Io sono l’amore/I Am Love

Italy, 2009 Directed: Luca Guadagnino. Starring: Tilda Swindon, Flavio Parenti and Edoardo Gabbriellini.

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Personally, when I think to myself about what a “fashion film” is, I’m not inclined to care for the likes of Sex and The City. I find theme a little too contrived to maintain my interest and the outfits too stylised to scream “faHshion”. I prefer a film to grab me emotionally, sweep me up in its soundtrack, imagery and energy. The clothing speaks something about the character’s identity, situation, dreams or whatever!! Just as we wake up daily and decide how to present ourselves to the world, I want to see the characters in films do likewise and embrace their own personal style.

And if any film could be considered a “fashion film”, the sumptuous, provocative and emotionally charged film, I Am Love, befits perfectly.

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I Am Love follows the wealthy Italian Recchi family during their period of turmoil in the dawning years of the new millennium. There are a number of changes and confrontations experience by all, but the most intriguing, and important, revolves around Emma’s (Tilda Swindon) affair with young chef Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini). Most impressively, Swindon learnt Italian with a Russian accent for the role and she is most convincing.

I don’t want to indulge in revealing the plot too much. This film in made to be consumed firsthand. The stunning imagery leaves such an impression and is seasoned delectably with it’s soundtrack. The costumes are so striking and Antonella Cannarozzi was appropriately nominated for an Academy Award. Emma is so very elegant colour blocking those slip dresses, with simple dashes of red on the lips and classic sparkles at the ears.(Don’t those wrap around sunglasses so perfectly capture the essence of the time?) A lavish and graceful film, a must see!

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Et Dieu… créa la femme / …And God Created Woman

France, 1956 Directed: Roger Vadim. Starring: Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Curd Jürgens.

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And what an image it is! But nothing could be more suitable to sum up Roger Vadim‘s directoral debut Et Dieu… créa la femme (…And God Created Woman) This was also the debut of blonde, breton-bearing, bombshell Brigitte Bardot. I think her performance in this film just goes to show that she always had that “it” factor and that “va-va-voom” factor.
The film, like many of its time, is not particularly showy. The story is simple. In the paradisal backdrop of St. Tropez, the sexpot, Juliette (Bardot), loves one brother but chooses to marry his brother. Juliette passes much of her days moping in bed, being drooled over men, bicycling about in pencil skirts, or lounging outside naked.
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Bardot looks ravishing throughout the film. Her outfits are ridiculously simple. She doesn’t bother with shoes let alone accessories.
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Juliette’s outfits are complete classics, if somewhat specific to their scenery. Don’t you love those button down slips that can be pulled open on the beach? Or half and half? Her ruffled up do’s make me long for longer locks. *sigh* A perfect mix of elegance and casual cool.
Despite Bardot‘s lack of embellishment in costume, there is no denying how much sexuality she oozes on screen. This all explodes in the final (and my favourite!) scene with Bardot‘s infamous mambo performance.
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I think her husband’s final shot says it all…
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Annie Hall – A Lesson In Personal Style

USA, 1977 Directed: Woody Allen. Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton.

Well La-di-da, la-di-da, la la.

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With fashion’s current 70s style obsession, I was reminded of the classic 70s look of Annie Hall. It is well-accepted as one of Woody Allen‘s most masterful creations but, is as much celebrated for it’s influence on fashion as its cinematic sense. Annie’s look was many of the things that are considered so “cool” today. The so-called boyfriend look made up of of lots of classic, vintage finds. Vests, the “grammy tie”, men’s working pants, bowler hats, oversized watches and studious glasses.

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At the time of the film’s release, this look was very new and exciting. It also has a nice back story! Much of Anne’s costume actually came from Diane Keaton‘s personal wardrobe and sartorial selection. It so goes that the film’s costume designer, Ruth Morley, was not a fan but Woody Allen was and said “Leave her. She’s a genius. Let her wear what she wants.” And so, Keaton’s wardrobe combined with Ralph Lauren to re-invent Le Smoking jacket in a Hall’s new dapper, disheveled light. And she even won an Oscar!

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