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Tag Archives: Matthew Rhys

The Americans 6.03 “Urban Transport Planning” Review: The Way We Were

12 Apr

Nostalgia is powerful as it can make us long for a time that was less than perfect. Change can be hard particularly when the place you long for no longer exists. This final season of The Americans encapsulates how romantic notions of where we came from can cloud perspective. Elizabeth and Claudia are teaching Paige about her Russian heritage, but Elizabeth is very much stuck in the past, clashing with the political progress being made. A collision course has been set and knowing the global outcome makes it is hard to not scream at Elizabeth to let go. Pizza Hut is indeed coming to Moscow.

Hatred for America still burns inside Elizabeth, the look on her face when Philip mentions serving zharkoye to Stan is a flicker of betrayal. Season five focused on food, but it has always been an important aspect of The Americans. It is a family-centric show, so naturally a lot of scenes take place in the kitchen; the heart of the home. It has been a long time since the tap has been left running or the radio switched on, this used to be a place where they talked work and family. Paige demanded to know the truth in this very room, it is where Philip tore Paige’s Bible, late night cigarettes and sex as salvation. The Jennings kitchen has seen it all.Philip and Elizabeth growing up in poverty means they are particularly attached to the small amount they had. It isn’t about what you liked and didn’t like or getting bored of eating the same thing—Paige, still so American—but appreciating what you had.

Elizabeth sneaks some leftovers to Philip, which he can only manage one bite of because he is stuffed full with takeout, which is very reflective of Philip’s push/pull between American culture with his home. Smell is very important when it comes to memory and this moment of connectivity between husband and wife fills this void. It also reads as a nod to the caviar surprise from the second episode of season one. Circumstances are very different; then they were truly getting to know each other on an intimate level, now they are adrift. For a brief moment it feels like it used to, the intimacy is back. But the food ends up down the garbage disposal and they have a bitter back and forth about the state of the world.

The shift in body language goes from pointing toward each other to standing apart. Philip doesn’t think Elizabeth can speak for people back home as she hasn’t spoken to anyone there in over twenty years, her retort of “neither have you” is met with a weighty silence. This would be the time to tell her about Oleg, but he just can’t do. Philip clearly fears whatever Elizabeth is working on and her passion to do whatever needs to be done. Later he contemplates it while brushing his teeth. She asked him to let her sleep and now he does. The amount Philip clenches his jaw at the moment, he’s gonna need a trip to the dentist. And not the basement kind.

A quick costume note to point out how great the winged shoulders of Elizabeth’s coat look in every shot. And if you’re wondering where it comes from, alas it is a custom design by Katie Irish. You won’t be able to pick this one up from Coach. A heavy sigh emanates from most of the major players this week. Elizabeth has no time for talking of feelings. It doesn’t matter that EST has rebranded to The Forum, you will never see Elizabeth indulge in this program. This isn’t a new stance from her, but the work is very much starting to weigh on her, even if she can’t admit it to anyone. She is unwavering in her anger toward her daughter. There is no sleeping over on a work night.

When Philip tells Elizabeth he told Paige she could talk to him, she snaps that she was doing just that. Elizabeth’s lack of empathy here made me laugh out loud because it is so brutal. And yet this is how Elizabeth has chosen to protect herself from all the horrible shit she has done. The cracks are starting to show.Again, Keri Russell gives a masterclass in showing Elizabeth’s exhaustion before steeling herself in front of others. The ‘out damn spot’ opening sequence is incredibly telling, but it is the moment she realizes she has to kill yet another person (that makes two murders and one death caused indirectly at her hands) which delivers the “Give Keri Russell all the awards” moment of the week.

Elizabeth’s repeated stressing that it is important Evan doesn’t spill anything about this meeting is undercut as soon as he mentions his girlfriend as she works in the same department as Elizabeth. The fake smile flickers as he eyes register exactly what must be done, but it is the moment after she has choked Evan that betrays how Elizabeth is really feeling. A mixture of “not this again,” exhaustion and emptiness as Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love” plays over the top (another incredible music choice and one that connects me to my family as Cohen was my dad’s favorite singer).

