It all started with beige. Beige in the grandiose dining room of the Recchi villa, beige in Emma’s knit sweater and khakis as she prepares for her father-in-law’s birthday dinner. When the guests arrive, Emma changes into a conservative rich purple dress of a 1940s silhouette, her hair down a la Grace Kelly. She is silent as the men are talking business and speaks only to play the part of supportive mother. The wardrobe that follows is a range of light gray-blues and whites, worn as Emma performs her daily errands.
I have adored Tilda Swinton ever since I saw Orlando (Sally Potter, 1992) – mainly because of the film’s total dependence on costumes to denote its narrative progression. In Io Sono L’amore (Luca Guadagnino, 2009), costume plays a similar role and Swinton succeeds in wearing them to enhance, not distract, her character development.
Clad exclusively in Jil Sander, Swinton plays Emma Recchi, a porcelain-clean trophy wife of an Italian textile tycoon and a loving mother of two. She spends her days picking up laundry and visiting her husband at his office. Io Sono L’amore speaks of the repression of individuality within the shackles of rituals and order.
The dialogue is minimal and the acting style is bare, but these are compensated by a rich compilation of stylistic elements. John Adams’s operatic score voices the feelings of anger and betrayal that are never properly expressed. The cinematography fluctuates between blurry and bleached out (symbolizing ecstasy) and detailed and revealing (truth). The colours are sometimes muted, sometimes incredibly vibrant. These changes highlight the stages of Swinton’s character development.
We’re totally charmed by the stills for A Miniature Frolic, a visual cupcake of a film by frequent creative collaborators (and occasional WORN contributors), photographer Martin Reisch (*safesolvent), designer Lara Kaluza (Lalouka), and musician Tessa Smith (Brave Radar and Fixture Records – though you might remember her as the lady with the awesome haircut).
For your consideration, here is a two minute clip from William Klein’s fashion-centric satire, Qui êtes vous, Polly Maggoo? (1966). If you want specifics, you can find them here and here – but if all you want is a reason to see it, you won’t need more than this…
As an added treat, (and in case you’re unfamiliar with her strange and wonderful face), the girl on the far left is 60s model and mod fashion icon, Peggy Moffitt. Typing her name into your browser will produce some of the best images of that decade.
The feeling of anticipation in a darkening movie theatre is generally universal. On this occasion I was more eager than usual. A few weeks prior I had seen a superbly edited trailer featuring a rapid succession of beautiful shots from the upcoming film, A Single Man. Being a self-proclaimed cinephile, my pulse quickened with the emotional reminders of great cinematic experiences past. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed, but not for the reasons you’d think….
A Single Man takes place in Los Angeles at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Adapted (from a Christopher Isherwood novel of the same name), directed, and produced by legendary fashion lord and first time filmmaker Tom Ford, it is a solemn tale of a man coming to grips with the painful loss of the love of his life. Colin Firth’s heart-breaking performance is touching and the stuff the best dramas are made of (and just as an aside, it was nice to see Firth challenged by a role that was not a type-cast of Jane Austen’s impenetrable Mr. Darcy). Continue reading →