Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)

Maggie McNarmara, Dorothy McGuire, and Jean Peters star in this Academy Award nominated film about three American secretaries working abroad in Rome, Italy.

Charade (1963)

Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant star in this delightful romantic comedy involving spies and missing money. Set in Paris. Walter Matthau also makes an appearance as a CIA agent.

The Best of Everything (1959)

Original tagline: "These are the girls who want the best of everything...but often settle for a lot less!" Mid-century drama following the lives of three young career women living in New York City.

High Society (1956)

Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra star in this delightful musical comedy remake of the beloved classic The Philadelphia Story (1940).

Far From Heaven (2002)

Set against a spectacular autumn palette, Juilanne Moore, Dennis Quaid, and Dennis Haysbert star in this compelling drama which grapples with issues of race and homosexuality in conservative 1950s Connecticut.

Death In Venice (1971)

An aging German music composer sojourns to Venice in hopes of improving his health and finds himself enraptured by the beauty of a young adolescent boy. A visually mesmerizing film.

Cracks (2009)

Based on the novel of the same name, Eva Green stars as a young, charismatic teacher at an all-girls English boarding school.

Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)

Based on the true story of the Windmill Theatre in London, Judi Dench stars as a wealthy, eccentric widow who purchases a theatre and turns it into a somewhat Moulin Rouge-esque venue that featured nude performers.

Desk Set (1957)

The introduction of computer technology renders the reference jobs of three women potentially useless. Stars Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

Sylvia (2003)

A biopic of writer Sylvia Plath set in the 1950s starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig.

Howard's End (1992)

Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins and Helena Bonham Carter star in this E.M. Forster classic set in turn-of-the-century England.

September 10, 2016

The Dressmaker (2015)

Sometimes being abroad has its perks, such as getting to see certain movies before they premiere in the US. One such standout was The Dressmaker (2015), a lovely, quirky Australian film starring Kate Winslet as a couturie who returns to her hometown in Australia to settle some questions regarding her dark and hazy past.

dressmaker.trainstation
Winslet plays “Tilly,” who was sent away to Europe as a young girl after being convicted of a murder she doesn't even remember committing.  Now, even though she has been blessed with an extraordinary talent for dressmaking and a burgeoning fashion career in Paris (she was just hired by Balenciagia!), Tilly still believes that she is "cursed." Cursed for being a bad person, for being a murderer. So she journeys back to the small, backwater town of her birth to get some answers, to learn the truth behind that traumatic event that stained her childhood.

Based on the novel by Rosalie Ham, this film was the perfect blend of comedy and drama. And of course, the costumes were STUNNING. Designed by Margot Wilson and Marion Boyce (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries), the cast was transformed into walking works of art straight off the runways of Paris. 

Tilly causes quite the stir in her tiny rural town, where everyone seems to be covered in at least two layers of dust and dirt, by dressing like she was attending a glamorous red carpet event.... at the local rugby match.
dressmaker.red.rugby

That neckline, those large buttons!
dressmaker.red

Love the fanned earrings.dressmaker.red.earrings

Wardrobe change during the half-time break. Love her adorable swirly compact.
dressmaker.black.makeup.compact

You are your own best brand advertisement.
dressmaker.black

After seeing Tilly proudly strutting around in her own gorgeous creations, the dowdy women of the town soon flock to her for help with their own wardrobes.

