Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daily Outfit

I was in my favourite vintage store, giving it the quick once over in order to get to my sewing store before it closed when this caught my eye. "Is this a black and white dress covered is bows? Why, yes it is! I don't care if it fits or not, it's coming home with me." is what I said to myself. Luckily it fit perfectly. Actually it reminded me of this dress from Orla Kiely's fantastic A/W 10 collection, only I could afford this one.
Detail- 29 Sept 10

Dress: vintage
Belt: thrifted
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Börn

Here is Peter Sellers doing The Beatles, followed by The Beatles doing The Beatles:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cinema Tuesdays {Les Demoiselles de Rochefort}

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Oh my, I just love Jacques Demy's stunning musical! There is a feeling of utter joy that you'll get while watching this film. Random dancing in the streets, pink fire hydrants, giant flowered hats, gingham aprons, sailor hats with pom-poms, a jazzy soundtrack and a new song every five minutes. And my dear, the colours are fantastic! Vivid pastels (yes, pastels can be vivid) and clear whites. If you've seen The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, you'll know what M. Demy does with colours, but here, everything is bright and happy because it's a tribute to the American musical. Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac (real life sisters) play the twins Delphine and Solange who teach dance and piano and Danielle Darrieux plays their mother, she also played Catherine Deneuve's mother in 8 Women. Gene Kelly is also here, singing and dancing in French (though some of his scenes are dubbed, I don't know why) and at age 55, not only does he look good but he also still gets the girl. The plot is one of star-crossed lovers and missed opportunities.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Vintage Novels {Something Happened}


Last fall, I took an American Lit course on the subject of the male mid-life crises in the later half of the 20th Century and this is one of the novels that we read. I thought about doing a post about it then, but I didn't think it was fitting at that point, so instead I wrote my term paper on it.
Given the self-reflection that Don Drapper is going through this season, I think that the time is right to talk about it. Something Happened is Josph Heller's long awaited second novel and it didn't do as well as Catch-22 did. This is mostly because it's very difficult to read, mostly because there is no plot, in a traditional sense.
The entire novel, which is extremely long, is Bob Slocum's reflection on his life, experiences, job, family life and his (negative) opinions of those that he interacts with. Something Happened is basically what Don's life would have been like in ten years had Betty not divorced him. Bob's wife is a bored and not aging very well, his daughter is a teenager and rebelling against everything. His middle son, whom he loves more then anything is quiet, not doing well at school and is terrified of everything and only wants to please his father. Bob is ashamed of his youngest son (the only member of his family that he names) because he has mental problems and hurts Bob's social standing because they can't talk about him in public for fear that the family would be judged.
You may have noticed how dark and sad Don's thoughts are. That is the tone of the entire novel. Bob is afraid of everything, especially of his co-workers, who are in turn afraid of each other. Bob is also afraid of the social changes the are happening in the Seventies, afraid that his wife will discover his numerous affairs, afraid of what his children will grow up to be. Essentially, Bob is afraid of life. The entire novel is about nothing happening until the very end and it is up to you to determine whether Bob is telling himself the truth in the last chapter about how the thing that happened has changed him or if he is just lying to himself.
Something Happened is not an easy or a fun book to read. But you should read it if you want to understand the mind-set of Bob and Don's generation as they enter middle age and the Seventies and how they are dealing with all of the social and cultural changes that happened in the Sixties and how they are coping with the rise of the Baby Boom generation and how they see their role in a rapidly changing society that they can't do anything about because they fear change.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cinema Tuesdays {Les Girls}

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I love 1957's Les Girls! How can you not love Cole Porter, Mitzi Gaynor and Kay Kendall in one movie? Unfortunately, it's also the last time Gene Kelly played the lead role in a MGM musical.
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Sybil, before she married and became Lady Wren, was part of the act Barry Nichols and Les Girls in Paris. Angele is suing Sybil, because Sybil's book says that she tried to gas herself.
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This is Angele's counsel. Why, yes, that is Patrick Macnee before he became John Steed.
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Now that is what you wear to court! Kay Kendall always dressed so wonderfully. The should be a Tumblr devoted to Kay Kendall.

