Sunday, March 30, 2008

Last Year at Marienbad

The film Last Year at Marienbad (L'Année Dernière à Marienbad) is probably one of the most pretentious, gripping, obnoxious, fascinating, sickening, outright boring yet undoubtedly fabulous movies I've ever seen. It is a MUST-SEE for anyone who is interested in film, in fashion, and especially in both! But be prepared to hate it at the same time that you become convinced you should be loving it...

The film begins with a 10-minute narration which describes a glamorous, isolated, baroque resort hotel and its guests - slowly you realize it's the same set of words over and over and you really begin to believe it will never end.

Once the "action" starts, it is clear that the film - while mesmerizing - will continue in the same vein of subtle, slow "advance and retreat". The events - such as they are - involve a married woman who is the object of desire for a stranger who begins to convince her that they carried on an affair the year before at the same resort, though she has no recollection of the affair or of him. A bizarre card trick - run by the woman's tall, gloomy husband - is repeated continuously throughout the film, along with varying angles of the same group of guests murmuring quietly in expensively fashionable attire as the stranger works on the woman's mind...
The costumes in this film (made in 1961) are absolutely to-die-for, and any one of the looks could walk off the screen and onto any runway today and be considered the height of fashion. The clothes are one of the elements cited in many reviews of this film targeting the vacuousness of the characters, the emptiness of their social pretensions, the arch, icy facade of each set piece. The inaccessible aspect of the woman's beauty is what makes this film a favorite of designers seeking inspiration in the timeless chic of her haughty, but vulnerable, allure.

There is a metallic brocade number in this film that would make Miuccia Prada die if she saw it...what am I talking about, she probably has seen this movie a zillion times! This kind of an intellectual, art-house movie by the great Alain Resnais with costumes by - two words, people: Cha. Nel. - is catnip for a designer like her (supposedly a member of Italy's Communist party in her youth, if you can believe), so I have no doubt that dear Miuccia has seen this pretentious movie at least once and been duly influenced (either subconsciously or not).

The woman becomes progressively more disoriented as the stranger works on slowly altering her memory, not a seduction so much as an outright manipulation...she floats through the maze-like gardens at this point in the movie, even losing her shoe at one point! Fashion is definitely a "character" in this movie, I'm convinced...her garments literally swoon as she falls under the spell of the stranger...

...and the next two images are near the end (finally!) of the movie - an insane culmination of the twisted horror of losing one's sense of reality - expressed for some reason in fashion concoctions of first jet black and then snow white feathers. The woman cannot remember the supposed affair but has now become convinced and is on the edge of running away with the stranger...I can't say I would blame her since her husband resembles Lurch and this other fellow is a handsome Italian, but still - the mind games, the endless loop of this man's voice, his utter persistence have left her without the capability to resist. Sick and fabulous, all at the same time! is a reprise of the image I also show above and which more specifically illustrates the hypnotic and maddening nature of this film...a fashion classic (costumes by Coco Chanel, for goodness sake!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fur Collar

I struggle with ways to add texture & color to my line drawings without being heavy-handed (as can happen with keep painting and painting and oops! you go to far, and it's all over)...this is a decent example of learning restraint - with the help of Illustrator (and no, I don't work for Adobe - but it is the best thing since sliced bread!)

Papier Mache

As I have mentioned before, I am challenging myself to learn Illustrator's myriad fun tools, such as the one that allows you to create's a far less messy way to do the same effect as papier mache!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

La Sartorialista

For all 4 of you are reading this apologies for not adding more content more often! I didn't realize how much time it takes to actually maintain a blog...sigh. Anyhoo, I was really busy last weekend hanging out with one of my most sartorially gifted friends - she is a very snappy dresser, which luckily from a blogging standpoint, provided me with some fresh inspiration for sketching!

She is absolutely rocking the romantic blouse with wide-leg jeans at the moment...

Mini Me

I love the idea of a mini dress again...spring is coming!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Wouldn't the J.Crew catalog be just so much more fabulous if it had illustrations??

Sunday, March 2, 2008

What I want to wear...

...and perfect for my body type - short skirt for showing off skinny-ish legs while big sweater/blouse combination hides the old muffaletta* problem, heh heh.

*For anyone who has been to New Orleans and knows what I'm referring to (or if you haven't, the muffaletta is their signature sandwich!), that's going to be my new word for "muffin top", which I now have as a result of my rather indulgent trip to the Big Easy this past weekend. What a great city, so much great food!

Brian Reyes

This designer is fairly new to the scene - I think his work is progressing nicely, and he is on the shortlist of New York designers who could become "the next so-and-so" - perhaps one to watch. There's a great sunburst pleat detail at the center front belted waistline of this dress that is obscured in my drawing a little bit ("art" wins over truth in this case!)

Fashion, dahling.

This is a nice "editorial" dress - it is a long slinky column gathered into a sort of flounce at the top to form this kind of plumed neckline. It will look great photographed...not sure how it would be worn comfortably in real life. But who cares?? This is fashion, dahling. (3.1 Phillip Lim)

3.1 Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim does cute clothes at a somewhat reasonable price point (for "Designer") - I believe this look was a cropped, distressed leather jacket with a long, gathered chiffon skirt, worn with severe black bangs and a bunch of deco-ish long necklaces for a little attitude...

Marc Jacobs

This is a beautiful coat from Marc Jacobs - it looked like a giant, plush blanket perfect for the weather we've been having in NYC lately. He did these great feathered headpieces (that's not the model's hair!) that looked like plumed hats that soldiers might wear during the Napoleanic wars or some such thing. Pair with elfin booties and fantastic metallic leaf brooches for the full effect!

Marc does Donna

This languid crushed velvet number (in ice blue, from the vaguely 80's palette he is using for Fall '08) looks more like Donna Karan than Marc Jacobs to me...being tall & skinny helps!

Very Donna

This is a very Zen dress from the guru, Donna Karan - it's basically a very luxurious, fabulous bathrobe!

Calvin Costa

The current designer for Calvin Klein, Francisco Costa, sometimes does some great stuff - this dress looks like it would be fun to wear. It is a knife pleated ball gown in some kind of shimmery black fabric...