Three missions have gone to shit in such a short space of time. Elizabeth has a team, but doing this alone is really fucking with her strike rate. Elizabeth might not be scared of dying for her country, but at this rate it is going to happen sooner rather than later.While Elizabeth is killing yet another guy, Philip has suited and booted or rather wigged and mustached as he keeps with his meeting with Oleg in the park. Matthew Rhys is also doing an incredible job in showing Philip’s betrayal; he is part disgusted at himself with a dash of looking like he wants to vomit, complete with the classic Philip ‘soul being crushed into a thousand pieces’ face. There is no easy solution to the Jennings martial strife, but we all know how Elizabeth feels about Philip lying to her, so this is really not going to go down well when she eventually finds out about the park rendezvous. Although it is not like Elizabeth has been particularly forthcoming either.

One person wants to help Elizabeth and Philip fill their relationship void and that’s Father Andrei. The last time we saw this priest was in much happier times for this couple on their big day and he can sense all is not well with this marriage. Like the audience, he has a personal investment and he tells Elizabeth to bring her husband the next time they see each other. She explains Philip is out of the spy biz, but Father Andrei insists.Will some spiritual guidance be the surprise fix? That fact that Elizabeth is willing to admit to Father Andrei there are issues with Philip is quite a big deal; last week I mentioned Elizabeth on Claudia’s couch as giving off therapy vibes, but this conversation is even more like that. I can’t see Elizabeth showing a lot of vulnerability in front of Claudia, but Father Andrei is another story. He knows them on this intimate level because that ceremony was just for them. There was no ulterior motive or reason behind it. This is what could bring them back together

Unlike the last time Paige saw a violent act up close and personal, she doesn’t seem particularly shaken even though she can’t get it out of her mind. Or at least on the surface level she isn’t. The following day Elizabeth is far kinder to her daughter with regard to this operational error. Elizabeth points out she also made a mistake with this guy, but Paige put everyone at risk. There is also the emphasis that Paige’s job will be different. She might not be throwing on a wig or seducing strangers for information, but the evidence of this is lacking. Is Elizabeth kidding herself?Meanwhile Philip is having a hard time financially due to expanding the business and not having the sales to match. He sweet talks his way into deferring tuition payment—he’s still got it—and gives pep talks straight from “Success through Positive Mental Attitude.” It is awkward as hell.

In other job related conversations there is an odd one in the Beeman kitchen where Renee points to the success of Philip and Elizabeth’s relationship is that they work together. Stan notes they don’t do that much work together anymore as Elizabeth is in charge of the corporate clients (lol at this excuse for her not being in the office much). When Stan finds out the truth… Anyway, Renee floats the idea of joining the FBI, which is bizarre because we of course still don’t know whether Renee is for real or a spy. Stan shoots this idea down because she is too old (the cut off is 37) and I wonder if we will ever find out if Stan is the Martha of this marriage.Stan has some pressing work business including the disaster that is Sofia and Gennadi. Sofia is a bad Soviet if she thinks Soviets are good at keeping secrets and they end up pulling them both out. Very publicly. Gennadi wants to stay together and tasks Stan with fixing his marriage.

There is also Stan’s catch up with Oleg where they catch up on old times including Nina. There is a mutual respect even if Oleg is still pissed at him for the CIA stuff. Stan warns Oleg to leave because he doesn’t have diplomatic immunity, but that meeting in the park still takes place. Each storyline looks set to overlap in a big way and it is only going to get more fraught. Strap in, this is only the beginning of the end.

Get Me That Electric Blue Eyeliner Another week. Another new wig. Or rather a wig we haven’t seen since season one. There are no Stephanie curls, but Elizabeth can get up close to Glen in this getup because she looks so different. Plus she has her back to the group they are tailing. The electric blue eyeliner/pink lipstick is the one.

