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Archive | August, 2014

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

29 Aug

The Emmys are over and the red carpet has been awash with fabulous attire (the ‘best of’ rundown is here, here and here) so this edition of “Out of the Box” is a mixture of iconic shots of the week, magazine covers and a new fashion campaign featuring a Game of Thrones star.

Beyonce FeministWhile TV Ate My Wardrobe has been Emmy focused this week, another awards show took place with the VMAs and Beyoncé performed an incredible 12-song medley over 16 minutes. One of the defining images came during “Flawless” as Beyoncé stood defiant in front of a huge “FEMINIST” sign (for an excellent article on Beyoncé and this moment head here). It’s been a banner week for women in pop and feminism with Taylor Swift also reconciling her past dismissive thoughts on feminism with an acknowledgement that she is a feminist.

MichonneEntertainment Weekly released four in motion Walking Dead covers; this one featuring Michonne is incredible and by far the most striking.

Nylon Aubrey PlazaIt looks like Nylon magazine is ditching its TV issue special format for their September issue; however one of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s TV favorites is covering the ‘Rebel Fashion’ themed edition with Aubrey Plaza in leather and (faux?) fur. You can watch a video of Aubrey here talking about the location of the photo shoot, designers she is into and the final season of Parks and Recreation.

Karen Millen Sophie TurnerKit Harington isn’t the only Game of Thrones star booking fall campaigns as Sophie Turner is looking a far cry from the heavy gown wearing and now feathered shouldered Sansa Stark as part of the new Karen Millen showcase. In the accompanying video (which you can see below) Turner is wearing this floral jacket (you can get an oversized version at the moment) as she travels across London to the shoot while the strains of Elastica’s “Connection” (this song sums up my Britpop years) plays over the top. It’s a cool nod to the decade that is influencing fashion at the moment and London is a prominent feature now as it was then.

 

 

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TV Rewind: Felicity, “Ben Was Here” and “The Aretha Theory”

28 Aug

Felicity, Episodes 2.20 & 2.21
“Ben Was Here” & “The Aretha Theory”
Original Air Dates: May 3 & 10, 2000

Felicity 2.21 projectionJulie: Yay yay yay yay yay.

I had more fun watching these two Felicity episodes than I have for all of season two. We’ve reached the final four episodes of sophomore year, and the show is firing on all cylinders.

What’s working?

Ben. In the latter half of the season, the show has become Ben’s show (as we’ve discussed). For a season and a half, he’s been a social chameleon, changing his personality to fit whichever girl he’s dating, floating through life, not really sure about what he wants to do or who he wants to be, taking the advice of anyone who has any advice to give him. Now he’s Ben of action.

I was a little nervous when Felicity said that he was only after her for the chase. Was she right? She might still be right. Ben has this pattern of going after her whenever she finds a new boyfriend.

But this time does feel different. I do think Ben broke up with her at the beginning of the season because he was scared and not because he really wanted to. I think everything he’s gone through to win her back has been genuine. I also think he’s not entering into this lightly. He knows what it means. He knows it means a potentially long-term relationship. And he’s no longer scared. Ben is all grown up. For the most part. At the very least, he’s getting there.

Fun. The other thing that’s totally working for me is how fun these two episodes were. That’s what college was, at least for me, fun. It wasn’t all serious conversations and protests and political campaigns. In fact, it was hardly any of that. College was parties and drinking and spending time with friends. Felicity, both the show and the girl, are starting to figure that out.

These two episodes brought everyone back together again, and living under one roof. There’s a leaky pipe in the dorm and Tracy has taken it upon himself to repaint Noel and Elena’s apartment. Both places uninhabitable, Sean has taken everyone into his apartment. Everyone, including Ruby and Meghan. They’re having game nights and going out to clubs with Meghan’s crew (and how much did you love Meghan in these episodes?). Fun is being had.

The Supporting Cast. There are so many things to talk about here, but I really want to give a shout out to those folks who are not Felicity, Ben, or Noel. Everyone is pulling their weight right now. I want to spend time with all of them, from Richard to Julie to Meghan to Javier. These episodes were written by the show’s creators, JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves, and it shows. They were having a good time playing in the Felicity sandbox again.

Did you have as much fun as I did?

Felicity 2.21 drinksEmma: The second half of this season has been pretty great and I definitely agree with you in regards to how much fun these two episodes are. We spoke in detail during the first half of the season about how detached the two groups were and this was to be expected after the whole big Felicity decision at the end of season 1 which not only put a wedge between Felicity and Julie, but also made it hard to have Ben and Noel in the same room. Despite any relationship awkwardness (which there is in droves) they have now reached a point where they can all sleep under the same roof and for that I am grateful.

It’s not like Ben and Noel were even friends in season 1 and the Felicity of it all made this look like an impossibility. Philosophy classes and unplanned pregnancies have brought them together, so much so that Noel gives Ben an “I’m sorry bro” look when Ben returns from his failed grand gesture. Everyone knows where Ben has been and this is also a pretty accurate representation of any big relationship moment during college as even when you think something is secret, if you’ve told one person then pretty much everyone in your friendship groups knows.

