Shopping Fever

I sit staring at a room filled with white Chanel bags for the seventh time, wondering if I am getting any closer to meaning. Watching Karl Lagerfeld unveil the Fall-Winter 2010/2011 Ready to Wear Pre Collection in a Godard-esque short has left me in a somewhat bemused. However, once you get over the initial sting of thinking ‘Why aren’t I drinking expensive champagne after a Chanel binge?’, the film opens itself up for a more critical interpretation.

‘Shopping Fever’ is at a very basic level, a portrait of excess and indulgence. Many of these design house shorts (which I too often find myself watching), seem to promote this type of lavishness without economic concern or consequence. Women lie on beds of goose feathers while Swarovski diamonds shower down upon them, and we jump out of our itchy one hundred thread count sheets, and into whatever trendy item it is that we can’t afford. In most cases, these design house shorts promote a lifestyle behind their brand that remains unobtainable to the masses. In Shopping Fever though, what Lagerfeld is doing is a bit different, perhaps even subversive.

Overall, the short comes across as comical, and not just because of my critical, excess-is-silly eye. It is this comedic quality that allows Lagerfeld’s short to be viewed as more progressive, and ‘not just another design house ad’. The sequencing and soundtrack alludes to that of a 1960s suspense trailer; the juxtaposition of this and Dree Hemingway ‘angrily’ clutching her head in her hand, next to overflowing Chanel bags, parodies both the genres of suspense and fashion advertising. A typical suspense trailer offers its audience excitement, dramatics, lies and scheming, normally for some sort of high stakes situation (e.g the world ending). Here, the dramatics are all moulded around whatever could be in that bag (this seasons must-have jeggings, perhaps?). Whatever the bags contain, the viewer knows it is most likely not earth shattering (or even remotely feverish), and the dramatics of the rest of the short come off as comical. Instead of being in a state of frenzied awe and running to our nearest credit card, as most fashion advertisements encourage us to do, Lagerfeld’s piece allows the common viewer to sit back and chuckle at the ‘problems’ of the wealthy. Like a comedy of manners, Lagerfeld is satirizing the behaviours of his top consumers. After my now eighth survey of ’Shopping Fever’, I still am enamoured by a room filled with Chanel goodies, but can do so without jealousy or wanting to break the bank. I relax and begin to feel like good old uncle Karl is giving a wink to the proletariat.

- Casie Brown

I Love Lying

Although I pride myself on not having much of an interest in the concept of celebrity, I am powerlessly drawn to the work of Chloë Sevigny. Her effortless style is matched by an interest in the obscure and bizarre, and I constantly find myself in awe of the roles she plays in groundbreaking films like Kids and Boys Don’t Cry.

On a random scroll of facebook the other day I stumbled across a clip from one of her more recent films, an independent work called Lying. Although I was warned by friends that the plot was dying-turtle slow and almost completely free of dialogue and events, I decided to give it a chance, for Chloë’s sake.

I found myself completely lost in the dreamy landscape of upstate New York, where complicated relationships form between five women who hardly know one another, but find themselves isolated together at a quiet country home for a weekend. The plot thickened as I began to realize Chloë Sevigny’s character, Megan, is a pathological liar. Although it has no concrete plot, and as I learned later, no script, Lying explores the awkward feeling of trying to hold a conversation with people you don’t actually know, and the complexities involved in coming to know someone better.

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All Puffy Coats and No Cute Clothes Make Haley Go Crazy

I’m sure there are a lot of great things about winter, but fashion is not one of them. Everyone gets lost in a sea of slush and blinding flurries and makes the foolish decision to stop caring about fashion and instead focus on, you know, not freezing to death. I just happen to believe that you can do both. I have the perfect film for my inspiration: the stylishly prescient 1980 Stanley Kubrick film, The Shining.

I’m not really a fan of horror movies, but The Shining is a different sort of film. It doesn’t rely on gimmicks or gore; The Shining gets inside your head and really makes you question your perceptions. You can read all about the various symbolic meanings to the film here – is it about alcoholism and spousal abuse? Is it a metaphor for the oppression of Native Americans? Is the Overlook Hotel really haunted, or was Jack Torrance a murderous psychopath all along?

Kubrick was not exactly known for being an easygoing kind of director; he was more of a “demanding-hundreds-of-takes-until-Shelley-Duvall-cries” kind of director. I doubt that wardrobe just happened – it’s much more likely that Kubrick was trying to send the audience visual clues about his characters, at the very least that they are the classic Midwestern lower-middle-class family. Kubrick wants you to watch and think that could be me. And then preferably sleep with the lights on for the following week. The film had the opposite effect on me… I still slept with the lights on for three nights after watching it, but the clothes only inspire my winter outfits. The Torrance family is dressed in such a stereotypically normal style that I find the message goes all the way around and becomes subversively fashion. If nothing else, I just really respect their commitment to fashion even in the face of certain death.

The Torrance family really excel at that Midwest collegiate look – tweed and cable knit for texture, lots of browns and navy blues for colour, key to every struggling writer’s wardrobe.

Wendy Torrance has her best outfit when she first arrives at the Overlook Hotel. I love the cream turtleneck under the corduroy blazer and her skirt is just the perfect length for her boots.

My other favorite Wendy Torrance outfit comes after the phone goes dead – a yellow sweater and flared blue jeans. I couldn’t get a close up, but I think she might be wearing CLOGS. Clogs! So fashion forward. This is exactly the sort of 1970s look that I love.

The real sartorial star of this movie, though, is Danny. He has a seemingly never-ending wardrobe of letterman jackets, hand-knit sweaters, and plaid button-up shirts that I would gladly steal.

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Dress The Part: 10 Movie Posters Inspired by Men’s Styles

I’m finding it really difficult to choose which is my favorite from this series of mock movie posters by Moxie Creative House – ten posters inspired by the iconic men’s fashion in each film. A pair of suspenders or a bow tie or a hat can become a subtle but crucial part of character development, but sometimes that article of clothing is less subtle, like Patrick Bateman’s plastic coat and axe. That is DEFINITELY the outfit of a yuppie murderer.

I’d love to see this series repeated with iconic women’s fashion, like Annie Hall’s tie and fedora or a red scrunchie from Heathers.

Tell us in the comments what other posters you’d like to see!

- Haley Mlotek