch of archetypes here; the usual light saving/defeating the dark but in actuality the illuminated one is not the better one/not representative of better things aka the White Hats are not the good side and yet it’s another one of these major films asking us to embrace monsters by not judging books by their covers ‘they’re not the evil aliens you think they are’ style.

There’s much in the way of offbeat satirical humour for example Archibald’s assistants Mr Trout, Mr Pickles and Mr Gristle engage in ironic, philosophical musings about life and their place within it whilst carrying out dastardly deeds in the employ of a dastard. In contrast the boxtrolls (Wheels, Sparky, Socks, Clocks, Bucket, Specs, Fragile, Sweets, Oil Can, Knickers, Shoes and Fish) don’t speak a language I recognize and whether gibberish fabricated by the producers or actually constructed and encoded they’re enigmatic in sound when expressing themselves to each other but subdued in mannerism the rest of the time.

Elitism is further highlighted through what looks like a Masonic order in the town/city, one aspect being its White Hat, Red hat system. The White Hats are the deciders, the owners, the pillars of society, the old and nobly titled money. The Red Hats are not ‘have nots’ but still not quite there. Archibald is desperate to be a White Hat and Lord Portley-Rind doesn’t really want him but new money must be acknowledged even if condescendingly once it’s proven itself useful if not worthy. In our reality the term ‘White Hat’ is usually an opposite to ‘Black Hats’ and more recently ‘Grey Hats’ i.e. the ‘good guys’ (people investigating and raising public awareness about issues – not supposed to be Masons or members of any Order, theoretically), the ‘bad guys’ (people working in black markets, secret services/organisations, the ethos of business over the lives of others) and ‘the in-betweeners’ (whistleblowers, insiders, people who were on one so-called side and decided to or at least appear to change sides, or people who provide a platform for any side). Funnily enough to finally prove one’s eligibility in the film (after status and means) one must know one’s cheese. No pun intended. Seriously, you have to be a real cheese whizz I mean connoisseur. Now I’ve been to a cheese exhibition and I’ve been downwind of it and on top of the already ‘fragrant’ Thames it was not something I’d choose to remember but these guys adore eating cheese copiously. Perhaps a nod to Wallace and Gromit, perhaps highlighting that cheese (and wine) are still currencies in some places and investments in many others but either way if you want to be one of the big boys you’d better like it. Unfortunately for Archibald it doesn’t like him.

The Boxtrolls, Animation, Film, Review, White Hats

Here the White Hats change sides, dark becomes light after the film has shown the former White Hats to be a sham/lording it up over the poor and the previous lord wears a lesser Red Hat. (Though interestingly the Portley-Rinds are Red haired, and former White Hats.)

Aesthetics

This is a stop motion animation and as such holds a certain charm for me, it could be said that since the advent and progression of CGI it’s been rendered unnecessary but digital art is also massively time and energy consuming, plus they can be complimentary. The movement of stop motion characters/backgrounds can be clunky and the overall style thought of as childish but I think this film has managed a good level of fluidity and I challenge anyone to think about the film Coraline (2009) and consider it puerile (both Coraline and The Boxtrolls were produced by Laika studio). Interestingly the first stop motion animations that come to mind are The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Trapdoor (1984-86) and Corpse Bride (2005) all horror fantasies but then you have Wallace and Gromit (1990-present) and it’s spin off Shaun the Sheep (2007-present) so the genre is pretty varied.

The most striking thing about the film is the level of detail, from the faces and expressions on the characters to the finer points of their clothing and their surroundings. The architecture is stunning; cobbled streets, dingy at night and in the poorer parts to gauche and eye opening/brow raising at the cheese buffets. The colours are not always bright but they are vivid and every scene lavish in their own way. There’s even an ode to steampunk in the plot, though I think it steals the show and to its detriment.

The accents are believable given the cast features many British actors. The most notable being Ben Kingsley in a nod to German brethren in a Brit version of the classic rat cum child catcher aka Archibald Snatcher and he voices the villain with zeal. I’m usually adverse to big names in animations unless they can enunciate and convey character through voice alone and obviously he can. At least it’s not a big name cast in general though a few are recognizable. Even with a US actor in the leading female role (Elle Fanning as Winnie Portley-Rind) the vocalisation is an accomplishment of distinct tones and personalities.

The Boxtrolls, Animation, Film, Review

Conclusion

For me it’s not of the utmost importance that a plot be complex or for characters to undergo deep and meaningful development. As long as the story is well told and the characters suit it then I’m not too bothered but even taking into account the age rating and general target audience of this film (kids and their guardians) the plot isn’t portrayed as well as it could have been. If it wasn’t for the impressive visuals and quirkiness of the characters it would be another ‘can’t be bothered to watch but ok as background noise’ movie. It feels like the plot is secondary to the dressing making the film feel shorter than it is (although that’s better than making it feel longer and dragged out). The focus is overbalanced towards the action and gags hence becoming formulaic. The action seems more for the children as it’s not palpitating enough for older more desensitized people and the dialogue of the adult characters could potentially go over the heads of youngsters due to the time period, class differences and colloquialisms. However there’s enough [silly and oddball] humour to bridge the gap e.g.

Winnie: [sees Eggs rubbing his crotch] No!… You don’t scratch there in public. That’s why they’re called [whispers] privates.

Or

Winnie: You’re the worst pickpocket I’ve ever seen. Here [Gives Eggs a coin]. Buy a book on how to be a better thief.

Or

Mr. Pickles: We’re exterminators! Of justice!
Mr. Gristle: We exterminate justice!

I haven’t read the source material i.e. ‘Here Be Monsters!‘ By Alan Snow so can’t say how faithful it is to the text but as a standalone product it’s a decent flick with the parts I didn’t like so much almost compensated for in other areas but ultimately I think it came down to style over substance. Despite having sufficient surprise elements and emotion those things just felt forced. The plot had promise, lots of themes to work with: slavery, classism, demonizing due to looks, fear and mutual complicity in oppression/suppression, being raised in a different social/cultural group, elitist ‘in the club’ rituals/traditions – easily dismissed as hard going for a children’s film but there are many such films that have managed it (some with a lot of flair) and many children living in such conditions and a Victorian setting usually implies some kind of child abuse (Charles Dickens anyone?) If they hadn’t compressed feelings that arise from those themes into sporadic moments/sequences the film would have been better. As it is they created a beautifully detailed environment that promised something special but didn’t quite deliver.

Rate: 3.5/5, I can’t give it a 4 because ultimately I didn’t find the storyline passable and to be honest, boring overall.

Recommendations

Over The Garden Wall

Over the Garden Wall (mini-series 2014) – this was a unique fairy tale featuring some very well known talent, in strange melodic/mesmerizing pace. Two brothers go trick or treating only to find themselves in another world where a woodsman carries a soul in a lamp, pumpkins live in a town, a bluebird talks and they sing songs about molasses. Folksy meets old school Mickey Mouse/Betty Boop – it has a niche and surreal feel that reminds me of the elaborate yet creepy world of The Boxtrolls.

3 Pigs & a Baby

Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs & a Baby (film 2008) – a funny, fractured fairy tale where a baby wolf is left on the doorstep of the three little pigs and they do their best to raise and love him as their own. He grows up believing he’s a pig but with puberty comes changes and bad crowds. Can he resist or make peace?

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Fist of the North Star – “Animals don’t negotiate!”

Fist of the North Star Film

Eh what’s that? You think I’m reviewing that cult classic film animation or anime tv series? Sadly this is a film only review of the live action version released 9 years later in 1995… Yeah live action versions of cartoons usually need masses of CGI to be passable, this was too early for that and so falls into the same vein as “who sponsored a sequel, and another, and another for that film!?!?

Why did I watch it? Well you know, it just happened to be there. Why was it made? I dunno, to cash in? To see what too much makeup and prosthetics look like? To give the finger to the fans maybe. Basically it was made and I’m reviewing it, so there.

A little backstory

For either FotNS fans or newbies there’s little point in me explaining or referencing the manga or animated versions much because the people in charge of this didn’t really seem to care, that said the viewer needs to know at least the basics so here we go:

The film is set the very first part of the comic – the world is a post-nuclear/apocalyptic wasteland, most of the animals have died including the people but those left seem to be immune to what would likely be megatons of radiation. Their version of acid rain smokes hence digging for clean water is extremely important. As usual the class system has remained intact; there’s a tyrant, his army and the rest i.e. the poor slaves who are typically the targets of raids of the military/thugs who think everything/one is up for grabs and ‘jollies’.

The masses are trying to form a rebellion but they lack cohesion, resources, health and are constantly beaten down. The tyrant has a ‘vision’ that he’s trying to build, he’s already got a city, headquarters, lackeys, a kidnapped queen, amazing fighting skill and is the icon of the Southern Cross (the southern lands and name of his fighting style) but there’s someone out there that threatens him… Someone from his past, his ex-best friend, also the holder of the Fist of the North Star – a legendary style that allows the user to manipulate pressure points and cause internal organs to explode.

That’s basically it and that’s more than enough really but the execution is dire. To me it’s firmly in league with Masters of the Universe aka He-Man (1987) and Flash Gordon (1980) but those were ok for their time whereas this was made much later and didn’t learn the lesson, much like wardrobe didn’t think twice when they put George Clooney in a Batman suit that wasn’t right for him.

Everything that could go wrong…

“The Fist of the North Star and the Southern Cross should never fight. (Otherwise the ‘balance’ is upset.) The teaching is true.”

But.

And that’s a big ‘but’! In the very beginning we see the old master of the FofNS shot dead without any kind of fight by the tyrant which was really an anti-climatic way to start off but it gets worse…

The Tyrant – Lord Shin (played by Costas Mandylor) – decides he can circumvent the teaching by shooting the master Ryuken (played by Malcolm McDowell) and then taking the fight to his best friend, the disciple. He also decides he’s going to kidnap Julia, his best friend’s girlfriend because apparently he’s in love with her too.

But first, what is with his makeup!?!? I mean seriously, and it’s not just him – almost the whole cast look as if they’ve been smothered in foundation and then left in a sauna. It’s distracting. It’s bad enough that at times people’s faces and bodies look like the department bought way too much latex and just had to use it all in one film but Shin in particular looks like they plastered on his foundation. Even his foyer portrait looks overdone and if the humungous statue of himself in front of his castle was in colour it’d probably look caked as well. Additionally he and the rest of the cast have blinding teeth, even the poverty stricken ones. Only some of the thugs give Queen Victoria or Captain Jack Sparrow a run for their money but I presume that’s more to do with making them as ugly as they are in personality.

Back to the plot – didn’t anyone teach this guy that you’re unlikely to win fair lady’s affection by almost killing her lover let alone whilst restraining her and doing it in her face and forcing her to say she loves you instead? Bad form dude. Totally. Then making it worse by repeatedly telling her over the years that everything you’ve done is for her and in her name by sticking up posters of her image under the banner of ‘progress’, even when she’s constantly rejecting you and your stupid plans which are really an excuse to get your badly made up face all over the place.

The good guy – Kenshiro (Ken played by Gary Daniels) – loner who wanders about hunched in a ragged cloak, immune to the acid rain, has terrible scars on his torso from where Shin beat him, is generally miserable and who can blame him? He’s gentle, kind, has the ability to fight and heal but there are constant close-ups of his ‘baby blues’ trying to look innocent resulting in an almost cross-eyed effect, he’s slightly open mouthed half the time and very slow to deliver his lines. Wooden about covers it. Much of the acting in general can be described that way with the rest being hammy instead, you know those retro Chinese movies with the bad dubbing and part of the fun is watching their mouths out of sync? This is not fun. And they’re speaking English in the first place.

He’s haunted and hounded by his dead master who wants him to acknowledge his destiny as the bearer of the FotNS and whose not shy of possessing others to convey the message, even a buried skeleton.

Fist Of The North Star Kenshiro Ken

The damsel in distress – Julia (played by Isako Washio) – is surprisingly enough the best acted part and the studio did a good job in making her stand out from the rest; she comes across as pure and light but also aloof and timid/frightened though defiant at the same time. She’s mostly dressed in shades of White, delivers her lines in decent time and gives off the aura of the feeling she wants to portray effectively enough even without words. She basically misses Ken and her freedom.

Interestingly enough for all the graphic violence and implied rape in this film her relationships with Ken and Shin are remarkably chaste; her memories with Ken show them sweetly and he evidently appreciates her presence, and despite Shin’s usual ‘if I can’t have you nobody will, especially not him’ and ‘you’re my bird in an ivory tower’ mentality he isn’t ever shown as wanting to force/manipulate her to bed him, but just because it’s not shown…

Fist of the North Star 1995 Julia Shin

The targets/poor people – There’s a mix of people of various ages and colours but they are generally seen as wanting to make things better for themselves whether by rebellion, learning to fight or peace treaty. The title of this review refers to a line one of the leaders uses when she argues against trying to assert their rights peacefully and via mutual agreement – when beings are seen as livestock, property, ‘useless eaters’, ‘sheeple’ etc then they are disposable if not recyclable and so they have no place or right to speak let alone argue because they don’t matter and their perspective isn’t worth much.