Sybil's Story:

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Angele joined the act after auditioning wearing some flower baskets. Mitzi Gaynor plays Joy and I love how she's wearing that pink scarf. Sybil also has a fabulous fisherman's cardigan.
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According to Sybil, when Angele moved into the apartment, she brought with her a ton of expensive clothing, that hat and some furs that her uncle gave her.
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I found this dance to be very modern and I'm digging that crazy set. Barry says that Angele needs a lot of rehearsal in order to get her up to speed with the act.
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Naturally, he takes her out to a late supper afterwards. Yes, those are cherries in that hat.
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Pretty soon, they're having all day rehearsals in a boat. Because you can't not rehearse in a boat.
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I love Joy's outfit here, very Fifties and I want that cardigan.
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But look who shows up while Angele is in a boat: her fiancé Pierre who thinks she's studying to be a nurse and volunteers at an orphanage.
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"We're Ladies in Waiting" -definitely the funniest part of the movie.
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Anyway, Angele is worried that Pierre has found out that's she's been dancing instead of becoming a nurse and Barry has just fired her for missing her cue. Notice how the lighting shows the audience the debt of her despair. And that's why she tried to gas herself, says Sybil.
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Yes, that is Leslie Phillips paying Sir Gerald Wren. Unfortunately this is before he became Leslie Phillips, so he doesn't use any of his catchphrases, not even "Hello". Major disappointment.
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Meanwhile, Angele tries to convince Pierre that Sybil was lying while wearing a soft, feminine dress to show how much she is a devoted wife. The flowers are a nice touch.
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This is Angele's trial outfit. Not as terrific as Sybil's, but more in keeping with her character as a devoted, elegant French wife.

Angele's Story:
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According to Agele, Sir Gerald dropped by the girls' flat one day when he was in Paris for business and Angele and Joy had to cover for Sybil. I love Joy's plaid shirt and red pants.
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In this flashback, Sybil was rather partial to gin-based perfumes.
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And to singing Bizet's Carmen in the middle of the afternoon. Kay Kendall was really a marvelous comedienne.
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Angele lies to Barry that Sybil drinks because she's in love with him in order to save Sybil's job.
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So, Barry gives up drinking around Sybil and spends more time with her. I think that Joy's outfit here is more in keeping with Grace Kelly in Mogambo.
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I love this routine. It's a shame that Kay Kendall wasn't able to do more musical comedies.
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Anyway, while the act was on tour in Spain, Gerald shows up to convince Sybil to return to England and marry him. And Sybil tells two different lies to Gerald and Barry which leads to the traditional fisticuffs. Sink me, that waist is tiny!
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So, Sybil goes back to drinking, Gerald goes back to London and Barry fires her and again we have to lighting and the same outcome as with Angele.
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Gerald is rather ticked off and not even Sybil's awesome hat can convince him otherwise.
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Yes, the LBD is fabulous, but how cool is the Wren's apartment! Red rooms with white couches are cool, but Sybil is doing needle work!
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The only way to get at the truth is to call in a surprise witness.
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Feathered hat and velvet coat!

Barry's Story:

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According to Barry, he only had eyes for Joy, who wont give him the time of day because she wants a commitment.
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So, he gives in and says that they're engaged. So she takes him home after the show and slips into something a little more comfortable. It's not what he's expecting, but Joy's a very smart girl by giving him a preview to see if he can handle it.
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Meanwhile, Gerald and Pierre want Barry to fire the girls because they know that as long as Sybil and Angele are with the theatre, they can't get married. So, Barry comes up with a devious plan for all three of them to get married without firing anyone.
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Barry pretends that dancing is killing him and swears Joy to secrecy. Naturally Joy tells the other two, who decide to quit the act to save Barry's life and marry so that he wont worry about how they are going to support themselves, which is the only reason why he's still dancing against doctor's orders.
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The girls give Barry a party to let him down gently. I love all of their party dresses, but Sybil's is my favourite. Which is yours?

So, who tried to gas themselves? Was it an accident? What does Joy think of Angele and Sybil's stories? Was Barry telling the truth or lying to save Sybil and Angele's marriages? But then again:
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There's no trailer, so here is Gene Kelly's impression of Brando in The Wild One: