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.

August 31, 2009

Manhattan townhouse of William Ivey Long

I've been posting too much about fashion lately. Feeling the need to go back to posting about interior design.

William Ivey Long is an acclaimed 5-time Tony award winning costume designer who has worked on over 50 Broadway productions, including Hairspray, The Producers, Guys and Dolls, and Chicago just to name a few. I came across photos of his NYC townhouse and just fell in love. Fell in love!!! It's rare that I come across a house which I would move in immediately and keep everything as it is. This is one of them. The aesthetic is mostly traditional, with some Victorian flourishes, and a few whimsical keepsakes.

The entry opens to a wide hallway lined with framed photos and prints. Because the furnishings are kept traditional and understated, the large crystal chandeliers don't make the space seem ostentatious at all and fit right in quite nicely.
williamiveylong_entry copy

This is the front parlor.

Another view of the front parlor. Gorgeous moldings. Notice the ceiling!


This is the second, back parlor. Love the dark wood wainscotting and trim.

Another view of the same back parlor.

China cabinet with an assortment of teacups.

Hallway. Love how there are books everywhere, much like my own place.

The library. Surprisingly simple and cozy. Tony awards line the mantel.



The master bedroom. Ancestral 1835 American Renaissance four poster bed.

Another shot of the bedroom.

Another view of the canopy bed and table accessories.

The guest bedroom. Don't you feel like you're at a quaint country B&B?

Bathroom on the top floor. I like the claw-foot tube but I would've installed a separate walk-in shower for convenience.

Now, some miscellaneous items:

Some grooming collectibles on the dresser in the bedroom and his grandfather's stickpin doll.

Hat pins and vintage cigar cases.

Bikes stored in the front parlor, next the entry.

And finally, Mr. William Ivey Long himself, sitting in his bedroom.
source: NYSD

August 28, 2009

3 Coins in the Fountain (1954)

My Ratings:
Production Design (wardrobe/hair+makeup & set design & milieu) = 8
Performances/Direction = 6.5

3 Coins in the Fountain is about the (love) lives of three American secretaries working abroad in Rome, Italy. It was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar but won for Best Cinematography and Best Original Song. The title is derived from the notion that if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, it will ensure that someday you'll return to Rome.

Here they are, the three woman, throwing the coins.

At a cocktail party. It's really difficult to see but the last dress (far right) has fantastic criss-crossing at the waist.

So let's look at each of these secretaries individually. First we begin with "Maria" (Maggie McNamara) who is the youngest of the three and the newest arrival. She gets involved with a playboy Prince (Louis Jourdan who later went on to star in Gigi (1958)).

(left) I like how the white blouse underneath is tightly wrapped at the waist using the same fabric. A nice substitute for a belt.

Cute white blouse with nice Sgt. Pepper-ish detail in the front.

LOVE the sleeve on this dress! Notice how it gathers and the button detail.

Hmm...this dress is a bit too marmish. But she was meeting the mother of her Prince boyfriend so maybe it was appropriate for the occasion.

(left) Love this robe! Love how the tie (rope? belt?) wraps around several times at the waist and then ties in the back.

At the opera. Gorgeous orange chiffon wrap.

A view of the lime colored dress she had on underneath.

Now we move onto "Anita" (Jean Peters) who was seen out on a date with an Italian coworker (Rossano Brazzi whom we also saw in Summertime). He gets fired because in-office dating was not allowed and she gets really upset because now they can't afford to get married.

Love this beautiful yellow satin dress with white polka dots. Not exactly appropriate for a casual picnic but so what!

Here's a better view of the orange belt, which is also made out of fabric and matches her orange cardigan. I think the dress just goes so well with her hair and skin tone, doesn't it?

(left) Here's Anita in another beautiful dress. I love the green color and notice the button details on the shoulder!

A better view of her green dress.

(right) Here's a better view of the sleeves on the blouse that we saw earlier at the cocktail party.

And finally we move onto "Frances" (Dorothy McGuire) who was my favorite out of all three because she's the one I can relate to the most personality-wise. She's the level-headed, mature one and had been in Rome for 15 years working as the secretary for a distinguished writer. She is secretly in love with him but he's too preoccupied with his work to notice. She's also considered "the old maid" even though she's only in her mid-30s.

This may seem like a boring dress but I really like it. Notice the trim on the collar and sleeves.

A better view of the detail in the sleeves. I just love this. It also satisfies my mild obsession with safari-esque clothing.

Here is another beige dress made out of jersey (I think). The material is very soft and body-hugging but it fits her perfectly.