Fist of the North Star 1995 rebels leaders

There’s no point in life without freedom.
Freedom means nothing without life.

Most of the film takes place in the slums, it’s strange because the areas and inhabitants are obviously destitute but sometimes the setting in particular looks surreal – a little too camera ready. Other than that the characters are well portrayed from the big brother and little sister (who is blind here but if I remember correctly deaf in the anime) who are struggling to stay alive and the brother teaching others to fight to the three leaders trying to help in their own way. Ken heals the little sister’s eyes and then can somehow hear her when she’s in trouble. He feels guilty – he opened her eyes only to see what?

Fist of the North Star 1995 Brother Sister

The military – Shin’s men – they don’t look like ordinary soldiers, mostly they look like grossly disfigured bikers but it’s their characterization that is the most realistic part of the film for me and the reason I’m giving it two stars instead of one. Their behaviour is nothing short of psychotic and parasitic and accurately portrays people who like to fully control and torture others particularly in the ‘second/successive wave(s)’ of war/battle i.e. after the main conquest is (officially) over and most of the people disarmed and in disarray making those left easier prey to hurt at leisure and for those new(ish) to the winning side it means an opportunity to get their taste of ‘battle’ too. They run rampage through the slums, chase, trap, beat, rape, gang rape, repeatedly rape, set alight, maim, drown, take foodstuffs etc alongside destroying shelters/homes, drinking and trying out new ‘toys’. The only thing missing here is going home as heroes and pretending they never acted dishonourably especially as ‘blowing off steam’ is normal and if they do it to each other it’s ‘occupational hazard’ or if they can’t re-integrate ending up homeless or institution/hospitalized.

Any positive features?

Umm… Umm… The music. Yes the soundtrack is pretty decent but given it’s an action film that’s to be expected but still it’s no magnum opus, it just keeps pace with what’s going on and doesn’t stand out. However, in an action film particularly a fighting flick you’d also expect good fight scenes no? No. Not in this one. There’s one decent fight, otherwise the film is badly choreographed; people react too fast, they move out of the way sometimes launch themselves out of the way or act as if they’ve been struck when they obviously haven’t – that’s partially the camera’s fault but what’s the sound department’s excuse? Why are the sound effects off as well? Even the 70’s action shows got the ‘POW’, ‘WHAM’ et al in the right places. I don’t expect someone to get hit or fall and hear the thud in slow mo. In contrast when combatants are visually hit, like with Ken’s signature pressure point combo, he may as well be hitting a sand bag with a feather – I don’t know if that’s to make the effect of the organs then bursting more gross but it looks and sounds um, put it this way an air kiss would be more meaningful.

That’s not a bad thing par se, I’m not into gore let alone realistic gore but I admire precision and flow in the contortion fields aka gymnastics, dance, yoga and martial arts and whilst the ability is there it’s not well portrayed. The only fighting that is believable are the times Shin’s men are ravaging the people and quite frankly if that were any more realistic it’d be even harder to watch.

Comparisons

Mad Max (1979)
Another post-apocalyptic setting but more deserted and on the road. A gang dominance movie whether official or outlaws. Former policeman turned vigilante Max is out to get those who killed his family.

American Streetfighter (1992) (yes I saw that too, yeesh)
Also starring Gary Daniels – the plots are totally different – AS is about a guy from a bad crowd trying who later becomes a businessman in Hong Kong but has to go back home to the US to save his brother from another bad crowd and drug trafficking. His ex helps him and it pretty much all about the fighting but the bad: choreography, dialogue/dubbing, styling etc is all there.

Recommendation:

Mortal Kombat (1995)
It has all the cheese and hammy acting of martial arts movies of this type, it doesn’t follow the source material, Sonya is crap in it, the volume is too low when some of the characters speak although the quips are the best part of the dialogue anyway and the music is the best thing in the film but the locations are stunning and most of the fights are pretty darned watchable. It’s one of those films you shouldn’t really like, but I do 😉

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Fashion in Film Picture Review – The Women (1939)

1 - The Women 1939 Film

The Women (1939)

Yep this was the precursor for the more recent 2008 version but that was just was like a paddling pool with rubber duckies in comparison to the predator infested deep waters that is this film. Everything is enhanced in the original from the incredibly knife sharp dialogue to the overblown characters and of course, for the purposes of this post, the costumes.

The film takes a peek and a poke at, perhaps a whole pothole out of the private lives in high society. Scandals ablaze but it’s not any different to any other class really other than everything they do makes the papers and they can afford much higher standard pity parties. Being that the film is called ‘The Women’ there are no men in this film, yep that’s right, no men or boys – at least not visually though maybe some of the animals/pets were male, most probably. (EDIT – I stand corrected, it turns out the animals and most of the artwork/photos used in the film were female too.) That said the entire plot is about husbands and lovers – getting, keeping and losing them and then repeating the cycle.

Starring a long list of well known actresses:
Norma Shearer as Mary Haines
Joan Crawford as Crystal Allen
Rosalind Russell as Sylvia Fowler
Mary Boland as The Countess De Lave
Paulette Goddard as Miriam Aarons
Phyllis Povah as Edith Potter
Joan Fontaine as Peggy Day
Virginia Weidler as Mary
Lucile Watson as Mrs. Morehead
Marjorie Main as Lucy

The first half of the film is as aforementioned – sharp and poignant, almost every angle is covered in how relationships are seen and why they are the way they are. The second half however denigrates into mass hysteria and hypocrisy – if I had been watching it in a cinema or theatre I would have walked out (unfortunately I was prevented from doing so in the latest 2008 rendition due my ‘friends’ sitting each side of me and me not wanting to be awkward). In my opinion overall the film is about cruelty; dealt to people, carried out on others can caused purposely and complacently. Seriously not my style.

The relationships are fickle e.g. the main marriage the film revolves around is ideal yet there’s still discontent! The couple are apparently as much in love as they were when they first met, they share mutual hobbies that they relish, enjoy each other’s company, have open communication (until infidelity), laugh and share lot’s happy memories, seem to understand each other well (as far as is possible to tell with one partner shown in the film) and aren’t wanting for anything materially, physically or emotionally. Yet he still gets duped by a seemingly sweet and coy almost look-a-like of his wife though his wife is known as consistently nice and tolerant (until), keeps it up because he wants to until caught and then stays with the mistress because he can’t go back to his wife. Then like a lot of people who don’t stand on their own two feet, refusing to choose a path preferring to hedge their bets until they know they’ve got somebody waiting for them. In the film the wife is the last to know regardless of all her friends, well with friends like those… She goes on about pride, does take her time to think about the situation but not address all of her feelings then forcibly takes dignity and throws it out the window.