What is Henry Up To? Henry’s jeans aren’t so acid wash as he rings to tell his dad about his hand in the hockey win. Sadly for Henry he calls at a bad time and this is the first time Philip has referred to spy shenanigans as work this season.

The DARE poster detail is just one reason I love the production design team on this show.

Hat Watch This isn’t the first time Paige has worn this pink beanie this season and while she hasn’t got to wear a wig yet, she does have a steady rotation of hats. Good job it is winter. Elizabeth also got in on the beanie action with Father Andrei, giving her a break from the cavalcade of wigs she’s been wearing this season.

Fun fact – Elizabeth has already worn ten different disguises in three episodes, the most she has ever worn in an entire season is twelve (season two), the least is six (season four).

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The Americans 6.02 “Tchaikovsky” Review: The Dark Parts

5 Apr

Elizabeth Jennings has a lot on her plate. Not only is she running all the operations alone, when she used to have a partner to share the load, but now she is also being taught how to draw. This is of course part of a very important operation, but Elizabeth could end up exploring a part of her psyche that could be enlightening. But only if she lets it.

Right now she doesn’t get why someone would dedicate their life to something she sees as unimportant, but being told to draw what’s dark is pretty much what she does every day. Her darkness isn’t the mug before her, but the life she lived for all of her adult life. Erica explains that drawing is about looking at what is light and dark, but Elizabeth has spent so long in the moral grey area her eye isn’t trained in this way.The world Elizabeth works in is far from black and white, no matter how much Reagan tried to paint the Soviets as the Evil Empire. A point that Elizabeth reinforces when Paige mentions some light reading she has been doing on the tactics of spies. Paige is still very much in the dark about some of the things her parents have done in the name of the cause; when she asks outright whether operatives use sex as tool to get information her mother lies. The truth would be devastating because as we saw from last week’s opening montage Elizabeth is still very much using this tactic. Not to mention the many men and women her parents have seduced in the name of Mother Russia including the one that ended up as a wife and the one that ended up in a suitcase.

Dancing around the subject Elizabeth explains that those close relationships with sources could turn into something else. This conversation also reinforces how cut off Elizabeth is from everyone else; there is no water cooler in the spy biz. Or at least not in the version Elizabeth lives.

Words like monster and evil have been applied to Elizabeth in the past, most notably in the incredible season three episode “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?” when she forced an old lady to kill herself (I watched this episode again recently and Lois Smith is devastatingly good in her condemnation of Elizabeth’s justifications). Here she tells her daughter that things aren’t black and white, the world is complicated.But the weight of doing this alone is getting to Elizabeth. She lies back on Claudia’s couch talking to her as if this is therapy appointment—Matthew Rhys directed this episode and the intimacy of these moments is extraordinary—and when Paige comes in things switch from work chat to another Russian history lesson.

Elizabeth might scoff at artists, but she appreciates classical music. She took Paige to see The Nutcracker and Claudia explains that Tchaikovsky was all she could listen to after the war. It all sounds very melancholic to this classical music novice’s ear, but each woman seems to take something different from this moment. I really love what is going on with the three generations of women this season. These moments are really effective. We have come a long way since Elizabeth beat the shit out of Claudia; now Elizabeth is asking Claudia to continue with Paige if anything happens to her. This is a disturbing conversation when you think about her relationship with Philip because he has been entirely cut out of this huge part of this life.

Considering how many risks Elizabeth is taking that now seems more likely than ever. Whether it is switching out wigs/outfits within the State Department walls or wildly underestimating how much General Rennhull wants to help out the enemy. Formally a Colonel, who first appeared in the season one finale, “The Colonel” (btw I am so glad I rewatched all of The Americans before this final outing), Rennhull believed he was sharing intel for the greater good. It was to stop a crazy arms race that was more a sci-op than technology that would be possible in this period. But it spun out of control (as things do on this show) and he ended up killing someone to save his skin. It also shows that in this world, anyone can come back. No matter how long ago they were involved. It isn’t an easy life to escape no matter how much you try. Just ask Philip and Oleg.