Also, did you notice the thin white stripes? Also, that's Clifton Webb to the right.

(left) That silk tan dress with the frontal pleats looks almost identical to something I own. Sorry, there's wasn't a full-length shot of it. I also LOVE her multi-stranded pearl necklace with two different colored pearls - one blue to match her sequined hat and another that's tan to match her dress!

In her long, flowy nightgown. I wish this was what I wore to bed everynight...and not those pajama pants with Winnie the Pooh characters...oops, revealing too much. But they're classic Pooh so at least that's more commendable than the later, modern version.

(far right) And lastly, we have Frances in a beautiful blue satin dress with white polka dots. Notice how the belt is again made out of the same fabric! I am really loving this concept.

Now, here are two other women that I wanted to highlight. Both are elderly woman and we rarely see well-dressed "women of age" anymore. Even though I'm still in my 20s, I love to collect images of fabulous older women for inspiration. It gives me something to look forward to as I get older.

Below is "La Principessa," the mother of the Prince whom Maria was dating. Her pale blue chiffon gown is simply gorgeous. I like the gathering at the bust and I like how she wears it with a black lace shawl.

Here's a view of the long bell sleeve. The dress reminds me of something out of a fairy tale.

(left) Below is the wife of the executive in charge of the secretarial firm which employs the three main characters mentioned above. I really like this dress for the gathering at the collar.

And here she is at the opera. A very beautiful black sleeveless evening gown with a turquoise lace bodice worn also with a sheer black wrap. Very elegant and sexy and surprisingly age appropriate!

And lastly, 2 measly images for my interior design readers (so sorry I've been neglecting you lately!). Here an interior shot of the writer's residence. I love the use of broken pediments over door frames indoors and notice the marble wall paneling! (well, they're supposed to be marble, not sure if they really where...). Also notice how they made use of the tiny area between the arch and the wall (left) by painting it and adding an ornate pattern.


Love all the lamps with chinoiserie patterns on them. Also that lamp (far left) intrigues me. It juxtaposes the traditional (frilly lampshade covered in green lace) with the modern (spiral metal pipe/base). Interesting...

August 21, 2009

Sex and the Single Girl (1964)

My Ratings:
Production Design (wardrobe/hair+makeup & set design & milieu) = 7
Performances/Direction = 6.9

It's intolerably hot, humid, and sticky so let's end this week with a raunchy sex comedy befitting of this weather.

Sex and the Single Girl stars Natalie Wood as a 23 y.o. psychologist (with a PhD! :::rolls eyes:::) who just recently wrote a bestselling book by the same name encouraging women to "own their sexuality." Tony Curtis plays a sleezy, underhanded magazine writer set on exposing her either as a virginal fraud who actually knows nothing about sex or relationships or as a nymphomaniac floozy who's thrown all her morals out the window (yeah, because apparently a girl can't be anything in between).


I will get the scoop, I will!

It's got all the stereotypical criteria of a fun, screwball comedy - mistaken identities, marital strife, suggestive sexual innuendos, and over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek performances. It's also got heavyweights Richard Quine as the director, Joseph Heller (yes, of Catch-22 fame) as the writer, and Lauren Bacall, Henry Fonda, and Mel Ferrer as supporting actors. Natalie Wood was adorable and Tony Curtis....erghh...well, Tony Curtis should only be shot in black & white but whatever, I'll deal. And it's got loads of allusions - almost too many - to the box office hit Some Like It Hot (1959) in which Curtis starred with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe so it would help if you've seen that too.

So let's start off with the interior/set design. I know I've been neglecting my design enthusiasts in favor of fashion lately and I apologize. I'll concentrate on Dr. Helen Brown's (Wood) office and apartment since hers are more interesting. The color scheme for both is a very chic and modern black & white. Notice her desk has black trim/sides and white rattan (?) frontal screen. The black & white carry over to the chairs, lamps, rug, and upholstery.


Black & white striped seat back. Also, notice the white phone.

Black & white striped chaise lounge.

Now we move over to Dr. Brown's apartment, where we seen more black & white. Striped drapes. White sofa. White lamps. White walls. White carpet. Black & white end tables...the list goes on and on. Btw, nice symmetry with the lamps/sofa/console table set-up.

Her bedroom. Love the ornate black headboard with the scrolled pillars. There are better shots of it in later images where I talk about her robe. Also, charcoal drawings of women hang on the wall; appropriate since she's an advocate of female empowerment in the bedroom.