The end of this film is just chaos. The farce could have lent itself to comedy but it was just too annoying, the script was satirical but no saving grace – there were moments of slapstick but were drowned in masses of sarcasm. The all star cast couldn’t make it worthwhile when the direction went downhill, their characters just ended up looking hypocritical and interested in shallow point scoring.

I only vaguely remembered watching this years ago on late night TCM and thinking that the opening sequence was interesting so when I watched it again I was sorely disappointed (ah what I go through to make up for slacking on the blog!) I guess the only compensation is that class doesn’t stop the women in this film talking to each other on equal terms, for better or worse. They’re really candid :-S

On a sidenote – the opening titles state ‘As presented for 666 performances in its triumphant run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York.’ and the film length is 133.13 (minute and seconds). Curious.

The opening sequence is very politically incorrect but sometimes the footwear fits (no offence to the animals shown and the stereotypes ascribed to them):

Anyway on to the best (well, sometimes) part – the clothes! Ha! As with many, I’m a fan of many vintage pieces and styles but seriously the design and construction can be a sad joke regardless of the times. As with any time or place though the film has some gorgeous pieces, some awful pieces and some what the hell were they thinking pieces. Decide for yourself which you think is which. That said, as a big millinery fan I found the amazing array of headgear quite interesting.

Note – I’ve included the most notable outfits but there were a lot to choose from with many being lovely skirt suits with gorgeous, individual blazers and some outfits that would have been ok to lovely had it not been for dire detailing!

P.S – in keeping with the tone of the film I’m going to be a little harsh (but only in a way that criticises things that are not beneficial to the wearers and in support of making fashion less stressful).

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The film starts out with the usual well fitted/tailored suits and overkill of fur, do these people shed their skins like snakes and so take it upon themselves to wear other’s? It probably wasn’t faux at the time either. Ironically enough the spa these women are at has a crèche for their pooches to be pampered also, perhaps they’re just dressing like their furry friends. The ‘master’ matching the dog rather than the other way round as the expression is usually noted for. Perhaps I should go around in carnival plumage as a tribute to featheries everywhere reminding their collective memory of how their wings are cut and feathers ripped out.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Look at this gymwear, if everyone was comfortable like that who would be worried about their appearance? They’re all older women as well, good for them. As a person who has never worked out in a modern gym (I spent my club activity days in gymnasiums with the old fashioned giant apparatus that were attached to the walls, vaults, bars, beams, gym mats etc) I would not be comfortable in one unless I was feeling confident and ignoring the thoughts/gossip going on around me, plus I’d be wearing jogging bottoms/yoga pants and a long sleeved top, I exercise in layers baby :-p Ha I refused leotards without proper shorts for gymnastics, yeah I upset some judges – well two fingers to them and not the peace sign!

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Checkout the third eye action going on there, a unique embellishment on her top. In her case though it probably stands for intel gleaned from spying, snooping and gossiping rather than the other type of enlightenment.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Love hats worn slightly to one side.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

I couldn’t be dealing with all the stiff netting coming off the hat and wrapped like a noose.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

I’m a sucker for vintage nightgowns, peignoirs and housecoats; Olga bodysilk l’amour. I’m not sure if this is a housecoat or jumpsuit but it’s certainly unique. A tad harlequin but with the details it certainly works well.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

So many of Rosalind Russell’s (on the right) outfits were hit or miss but it’s a testament to her acting that she was able to look gawky and awkward/protruded in them, both the hits and misses, yet statuesque and elegant in other films.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The gorgeous dress on the right is jacquard but it wasn’t clear.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

If the proverbial dragon had already entered with Rosalind Russell then the viper’s nest is ruled by Joan Crawford. Both her and her ‘friend’ looking well turned out in well fitted Black highlighted with accessories.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Whilst the women indulge in grotesque private shopping sprees in establishments that have buffets, orchestra, theatrical staging and assistants to attend to your every whim the film does something amazing. It seems the fashion is too divine to be shown in Black and White so the picture does a Wizard of Oz (also released in 1939 literally days before this film) and transforms into colour. Divine darling? Well, the fayre is eye opening if not eyebrow raising and like a lot of individual fashion items, the colour is shortlived.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Yeah I hate tennis wear, then and now – seriously why do they design them to show everything whilst jumping around? And nowadays they’re just like spandex or lycra mini slips. No thanks. Might as well play in mini pj’s. The rackets can be honourary pillows, the heavy grunting when hitting the ball is equivalent to the racuous giggling/laughter that seems to turn some people on and anyone with binoculars oggling, I mean watching for more than just the game can be the peeping toms. Heck it’s a slumber party… On a tennis court.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

I have a repulsion for swimwear in general, swim’dresses’ and ‘shorts’ are a joke with the ‘dress’ being nothing more than a frill which covers nothing but causes some kind of mental reassurance/barrier somehow, and swimshorts are just hot pants if that. Seriously, I’d like swimwear that covers the top of the thighs, doesn’t ride up and shorts that maybe go somewhere near the knees – is that really so abnormal? Why is it normal to go out in supposedly waterproof negligee? I say supposedly because a ton of swimwear nowadays does not have the required lycra or lining and is just glorified rave wear. This suit is actually really nice (even the hat is cute with the ensemble) except it’s not long enough for me and looked too tight even on such a slender figure. I was under the impression that regular, even breathing was important when swimming, not gasping for air.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Then I saw the darker skinned mannequin hand (women are usually portrayed as lighter skinned than a male counterpart in films) with large ring and rose over her d’ecolletage – sleazy? Perhaps it’s ok for the catwalk but I’d hope that if anyone bought it the hand would be removed.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Everything’s cute except the maypole on her head.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The outfit on the left is like one big hug.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

And I thought she was wearing an abaya and hijab but that was before she revealed she was Bat Woman, minimal style.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Ah look it has a see-through visor, how practical that it won’t block out the glare but will prevent bird droppings or unfortunate falling excrement from planes from falling in your face.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Yes those are animals in that ‘cute’ zoo scene cage in mini versions of the clothes for all to stare and giggle at whilst the models throw something (presumably food) anywhere but near them and in such a way that if they did it might hit them. This film is earlier than The Kettles in the Ozarks (1956) in which a car runs over a duck’s/goose’s tail feathers without giving a crap but shows that things didn’t get any better for a long time.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

That said, it was in the time when sexualizing weapons was made popular (curse you fools) such as sitting provocatively atop torpedoes. It was also at the time where White women were trying to get ahead but their sisters were still lower class e.g. the way a Black woman working in the department store is treated by her colleague Crystal p*ssed me off.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

It seems as long women look pretty and smile it makes it ok… uh-huh, keep telling yourself that.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Little Bo Peep

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Sweet and adorable no doubt but practical for picnics? These ballgown beauties remind me of boating attire for Victorian women which consisted of shades of White delicate fabrics and trim, matching accessories and do their utmost not to move a muscle, avoid the wet parts of the boat nor get splashed, had to keep on the blankets and get upset if they had to go to the riverbank to rinse the dishes. These numbers are even more floaty than their predecessors – grass stains and the breeze blowing hems into the food and heaven forbid it be sticky jam much?

