“From here, she looks beautiful”: The Costumes of Dr. Zhivago

I can name more than a few reasons to watch and revisit the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago: the cinematography, the passionate love story, the incredible acting and, of course, the costumes that won the film the 1965 Oscar for Best Costume Design. With its lush costumes creating a stunning depiction of the time period’s trends, the gripping tale takes the protagonists from a lavish life of leisure to the poverty of war. Set against the Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war, the film takes place mostly between 1912 and 1921, creating a vastly different view of pre and post-revolutionary Russia.

Geraldine Chaplin plays sweet and supportive Tonya, Yuri Zhivago’s step-sister turned wife. Her introductory scene shows Tonya hopping off a busy train from Paris at the Moscow train station in a fitted, pale pink dress and overcoat with matching fur hat and grey muff. The costume garnered much attention from Director David Lean, a stickler for details in the film, who insisted on a few revisions to the design before it hit the set. In Doctor Zhivago: The Making of a Russian Epic, Costume Designer Phyllis Dalton explains, “That was a sad argument I had with the Director at the time because I designed that same costume in pale grey with a black fur hat because I thought she would be so sophisticated she would want to go with the utterly grown up thing, and a rather tight skirt that she could hardly run in, which was very in in Paris in those days.” Geraldine Chaplin recalls the conflict, saying that Dalton then had a white version of the outfit made, which Lean rejected since it made Chaplin’s teeth look “too yellow.” Dalton goes on to say, “David didn’t say he didn’t like it but he was quite adamant that he wanted a pale colour. He said ‘try pink’ …and it’s the most beautiful outfit in the whole film.” The look is elegant early 20th Century Parisian, a chic yet glamorous show stealer. Among the details Lean is known for implementing in his films, he is said to have made all his actors wear period undergarments beneath their costumes for added authenticity, though they were never visible in any of the film’s scenes. Continue reading

Contributor Corner: Anna Cipollone

How did you dress in high school?
Most of grade nine was dominated by high-waisted Parasuco jeans, lots of belly tops, an extensive collection of skate shoes, and some solid Value Village items.

Who would you rather be trapped in a broken elevator with: Karl Lagerfeld, Tyra Banks, or Lady Gaga?
Karl Lagerfeld would probably be the most annoying in person. Tyra might have a momentary diva episode but I sense we could work through it together. Really I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a broken elevator period.

If you could dress like your favourite food what would it be?
A delicious gourmet cookie and an iced soy latte—which could translate to fashion very well considering I’m big on brown.

Last fashion related book or article you read. Was it good or bad?
I just read an article on cinema/style icon Anna Karina in issue 30 of RUSSH magazine. It was short but sweet, with some charming vintage black and white stills.

What fashion blog do you think is underrated?
I’m not sure how underrated it is, but my friend Nikole’s blog, forty-sixth at grace, is an inspiring dose of photography, style, pastries, and poetry all rolled into one.
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The Influence of Sam Haskins

I haven’t been familiar with Sam Haskins’ photography for long, but something about his black and white work has captivated me. His ability to capture his models as if they were actors in a play is truly astounding, making for some fascinating photographs.

Drawing inspiration from the late Irving Penn, Haskins’ noted use of several style techniques have remained prominent in fashion photography for the past 40 years. However, Haskins remains a photographer first and a fashion photographer second. He has credited high-brow fashion editors, with a view of models as props instead of people, for his initial disengagement from the fashion community. Unwilling to be pin-holed into the highly-structured business of fashion, Haskins preferred to shoot his own work in lieu of giving up any creative control. Intent on capturing personality in his models while making the female nude’s movement seem ever so effortless, Haskins’ photographs instantly spark the viewer’s curiosity.

His most iconic works are captured in his seminal collections: Five Girls (1962) and Cowboy Kate (1964). These sixties classics remain cherished landmarks, projecting the elusive stylistic qualities that would become so popular in fashion photography. Five Girls challenged still photography by giving the female form movement, with its cinematic approach to capturing the persona of its characters in provocative, yet compelling depictions. In a 1963 article published in Journal Infinity, Andreas Feininger described Haskins’ work: “Whether smiling quietly, laughing in exuberant joie de vivre or seriously looking into space, they appear completely unconscious of their nudity. It seems to me it is precisely this frankness—those large clear eyes candidly looking at me—that gives Haskins’ nudes and semi-nudes their bewitching quality.”
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Crushing on Kim Hutt

Fashion blogger Kim Hutt blends her sharp wit with the sartorial seeds planted in young readers when their wee hands first flipped the pages of The Baby-Sitters Club. What Claudia Wore features the most fashion-forward moments from the series, with the highest praise going to Claudia, and gives us good reason to dust off that bookshelf and get nostalgic.

How did you first conceive of the idea for What Claudia Wore?

I began re-collecting the books when I was living in Wappingers Falls, New York in 2006. I was just down the road from both a Goodwill and a Salvation Army, and they would get huge lots of BSC books. It was a fun little nostalgia trip during a stressful time in my life, and I couldn’t help laughing at how incredibly fascinated I was by the outfit descriptions. 23 years old and just as absorbed by BSC fashion as I was at age eight.

At the beginning, I was just planning on cataloguing each of Claudia’s outfits; there was little to no commentary. Then I started adding a snarky line or two after each description. It kind of snowballed from there.

What have you learnt about yourself from re-reading old Baby-Sitters Club books?
That I needed to get out more! I mean, I’ve always been a re-reader . . . but seriously, I remember this stuff way too well. The other day I was mentally composing a blog entry, and I made a joke about “stupid Andrew Brewer saying ‘hi-hi’.” And then I stopped and corrected myself – “No, saying hi-hi was Jamie Newton’s thing.” It was a frightening moment. This is the stuff I’m dedicating brainpower to. Okay.

Is fashion something you take seriously? Are you looking at The Baby-Sitters Club ironically?

I think that depends on what one considers taking it seriously. I rarely – if ever – keep up with current runway trends, I don’t buy fashion magazines, and I only follow a handful of style bloggers. With that said, are fashion and personal presentation important to me? Yes, very.

I do mock the babysitters quite a bit. Honestly, I’m much more affectionate toward the characters and the series than I let on. Snark aside, I think there’s somewhat of a sense of celebration in this project. I mean, I was seriously emotionally invested in Stoneybrook, long after I’d outgrown the books on an intellectual level. I hope some of that comes through in the blog, even when I’m threatening to throw away every single pair of sneakers Kristy owns.
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