In stark contrast, sleazy Bob Weston's (Curtis) apartment is full of color. Green armchairs, red rug, dark metallic lampshades, and warm mahogany toned wood furniture. It's also very cluttered, full of whimsical collectibles.

Ignore the scantily clad woman on the right and focus on that gorgeous antique book stand!

This isn't Bob's house - it's actually his next door neighbors' - but I like the rack (left) that holds the hats and canes/walking sticks.

Okay, now we can move onto the clothes!

We start with Dr. Brown, whose obsession with black & white carries over into her wardrobe too. Except for one outfit at the very end, those are the only two colors she wears. Note, cute glasses, rhinestone hair pin and large cocktail rings.

Pearl earrings, white wool coat, black gloves, scarf + purse.

B+w houndstooth coat, black fur hat + stole + gloves. And cat-eye sunglasses, which she has already taken off.

White cashmere sweater, b+w checked tweed shirt, long black leather gloves, long pearl necklace.

This white satin cocktail dress is sooo gorgeous. Fantastic bust detail - notice, small rhinestone pendant dangling from the center. Also, long white gloves and a large pearl bracelet over the glove (right). And white telephone again.

This little sexy number is supposed to be a robe! I like how they used rope as the tie. Also b+w striped sofa pillow.

A full-length shot of the "robe." Whoa, look at that slit up the side. Also, you can see her headboard in better detail in this image.

Completely black outfit.

Side view of her tall pillbox (?) hat. Nice damask upholstery on the settee. And the screen panels in the background.

Finally here she is wearing a gorgeous canary yellow dress. It's the only outfit she wears that isn't b+w in the whole film. I suppose one can say that the donning of such a bright, happy color is indication that she's finally fallen in love.

The fabric is so feminine and flowy and notice the chiffon scarf attached to one shoulder.

Now we move onto Lauren Bacall who plays Sylvia, one half of the husband-wife team who lives next door to Bob Weston. Henry Fonda plays her husband Frank but his outfits are uninteresting so I don't have many images of him. Sylvia and Frank quarrel all the time, mostly because Sylvia tends to get very jealous. Frank is in the women's hosiery business so he's surrounded by beautiful leggy models all the time. Bob (Curtis) eventually uses Sylvia & Frank's marital problems to his advantage and poses as Frank to get to Dr. Brown, becoming one of her patients.

Sylvia in two different shades of purple/violet. Notice that magnificent stone (marble?) fireplace in the background. The mantel also contains a large mirror flanked by ornately carved figures.

You can barely see it, but notice that small strip of ribbon across the top of the lampshade (left). I like that idea. Very DIY. Also, white telephone again. Oh, and that's a dress she's wearing, not a robe.

Sylvia in a yellow sleeveless button-up dress. I think it's made of wool.

Close-up of Sylvia's typical 1960s hairstyle.

Sylvia's grayish tan dress with matching capelet.

Here's her hair partially pinned back.

In a glamorous black sequined dress.

Pink coat + white gloves and handbag. Like the large shiny buttons on the coat.

Below is Bob Weston's secretary. A complete airhead but a delight nevertheless. She had the best hairstyle out of all of the characters in my opinion.

The back of her hair.

She's knitting when she should be working. Also, notice the pretty cup full of newly sharpened pencils.

The matching beret is so cute.

Here is Gretchen, Bob Weston's "girlfriend." They just casually together, nothing serious. She always has really big hair in every scene.

The back of her hair.

Another up-do but this time, she has a headband underneath.

Really cute equestrian inspired outfit, with the olive green plaid coat, black leather gloves, and hat.

A full-length view of that same outfit.

Never mind who the girl is below. She's not very important. But look at her hair. Oh dear, what is going on there? Look at all these meticulously constructed curls.

Side view of her up-do.

Just for laughs, here is Dr. Brown's secretary who, after reading her book, undergoes a "transformation"....
sexsinglegirl_secretaryunbuttoningblouse letting her hair down and adding color to her wardrobe!

Okay, maybe she went a little too far...not really age appropriate...

Oh, and one last thing. Here is Frank & Sylvia's anniversary cake. I think the boxing ring is a cute idea - because they fight A LOT. It's always a boxing match between those two.

Okay, I'm off to upstate NY for a few days to help usher the lil' bro into college. He'll be attending my alma mater so I have to show him around, tell him where all the best bathrooms are on campus, how to sneak food out of the dining halls, the best places to take naps between classes, etc. - you know, all the important stuff. He's almost a decade my junior and I can't believe how quickly the years have flown by. I shall return next week!

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