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Tag Archives: Evelyne Brochu

Saying Goodbye to Orphan Black

11 Aug

On Saturday night (August 12) the last ever episode of Orphan Black will air and I am not ready to say goodbye to all the Tatiana Maslanys — and the rest of the incredible cast — even though it probably is time for it to end. You never want a show to spiral particularly when it has this level of mythology (see also The X-FilesAlias and Fringe).

Sometimes the story has threatened to drift, but the performances have always held it together and there are not enough words of praise I can throw at Maslany and the entire supporting cast (including Maslany’s double Kathryn Alexandre).I’ve written about the Orphan Black costume design many times over the past five seasons and the work of Laurie Drew and Debra Hanson has been incredibly important at helping establish just who these characters are. And giving plenty of Wish List suggestions including the Cosima coat, which I ended up getting a much more affordable version of.

This isn’t even including Tatiana Maslany as style icon who also makes me want to wear sports leisure clothing.

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The way this show delved into ideas of identity spawned several pieces including this Helena-centric essay, the time I got to write about Orphan Black and The Americans and a recent deep dive into my fave thing this show does to showcase just how amazing Tatiana Maslany is; clones playing clones.

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Below is a piece I wrote after the fifth episode of this season — “Ease for Idle Millionaires” — and it centers on one of the best ever Orphan Black costumes; Cosima in a tux. It felt like a fitting way to say goodbye to this show, which means so much, with a moment that made me gasp.

“Frock That:” Dressing in a Doll’s House on Orphan Black

Each clone on Orphan Black has a sense of self and individual traits separating them from the ones who share the same face. When the situation calls for it they are very good at imitating each other and they share the same genetic materials, but these clones are much more than an experiment to unlock secrets of existence. The house up on the hill resembles a doll house stuck in a time warp, with its dress up rooms, taxidermy animals and servants pouring wine. What lurks beneath is a reminder of the facade presented by P.T. Westmoreland and it is a mix of smoke and mirrors with disturbing experiments on human subjects.

Cosima and her sisters were created in a lab, but they are not doll parts to be pulled apart and reassembled at the whim of the person playing with them. Each of them is defying their origin and fighting for survival in ways which showcase their individuality. Sarah is all about the hustle and is helping shape her own mini-hustler in the form of her daughter, Kira. Kira is at the heart of the next stage of this grand experiment, but even though Westmoreland thinks Rachel is the most deserving clone of Cosima’s inoculation he is yet to encounter the full wrath of Sarah. Particularly when it comes to her daughter.

Being the only clone that has been self-aware throughout this process might explain Rachel’s cold and detached demeanor toward her bio-sisters. Her costume color palette reflects this iciness and doesn’t stray from neutral tones; it is an expensive wardrobe that always looks immaculate. Whether recovering from a pencil to the eye or confronting her mother in a bloody battle nothing is out of place. Perfection is what she strives for in the way she dresses and in her life’s work (that is also her life) and while Susan told her the other clones are better than her, it is Westmoreland’s approval that matters most. And now she has the power to turn up late for dinner in a super sultry frock that definitely did not come from the P.T. Westmoreland collection.   Science is where Cosima lays her battle and she can’t quite help but push and prod to see what results she will get. First she invites herself to this exclusive dinner party and then she defies the dress code. Mixing science of the future with etiquette of the past is Westmoreland’s jam and Cosima and Delphine are led to a room filled with clothes that look like they are almost as old as Westmoreland’s so-called age. That or P.T. has been sneaking in a Downton Abbey binge between experiments and wants to live it up like he is a Crawley. In “Ease for Idle Millionaires,” Cosima and Delphine’s current contemporary outfits are not fit for dinner and they either get changed or leave.

Cosima’s response to this forced change of clothes mirrors her resistance to her body as intellectual property. A point that is reinforced with a flashback that acts an extended scene from the season 1 finale; when Cosima discovered their bodies are effectively patented and she told Delphine about her sickness. A low ebb for Cosima, who was not only dealing with her mortality but this idea of self. Because if your body isn’t yours then what is? This was a major turning point in Cosima and Delphine’s relationship transforming an act of deception into a true partnership. Trust is hard to come by and further complicated by corporate science. Delphine continues to shares scraps of information to make it look like she is towing the company line, but her heart is with Cosima.Whereas Cosima chooses to wear a tuxedo to dinner rather than one of the many available dainty looking dresses because “frock that,” Delphine mirrors her seemingly passive response to the demands of her boss by wearing exactly what she is told to. Her power comes from nodding and doing her due diligence, while Cosima is about poking and prodding her way to defiance.

The fancy attire reveal is an all-time Orphan Black costume highlight and costume designer Debra Hanson delivers the perfect menswear look for Cosima mirroring Westmoreland’s tuxedo. They are effectively both Delphine’s date and Cosima is the interloper here. She gets told that her choice of clothing is not appropriate, but this is what happens when you try to dress her like a doll. It is also just the tip of Cosima giving none of the fucks as she still gets to make a choice; the decision to opt for menswear is all hers. Cosima is defying, while Delphine protects and this balance is just as delicate as the material of Delphine’s white frock. Dressing up for dinner to this degree is a tradition that has long since passed and the marriage between old and new ideas comes up at the dinner table.

What sets Cosima apart from the other scientists at the table is her deep connection to family; whether it is the parents she fears finding out her truth because it will make what they had a lie or the seestras she is working to save through science. Love is important as it can’t be replicated or forced and neither can the integrity, humor, intellect and passion that Cosima has in spades. Cosima has curiosity when it comes to her own biology, but ultimately she is not willing to do whatever it takes to unlock these secrets. There are lines and the attributes that make her so much more than intellectual scientific property will stop her from crossing that ethical barrier. She still has her humanity.It is also why she ends up locked in a cage at the end of the episode after she refuses to shoot Yanis. By this point she has removed the trappings of this dinner costume; the tie, waistcoat and jacket have gone. All that remains are the suspenders to hold the pants up and it is a shame she left her Canada Goose coat upstairs as this basement looks like it could get a little cold.

Before Cosima loses her freedom she shares an intense moment with Delphine and they both double down on their commitment to each other; intercutting between kisses of past and present as the camera circles around them is intoxicating. This takes place in the creepy dress up room of a bygone era and as Delphine takes off the dress of playing along with Westmoreland’s plan she once again reveals her true intentions to Cosima. Acknowledging the cycle of their relationship problems, which are intrinsically linked to the overall clone conspiracy – Cosima pushes too hard, Delphine withholds – and realizing how dividing women is all part of the grand scheme. They will not be divided. But they will at least pretend they are.

Whether dressed in a tuxedo, as a soccer mom drowning in Lululemon, wearing a band tee and leather jacket, a slip straight out of the Courtney Love playbook or in designer threads for the office; each and every one of these clones has agency. Despite the best efforts from the powers that be to exert control, they can’t even make Cosima wear a frock. They can trap her in the basement, but as we have seen from five seasons of this show you can lock a clone up (and boy have they tried), but the support network is just too strong to crush.

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Gonna miss you guys and I’m off to read this Orphan Black oral history to prep for the finale.

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Out of the Box: Look of the Week

24 Mar

Spring is in the air (kinda) and there are a lot of great outfit ideas for transitional seasons thing including chunky cardigans and sweaters. It is also PaleyFest and this means panel attire! Always one of my favorite categories as it is open for interpretation and there tends to be some fun looks.

There’s also some sparkle and a great magazine cover from Allure.Kicking things casual with TV Ate My Wardrobe fave Yara Shahidi on her way into Jimmy Kimmel Live! Mustard yellow cardigans along with all things stripes is my big clothing catnip so this look is instant heart eyes and coveting.

And here is Shahidi on Kimmel switching out mustard for Marni ruffles and talking college applications including what this means for her character on Black-ish.Kiernan Shipka in stripes is an instant hit (see earlier remark) at a screening of The Blackcoat’s Daughter and this tiger emblazoned Gucci sweater is super cute. This whole look is playful including pairing bold socks with strappy shoes and it works because we have seen on numerous occasions that Shipka likes to have fun with fashion.

On this week’s Feud, Shipka gave good bad actor acting as well as showing she is her (former onscreen) mother’s daughter in the manner in which she smokes.Tatiana Maslany looks great on a super fancy red carpet (see the Emmys), but where she really crushes it is at events like SDCCSXSW and heading into talk shows where she can add some laid back flair into proceedings. The same can be said for PaleyFest and at the Orphan Black panel she mixed stripes and ruffles with metallic sneakers.

One of the first things I saw this morning was an Instagram story showing Tatiana Maslany reacting to co-star Kristian Bruun wearing Snapchat Spectacles (there’s a lot of cross branding in this sentence) and it is delightful.

Don't think we forgot that it's #NationalPuppyDay.

A post shared by Orphan Black (@orphanblacktv) on

Keeping up the delightful theme at this Orphan Black panel with Tatiana Maslany and Evelyne Brochu; plus a good mix of black and white ensembles with Maslany wearing a suede/leather bomber jacket over her ruffled dress.More fun PaleyFest outfits and at the Walking Dead panel Lauren Cohan delivers on the high-waisted pants trend paired with a mix of stripes. The flash of red with both pumps and lipstick is a fabulous touch. At the Empire Awards, Ella Purnell gives great season transition awards wear in a different take on florals in a long-sleeved Chanel mini-dress with some fabulous Jimmy Choo sandals; chunky heels are in.If you’re playing the villain in the new Power Rangers movie then this super sparkly Zuhair Murad jumpsuit is exactly the way to go and once again Elizabeth Banks knows how to match her outfit to the film she is promoting (see The Hunger Games for more).Allure magazine shows how to do a diversity issue cover and this is a beautiful shot featuring models Dilone, Imaan Hammam and Aamito Lagum. Fashion magazines have not always had a good track record with diverse cover stars, but on the whole they did improve last year and this is a good sign that they are listening to readers and the very valid criticism being leveled at them.

Over at Lainey Gossip writer Kathleen Newman-Bremang goes in depth about colorism and this issue of Allure.

The Wish List: Delphine’s Return to Prints on Orphan Black

22 Jun

It was the season 3 finale of Orphan Black on Saturday and as per the standard Clone Club crazy there were plenty of twists and all the feelings moments. In this world it is hard to trust anyone who doesn’t have Tatiana Maslany’s face and the core group of regulars make up what is actually a rather small cast when you take away Maslany out of the equation. One character who has always been on the outside is Delphine and her loyalty is hard to gauge as while her love for Cosima is undeniable her overall agenda and position is less certain. In season 3 she took on the Rachel role at Dyad putting her in direct conflict with Cosima and her sisters pushing her even further away from the women she loves.

Over this year Delphine’s costuming has shifted from patterns to streamlined style where the only flourishes have been the slightly harsher details of fur and leather and the only sartorial aspect she now shares with her ex is an excellent collection of outerwear. In the first episode Delphine shows up in a Michael Kors fur panel coat and a sleek monochromatic look in a leather trim Helmut Lang blazer. An instant entry into #LadySuitWatch2015.

Orphan Black 3.01 Delphine fur Orphan Black 3.01 DelphineCut to the Orphan Black season finale (spoilers ahead) and Delphine’s return to pattern as she makes some tough choices which lead to an almost certain grave end. It is not a definitive goodbye, but it sure doesn’t look good for our favorite French scientist especially as there’s an emotionally charged Cosima scene which feels like a farewell of sorts and plays out before the parking garage confrontation with an unseen assailant. *sob*

Delphine’s costuming has been rather straight forward this year sticking to dark colors and white; all very no nonsense corporate attire. In the season finale she deviates from this in a patterned Zara blouse which nods to who she was before she took this position of power. Her top button is still done up giving off an executive air, but this print is Delphine revealing her old style as she attempts to make things right for Cosima and her sisters.

Orphan Black 3.10 DelphineDefiance is etched all over her face and this is still keeping with the black and white color palette that Delphine has always favored; this Twitter back and forth between Tatiana Maslany and Evelyne Brochu includes this photo of Delphine and Cosima’s first official meeting (cue more sobs) which shows Delphine’s penchant for the black and white.

Orphan Black S1If only her motivations had been so clearly defined as her wardrobe color palette. But she definitely had Cosima’s back and if this indeed the end for Delphine they have lost one ally who was in a position of some influence; her maybe last words emphasize her true love infused agenda “What will happen to her?” 

She also had a pretty fabulous chair spin down:

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So goodbye for now Delphine and hopefully this is not the end.

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