Tag Archives: film

Icons & Muses: Audrey Hepburn off the set

Hailed as one of the most beautiful women Hollywood ever laid eyes on, Audrey Hepburn was stylish and graceful both on and off the set. Her iconic look has been a reminder of the longevity of sophistication. Her opening scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s defined the classic LBD and her ball gown in Sabrina (paired with the pixie haircut) remains one of Hollywood’s finest on-screen fashion moments. Hepburn’s cool gamine chic off the set is a timeless look that still inspires us today.

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Icons & Muses: Audrey Hepburn in film

The word gamine never sounds quite so beautiful and elegant as it is when applied to the description of actress, philanthropist and longtime muse to Hubert de Givenchy Audrey Hepburn. The two began a lifelong friendship and professional collaboration with the 1954 classic Sabrina (in which Givenchy was not credited as famed Hollywood costumer Edith Head refused to be co-designers but subsequently won an Oscar for the collaboration). From dreamy ball gowns, chic LBDs, to playful 60s mod style, no other duo created fashion moments quite like Hepburn and Givenchy. Here’s a taste of their iconic collaboration on the silver screen from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina, Charade, How to Steal a Million, Funny Face, and Paris When It Sizzles.

indie hipsters will be all over this one, but…

The excitement is too great to be contained. Hence, a meaningless post about the skyrocketing levels of anticipation over here on my end.

Somewhere, the new film by Sofia Coppola.

I really don’t care if the indie hipsters will be all over the film, the soundtrack, the plot. I love me some subdued Hollywood glamor and emo/self-doting melancholy.

On another note, Elle Fanning looks like a very, very promising actress.

Anna Mouglalis takes naps at 31 Rue Cambon

Women’s Wear Daily released this fun little interview with Anna Mouglalis about her role as Coco Chanel in Coco Chanel et Igor Stravinksy, which was reviewed on this blog a short while ago.

Apparently Mouglalis takes naps in Chanel’s apartment and “probably had the same dreams”, she claims, as the grande dame of modern women’s fashion. Even more interesting than this little factoid is Karl Lagerfeld’s reported disapproval, shall we say, of his beloved muse’s role as Chanel. The dark and cold Chanel Mouglalis plays in the film is a stark contrast to the humorous and lively Chanel Lagerfeld speaks of and converses with in his dreams.

What do we gain from this little WWD interview? Fortification of our belief that Lagerfeld is couture god and Mouglalis is not only a fantastic muse, but a daring one as well.

A View from Behind

Every year during the month of May I dream of transporting myself to the beaches of southern France to be amongst the crowd of photographers violently shouting names. “Nicole!” “Charlotte!” “Woody!”, these shouts colliding with the clicking of their cameras.

Obviously I’m talking about le Festival de Cannes – Cannes Film Festival, one of the world’s oldest and most glamorous film festivals. I began following Cannes nearly a decade ago when Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love sparked a deep fascination with cinematography.

While the international press focuses much of its attention on the grand, exaggerated red carpet dresses of celebrities (who more often than not are merely attending the festivities, not promoting films in/out of competition), I’ve always loved the footage and images from those chaotic photocalls where filmmakers face two walls of professional photogs. Apart from the opening and closing award ceremonies, actors/directors/producers involved in a film that is in or out of competition traditionally attend a photocall, a press conference, and the premiere of their film. At the photocalls photographers constantly shout the names of the actors, asking them to look left or right. After a few minutes, the ensemble will turn their backs to the photographers in front of them and often lean against a white counter to pose for the photographers originally “behind” them. This results in a series of photographs featuring the filmmakers from all angles, perfect for examining the sartorial efforts of actresses and their cohorts.

Photocalls reveal much about the style and tastes of the actors and those who dress them. European actors tend to opt for tailored casual looks while Hollywood starlets are never without chic dresses for day. Interestingly, many first-time Cannes attendees will choose more formal, frilly, dresses for their photocall looks (See Fan Bingbing’s floor length Valentino number below).

My favorite photocall looks this year are those of Juliette Binoche, who took home the Prix d’interprétation féminine this year and looked sleek in her black and white Givenchy ensemble and Charlotte Gainsbourg, last year’s recipient of the best actress award for Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, whose Balenciaga look was both structured and femininely chic. However, Carey Mulligan had the best look shot from behind. (The Roland Mouret dresses on Mulligan and Naomi Watts this year were fantastic.)

Here are some of my favorite photocall moments this year:

Carey Mulligan in RM by Roland Mouret, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Charlotte Gainsbourg in Balenciaga, The Tree

Naomi Watts in RM by Roland Mouret, Fair Game

Juliette Binoche in Givenchy, Copie Conforme

Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé, Robin Hood



Fan Bingbing in Valentino, Rizhao Chongqing (“Chongqing Blues”) 日照重慶

The cast of Mathieu Amalric’s Tournée

Coco v. Chanel: Anna Mouglalis or Audrey Tautou?

Adapted from the novel by Chris Greenhalgh about the brief affair between the empress of 20th century fashion and the Russian composer, Coco Chanel et Igor Stravinsky is an exceptional production amongst the string of Coco Chanel films released in the past 2 years or so.

(Anna Mouglalis as Coco Chanel)

I finally got around to watching the film tonight and it was – by far- the best performance by an actress as Coco Chanel. Anna Mouglalis said the past few years as Karl Lagerfeld’s muse for Chanel served as an unconscious opportunity to prepare for this role. Audrey Tautou’s Coco in Coco Avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel) was also a laudable performance, but the period of Chanel’s life that Coco et Igor focuses on allows much more room for complex emotions and the entanglement of passion to manifest itself in the respective art of Chanel and Stravinsky. Mouglalis’ Chanel is a darker and more powerful one.

(Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel)

Paired with an excellent, emotionally charged score, the personas of Chanel and Stravinsky come to life before the black and white backdrop of Chanel’s workspace at 31 Rue Cambon and her country estate, decorated in similar hues. The details in both the Art Deco furnishings of the set decorations and the signature Chanel touches of Anna Mouglalis’ wardrobe as Chanel lend to the visual authenticity of the era, the woman, and the story.

The Grasse scenes – where Coco Chanel decides on the fifth scent, the legendary Chanel Nº 5 – could have been elaborated. Then again, the story of and behind the perfume likely deserves its own feature film.  Mads Mikkelsen – most recognizable to American audiences as Le Chiffre from Casino Royale – is a hauntingly moving and conflicted Stravinsky. Passion, music, art, and fashion – what more could I ask for in a film?

Icons and Muses: Catherine Deneuve

Dubbed the most beautiful woman of France, Catherine Deneuve has mesmerized us for five decades, charming audiences with her breakthrough performance in the 1964 musical “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg”. The longevity of her career, her classic Yves Saint Laurent look, beautifully formed face, and glamorous mane of blonde hair makes Deneuve one of the most iconic and inspiring figures to grace the screens of French cinema.

(doesn’t the last image feel familiar? Channel your inner Chanel.)