26 February 2009

Film | Fellini's 8½

1963 | 135m | BW | Italy | Satire, Psychological Drama | TSPDT #5

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

Federico Fellini

Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Rossella Falk, Mario Pisu, Barbara Steele

Piero Gherardi (costume), Italy (best foreign language film)

Federico Fellini (director), Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi (screenplay), Piero Gherardi (art direction)


And I insist you watch this:

24 February 2009

In the name of beauty

I recently read: “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” Um, huh??

This got me thinking about beauty, who has it, who wants it, and who just doesn't give a fuck. All forms of self-derogation shocks me. I would love to sit back for long periods and believe that I am utterly beautiful. However, my self image if constantly accompanied with my own uneasy self-surveillance.

Beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder, but in the heart of the possessor. However, for the great majority of women, beauty, as a purely abstract quality, is something that happens to other people. In the following excerpt of a short story by Virginia Wolfe, the heroine tries on a dress:

“When she put the glass in her hand, and she looked at herself with the dress on, finished, an extraordinary bliss shot through her heart. Suffused with light, she sprang into existence. Rid of cares and wrinkles, what she dreamed of herself was here – a beautiful woman. Just for a second (she dared not look longer), there looked at her, framed in the scrolloping mahogany, a grey-white, mysteriously smiling, charming girl, the core of herself, the soul of herself…”

Feel beautiful and you will look beautiful. Beauty and appearance matter, not because of vanity but because as F. Scott Fitzgerald said, only when you have attended to the smaller details of your appearance can you ‘go to town on the charm’. Beauty does encompass every part of you: how nice it would be to feel comfortable in this appendage to the mind. Who cares if you spend the next day de-tagging catastrophic photographs on facebook?

After all, we are following the icons created by publicity managers for a public that craves new idols, rather than real beauties (if there is such a beast). If I can’t be standardized as a beauty in our period, well just forget it and have some fun.

As Helena Rubenstein said: “There are no ugly women, just lazy ones”.

15 February 2009

The best of Sofia Coppola

Q: Who are your fashion heroines?

A: Tina Chow (1980's model), Lauren Hutton (American model) — had her in mind when we did the Monogram pochette — and Diana Vreelend (former Vogue editor-in chief).

Q: What is your best fashion memory?

A: Sitting on Yves Saint Laurent’s lap at Dave’s for New Year’s when I was about 12.

Q: How did you first become friends with Marc Jacobs?

A: I saw pictures of his grunge collection when he was at Perry Ellis, when I was about 19 or 20. I was visiting New York with my mom, and asked if we could go see it. Robert Duffy, Marc’s partner, met me and was nice enough to show me the collection and then Marc said “Hello”, and we started talking. We got along and had interests in common.

Q: Aside from Marc Jacobs, who are the fashion designers, past or present, do you most admire?

A: Yves Saint Laurent.

Q: What are your all-time favourite films?

A: All that Jazz, Rumble Fish, Breathless, The Last Picture Show and Lolita.

Q: Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

A: My father — for setting the example to follow your heart, and to be driven to do what you love.

Q: Where do you live now?

A: I live between Paris and New York. I came to Paris two years ago, just before my daughter was born. I still go back to New York, but I enjoy being here when I am. But sometimes I miss my American girlfriends, and how much easier it is to do something in your own country where you know the language and culture.

Q: What do you like most about Paris?

A: It’s a beautiful city, and there’s such a nice emphasis on lifestyle — people aren’t obsessed with just work, they make time to have a life, enjoy great meals, etc. And I love the parks, and seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night.

Q: How has becoming a mother changed you and your way of life?

A: It has made me slow down and take time. I would never before have sat at a park for an hour in the middle of having work. — Interview courtesy of Louis Vuitton.