Cinema & Television

Movie Costumes as Wedding Attire

Up until about two or three years ago, the whole concept of a wedding was just not interesting to me. I was never a little girl who fantasised about the big white wedding with cake and 200+ guests. To be fair, I’m still not.

Things changed when I became hooked on Say Yes to the Dress, the TLC wedding dress show set in Kleinfeld Bridal in New York. The whole idea of finding this beautiful gown that makes the woman wearing it feel like a trillion bucks became so appealing to me. I decided I too wanted to say yes to the dress, or say I found the gown (there’s so many spin-offs now). However, a traditional big poufy dress doesn’t call out to me, nor does a sleek little mermaid silhouette with the embellished belt that seems to be oh-so-common nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, these often look amazing on people but I just can’t imagine myself ever having a wedding where a dress like this would be appropriate. If I ever get married, I want it to be a small affair and I need an outfit to suit. In 2014 I made a post about “non-traditional” bridal outfits and I still stand by what I said in that. (Olivia Palermo was the coolest bride of the past 10 years.)

I often find myself watching movies and seeing dresses that I think would look great on a wedding day, especially a low-key event. For that reason, I’ve decided to compile a list of some movie looks that I think could be modified or recreated for a wedding outfit. I do prefer the traditional white and neutral tones for a wedding look so if there’s anything in colour I’d more than likely modify it.

See some picks below:

This dress is one of my favourite Marilyn costumes of all time. I think the fabric is so sleek and the train adds such glamour. For a wedding, I can envision this dress recreated in a white silk, or even champagne.
One of Elizabeth Taylor’s most iconic costumes, this pleated white dress from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof would be perfect for a summer wedding. The dress swings as she walks meaning that it would look so good if you’re dancing.

Rita Hayworth in Gilda is a dangerously sexy look. However, for a wedding I’d suggest closing up the leg slit a little (it is Angelina Jolie at the Oscars big) and of course, changing the color. I can imagine you’d walk with a wiggle wearing this.
Grace Kelly’s casual outfit (although nothing was casual about the way she dressed) in Rear Window could work if you substituted the green skirt for a white.
Michelle Pheiffer’s white skirt suit in Scarface would look fabulous, especially if you added a short veil under the hat.

Weekly Words: 2nd September 2017

“Reflecting on a Decade of ‘Gossip Girl’ With Eric Daman” – Fashionista

It’s hard to believe that it has been a decade since Gossip Girl hit the small screens and had an impact on a generation of kids. We all wanted to live that Upper East Side lifestyle filled with scandal and, most importantly, style. I know some people whose real life was like a watered down version of that strangely enough. In honor of the anniversary, conducted an interview with Eric Daman, the costume designer behind all of the looks on the show. He was responsible for all of the characters’ sartorial choices and almost single-handedly put headbands back on the map. It’s a great, nostalgic read really (linked above).

“Shopify’s E-commerce Empire Is Growing in Amazon’s Shadow” – Bloomberg

I was interested to read this article about Shopify and how it helps small business owners grow purely because it is the platform that I am most familiar with having used it at my internship. In fashion, there are three to four basic hosting sites that every brand uses for their e-commerce ventures. Shopify is growing to be a major player thanks to its super user-friendly interface. It is literally so easy to use that it is incredible. Because of its ease of use and relatively low cost, it is a good option for people who want to create small businesses and sell merchandise online in their own branded store, instead of through a platform like eBay or Etsy. You’d be surprised by how many huge businesses use Shopify. If I were to ever start my own e-commerce site, it would be an option I’d definitely lean towards. The article tells the story of a college student who made $100,000 in a year selling Christmas sweaters before moving into custom printed t-shirts. Pretty impressive numbers, right?

“Farfetch Boss José Neves: ‘The Magic of Bricks-and-Mortar Shops Will Never Die'” – The Telegraph

I’ve spoken about Farfetch on here before, in the post about the Vogue Italia e-commerce cover, and how I think it is a great e-commerce site because of its clever model. José Neves, the CEO, gives more of an insight into how the business operates in this interview, calling it a cross between OpenTable & Deliveroo – they can show you what merchandise is available from various boutiques (the same way OpenTable shows you free tables in restaurants) and deliver it to your house (just like Deliveroo does with your food). It was a good analogy really. Neves also talks about how Natalie Massenet joining the site gave it a little more clout as Massenet, the founder of Net-a-Porter, is one of the most credible businesswomen in fashion.