So the Ben mission is played for laughs at first as he hides behind cabs and bushes with Sean’s stolen cell phone. Of course Sean is waiting for a call about his film and so Sean is giving romantic advice (never listen to Sean) while dishing out answering the phone etiquette. When Ben makes his move while Greg pops out for firewood (Greg is THAT guy) Ben pops up and promptly gets told to get out of Felicity’s life for forever. It’s not the reaction he was expecting, though I can see why she’s not thrilled to see him and I’m glad he didn’t win her over this easily.

This episode (and I adore the callback with the title) could easily have descended into angst and while Ben does a lot of moping, he’s also proactive pausing for s’mores and then joining in with the board games. Some of my fondest moments from college are those nights where we stayed in a played card games like Shithead (I played it so much and I can’t even remember the rules right now) and this really captured that experience. As you mention making the show fun again is part of why these episodes are so successful. This is a charming group of actors and characters; by creating a reason for them to stay under the same roof it showcases this.

Greg is not dispatched as quickly as I hoped and I honestly can’t see why he sticks around for as long as he did as it’s pretty apparent that this drama isn’t going to settle down. Maybe he just really wanted to punch Ben. I didn’t expect to see him again, but I did like the surprise Meghan twist and why she’s been mooning over him for all this time. The power of sandbox wedding ceremonies. Also how old is Greg meant to be?

I’m going to join you with praising the supporting characters (even Ruby, yep you read that right) as despite not having the strongest storylines (Elena) or cycling on previous experiences (Julie) they all feel like solid characters and this is down to both performance and the writing. It’s also good to see that both JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves (who I feel bad that I don’t mention as often) have injected some joy back into the show. More of this please.

Before I move onto the second episode and the amazing night out and Ben’s big gesture that worked, what did you think of the whole Sean/Julie smooch? I also have many thoughts on some of the fashion on display, well mostly whatever the hell Felicity was wearing to the club. Plus Javier making her wear his glasses.

Felicity 2.20 Javiers glassesJulie: Oh my GOD, Shithead. We used to play that as well, and I, too, have no idea what the rules were. I loved the game night scene on the show (though the montage with the angsty W.G. Snuffy music made it seem borderline boring). Also, Felicity playing some speed card game with Julie just illustrated to all of us what a dork she is. I’m never sure if it’s good acting on Keri Russell’s part, or if that’s just Keri’s own social awkwardness shining through.

The Sean and Julie kiss. I’m glad it finally happened. That whole thing needed to be resolved, and even though it really hasn’t been (Julie gave him a “maybe”), I’m pretty sure that “maybe” was a brushoff and Sean will be forced to move on.

In other Julie news, what kind of behind-the-scenes thing has been going on between her and Noel? It’s so weird. They went to the dance, obviously the writers were “trying them on,” and then she talks about how they’ve been spending a lot of time together and she’s pretty sure he’s over Ruby. I’m guessing this was all either A) in Julie’s head or B) a direction the writers thought they were going to go until they decided to let Ruby and Noel sleep together again WTF.

I’m not sure what happens after this, but it looks like Julie could have her heart broken again. Unless the whole Julie/Noel thing is dropped without comment, which seems likely. I mean, really, like we said last time, Noel and Julie can’t happen because it makes the group too incestuous to be believed.

The Meghan/Greg thing seemed a little far-fetched, but it gave us a nice Meghan character moment, so I’ll allow it. More Meghan, please!

Let’s talk about the fashion now. What in all holy hell was Felicity wearing. Was that a rose corduroy Texas tuxedo?

Felicity 2.21 drunk shoppingEmma: The choice of music in that scene was so bizarre and not the time to go angst. Speaking of music – I love Meghan’s Sarah McLachlan theory and how as Felicity’s roommate she has the inside knowledge. This a) sounds like something Felicity would do b) sounds like something Meghan would make up and c) is the best acknowledgment of a TV show soundtrack choice.

We got way more Meghan than we have previously done and I like how she didn’t feel out of place in this band of relationship fuck ups. I also think, despite how much she would protest the fact that she does indeed like this social circle and hanging out with these guys. At least more than the unseen Swane (who is a giant son of a bitch).

The jaw on the floor reaction to Sean kissing Julie was perfect, Ben just put his head in his hands and Noel pulled an “eek” face. I think you’re right about how Julie feels and I think she would know if she had romantic feelings. The “maybe” does come across as a cop out on Julie’s behalf, but I also understand why she doesn’t want to let him down. All round awkward.

Julie and Noel comes across as a writers’ room suggestion that they have instantly recanted, though there are crushes that are fleeting rather than Felicity style epics. Maybe this is one of those where you realize after a few days that nope this shouldn’t be a thing. Or you could be right and she’s headed for heartbreak again.

I read the Noel/Ruby stuff slightly differently in that I thought they only slept in the same bed and spooned. This I got from Noel’s head shake when Sean intimated shenanigans – also I know it’s your house Sean, but I’m not sure you know Noel well enough to ask if he just slept with his pregnant ex – I might be interpreting this wrong though. Whatever happened, this is also a very complicated situation especially now that the baby daddy is on the scene (sadly not Tom Cruise).