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Remember running in floor length gowns = tripping hazard.

Ok I can’t criticise and critique everything, I’ll have each of these dresses please! (Vegan versions.)

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

24 - The Women 1939 Film

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

This one actually had Gold sparkles underneath that cape but the underneath wasn’t shown.

29 - The Women 1939 Film

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Wow what a difference eh?

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Remember the date of this film, slips were still slips and not outerwear. In the back area the models regaled the clientèle with undergarments and sleepwear.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

It seems the models were allowed to barge into dressing rooms to show pieces the incumbents may not have seen/properly. This one just walked in to multiple rooms without knocking or saying anything and waiting to be invited.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

One of the most awful baths ever? I’ve seen quite a few statement baths in films from this time but this one is completely gauche.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Such a beautiful gown worn with no grace – she barely stood still for a split second, stooped and leaned all over, flung the fabric everywhere and in keeping with her character behaved appallingly.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The forefront of the older women in the film imparting an older, though not always wiser, but still astute view of things. Love the arms on that dressing gown, almost like armor.

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

The Women 1939 Film Vintage Fashion Clothing Norma Shearer Joan Crawford Rosalind Russell

Is this film worth watching other than for the fashion? Well it has some great lines and sometimes insight but on the whole showed the common grim sides of people, though shown through women.

That last pic says it all.

Gallery

Glamour for a Good Cause? – Troop Beverly Hills (1989)

Troop Beverly Hills Film

Troop Beverly Hills Film Shelley Long

Hello all!

I remembered a great film with awesome fashion, characters overcoming the odds, friendship and comedy. Troop Beverly Hills was a light hearted film with some serious elements, about a rich group of ‘Wilderness Girls’ (girl scouts) and their troop leader, a misguided, impractical socialite who shows courage of conviction and spirit. You know the script, it’s the storyline where the main characters are segregated and sabotaged but come up trumps whether it be an (insert random sport here) team or unpopular kids at school. Basically like real life in a social sense but with a happy ending (nix the part about getting back together with a trampy ex) and in this case without the crazy wealth,  outrageous wardrobe and great cartoon intro/opening sequence! But anyway, on to the pics!

White Navy Polka Dot Spot Stripe Skirt Suit Yellow Hat Bow

The first look at the main character Phyllis Nefler sets up the fashion tone for the rest of the film and let’s us adjust our eyes to ‘high colour and shock’ mode. This woman had some guts, I like that.

Tribal Animal Leopard Print Leather Look Tassels

Next shot – the best friend…. aye carumba, taking animal print, tassels and leather to another level but hey, it was the 80’s and she was a romance novel author. ‘Nuff said.

Shoes Stilettos

Ok who has ever done this? Gone into a store, tried/opened a ton of shoes and said “I’ll take these, these, these and those”. I can’t even imagine it!

Black White Bead Haute Couture Fishtail Dress Gown Boutique

One of the characteristics Phyllis used to describe herself on the Wilderness Girls Troop Leader application form was ‘thrifty’ – well this dress cost $5600 and she pointed out that a bead was missing and the sales lady gave it to her for $5000! That’s one expensive bead and gives a whole new meaning to word ‘thrifty’!

Black lace top, gloves, mini top hat, Yellow Mustard blazer suit

Another characteristic was her ‘love of animals’ – in this case the animal being a jewel encrusted trinket frog… Even though you can’t see much of the suit, I can tell it’s gorgeous. Look at that collar and I love the Black used for contrast.

Shopping Hat Boxes Clothes Fashion

This can’t be good for your health, or maybe it classified as a type of weight lifting? I’ve never tried it but I’d definitely lose the heels. Exercising and spraining an ankle isn’t a good mix.

Red White Polka Dot Spot Skirt Dress Suit Wide Belt Brimmed Summer Hat

Very vintage, I love the peplum and general shaping of the suit/dress and the hat – yes I love wide brimmed hats! The sleeves are a bit much and I’m not loving the belt but she carries it all well. She reminds me of one of those porcelain figurines, what do you think?

Haute Couture Yellow Pinstripe Floral Embellished Dress Suit

To be honest, I am speechless, almost. It’s stunning, it’s funky, it’s awful but with carefully considered details! First up – the fabric is actually pinstripe as you can see in the close-up and in a nice colour combo I think, the flowers are multi-coloured and layered, it has a matching hat and the Orange heels are complimentary. But! Come on, seriously? It looks like a dress made out of paper/card for a panto dame. The flowers look like papier-mâché and gawd why those hip panniers? Yet at the same time it looks well made, go figure.

Troop Beverly Hills Wilderness Girl Scout Uniform

Phyllis and her troop buying their uniforms, with complete disdain. Khaki and ill-fitted, not good for the fashion conscious.

Troop Beverly Hills Purple Pink Stripe Vintage Inspired Skirt Dress Suit Wide Brimmed Hat Satin Gloves

Phyllis takes their uniforms aka fashion emergencies to her tailor, who doesn’t even want to touch them and uses a handkerchief as protection! His suggestion is burning but even so, he does an amazing job as you’ll see next. As for what Phyllis was wearing – magnifique! I truly love her two tone Purple dress/skirt suit, everything about it well cut, shaped and defined without the shoulders and hips being too large and that fabric is gorgeous looking. I could do without the hat and gloves for this one though, which I think cheapen the outfit and make it look too costume-y.

Toop Beverly Hills Wilderness Girl Scout Uniform

Ta Da! Complete transformation and wow, what an improvement! I’d wear that happily. Being ‘practical’ and fashion forward she also had pleated trousers, a pleated chiffon flouncy skirt and riding style trousers made to go with the jacket as well as the alternative uniforms shown below – clever eh? A troop leader needs a variety of styles for the wild outdoors of Beverly Hills 😉

Troop Beverly Hills Wilderness Girl Scout Uniform

More alternates – a nautical version, an everyday version and…

Troop Beverly Hills Wilderness Girl Scout Uniforms

voilà! The pièce de résistance made for their ‘khaki fashion show’ whilst peddling cookies at the same time. I actually really like this though it’s a bit like a superhero costume lol but I adore the lamé lined cloak!