Costume Design in The Wire & Its Influences

I am more than late to the party on this one, but I finally watched The Wire this summer. I watched seasons 1 – 3 in a week and after that I didn’t want to do anything but watch it. I totally get why this is ranked fifth on IMDBs Top 250 TV Shows. In fact, it could be higher. As an HBO classic, it ranks up there with The Sopranos. However, the main difference to me is how well the costume department did in making it culturally relevant. The characters wore what they would actually wear and it looked authentic, but still so damn stylish.

The first season, without giving away any spoilers for anyone is even later than me to watching the show, focuses on the operations of a group of drug dealers, called the Barksdale crew, and the police who are trying to catch them. These kids, and most of them are still kids, are dressed in a way that I found so exciting to look at. They wore Sean John and Rocawear, the streetwear brands created by rappers. On top of that, they had the baggy jeans and the vests. It was straight out of an early 2000s hip-hop video, and I love that. As they made more money, they wore more expensive items. Timbs fresh out the box, DKNY sweaters, real brands that you would buy in Barneys.

D’Angelo’s closet. PS – It is damn hard to find good photos of the costumes from this show

When I was flying transatlantic a couple of months ago I watched the documentary Fresh Dressed. Ever since watching it I have been really into watching the evolution of hip-hop style. Visually it is interesting. The documentary starts back with Run DMC and moves through chronicling the different trends and brands that musicians wore and made popular. Whatever the rappers wore trickled down into the streets – their influence was immense. After watching The Wire, I started thinking again about the documentary and how the clothes translated into regular people’s wardrobes, people who would listen to the music and want to be a part of it, even if it was just through the way they dressed.

When you think of hip-hop fashion, what do you think of? There are several looks that are iconic. Think of Coogi sweaters (the colourful knits worn by Biggie Smalls); the spread of logomania – heralded, I’d say, by Dapper Dan who used to take symbols like the Louis Vuitton monogram or the Gucci logo and customise individual pieces – which reached the mainstream (not just underground fashion); the popularity of preppy brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren (you can read online about a crew who used to shoplift anything Ralph Lauren, I’m almost sure I read that people got shot over it); oversized, chunky framed Cazal glasses (to put this into context, vintage pairs are listed for hundreds of pounds on Etsy and eBay at the moment). Karl Kani. This is just the 80s and 90s.


When we move into 2000s and a new generation of rappers who are at the top of the game, the fashion changes. This is the fashion worn by the Barksdale crew in The Wire. They have all the cool brands. They wore the right silhouettes, their pants the right width and slung at the right place on their hips. Looking at this to me just takes me back to a music video. I love it.

The success of brands started by musicians seems very 2000s to me, but nowadays image and style is just as important to rappers as their lyrics, honestly. Think of what Kanye West is doing. He is now more than just a rapper. Yeezys are some of the most coveted shoes. People actually buy his Adidas line. His tour merchandise is worn by people who, lets be honest, aren’t even big fans. Somehow I think of his line as a different category than Diddy’s line, but really what is the difference? The price? Diddy always aimed high end with his pricing, as does Kanye (regardless of what he may say on Twitter). I’m not sure. Think again of another Roc Nation artist, Vic Mensa, who is also known for his style – sort of mini-Kanye/Urban Outfitters/cool guy. Then there’s ASAP Rocky who has even been in Vogue and has a penchant for Raf Simons.

Kanye & his protege Vic Mensa

If The Wire was made again today, would the cast be dressed like Kanye? Like Rocky? Or someone entirely different?

For further content:

How Rappers Became the Most Important Fashion Ambassadors” – Complex, August 2016

Fresh Dressed” – 2015

St Elmo’s Fire, Eighties Fashion, and Today’s Minimalism

The 80s was the decade that produced, in my opinion, some of the best films of all time. Honestly, it’s just the kitsch factor. I love the costumes, the set design, the soundtracks, the colours, the carefree characters. Think of all the amazing apartments that you’ve seen in an 80s movie or all the fun that the characters have that you wish you could be a part of. It is pure escapism into a time gone by, a time that we will never get back. This is pre-iPhone, pre-social media, pre-mass use of internet even!

St Elmo’s Fire wasn’t actually a great film. There wasn’t much going on in it and there was no real moral of the story, or reason for even making the film. However, the one thing that I really took away from it was how insanely good Demi Moore looked. Although her character was meant to be coked up throughout the entire movie she still wore some great, quintessential eighties outfits and looked damn good doing so.

