A few days ago I taped our third segment for the radio program “KUOW Presents;” this one was about teen fashion, the bottom-up theory and two films that demonstrate the evolution and growing influence of street style versus designer style. The piece just aired, and it’s always kind of wild for me to listen to the conversation edited down after the fact. (I also have to say there is nothing weirder than listening to myself talk about teenagers and my students like I’m some hip old broad who’s totally down with “kids these days.” I’ve no doubt that… Read More
Science fiction movies could be a costume designer’s dream, but oftentimes the scenery and special effects take precedence in futures where characters are dressed in military uniforms, shapeless robes or makeshift remnants culled from scraps of destroyed societies. The future is usually depicted as dark, and this leaves many costumers returning to the same stale ideas over and over. But when Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element premiered on this day in 1997, audiences were not treated to a future costumed as a drab dystopia, but rather in the vibrant imagination of French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.
The Fifth Element was released… Read More
By the time this famous exchange takes place between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, the Oscar-winning film released on this day in 1977, the actress had already made an indelible sartorial impression in at least half a dozen scenes. From chasing lobsters to seeing movies to playing tennis, Annie consistently puts forth a one-of-a-kind style that combines a curious mix of dichotomies: masculine and neurotic, frumpy and tailored, haphazard and thoughtful. But the outfit that inspired the… Read More
It’s not often that a garment perfectly illustrates a literary technique. But witness Demi Moore in a Thierry Mugler LBD and observe the sexiest version of “Chekov’s Gun” this writer has ever seen. Chekov’s rule of foreshadowing posits that if an element—such as a gun—appears in the first act of a story then it must be used—or fired—before the story ends. Otherwise, why introduce the element at all? In Indecent Proposal, released on this day in 1993, the “gun” is replaced with a Mugler dress wrapped around the body of Moore and represents the crux of the… Read More
If there’s anything the fashion world can do well, it’s create hype. When Cover Girl was released on this day in 1944, moviegoers lined up to see big names Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth, but also to see a bevy of real-life magazine cover girls in their big screen debut. The film stars Hayworth as a leggy Brooklyn chorus girl named Rusty Parker who catches her big break as the winner of a magazine cover girl contest. The role could have been written for the up-and-coming actress, herself a former nightclub dancer from Brooklyn. Rusty is quickly inducted… Read More