Troop Beverly Hills Asian Chinese Pajamas Green Silver Lamé

Pajamas at their best, n’est-ce pas?

Troop Beverly Hills White Faux Fur Coat Hat

Who doesn’t want a full length faux fur coat? Not the right shape for me but I might not say no. As gorgeous as it is in White though, it’s terrible impractical as Phyllis finds out when trying to save a fondue pot in a muddy area in a sudden downpour… needless to say, it was not nice.

Troop Beverly Hills Shelley Long Nightdress Peignoir

Oo la la what a peignoir! I’d be tickled Pink to have that set, well if the nightdress/gown was more of an Olga bodysilk fabric but the faux fur sleeves on the robe are ‘to die for’, I bet they were wonderful to wear and feel.

Troop Beverly Hills Shelley Long Phyllis Nefler Yellow Mustard Business Shorts Blazer Suit

I’ve never been sure of ‘office shorts’ but paired with the blazer in what looks like a two tone Mustard and Canary Yellow suit, they are actually rather fetching and yes, I know many hate it but I like shorts and leggings with heels. Hey they can work, remember Sandy from Grease?

Troop Beverly Hills Animal Zebra Print Trousers Skirt Wide Brimmed Summer Yellow Hat Gloves

Now this is actually one of my favourite outfits from the film, I don’t think I’ve ever seen trousers and a full length matching over skirt/sarong which is open at the front. I have seen shorter, opaque over skirts both open and closed and worn some but this, this is something very different and to my mind, very attractive and catwalk chic. I’m not keen on the matching zebra print fabric on the chest area of the top but I like the way she wore two scarves in Black and White chiffon to match the flowing nature of the skirt and I can take or leave the matching gloves but they are a nice touch. Thankfully she wasn’t Cruella De Vil. (As for the hat, meh I wear a wide brimmed Summer hat, it’s practical and in her case looks a bit like a halo lol, plus she was gardening. I know, I know, gardening in that outfit?! Well, gently pruning.)

Troop Beverly Hills Phyllis Nefler Black White Print Jumpsuit Wide Red Belt Bow

I wasn’t too keen on this outfit when I saw it from the front, though I thought it was well worn with the Red accessories, but when I saw it from the back and saw the way it moved. Can you say sashay? Very nice and smart too.

Troop Beverly Hills

Loud and proud sisters (leaving divorce court). I love that Chartreuse dress suit that I’ve highlighted on the left.

Troop Beverly Hills Shelley Long Phyllis Nefler

I love polka dots as much as the next person and appreciate the trend that’s been happening the past few years but there’s such a thing as overkill. On the other hand, those could be pajamas, I’m not sure. Either way, the bow makes her look like a cutie pie, and you can’t lose with that.

Troop Beverly Hills Red Black Sparkly Dress Skirt Suit Blazer Swallow Shoulder Embellishment

I know it was the 80’s but still, that’s gotta be taking shoulder embellishments too far. Other than possibly being called ‘artistic’ it looks like she has a dead bird on her shoulder and that’s just not cool. Sparkly or not, you can’t make that look cruelty free. Without it the suit isn’t too bad though on line between sophisticated and clownish, that is if your eyes can get past the double whammy of shoulder pads and swallow.

Troop Beverly Hills Leopard Animal Print outfit

Prehistoric lady strikes again. Wow, what an outfit! Skin tight leopard print, whopping great shoulders and matching scarf – a knockout or a gawd what on Earth are you wearing moment? Just to note, she was talking into her scarf because she had a tape recorder inside for dictation. Well, at least she was visually open about being a man eater. Get it? 😉

Troop Beverly Hills Evening Gown Blue Green Purple

What exquisite construction – too bad it looks like a cake, though if anybody could pull it off it was Phyllis.

Troop Beverly Hills Ball Gowns Evening Dresses Shelley Long Mary Gross

When two crazy dresses meet hopefully they don’t mate.

And now lastly, for your nostalgic viewing pleasure, here’s a great clip from the movie featuring some great, embarrassing dance moves that Shelley Long actually looks ok doing (well, except the Freddie, but no one could look good doing that)!

That’s all for now folks, I hope you enjoyed this installment of Awesome Fashion in Non-Fashion Films! Troop Beverly Hills Poster

Awesome Fashion in non-Fashion Films – DARLING LILI

Here’s another one for the Julie Andrews fans!

Darling Lili (1970) a film in which she gave her usual talented, charismatic, elegant and fiery performance – in style! Also starring the ever loved (not by me, ahem, but by many) Rock Hudson wherein they played star crossed lovers during World War I. I’ve found that many of the films starring Julie had extensive wardrobes with a flair for the dramatic and smart, and this film is no exception.

 

 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065611/

The film opens (and closes) with Julie both singing beautifully and looking beautiful in this gorgeous dress coat, notice the typical 70’s angel sleeves:

Black Silver Sequin Stage Gown 1

Black Silver Sequin Stage Gown 2

Men in housecoats/smoking jackets (without the smoking) = debonair

Mens Housecoat - Jacquard

I’ve never seen a woman’s housecoat like this one, austere yet sexy:

Red Brocade Womens Housecoat - Front

Red Brocade Womens Housecoat - Back

I love the colouring of this suit, I’m not so keen on the scalloped edging with the ruffled pussy bow blouse but on Julie it looks fresh and charming:

Purple Maxi Skirt Suit - Front

Purple Maxi Skirt Suit - Back

Now this is truly lavish and decadent, I’m not keen on the pattern in this fabric but it is certainly one of a kind and hopefully with faux fur:

Gold & Silver Lame, Sequin, Fur Trim Gown Coat - Front

Gold & Silver Lame, Sequin, Fur Trim Gown Coat - Back

I adore this peignoir/nightgown, perhaps in another colour and smaller sleeves but the shaping, cut and detail are to swoon for:

Peach Marabou Housecoat/Peignoir - Front

Peach Marabou Housecoat/Peignoir - Back

This is a richly elegant and smart dress suit – shirt, dress and cloak – she wore it in a countryside sunrise picnic, not an outfit I’d usually recommend for such a setting but it’s fiction afterall. I also wouldn’t normally recommend mixing Red and Pink but there are occasions where it can work, and in this particular case as the lighting is subdued the shirt may actually be a dull shade of Red.

Red Dress, Shirt & Cloak - Front

Red Dress, Shirt & Cloak - Back

I’m a fan of vintage nightgowns and peignoirs, and this is characteristic of the more plain yet still feminine duos in White and Lemon, the overlay looks like chiffon though it could be organza. Either way:  flowing fabrics +  beautiful lady = *wistful sigh*

Vintage Layered Chiffon Nightdress Nightgown - Front

Vintage Layered Chiffon Nightdress Nightgown - Side

Recognize the fantastic museum? 😉 Plus, her suit is fabulous.