Elizabeth uses this knowledge as leverage to get a lithium based radiation censor—for the Dead Hand—but what she doesn’t factor in is Rennhull’s state of mind. He would rather kill her than go to jail or betray his country again. The climatic moments in the park has Elizabeth using her kids as a way to stall, to get sympathy and after a brief tussle, Rennhull shoots himself covering Elizabeth’s face in his blood. It is quite the striking image, one that Paige sees as she runs over to make sure her mom is okay. Just another day at the spying office. Of course this isn’t the first time Paige has witness the aftermath of a violent act, but it isn’t getting any easier. And I don’t think Paige is ready for Disposing of a Body 101. After all, it was meant to be better for Paige in this line of work. Not the shit Elizabeth has been through. Getting a bloodier version of Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs vibe from this shot. Again, Matthew Rhys did an incredible job behind the camera as well as in front.

As Elizabeth juggles her care work (and art classes) where she offers her euthanasia services—while lying about how effective morphine can be—and the various other multi-wig requiring ops, Philip is having some money woes at the travel agency. Not so much life and death, but Philip is learning the price of expanding the business too much. Capitalism at its finest. A call to a very relaxed and happy sounding Henry has his son noting how forlorn his dad sounds—see Henry is perceptive. But with the Oleg thing hanging over his head it isn’t surprising to see that very familiar clenched jaw.In terms of Philip/Elizabeth interactions it follows the same pattern as last week, but without the fight at the end. She comes down for breakfast, which is a cigarette outside and later on they have a stilted conversation (also while she is smoking). She shares the vaguest of information with him about Paige; it is heartbreaking to see just how much she is keeping from him. This is worse than when they were screaming at each other about whether to tell Paige in season three. They are shells of themselves with each other and you can feel the ache emanating from them both. Philip’s different perspective is why they were so effective as a team, he took the time to think rather than act on a duty bound impulse. Without this Elizabeth ends up in a park at night with blood all over her face. Just how long will it be before he gets pulled back in? Her impulsiveness is a strength, but it can also be a near deadly weakness.

The Jennings aren’t experiencing marital strife per se, more like marital emptiness. Maybe they could do with the not so stellar marriage advice from Stan. Stan is mostly working homicide, but Sofia and Gennadi—the Russian couple from last season—are experiencing relationship woes that could impact a long running operation. Gennadi is a courier and we get to see his operation play out with another excellent music choice; “Slippery People” by Talking Heads. How to x-ray a diplomatic pouch while undetected is hard

And just like Philip, Stan seems reluctant to be drawn into his old life. But the return of Oleg certainly causes some interest.

The Felicity LinkFelicity could teach Elizabeth a lot about art. I don’t think Elizabeth would enjoy it very much. Felicity could also give Elizabeth some curly hair tips for her Stephanie wig.

Teens in ’80s Jeans The ’80s jeans continue to be amazing. Particularly the ones they give Holly Taylor and Keidrich Sellati to wear.

Fake Teeth

When I spoke to costume designer Katie Irish, one of the things she mentioned was the fake teeth that everyone loves, but rarely get used because the actors can’t really speak in them. Well, they made an appearance in “Tchaikovsky” in one of the many new Elizabeth disguises.

Smoking Cardigan UpdateElizabeth has more than one. We will continue to update the smoking cardigan collection as hey come. There’s a lot of walls between Philip and Elizabeth right now.

The Americans 6.01 “Dead Hand” Review: “Everything is Divided Up”

29 Mar

Personal and political have been entwined on The Americans since the pilot; Philip has always been the more pragmatic, seeing the larger picture, whereas Elizabeth will do whatever her country asks of her. It is part of the reason why they are such a good match. There is balance. But it could also end up being their greatest downfall.