I’m feeling slight Holly Golightly vibes in the top right photo

The satin strapless dress she wore dancing made the think of Hedi Slimane’s last collection for Saint Laurent. I’m currently loving the editorials that have accompanied this collection as I think they so perfectly capture a mood, a fun excessive nature that I wish we could go back to, and I find it incredible how stylists are managing to pull together so many pieces that have the same vibe and work together – Vogue Paris’ August 2016 cover and the accompanying editorial is a good example. It’s really incredible to see.

Vogue Paris August 2016 – shot by David Sims. I found the styling of this to be very 80s, right down to the slight blurring effect on the photo. Very Chris von Wangenheim (see below).

After the shift towards minimalism in the 90s until the mid-2000s when prints and colour erupted again, we have once again reached the place in the cycle where minimalism reigns. We mostly wear black and neutrals. We don’t wear shiny satin or fake pearls or crimp our hair. Where is the fun? Watching movies set in the 80s makes me wish I was a teenager during that time, or even a young graduate, so I could dress like that and not give a damn how ridiculous I looked. I want the shoulder pads, the comically oversized proportions, the satin, the hairstyles, the costume jewellery, the long gloves (or even fingerless ones), the cool attitude. Who will have the same effect on teenagers’ style nowadays as Madonna did in the 80s? Rihanna?

I’m assuming there will be a move away from minimalism fairly soon. The most recent round started in, I’m going to estimate, 2011/2012? Therefore perhaps in another few years we will be taking a walk on the wild side. All I know is that when I’m old and I look at photos of myself in my twenties, I want to be dressed in a way that I will think was so cool and exciting. Right now I just dress boring, because that’s where we are at right now. I do love the clothes I have and I love minimalism, but deep down inside I long for more. Maybe Hedi’s final collection’s influence will be real and widespread, but I think minimalism still has another few years left before it fades. Gucci is helping too, although aesthetically I don’t enjoy the clothing.

Gia Carangi shot by Chris von Wangenheim, late 1970s

There is a true connection between politics and fashion. Fashion cannot exist in a vacuum. It is a reflection on the world. When times are tough, style evolves. When times are good, normally economically, style stays stagnant. Often the most over-the-top, excessive designs come about when economies are on a downturn. It’s almost like a rebellion against it, or even merely a distraction. Balmain rose to popularity once again during the Great Recession of 2008. Christophe Decarnin’s bejewelled rocker get-ups soared in popularity. The excesses of the 80s came about at a time when Ronald Reagan was president and America was facing a series of budget cuts which affected the average citizen. The AIDS epidemic broke out and was ignored by the President, and during that time fashion became increasingly flamboyant. With the upcoming Presidential election in America and the impending exit of Obama, what will happen to fashion? Will there be a knock-on effect? Perhaps it won’t be pronounced straight away as often subtle changes take a while to become apparant, but maybe in 5 years time we will look back to 2017 (assuming changes begin after the new president is inaugurated) as the year that everything changed again. The cycle keeps on going, the world keeps on spinning.

Saint Laurent Fall 2016
Saint Laurent Fall 2016

The Over-promotion of Zoolander 2

I love Zoolander, I really do. In fact, it is one of my favourite comedies. However, I am sick to death of all the promo for Zoolander 2. It’s too much. Everywhere I look there are posters, on Instagram I struggle to scroll down my feed without seeing Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander on a magazine cover or doing a Vogue Youtube video or Ben Stiller as himself on the red carpet. They’ve set a Guinness World Record on the promotional tour for the length of a selfie stick. They’ve got almost everyone who is remotely connected to the fashion industry (and some of the big hitters, too) involved either in the movie or at least in the promo. For this, I should be excited. And believe me, when the sequel was announced I was wildly excited. Now that the movie comes out next week I am starting to want to see it less and less.

I truly hope it lives up to the hype. If not, this will all have been a big waste of time. Seriously, after I see it I’ll probably eat my words. However, in the meantime I want to see nothing else about it. Overexposure at its finest.

Elvira Hancock Look – Polyvore

Elvira Hancock look

I’m sure you have all seen Scarface – if not, get on it – and as it is one of my favourite films of all time, I thought I’d do a look inspired by it. All throughout the film I am envious of Elvira’s outfits, this white skirt-suit included. I was in H&M a month or so ago when I first seen this suit and I fell in love. I’m planning to buy it for myself when I get some money. I thought I’d do a bit of an update on a skirt-suit to a pant-suit because women wear them so well, too. I remember last year, Cara Delevingne wore a teal coloured suit to London Fashion Week and I loved it; unfortunately she wore it with trainers, but each to their own! If you’d rather wear a pencil skirt, I like this split front one from Jane Norman as it reminds me of the Altuzarra Starfish ones.

Anyway, the shoes Elvira wears in the film are white but I’m not the biggest fan of white shoes so I switched them for a pair of nude ones instead, in this case Louboutin So Kates, but any nude pumps would do fine, like these from New Look (only £15). I also used quite expensive sunglasses from Linda Farrow but similar styles can be found from Oliver Bonas, River Island, and Urban Outfitters all for under £25.

Let me know what you think of this! I could try and recreate other looks from this movie too. Honestly, the costumes are to die for. Also, if you haven’t already, watch the film. It’s truly a masterpiece that was misunderstood when it was first released and can still be misunderstood today. It’s a good mix of social commentary, facts, and fiction. I love it.

PS – The world is yours…

The Artist is Absent – Martin Margiela

YOOX Group have produced a short film about Martin Margiela, the elusive fashion designer. Now I love fashion documentaries. I watch them even if I don’t care about the designer or the brand, and I usually end up loving both by the end. The film is under 12 minutes long so really doesn’t take up much of your time to watch, but it is very to the point and that is perhaps the best part.

Martin Margiela stepped down from his namesake brand (now just called Maison Margiela and headed by John Galliano) once he felt he had designed everything he needed to design. I love that idea. I feel like sometimes fashion designers create for so long that they run out of fresh ideas and their shows are just slightly tweaked versions of what they were before. Margiela has avoided this problem by bowing out when he felt he was done, but he would be welcomed back into the industry with open arms should he choose to return.

Part of his allure is the mystery that surrounds him. Nobody sees him, and he is not featured in the documentary. Margiela clothes have very basic labels that don’t even bear the brand’s name. He is best known for his deconstructionist designs of the late 90s, but it is perhaps his basics which are most worn. In the documentary you see models wearing nude bodysuits that are now ever so popular, perhaps thanks to Kim Kardashian. You can see that they were worn as a blank canvas, to ensure all of the focus was on the other pieces. Perhaps that’s what Kanye was doing with the weird bodystockings? Maybe we were meant to just look at the pieces of actual clothes, say the jackets? He’s a lot smarter than he gets credit for, I have to admit.

Anyway, check out the documentary. It’s good. Also, here’s a Margiela nude bodysuit, they’re almost always sold out (£190 Nude, and £150 Black) and a Missguided version (£12 Nude, £12 Black) for those of us who don’t want to shell out too much money. If you’re looking for something a bit better quality than Missguided (read: thicker), have a look at American Apparel whose bodysuits are great and still reasonably priced (£25-30ish for basic ones). However, they usually don’t have have poppers in the crotch (forgive my awful wording) so you have to take all your clothes off if you need the bathroom, keep that in mind!

Grace: A Memoir… On Screen?

As a part of that whole Sony hack fiasco that happened last year, a whole bunch of confidential emails were leaked. Now I haven’t been paying that much attention to the leaks because I don’t really care for snarky emails between colleagues or financial emails (I just like to see the films, not worry about budgets). This email, however, piqued my interest. I read about it on, where they reported the details of the email and linked to wikileaks where it can be read in full. I’ve also added a screenshot if you don’t want to go on the website. Basically, Grace Coddington’s brilliant memoir, released back in 2012, could potentially be adapted into a film, a biopic per se.


I got the memoir for my Christmas in 2012 and I read it from start to finish on Christmas day. I could not put it down. Grace’s story is so exciting and just sounds like a fantasy, but it is real. She lived the life that a lot of people could only dream of, and that many of us dream of right now. To put it very simply, she grew up in a small town completely detached from fashion apart from managing to buy Vogue every so often, she entered a modelling competition, moved to London, became successful in her modelling career, got in a car accident, married and divorced, moved to Paris, moved to New York, worked at British Vogue, Calvin Klein, and then American Vogue where she has remained ever since. Her and Anna Wintour started on the same day. Her life has been filled with ups and downs. It would be silly to pretend that she has had the greatest life ever, but it sounds pretty damn good.

In the email, Adam North (a creative executive who seems to be pitching the idea) talks about how there are great characters, and that’s because it is based on real people with real personalities. Grace’s life is not a movie, but it sure as hell could be made into a great one. Imagine the costumes, the sets, the photoshoots! Grace lived a life of great glamour when she was younger (she is much more pared back now), and I’d love to see that on screen. To me, films are pure escapism and I love to enter a fantasy world of great wealth and sunshine. Think of the apartments, the locations for photoshoots, the stunning models (hey, maybe real models could be hired, or just some really beautiful actresses – I love beauty).

Sony, if you ever do decide to make this movie, please hire me as the costume designer (or even just an intern in the costume department, I’d die of happiness). Also, cast Julianne Moore or Emily Blunt as Grace – I haven’t made my mind up as to who I’d prefer.

Hitchcock Classics – Vertigo

Have you ever seen Vertigo? The Hitchcock classic about an ex-police detective who experiences and extreme fear of heights and – you guessed it – vertigo. Personally, it is one of my all time favourite Hitchcock movies and up there in my top 20 overall also.

To sum up the plot in the most basic of ways: Scottie (James Stewart), the main character with the fear, is hired by an acquaintance to follow his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) who has been acting strangely with her husband convinced she is possessed. 

To completely ruin it for all who have not seen the movie, Scottie follows Madeleine who appears to attempt suicide by jumping into the San Francisco Bay. He subsequently rescues her. Fake Madeleine is pushed off the top of a church steeple. Scottie believes Madeleine is dead. Later, he meets a woman who looks mysteriously similar to Madeleine but with a different hair colour and completely different dress sense. He forces her to have a complete makeover to imitate the appearance of his dead flame with whom he has developed an obsession over. The makeover then reveals her to be the same woman. Madeleine, real name Judy, explains all to Scottie then through a cruel twist of fate also plunges from the top of the same steeple hence leaving Scottie alone once again.

The movie itself is a little over two hours long but it is worth it. Throughout the movie, we are just as clueless as Scottie right until the end when the true story is revealed. All throughout the viewer gets hints as to what has really happened but up until the final 5 minutes, we are still in the dark. It truly is a compelling story.

However, what interests me the most is not the acting or the sets, nor the director. To me, the stand out feature of the entire movie is costume. The way in which the main female character is conveyed is almost fully through the use of costume. The colours, the fit, even the hair style. They are all key features in the separation between Kim Novak as Madeleine and Kim Novak as Judy.

As Judy, Kim Novak is drab to say the least. She is just a girl from Kansas who by unfortunate circumstances got caught up in this mess. She has mousy brown hair, a less than refined appearance and a dress sense to reflect her personality. She has harsher make up and overdrawn eyebrows. Judy doesn’t even wear a bra; a sharp contrast from Madeleine’s restrictive outfits. Through Judy’s costumes I am not blown away. But then again, we aren’t meant to be.

In contrast with Judy is Madeleine. Through her clothing, the audience see how trapped she was. The tight fit and sharp clean lines symbolise this, not just in her clothing but in the character she had to play. Judy had been hired to impersonate Madeline and her clothing mirrors her sense of confinement. She was not free to do whatever; she had to stick to the routine of what the real Madeleine would have done. The costume which is arguably the most famous is the grey skirt suit. Kim Novak herself criticized the general discomfort of the suit in an interview, calling it “that ghastly gray suit” and saying that “…they had built the suit so that you had to stand very erect or you were suddenly ‘not in position’.” However, without that suit the image that many will think of when they hear of Vertigo would be very different.
3511 novak-and-hitchcock vertigoartmuseum
Another important costume of Madeline’s is the oversized, slouchy white coat, black dress and black chiffon scarf combination. Though I love the grey suit, this is the stand out outfit in the movie for me purely based on the beautiful coat. Even now, 55 years from the movie being made, it would still look up to date and is extremely wearable. The extreme black and white contrast of the colours could be used to indicate the split between Madeleine and Judy. While browsing the internet, I have seen many comparisons between Madeleine’s white coat outfit in Vertigo and the all-white ensemble of Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct. While I have not seen that film, I understand the comparisons. Also, whilst I was browsing the Topshop website spending a gift card I received at Christmas I stumbled across this coat which, although cream not stark white, is rather similar.
novak stone

The costumes were designed by legendary Hollywood costume designer Edith Head who created costume masterpieces for numerous movies.