Green Jacket Skirt Suit with White Muff & Hat - Front

Green Jacket Skirt Suit with White Muff & Hat - Back

This is gorgeous skirt suit outfit and like in my previous post about the film ‘Star!’ it shows how a leopard print outer garment should look, glamorous and tasteful (and the fur should be faux):

Leopard Fur Coat Cloak

Brown Skirt Suit - Front

Brown Skirt Suit - Side

I’d love to own a nightdress/gown like this – dreamy and romantic:

Pink Chiffon Night Dress/Gown 1

Pink Chiffon Night Dress/Gown 2

This is a very unusual housecoat or two piece outfit, you can’t see it but it it has the dark trim on the bottom, the one you can see and also at the hem which adds to the unique design and adds length and a slender line. It looks as if the spots/polka are a kind of ‘silk’ velvet on a thinner, perhaps semi-sheer rayon fabric. This wouldn’t appeal to many but it appeals to me!

Polka Dot Spot Velvet Chiffon Housecoat 1

Polka Dot Spot Velvet Chiffon Housecoat 2

Gorgeous high collared cape/coat in which she delivers my favourite line of the film:

“That filfthy, scheming, cheating, faking, lying, egotistic, selfish, hedonistic, son of a… [slams door]!”

Brocade/Embroidered Black Cloak

This is a gorgeously fitted yet wearable pastel Blue maxi dress with front wrap slit/split, bell sleeves and possibly detachable cravat and matching accessories:

Pastel Blue Ruffle Dress - Front

Pastel Blue Ruffle Dress - Back

That’s all for this film, but just as the fashion was a treasure the film itself was a little gem of easy viewing and another of her unfortunate badly received films due to lack of perception of the viewer climate/social consciousness at the time. But if you’ve been inspired or are a an Andrews/Hudson fan why not check it out and see if you like it?

Ta-ta!

Awesome Fashion in non-Fashion Films – STAR!

Have you ever seen a movie or tv program, seen an outfit or piece of clothing and thought to yourself ‘if only I had that!’ Or ‘That’s soo gorgeous!’

None of the films or tv programs in the series of blogs I’m writing were about fashion, nor were they trendsetters; they did however feature exquisite garments and showed individuality whilst being stylish. There’ll be no mention of iconic flicks like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, so-called cult classics like Clueless or new benchmarks like The Devil Wears Prada in this list, the ones featured were usually underrated or so bad/funny fashion-wise that they were good.

To start – Star! – (1968) Featuring Julie Andrews, a biography where she portrayed the legendary stage actress Gertrude Lawrence.

 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063642/

To note – there are literally TONS of outfits in this film, I can only imagine how much of the budget was allocated to wardrobe and how much time and effort it must have taken to make all of the costumes! I’ve posted a selection here based on what I consider to be the most appealing and what I could get pics of. I noticed that many of the outfits were what we would nowadays consider mismatched in prints and colours and I’ve left the most mismatched pieces out though I believe they could have looked nice had they been re-arranged.

Ok on to the pics!

Purple 2 piece skirt suit & Pink pussy bow blouse with bell sleeves.

 In the first 3min we see Ms. Andrews in a gorgeously feminine and flatteringly constructed skirt suit. The colours might not be to everyone’s taste, but I think this elegant suit could work in many colours and the Black collar is very sophisticated.

Calf length Grey tweed coat suit

Grey Tweed coat suit and Black hat

I personally prefer longer skirt and jacket/coat suits to the modern short versions which can look like you’re not wearing a skirt at all when worn with an over coat/jaket and hence tacky. These longer versions are not only flattering to different body shapes, they can elongate your height and add gravitas to your image – you can’t say that about mini skirt to work, unless it’s an unconventional workplace.

Stunning couture outfit modeled for wealthy women as part of luxury purchasing

Sequin and what looks like brocade/perhaps embroidered cloak coat

This stunning outfit would be at home on any catwalk even today, it’s timeless yet distinctive. I prefer it in a solid colour but the shaping is beautiful.

Fur trimmed jacquard/cheongsam coat

Fur trimmed jacquard/cheongsam coat - back

I love this coat, it’s sumptuous and just epitomises glamour. I’d choose faux fur though.

Purple/Lilac satin/charmeuse & Bold embroidered or brocade dress

An extremely elegant yet extravagant gown but impractical with the long sides, not one to dance in but to walk around/mingle and sit and look gorgeous in it’d work.

Silver Gold gown and turban

Silver Gold gown, turban and Gold shoes - back

I LOVE this outfit, it’s exotic and enticing. I also like the idea of wearing Gold shoes. I don’t know if this outfit was made of metallic thread or softer Lamé, any ideas?

Brown pattern Orange trim Kimono/Coat

Brown pattern Orange trim Kimono/Coat - back

This is a very classy kimono style coat, who wouldn’t look stunning in that?

High collared, sequin/rhinestone coat with train

Silver two piece halter & trouser suit with sequins/embroidery

Silver two piece suit halter top & trousers with sequins/embroidery - back

What a phenomenal outfit! Here we see Ms. Lawrence (Julie) after she had been fired from her a stage job and managed to get a job as a luxury model. The silver suit is a gorgeous subtle shade which matches the slinky fabric giving it a shimmery look and looked awesome as she moved, and topped off with that coat made the outfit heavenly looking – definitely a moonlight outfit.

Stage costume - Victorian style trench coat with cape, top hat & gloves

Stage costume - Victorian style trench coat with cape, top hat & gloves - front

Here we see Ms. Lawrence back in her element on stage. She was playing a male character in oversize clothing but still, wouldn’t you like to see men more elegantly dressed nowadays? I don’t mean all the time, but seriously, it would be nice to see more dapper evening wear instead of jeans/skinny jeans and casual clothing worn all the time and just dressed up with accessories or a smart shirt or blazer to transform a regular outfit into going out clothes. Smart/casual wear has its place but it’s not as attractive or romantic as classic, flattering, well cut clothing. Also, such clothing if well made and in neutral colours can be versatile and last a long time so it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to look sharp (without looking smarmy or greasy I hasten to add because a lot of high earners look like that in their nice suits though it’s better to actually not be sleazy or cocky of course).

Red roomy wrap style coat & Gold gloves

Red roomy wrap style coat & Gold gloves - side

This is a gorgeously sophisticated Red coat with high collar, it looks warm and comfortable. I can see why she wore Gold gloves with it, the theme of luxury, royalty and star glamour, combined with a Gold dress underneath (and probably shoes) but I would advise against it. Red/Gold is a fantastic combination but in different combinations/amounts.

