Il deserto rosso/The Red Desert

Italy, 1964 Directed: Michelangelo Antonioni. Starring: Monica Vitti, Richard Harris.

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It’s cold outside. Everyone is abandoning the streets and wrapping up in a miserable mountain of blankets. Itching to venture outside, but not wanting to bear the cold leaves one anxious and nervous. And so, I decided to dig out Michelanglo Antonioni‘s The Red Desert to revisit the nervous and beautiful Giulia.

Of all the glamour goddesses of the 1960s, I feel that Monica Vitti is a lesser known star to today’s generation. Perhaps this is because she mostly worked in her native language, Italian. She is a stunning girl and exudes a most “classically glamourous” style.

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red desert film, il deserto rosso, red desert style, red desert fashion, red desert monica vitti, red desert screenshots, red desert stills

The Red Desert was Antonioni‘s first attempt at a colour film. He said he wanted “paint the film as one paints the canvas” that is to say, not to limit himself to only natural colour schemes. The result is starkly grey backdrops, the backyards of working factories with an apocalyptic touch dotted with crisp vibrantly coloured coats and dresses of Giulia (Vitti). It’s more colour blocking!! Just suitably winter for my side of the planet.

It’s a refreshing reminder, that just because is grey and grubby outside, doesn’t mean you have to accessorise to match.

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Les Parapluies de Cherbourg / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

France, 1964 Directed: Jacques Demy. Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo and Anne Vernon.

It’s been raining outside…(it’s SUMMER here). To console myself I thought it would be a good idea to watch The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. A trendy, gorgeous, French Nouvelle Vague period film where the characters endure the rain with the power of SONG + DANCE. Great idea!

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Oh yeah…that’s right…The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is not so much a cheesy musical as much as a tragic operetta where the characters sing their lines simply because that’s how they roll. This is no dancing matter. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful and if you like melodrama (ooo yes I DO) you’ll love it.

In brief: Geneviève (Deneuve) lives with her widowed mother and is in love with Guy (Castelnuovo). Her mother won’t let them marry and they are drawn apart by Guy’s military duties. Geneviève falls pregnant and marries a rich bachelor to support herself. Guy returns and is devastated but moves onto a new femme. Wait for the final scene, so heartbreaking!

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One of the most striking elements of this film is the lovely pastel colour scheme. Bernard Evein, the Production Designer, did a beautiful job of tying the scenery to the costumery. How could you not want to match your jacket to your wallpaper? Enjoy!

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True Grit Style

USA, 1969 Directed: Henry Hathaway. Starring: John Wayne, Kim Darby and Glen Campbell.

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Firstly I should address the question of was Justin Bieber in the original True Grit? The answer is no. That is Kim Darby who plays Mattie Ross. Who wore the haircut better?

True Grit 1969, True Grit john wayne, kim darby, rooster cogburn, mattie ross

It certainly would be hard to consider True Grit as a conventional “fashion film”. I agree. But with all the recent hype over the new Coen Brothers remake of the 1969 version, I thought it interesting as an example of how film trends infiltrate the fashion scene.

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The film is a classic western in the truest sense and for me, the old cowboy John Wayne who plays Rooster Cogburn (and won his only Oscar), is the most inspiring. It’s getting cold again where I live and I because I don’t have sufficient winter supplies, it’s normal for me to raid my fellow’s. I like Wayne’s necktie combined with a beatdown hat and raggamuffin jacket.

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But I’m not ready to rock an eye patch…yet.

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