Moving on to fashion and the only excuse for Felicity’s outfit is that she either borrowed something from Julie (she has a terrible track record) or she packed in a hurry. I can’t believe that even in 2000 this would be considered a good choice. I love that Felicity approached Meghan in her usual “if you don’t ask” style and Meghan relented. And I love a good getting ready montage. Plus it’s worth saying again that Amanda Foreman has an incredible face, something they always highlight when they do a close up on her putting on makeup.

The goth punk club was pure TV nightclub cliche and I half expected Sydney Bristow to pop up in the background on a mission as these were a frequent location on Alias. TV can’t quite get nightclubs right and it’s hard to recreate the sweaty, drunk atmosphere and this was a valiant attempt I guess. Niggles aside, girls night out was super fun with the funny color cocktails and podium dancing – this felt like another where does Felicity end and Keri begin moment – they need to do more of these kinds of moments. Plus Marshall from Alias and Meghan’s future TV husband! I got a very big kick out of that.

One accurate drunk night out observation is the desire for snacks and I’m happy Felicity chose this ritual over leaving with Ben. So often they do these ‘can’t talk about guys’ nights out on shows only for at least one lady to leave with her love interest. Not Felicity! Even if she does end up drunk dialing Ben (on a pay phone!) and leaving a regretful voicemail.

What did you thinking about their night out?

felicity 2.21 getting readyJulie: I kind of like the Noel and Julie thing just for the fact that it shows the peripheral characters have lives going on outside of what Felicity (and we) can see. We know every minute detail of who’s dating who, who’s getting engaged, who’s a virgin, it’s neat (in an Abed delivering that baby kind of way) to think that the characters have lives going on outside the TV screen.

Though, I’m sure that’s not what the writers had in mind when they shoehorned this into the story. Or maybe they did. If so, kudos.

With Noel and Ruby, I thought Noel was shaking his head in a “Don’t ask” way, which I took to mean he regretted whatever happened between him and Ruby (again, we might never know the answer, which is frustrating, but also realistic). I’m thinking this is just a bit of a rebound (the two of them never got to say a real goodbye to their romantic relationship), and it won’t last. Especially because Wade (who is kind of a low-rent Noel-looking guy) is back in the picture, whatever that means.

Nightclub time. I think every TV show ever goes to the exact same nightclub. I do have to say that I googled “Bonsai Demon,” and it doesn’t exist. It’s probably gross anyway, since I’m sure it contains Midori.

Meghan looked absolutely stunning in these episodes. It all makes me shake my fist at the fact that Amanda Foreman doesn’t have a more successful acting career. She’s gorgeous and she’s talented. Matthew Weiner, call her for the final season of Mad Men.

The bathroom getting-ready stuff transported me right back to college. I loved those days of getting ready in the same bathroom, borrowing stuff from your roommates, giving one another makeup advice.

I so loved the going out stuff. I loved the girl time of it. My friends and I used to travel to this all-boys school once in a while (where only unspeakable things happened), and I remember us making a pact to look out for each other, that if one of us was about to make a bad decision, we were supposed to go up to the girl and tell her, “No, bitch. No.” I don’t remember if that ever worked.

I hope this is going to usher in an era of the girls hanging out more.

Also, Kevin Weisman as Earl. Earl! Whose name is Earl?

I wish they had done a Meghan spinoff after Felicity ended. What is her life?

Felicity 2.21 Felicity and MeghanEmma: “All of Felicity’s hair went away and so did Sarah.”

Just one of the many amazing Meghan quotes I could use and if Matt Weiner continues to cast from teen shows of the’90s then yep Amanda Foreman should be included. That or we can add her to our #SpeedmanOnScandal campaign. The thing with Meghan is that she could easily come across as cartoony and yet they manage to avoid that, part of this is definitely Foreman’s performance.

Ah yes, I can see why you interpreted the Noel head shake differently. Basically, Sean is a bit too forward in asking. I don’t think Ruby is long for this show in part because of Wade and also because they need to get the triangle back in shape. Ok, they don’t need to do this but I’m guessing the Team Noel fans were pretty antsy at this point with the developments.

Speaking of which after much yelling at the screen (from me) Ben and Felicity finally smooched after multiple bumps in the road. Ben of course heard Felicity’s post Aretha theory drunk voicemail and it looked like it was dunzo for good. First I love how this conversation with Meghan captures the grand life affirming declarations you make when you’re drunk and how Meghan and Felicity have reached BFF status in this moment. I’m sure the snark will return, but they will always have this night.

When Felicity took off to find Ben I might have written GO TO THE BASKETBALL COURT (yes in all caps) and I was wrong! Ben instead looked inward as to when Felicity stopped trusting him and realized it was the night he stood her up in Bryant Park. In cute grand gesture moments he found the Charlie Chaplin movie they were meant to see the night and the episode ends with them watching The Gold Rush on the side of a building. It’s adorable and super romantic. After a quick a Google search in 2014 you can watch it on YouTube, so Ben wouldn’t have it so hard I finding a copy now. I like the year 2000 version of this story more.

Where do they go from here? I would be more than thrilled if the last two episodes is relatively angst free for Ben and Felicity, save the drama for season 3. What do you want to see now they are together?

Felicity 2.21 drunk felicityJulie: Obviously you know that Noel comes back into play for Felicity, and I wonder now if that’s not some kind of writer fatigue (or just not knowing where to go with things). They’ve now put Felicity and Ben back together, Noel and Felicity are doing well as “just friends,” and all seems peachy keen. But you know it can’t stay that way. They could bring in a new guy, but you know they won’t. It has to be Noel and Felicity or Felicity and Ben. That’s as far as this show can see.

(Also, they’ve had a very poor track record for bringing in new guys for her thus far.)

I’m trying to watch this show as much for the friendships as for the love interests, kind of like I did with MSCL. They seem to be finally getting there with the girls, and I think Meghan is the reason. She is the exact kind of person Felicity needs in college. Felicity and Elena are too similar (at least school-wise). Julie’s too much of a bore, and for all her love life drama, seems pretty tame. Meghan is the one to bring Felicity out of her shell and into adulthood.

For the next few episodes, I hope they echo these two. I hope we get to spend more time with the friends having fun and being college students. I want the writers to try pairing up new people. That’s when the magic starts.

Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at chicagonow.com/hammervision and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.

Happy 20th Birthday My So-Called Life: Why Angela Chase Means So Much

27 Aug

My So-Called Life premiered August 25 1994 when I was two weeks shy of turning 12. I didn’t see this show until 3 years later and this was probably for the best as I didn’t need Angela Chase until that miserable summer. Despite its short length of only 18 episodes I have managed to spill a whole lot of personal/analytical/style observations and while I touched on what I cover below, the level of angst and introspection was not worthy of this show.  To celebrate 20 years since the debut of MSCL I want to talk about why it meant so much to me when I first saw it. Please read the following in the style of an Angela Chase voiceover.

MSCL ep 2 AngelaBeing ignored for no particular reason is one of those awful teenage rite of passage that every girl in my class went through, it just so happened that mine occurred during the summer break. So I faced 6 weeks of not a whole lot going on. This was the summer of 1997, I was 14 years old and I have to admit that maybe I was to blame for some of this as I had recently changed friendship groups. At first there was mass acceptance and then like that I lost whatever factor had made them embrace me into their way cooler circle. My journal (which I no longer have, something I regret) entries at this time swayed between strained optimism where I pretended that everything was fine to more desperate pleas of insecurity.

Miserable real life friendship situation not withstanding something amazing did happen over this summer as I fell in love and felt completely understood by one person – enter Angela Chase and My So-Called Life. I didn’t see this show when it first aired in the UK the previous year; however it was part of the daytime TV schedule throughout this summer alongside Eerie, Indiana, The Secret World of Alex Mack and Sister, Sister. Those extreme feelings of teendom are hard to capture as everything means so much and nothing all at once; there’s the rush of discovery and then disillusionment. For me MSCL had all of the former and none of the latter.

I have another confession to make about this transitional period and that’s on the subject of best friends. The whole BFFs situation is full of so many fraught memories; will I ever have one? Is this person as those three capital letters scream going to be part of my life forever? Why do you have to label one person as ‘best?’ I actually still have some of these feelings today about this notion and the term “best friend” feels so loaded with preconceived ideas that it makes me dizzy. Clearly at this point I didn’t have a best friend, or really any friends (actually I had one very dear friend who went to another school, but during this summer she grew up all of a sudden and started drinking, smoking and dating and I was a year away from any of these things) and so fictional characters whether in books or on screen became the next best thing.

The ache you feel at 14 is hard to articulate, god knows I tried spilling my emotions in a way I thought you had to at this age. Journal writing really wasn’t my forte and it made me feel uncomfortable; half the time I was lying to myself both in my mind and on those journal pages. Step up Angela Chase and from her first introspective voiceover I knew I had found a heroine for a life; someone that understood who I was and what I was going through and it was a voice coming from my television.

Like Angela, at this point in my life I had never kissed a boy and it suddenly felt kind of ok that I hadn’t; I was no longer the biggest loser in the room. Everything about that period in your life is trying to do things so fast and worrying that you’ll be the last to experience all of these moments, as if being last is the worst thing in the world (hyperbole is the key tool to an adolescent mind). Suddenly there was this cool, pretty – but not in a typical popular girl Hollywood way, remember she does the best quiver cry face – and lost girl who was saying everything I was feeling. It’s also the first time I think I was honest in my journal as I overly emoted about how much I loved this show and this character. Jordan Catalano was an object of affection as he really does lean incredibly well, however it was Angela who had my heart.

Finding salvation in fiction lets us experience our own pain and fears through the gaze of someone else; as everything is heightened emotionally during adolescence the desire to be understood and find a connection can often take place in a world that has been created by another. It’s one reason why YA fiction thrives and can cause such strong visceral reactions. For some it is rooted in the supernatural, for me it was that girl in plaid with dyed red hair.

I also have to wonder how much this experience has affected the focus of my writing; The X-Files and E.R. were the first two shows that revealed just how much television can be, but My So-Called Life exposed something I had never felt before. So not only was my summer of misery saved by a TV show, my personal investment and interest in this format was probably enhanced by this experience.

More heartbreak followed when I found out that only 18 episodes of this show had been made and it was rather fitting that this intense love affair with this world and characters lasted for just one summer. Unlike most summer flings I managed to last the distance with this one and when I watched it again in the mid-2000s (and then for This Was TV) I found that my feelings were still strong and the connection is still very much alive.

Going back to school after the break was over wasn’t so terrible as it was someone else’s turn to get the silent treatment and soon we grew up beyond this petty and inexplicable tradition. The next summer was not one of abject loneliness and I had the kind of vacation that I previously thought existed only in fiction; one where you hang out, have fun and don’t feel bad about yourself. We had a time. Looking back I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t change a thing from the summer of ’97 as it really sucks to have such a low opinion of yourself. Instead I will say that I am incredibly grateful that Winnie Holzman created a show that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in huge mess of adolescent misery and that is the power of a well crafted story.

Best of the Emmy Red Carpet 2014: Metallics, Nudes and Everything Else

26 Aug

Completing the trilogy of Emmy red carpet posts and while there are unifying themes for the first two parts (black/white and bold color) this is a best of the rest with sparkly silver delights, capes and a variety of lengths just to mix it up.

Christine BaranskiThere’s a reason why this post on Diane Lockhart’s style is the most viewed on TV Ate My Wardrobe and Christine Baranski’s navy and caped (!) gown is giving me chills. I am in awe of this magnificent woman. During the ceremony when Josh Charles didn’t win she leaned forward and gave his shoulder a squeeze; making me sad all over again that there will be no more whiskey drinking or dancing on screen.

Amy PoehlerLooking like an Art Deco dream is Amy Poehler in Theia and while she might never receive an Emmy for Parks and Rec (come on guys you have one more chance, ditto Jon Hamm) this is a winner.

Hayden+Panettiere+Arrivals+66th+Annual+Primetime+eNZynLTBooPlKeeping on the silver streak is Hayden Panettiere in a plunging fitted sequined chiffon Lorena Sarbu gown and the silhouette here is incredible. Sometimes the best red carpet shots are the unposed kind like this one.

Kiernan Shipka emmysThe color is maybe a bit too muted, however Kiernan Shipka continues her excellent sartorial choices with a tea-length Antonio Berardi dress and the sash beading is what really tips this into sublime territory. During the red carpet I found a photo of Shipka from the 2010 Emmys giving me a whole lot of protective feelings about what Shipka is going to do next and how we’ve watched her grow up during her time on Mad Men.

Jessica WilliamsA few days ago Jessica Williams gave a sneak peek of her gold embellished knee length Angela Dean dress on Instagram and it looked fantastic paired with Nike sneakers and even better on the red carpet.

Sarah SilvermanE! are not satisfied with just mani-cam, GlamCam 360, shoe cam so this year they decided to take a more invasive look with clutch cam to showcase the bags and their contents. While most just  had their phones, Sarah Silverman showed off her contents including her vape pen (Ilana approves) taking over the role of Elisabeth Moss mischief maker. Silverman also ditched her shoes when she went dashing up to collect her Emmy – a smart move – and she looks incredible in plunging Marni. She called Michael Sheen “Mr Fancy Pants Sheen” which is also adorable.

Allison WilliamsGoing full prom is Allison Williams in a very Allison Williams looking Giambattista Valli Couture gown. I like it and especially the dash of yellow.

Lucy LiuLast year nude gowns dominated and I’m glad the 2014 Emmys weren’t a repeat of this trend, however Lucy Liu wears this ethereal color well in a beautiful Zac Posen draped gown.

Best of the 2014 Emmy Red Carpet: Bold Color

26 Aug

The 2014 Emmy Red Carpet coverage continues and now we’ve addressed the stunning black and white frocks from the evening it is time to revel in all the vibrant colors that were on display.

Teyonah ParrisI wanted to use a photo of this dress in posed motion as Mad Men’s Teyonah Parris takes what could be an awkward dress by Christian Siriano and has fun with it. The chartreuse skirt and candy colored bodice make this a standout look and one Parris wears well.

Claire Danes and Hugh DancyLet’s take a look at the red gowns of the night of which there were many. Claire Danes is wearing my favorite with an embellished Givenchy frock including lace cut outs, belting and foliage looking collar. All of these factors combined could be a bit much, however Danes looks elegant. Good lipstick choice too. Bonus Hugh Dancy with added conflicted ‘lack of facial hair’ feelings.

January Jones EmmysYou can always count on January Jones to wear something dramatic and she does just this in this patterned and pocketed Prabal Gurung delight. A terrific shade of lip color for this dress, but what was up with her hair?

JLDMoving from bad hair to amazing with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (another attic painting candidate) in a raspberry colored Carolina Herrera and like Claire Danes she has a thin belt to accentuate her silhouette. The buckles don’t stop here as the straps also use this detail and JLD shone on the night for smooches, speeches and her gown.

Keke PalmerAnother dramatic and stunning Rubin Singer frock with Keke Palmer showing how to wear a whole lot of dress with simple accessories and makeup/hair. This cobalt blue is striking and Palmer is a standout.

Allison Tolman EmmysAlso making an impression in an arresting color is Allison Tolman in an emerald Romona Keveza one-shouldered frock. Such a good choice for the first time Emmy nominee.

Natalie DormerNatalie Dormer strikes an almost Wonder Woman like J. Mendel orange topped delight – if it looks familiar it’s because Michelle Monaghan wore something from the same collection on Saturday – and Dormer’s hair deserves a special mention for distracting me from some of the terrible styles on display.

Kerry Washington EmmysAnother orange frock and Kerry Washington’s Prada getup is one that I keep changing my mind on, so I’m including it while I sit on the fence. I like it in motion and the sparkly mini skirt element is really appealing; I’m just not sure if it is trying to do too much and failing to tie it all together.

Anna GunnAnother of the dramatic leg slit trend and Anna Gunn’s Jenny Packham frock is a color block and patterned beauty. Digging her Edie Parker ‘Lara’ clutch and gold sandals too as she celebrates the last Breaking Bad Emmy outing.

Michelle Dockery EmmysMichelle Dockery is always a red carpet favorite and as with her Roland Mouret outfit at the weekend this Rosie Assoulin is working a fancy table cloth look. I realize this doesn’t sound like a positive, but I really love this frock and the colors on Dockery.

Allison JanneyVelvet in August is a bold choice from Allison Janney and even though it bears a resemblance to a Quality Street, Janney is working it like a double winner in one year should.

 

Best of the 2014 Emmy Red Carpet: Black and White Gowns

26 Aug

Welcome to the 2014 Emmy red carpet ‘Best of’ coverage and in a year when bold color was on trend, black and white gowns still made their mark.

Lizzy Caplan Emmys V2Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier is the TV Ate My Wardrobe look of the night and this gown is stunning. When Caplan arrived the brief shots on E! were enough to know she was shutting the red carpet down. Then this photo of the back began to circulate on Twitter and it became clear this gown is the stuff that dreams are made of; it didn’t disappoint from any other angle either.

Laverne Cox EmmysIn a custom Marc Bouwer Laverne Cox is the height of elegance and she has a train, which I adore. Perfection on this night from the Orange is the New Black star.

Lean HeadeyLena Headey always comes across super cool and on Emmy night it is no different with Headey in a black Rubin Singer asymmetric ensemble. It’s always a jolt seeing the Game of Thrones cast with their regular hair – Kit Harington changed his up with a man bun – and Headey’s short do is as far removed from Cersei as you can get and I love it.

Anna Chlumsky EmmyAnother white gown winner (although sadly none of the ladies featured here took home their respective prizes) from Anna Chlumsky in Zac Posen. The gold clutch is the ideal glitzy addition to this outfit.

Jessica PareGoing for a slightly different length is Jessica Paré in an exquisitely beaded Lanvin dress. Tulip skirts are hard to pull off as they’re an awkward silhouette; Paré manages to do this with aplomb.

Angela BassettAngela Bassett demonstrating once again that she must have a painting in the attic in a beautiful wrap gown with just the right amount of gold accessories; the belt and cuff detailing ties the whole look together.

Carrie BrownsteinWhile not as fun as Carrie Brownstein’s Emmy dress from last weekend, I salute this Halston Heritage dress that’s giving off fancy sci-fi uniform vibes.

Michelle Monaghan EmmysCombining two of the night’s trends as dramatic leg slits were also prominent is Michelle Monaghan in white Giambattista Valli Couture. Also stunning.

Masters of Sex and the Betty Fashion Parade

25 Aug

Masters of Sex did something different this week in “Asterion” and while I do want to take the opportunity to explore the episode as a whole this is the perfect opportunity to discuss how costume is used as part of the overall narrative structure with the Betty fashion parade. The passage of time covered this week is huge and so far this season has only covered a relatively short period of time in the vast landscape of Masters and Johnson.

We open with a title card telling us it is 5 months after the events of last week (which I noted felt like the end of a chapter) and in total the episode covers 3 years of time starting in October 1958. Lester’s clapperboards are a significant tool in noting these dates and are a more organic form than the title card that is used only at the start of the episode. Betty is another source of addressing the time shift and presenting it to the audience in an arresting manner.

Masters of Sex 2.07 BettyNo longer Betty Moretti and without the financial security of that relationship, Betty DiMello seeks work at the new Masters & Johnson clinic; after doing the books at the brothel Betty is a dab hand at finances. Betty is characteristically late, but wearing an outfit that is darker and less flamboyant than her usual attire. This is serious Betty demonstrating her desire for this job through her clothes (even if she is a terrible time keeper). The muted tones might also represent her recent heartbreak and we don’t find out whether Helen is still in the picture.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty in yellowBetty has always worn a lot red (and she continues to do so in this episode) and this isn’t the only primary color in her wheelhouse. As a color and pattern aficionado Betty covers the spectrum of designs including a Jane-like yellow polka dot dress while she gives Libby the grand tour.

Masters of Sex 2.07Transitioning from one baby to two as Johnny gets a little sister in the first of several big leaps cutting out the fertility drama we have already witnessed. This is one year gone and now it’s 1959; Betty is a geometric pattern beauty in this brown and white frock. The kids are equally adorable in traditional pink and baby blue because of course Libby would dress them like this. That flat cap is to die for.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty lobbyMore walk and talks with Betty as she tries to sell space and collect rent; she’s not just a dab hand at the books thanks to her previous career as she is now studying for her accounting degree. Betty asks Bill why he took a chance on her considering how contentious their relationship has been and he is simply repaying her for the help she has given the study not once, but twice.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty creamBetty’s style continues to make a bold statement and while she has ditched the furs (because she probably can’t afford them), she still manages to stand out in this office. Over the course of the episode we see multiple costume changes from a range of characters; however Betty is the anchor as she is the visual cue and the one who acts as the title card denoting the passing of time. Annaleigh Ashford has been a terrific regular addition this season and I am so glad to have her back in the main storyline.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty patterened shirtWhile Virginia makes her position clear by wearing the white coat, Betty isn’t reduced to a simpering secretary and even though Virginia wasn’t thrilled by Betty’s initial arrival (Bill hadn’t consulted her so this is likely the reason for the animosity, although Betty did have some choice words for Virginia about her relationship with Bill at the start of season 1). This final outfit from Betty had me howling with delight, the shirt by itself deserves the spotlight.

Masters of Sex 2.07 Betty blueIt’s Betty blue Capri pants and there is a slight shift in office style as we head into a new decade. This is of course a period still very much influenced by the previous decade and hats are still on point, but the overall look is changing and pants are suitable work attire. They are for Betty anyway and while we haven’t seen Virginia in pants at work, she is wearing them in her spare time as the final scene in the episode shows.

 

Best of the Variety and BAFTA Pre-Emmy Red Carpets

24 Aug

August has been a relatively quiet month with most of the red carpet action coming from film projects filmed while on hiatus. Get ready for an influx of dresses as the Emmys are on Monday and the parties have already begun. Below are the best looks from the BAFTA Los Angeles TV Tea 2014 and Variety and Women in Film Emmy Nomination Celebration. With several pulling double duty at both events a couple of faces pop up twice. On trend is a mixture of all-black ensembles and super colorful affairs (with some showcasing both thanks to the two events). There are a lot of bad shoe choices and somehow three jumpsuits make the list (insert Home Alone cat face here).

Kerry WashingtonKerry Washington has been hitting style highs recently and this is another to add to that list. Going short in Michael Kors and fresh faced before the fancy frock night is understandable. This is striking in its simplicity and there’s a slight hint of sparkle when the flash hits the embellishments.

Samira WileyAnother short take and the pre-Emmy parties are all about having fun before the big event and Orange is the New Black’s Samira Wiley is doing just this in a blurred effect number.

Julianna MarguliesJulianna Margulies is always one of my most anticipated on the red carpet come award season and while she is playing it pretty safe; it is also a classic J-Marg look. Digging the bold lipstick too.

Michelle Dockery VarietyMichelle Dockery’s peplum Elie Saab black jumpsuit is also in the simple chic category at the Variety party.

Michelle DockeryHowever, earlier in the day Dockery has done the color splurge in a Roland Mouret crop top and skirt. The Teen Choice Awards don’t have the monopoly on crop tops (there is another coming up) and even though the skirt looks like a fancy table cloth Dockery pulls this off. Despite the matchy matchy shoe/skirt of it all these Christian Louboutin pumps are a footwear highlight.

KS and ASIf Kiernan Shipka’s Instagram is anything to go by these teen stars are set to takeover the world while having brunch and here she is once again with Sleepy Hollow’s Amandla Stenberg. Both manage to look super cute and slightly edgy at the same time in their dark attire.

KsKiernan Shipka also attended the BAFTA Tea in a summery Giambattista Valli cocktail dress and she will be one to look out for tomorrow as she continues to hit all the right sartorial notes.

Joanne FroggattDownton Abbey’s Joanne Froggat does color blocking in Altuzarra mixing bold red and orange with grey. Black sandals are a popular choice on both red carpets (not in the bad shoe category) and it is still summer after all.

Ashley MadekweAt first I thought this was a dress, instead it is a Christian Dior jumpsuit with one leg much wider than the other and Ashley Madekwe pulls off Dior’s latest attempt to wrinkle our brains (remember JLaw’s half skirt/pants number?!). One reason this works is because it’s all one color and a striking shade of blue at that. Plus the pockets, always the pockets.

Anna ChlumskyKeeping in the jumpsuit/pocket territory and Anna Chlumsky’s Veronica Beard outfit reminds me of the Hannibal bathroom location from season one (they’re not even that similar, but that’s where my brain jumped to). This is not a bad thing as those tiles are gorgeous as is this pattern.

Lizzy Caplan BAFTAAnother BAFTA/Variety double! Lizzy Caplan is wearing a bold chartreuse Cushnie et Ochs frock and works this difficult shade by pairing it with scarlet pumps. Sheer tends to cause a wrinkled nose effect and part of me would love to see this as a strapless gown.