Coral Peach Tailored Jacket Blazer

Why is it that suits (with the exception of very expensive ones and church suits) are so boring nowadays? They’re mostly one colour, loose fitted and with little shape. Now I’m not hankering after the power suits of the 80’s though at least they had character and distinctiveness (remove the shoulder pads ahem) but I do wistfully think of something more feminine and beautiful whenever I’m looking for a new suit. Cookie cutter suits have had their day imo, they might be fine for work but because of their drab lack of style, they’re not great to wear everywhere anymore. Suits are expensive, it doesn’t matter how plain they are, if they’re decently made they’ll be £100 minimum so why the hell can’t we wear them for more than just work without looking non-descript? We should be able to wear our suits to work, travelling or going out and look like we stepped out of a catalogue.

Now we can only see the top of her suit here but that’s enough to show it has style and personality – it may not everyone’s favourite colour, but that’s variable and the shaping and design is exquisite and again, the lack trim gives it class. The bow of her shirt happily compliments and her hat (sans the feather and pointed top) is the perfect topper as it gives height and suits her slender face. Hats are another thing – good millinery = good investment. Not many are needed, but the right ones can add to any outfit.

Beige/Oatmeal chiffon bell sleeve pleated skirt dress & Orange handkerchief

Beige/Oatmeal chiffon bell sleeve pleated skirt dress & Orange hankerchief & matching shoes - back

This is a beautiful, dainty dress with good sweep and movement. It’s light in both colour and fabric, calf length and chic. Julie Andrews was always slender, non-curvy and tall so wearing pleats, especially thin ones wasn’t a problem for her and as with everything else she wore  this number gracefully and attractively. However, the beauty of this style of dress is that because of it’s length and fabric it would look good on a variety of body shapes and would accentuate the waist/hips. I’d personally wear it without the handkerchief but it was a great idea as an accessory and added a touch of colour to the neutral outfit.

Navy skirt suit - jacket/blazer & hat and light Blue scarf & gloves

Another great jacket/blazer and hat (as part of a skirt suit) with a highlighting contrast in the matching blouse/scarf and gloves – great complimentary and stylish dressing.

Indian theatre costumes

Indian theatre costumes - dance

Now these aren’t everyday wear obviously but I just had to give them a mention as I find them so desirable and gorgeous! She wore this as part of a theatre show and must of had fun in it!

White/Cream ruffle puff shoulder jacket/coat

This is a gorgeous, well fitted jacket/coat which would look well over many outfits and with a variety of accessories.

Leopard print big collar coat

Leopard print coat & tan/camel dress and hat

Now this is what a leopard print coat should look like. Leopard print and animal prints in general are classic and are one of the trends that repeats in the cycles of fashion but they are temperamental and depending on how they are used bounce between show stopping glamour and tackiness. Leopard print has been taking its due again in the last couple of years and I’ve seen plenty of coats and jackets use it but I’ve barely liked any of them. Why is it that almost everything with leopard is either shapeless or too skimpy? Most of the fashionable jackets and coats are oversized or have no fit, they just fall. That’s a mis-use or just lack of use of this great pattern imo. Vintage jackets/coats on the other hand were designed better, they either had a good cut or were roomy/swing style but with a trim and/or collar that balanced the shape. As said before, Ms. Andrews was tall and thin and yet this coat made her look curvy – good design should accentuate and enhance, not look bulky or baggy.

Mustard and Black brocade suit

Mustard and Black brocade side - jacket/blazer

Again, this isn’t the most appealing or wearable colour scheme but the detail is noteworthy. Her suit fits her well without being tight, the collar stands out, the brocade is smart but still has flair and the blouse she’s wearing has a unique collar too.

White and Green Summer suit with scarf and matching purse

 I’m not a fan of the pattern on the skirt or the shade of Green but with a little alteration or modernisation this suit could really work as a modern Spring/Summer suit. It’s has a light, delicate feel to it and is perfectly smart. The skirt could easily be made more into a pencil shape and the scarf really sets the top half off whilst pulling the outfit together in regards to the colours used.

Green Skirt & scarf and Black top

 This outfit demonstrates more good use of contrasting colours that are balanced/pulled together well overall by having the the top accessory (in this case a scarf) and bottom parts of the outfit in the same colour with a contrasting midriff. Colour blocking doesn’t have to be horizontally linear like this but it helps to accentuate the bust/waist/hip shape on slender or straighter body shapes whereas vertical lines are better on bigger or curvy body shapes.

Purple & Black brocade jacket/blazer & hat, Orange pussy bow blouse

 This blazer/jacket was part of a skirt suit, it’s not one I’m particularly fond of but it’s a good example of how a jacket can be unflattering. As shown in previous pictures, she wore plenty of stylishly cut and designed jackets, but this one took the interesting things of the form outfits and took them a bit too far imo. This could have been a beautiful suit but the there’s a lack of fit and a slope to the shoulders; the brocade is over powering but could have worked had the jacket been a bit shorter. The length and lack of nipping at the waist makes, in addition to the colour combination ages her even though it’s bright and has the basic idea of a good suit (that length is better on bigger figures). That said, the scene pictured was a very conservative one where she probably wanted to look more traditionally smart rather than vibrant. If it had been Black/White contrast instead of Purple/Orange it would have made all the difference.

Full skirted coat with brocade

Mandarin collar long coat with brocade

This is a gorgeous, typical vintage coat in that is’ obviously well made and has a tailored look, it probably had durable fabric too. It has a full skirt which would have fitted well over skirts/dresses with a lot of sweep without squashing them. The mandarin collar always makes an item look smart and the brocade adds a detailed elegance. It goes oh so well with her dark purse and cute curls.

Black Silver sparkly evening gown

Black Silver trouser all-in-one jumpsuit

Another great stage costume, as worn in the finale performance of the film where she carried out some impressive choreography and acrobatics, not your average actress. I had to show this simply because it was so cool.

Pink Suit and hat

Baby Pink – a good colour on many skin tones – and again on a jacket (as part of another skirt suit – it was based on a time when women didn’t wear trousers as commonly as they did skirts but if they did they’d probably have some great styles) that was well cut and benefited from an asymmetrical/overlapping wrap style which is not only slimming but also shaping at the waist and hips. Top that off with a matching hat, different coloured blouse and jewellery that matches the blouse and voila – stylish, polished outfit – and the pastel colours add cuteness. What more could you ask?

That’s all for now, and if you’ve seen this awe inspiring, funny and dramatic film you’ll know it was an extravaganza of colour and design. If you haven’t seen it but have been impressed by the outfits shown here, take a look and decide if it deserved to be such a flop at the box office.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post, adieu!