BEFORE: dressmaker.gertrude.drab

AFTER:dressmaker.makeover.dance1

This just goes to show what a beautiful dress and some red lipstick can do!dressmaker.makeover.dance2

Just look at these three women, completely transformed! The woman on the left with the pleated cape reminds me so much of this photo of Dovima in a similar design by the now mostly forgotten Jacques Fath
dressmaker.trio2

dressmaker.trio1

Oh, I'm just up here fixing this sign...in my gorgeously ethereal gown...
dressmaker.lightblue.sign

I love the red & cream dotted dress (worn by the woman sitting in the middle). I like the interesting design of the top portion, which looks like it was made from four pieces of fabric gathered together.
dressmaker.ladies.tea

I love these pops of red.
dressmaker.asking.costumes1

dressmaker.asking.costumes2

dressmaker.townsfolk

The back of the red & white dress (left) is interesting. Many dresses nowadays neglect the back in order to save time and fabric. But I love it when careful attention is paid to the entirety of an ensemble. 
dressmaker.reddot.back

Tilly also managed to turn this monstrosity of a wedding dress... dressmaker.wedding.ugly

...into this magnificent thing:dressmaker.wedding.redo

Initially I thought this was the same dress as the one she wore to the dance, but upon closer inspection, it's an entirely different bodice, with a different beading pattern & ruchingdressmaker.wedding.redo1a

But ultimately, I think the final wedding dress was again, a different creation (because I don't see the distinct beading on the previous dress underneath the one-shoulder overlay).dressmaker.wedding.redo2

dressmaker.wedding.redo3

Tilly also made gowns for many of the other wedding guests, including this breathtaking olive green number. dressmaker.olivegreen1

So much lace....dressmaker.wedding.motherinlaw.lace

Aside from the strange hat, "the woman in the mid-ground" in the navy gown is particularly lovely. I really like the neckline and how it sort of assemtrically folds over and extends down to the bottom. Unfortunately, we weren't given a better view of its construction.dressmaker.navy1

Flashy fashion jewelry is always so much fun! dressmaker.motherinlaws.teal.blue

Feather/feathery hair decorations seemed really popular.... dressmaker.olivegreen.feathers

I'm not super well-verse in the fashion trends of that particular period (I'm guessing it's supposed to be set in the 1950s?) but I didn't realize feather head pieces were so much a thing...
dressmaker.wedding.other.headwear

And this strange cascading one on the left...
dressmaker.ladies.tea.red.feathers

ANYWAY, let's get back to our girl Kate!

Leopard print pillbox hat, I need you in my life.
dressmaker.animal.print

Purple and magenta bust detail, lovely. 
dressmaker.purple+magenta

This white & navy outfit is sporty and stylish. That's a golf club in her hand. The dress even has an extra design feature to hold her golf tees!dressmaker.navy+white.golf1

Love the contrast stitching detail on the collar and cuffs. dressmaker.navy+white2

**Update: The Dressmaker (2015) is now in select US theatres!

January 11, 2014

Lady Felicia's outfits in BBC's Father Brown (2012-13)

Having not read the books on which the television show is based, I had no expectations of BBC's adaptation of Father Brown and chose to dismiss the negative reviews before I had a chance to judge it for myself. And I'm glad I did because after ploughing through fifteen episodes in the course of an equally long flight, I've decided that it's not nearly as inane or poorly produced as some naysayers claim. Granted, it can't measure up to the caliber of detective-show heavyweights like Poirot, Marple, Morse, among others, but it does satisfy the sleuthing itch when one is devoid of better alternatives.

father.brown.title I haven't taken to Father Brown like I did to the aforementioned characters - he's just not all that interesting nor unique and at times, can come off exceedingly annoying. The murder cases are not complicated and the characters appear even less so; the show can't seem to decide if it wants to be a comedy or a drama series and often veers into the unfortunate territory of "camp." BUT despite all of that, I still find myself enjoying it, if only for the gorgeous costumes, particularly the dresses donned by Lady Felicia, a minor character who pops in and out on occasion, usually just at the moment when a handsome stranger strolls into town. And it is Lady Felicia's wardrobe that is the focus of today's post! As a wealthy socialite with a wandering eye and a frequently-absent husband, Lady Felicia is actually my favorite out of all the characters on the show. And yes, her clothes are responsible for the majority of this bias. Just look at these!