Lizzy Caplan VarietySwitching things up and the Wes Gordon houndstooth pencil skirt and long sleeve crop top makes me think of a Virginia Johnson outfit shifted from 1956 to 2014. Paired with burgundy Christian Louboutin ‘Bootypump’ ankle boots – which I am now coveting – makes this a sophisticated and fun take on office to party chic.

Allison TolmanEmmy weekend also reminds me which shows I need to catch up on and Fargo is top of this list. I’ve heard so much about Allison Tolman’s performance and she looks lovely on the BAFTA Tea red carpet in a lace blue frock. A more colorful shoe choice (basically anything but beige) would have been preferable.

Rachelle LefevreMore beige shoe sadness with Rachelle Lefevre, however her dress is enough to distract and looks like the clothing version of sediment layers. This also doesn’t sound that great I realize, but trust me it is. So much hair envy.

Michelle MonaghanColor blocking with a dotty twist and Michelle Monaghan’s red and orange J. Mendel frock is another striking take on this trend.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

22 Aug

Emmy weekend is here! Or rather Emmy Monday is a few days away in a slightly different month/day switch (blame football/VMA’s). “Out of the Box” is kicking things off early with an Emmy themed edition and the best looks on display at part one of the 2014 Creative Arts Emmys, which dished out a whole host of awards such as costuming and guest actors. The red carpet featured the Orange is the New Black nominated trio and I’m sure there will be more from this cast next week as the show is nominated along with Taylor Schilling and Kate Mulgrew.

Uzo AdubaUzo Aduba took home the award for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on OITNB beating out co-stars Laverne Cox and Natasha Lyonne. Aduba opted for a simple and super chic white Costume National V-neck frock and later accessorized it with a gold statue.

Natasha LyonneMonochrome was big on the Emmy red carpet in 2013 and Natasha Lyonne continues this trend by draping a white blazer over a black Calvin Klein dress. Glitzing the whole look up with vintage Cartier bracelets and a pendant necklace; this is the perfect balance of red carpet nonchalance with sophistication.

Laverne CoxContinuing the OITNB role call and it is Laverne Cox looking stunning in a sparkly strapless midnight-blue Donna Karan gown. Adding extra shimmer with a Marchesa gem-encrusted clutch, plus Neil Lane and Paul Morelli jewelry completes Cox’s red carpet win (sadly all three OITNB ladies couldn’t share the actual award).

Carrie+Brownstein+Arrivals+Creative+Arts+Emmy+0DW1tl6Ie0RlDitching the more traditional longer gown for a short Valentino frock is Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein (here with co-star Fred Armisen) and I love it. The intricate multicolored feathers and black beading detail elevate this from just being another LBD; pairing it with a Jimmy Choo hot pink ‘Candy’ clutch is the extra pop of color this look needs. This is the dress I would wear if money wasn’t a factor.

Judy GreerEveryone’s favorite rom-com best friend Judy Greer in a Reed Krakoff cocktail dress with an enticing geometric bodice; it is both super flattering and a playful twist on the usual black red carpet attire.

Elisabeth Moss, Zosia Mamet, Michael K. Williams “Dress Normal” for Gap

21 Aug

Fall season is upon us, New York Fashion Week is less than a month away, the September issues have hit newsstands and it feels like a new campaign is getting unveiled on a daily basis. How does a brand like Gap stand out in the hustle? With a lineup of celebrities covering several demographics and getting them to “Dress Normal.” Ah yes, normcore and while I have to refrain from all the eye rolls it actually makes sense for Gap to use this ‘back to basics’ stance mirroring their denim campaign which featured another Girls star last year.

Elisabeth Moss GapWhile the lack of adverbs might frustrate some, the overall campaign looks pretty great and the choice of actors involved including Elisabeth Moss – who looks super cute in the photo above – Michael K. Williams, Zosia Mamet, Anjelica Huston and Jena Malone are faces you wouldn’t necessarily think ‘Gap ad’ upon hearing their names. This is me trying to avoid using the word ‘quirky’ because a) not all of these actors are what I would consider quirky and b) that word makes me wrinkle my nose (yes I have probably been guilty of using it in the past). See also ‘kooky.’

Michael K WilliamsGap for me is where I go to buy wardrobe staples such as sweaters, vests and shirt dresses (yes I have the same plaid flannel dress in three colors from last fall) and while it might be considered a safe/boring option there are ways to dress these items up or even down further (ultra normcore anyone?). Or add a classic sports car to the mix.

Zosia MametThe ads will be accompanied with phrases such as “dress like no one’s watching” and “let your actions speak louder than your clothes” in that usual fashion campaign proclamation way. Gap’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Seth Farbman elaborated on this further telling Buzzfeed “There’s certainly a long tradition at Gap that people come first and that the clothes are there to make you feel like your best self, and we’ve been unapologetic about that for years. ‘Dress Normal’ is a reinforcement of that idea.” I’m guessing Farbman is also pretty happy with the Taylor Swift “Shake it Off” video that descends into a Gap-looking commercial by the end. Maybe add some black cigarette pants and three-quarter sleeve black turtlenecks to the “Dress Normal” collection.

“Dress Normal” launches September 2 and I will definitely be on the lookout for the boots and dress combo Zosia Mamet is wearing.

 

 

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