Light green and blue striped satin dress. 
father.brown.lady.felicia.yellow.blue.striped.dress

Bold red dress, black gloves, oversize clutch, and straw hat father.brown.lady.felicia.red.dress1

father.brown.lady.felicia.red.dress2

The scarf is timeless. father.brown.lady.felicia.green.scarf1

Light olive green satin dress with damask stripes. I want this fabric for my curtains...father.brown.lady.felicia.light.green.stripes1

father.brown.lady.felicia.light.green.stripes2


Beautiful green patterned dress with a fur stole, black gloves and large clutch father.brown.lady.felicia.green.dress.fur.stole1

father.brown.lady.felicia.green.dress.no.stole

Here's the same dress without the fur stole covering up the lovely scalloped neckline. father.brown.lady.felicia.green.dress2

Burnt red-orange sundress with cute button details.
father.brown.lady.felicia.red-orange.dress

Lady Felicia is often found with drinks in hand, sometimes two...Very pretty lace dress topped with a light yellow fur capelet. father.brown.lady.felicia.white.lace.dress

Here's the same lace dress without the capelet. father.brown.lady.felicia.white.lace.dress2

Oh, look, more champagne! father.brown.lady.felicia.cropped.yellow.fur2

Cute red belt buckle. father.brown.lady.felicia.cropped.yellow.fur1

You can't see this dress all that well but it's a gorgeous and iridescent dark redddish brown satin with small polka dots. father.brown.lady.felicia.iridescent.brown

A cream coloured ensemble. I like how the belt is made from the same material as the dress. father.brown.lady.felicia.ivory.dress.coat

Love the bright yellow shoes! And the cream/light blue/yellow colour combination. father.brown.lady.felicia.yellow.coat

A close-up of the top half of the previous outfit. Love the ribbed texture of the yellow coat.father.brown.lady.felicia.yellow.jacket.teacup

She likes to wear red a lot! father.brown.lady.felicia.red.suit.dress

I love the lapels on this suit jacket. And the white blouse underneath (which we don't get to see unfortunately). father.brown.lady.felicia.beige.pinstriped

A full-length view of the beige suit dress. father.brown.lady.felicia.beige.pinstriped2

Mauve dress with white polka dots, gloves & clutch. (Once again she spots a handsome stranger). father.brown.lady.felicia.pink.white.dress

Armed with flowers and a raunchy classic, Lady Felicia shows up at the hospital to visit the handsome, bedridden stranger who, according to the nurses, is "quite dashing under the sheets." father.brown.lady.felicia.chatterley.book2

father.brown.lady.felicia.chatterleys.lover.book
Even though this blog entry is mostly about Lady Felicia, I wanted to include some miscellaneous images of a few of the other characters whose outfits I also loved.

Loved this lavender dress with the tiny white polka dots. Notice the small bow at the bottom of the bustline. She wore it with white gloves and carried a small white handbag (which isn't pictured). Very Grace Kelly-like. father.brown.mayors.wife.lavender.polka.dot.dress1
The bottom skirt was poofy, with many layers underneath. It fluttered beautifully every time the wind blew. father.brown.mayors.wife.lavender.polka.dot.dress2

I like the button detail in the front of Suzie's dress here. father.brown.suzie.floral.dress

Let's go a bit artsy bohemian, shall we? father.brown.girl.artsy.beret

What adorable curls. father.brown.girl.blond.curls

Lovely way to dress up the lapels on a cardigan sweater. father.brown.woman.cardigan.lapels

Even though the Father Brown stories written by G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) were originally set during the 1920s, the show seems to have taken a more lenient attitude regarding the clothes historically accurate to that period. (Not to mention the manner of speech....) In all, it's as if the characters were living and speaking in the modern era but dressed in vintage inspired clothes. [update: I'm told the show changed the era to the 1950s...which now makes more sense and the clothing styles more appropriate!]

Hope you enjoyed these images. Have a wonderful [belated] New Year's and stay warm! 

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