In season five this job began to take its toll on both husband and wife (now official); a decision was made to get out, to return home, but there is always something else.  After giving Tuan a speech about how he wouldn’t make it alone, Elizabeth decided it was best for Philip for him to get out. Too tired and beat down, Philip went from the “it’s us” emphasis to agreeing to this compromise. They’d stay and Elizabeth would carry on. Cut to the start of season six, which jumps from 1984 to October 1987 and the state of the Jennings marriage is fractured. The divide has happened on the home front and back in Mother Russia.

Photo credit FX/Patrick Harbron

Gorbachev has been in power for two years, but there is still a push/pull between the old and new way of thinking. The INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty is what is on the table in a forthcoming three-day summit in Washington DC between the old foes. This is why Elizabeth’s workload has gone up on the last few months, it is why she is running on coffee and cigarettes. “Dead Hand” opens with the kind of montage The Americans excels at; telling us everything we need to know about the state of Philip and Elizabeth’s marriage. Much like the last time there was a big time jump midway through season four it is set to an ’80s classic track, this time Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” sets the tone.

Philip has built the travel agency into something bigger; the new office is far more spacious, his office has a window where the blinds no longer have to be drawn. On the other end of the spectrum, Elizabeth has multiple operations going at once requiring a cavalcade of wigs. These operations range from care worker to honey trap. The latter hasn’t got any easier either as we see Elizabeth in the shower washing the skeeze off her, while wearing said wig. As the episode progresses we see Elizabeth looking more drawn, the lack of sleep is showing and she is serving up a level of weary face that became a Philip signature. They do say couples start to look alike.

Meanwhile, Philip physically looks lighter without the burden of being a spy. Sure his home life isn’t what it once was—there is an aching loneliness when Elizabeth arrives home in the opening montage and all they can muster are half smiles at each other—but he’s enjoying all the trappings of America without the weight of the double life. He gives great pep talks, has a sweet new car with all the modern extras (electric sunroof! portable radio! car phone!) and has found a reason put those cowboy boots he coveted in the pilot on. Yep, Philip is now a hands on boss and it is good to see recurring employees like Stavos has made the move.

Style shifts over the last three years has Philip switching to v-neck sweaters; his shirts are more fitted, his suits more boxy. He looks good. Meanwhile Elizabeth still has her arsenal of silk blouses, but she’s also invested in some outdoor smoking knits, what appears to be sweats and oversized sweaters. Elizabeth also has a pair of cowboy boots, but don’t expect to see her dancing anytime soon. These are for her trip to Mexico. A trip shrouded in secrecy and part of the big divide back home. It is where the “Dead Hand” of the episode title is explained and it sounds terrifying; tldr everyone dies regardless of who strikes first.

Here she acquires a new piece of jewelry with an extra; yep it has a cyanide tablet and if Elizabeth didn’t already have the weight of the world on her shoulders, she is now wearing death around her neck.

Speaking of necks and the first kill of the season is delivered in a swift moment after Paige encounters a beyond persistent dude. Elizabeth will do whatever it takes to protect her daughter. And this isn’t the first guy she has stabbed in the neck for her child. Ah yes, Paige is very much in the spy life as she is being trained to be part of Elizabeth’s team (they are not aware of the family connection) and partakes in a hangout at Claudia’s.This early scene establishes this has become a routine; three generations of women that look like family. Russian television is watched, stories of home are shared and Paige even gives a rundown of her politically leaning college classes. Any tension between Claudia and Elizabeth has gone, Elizabeth is happy to do whatever missions Claudia sends her on with minimal questions asked. Philip was the one that pushed back and without him here this resistance is no more.

Ah yes, that mission. The one that brings both Oleg and Philip back into the game. An old friend visits Oleg and home, I missed Arkady and I’m glad to see they found an organic reason to bring him back. Arkady is now Deputy Chief of Directorate S and he has a favor to ask Oleg. In this conversation we get a lot of exposition about what has happened to Oleg over the last three years, again it feels organic. Everyone knows what he did, but there was no real proof. Not that the lack of proof has stopped someone getting a bullet to the head, but Oleg’s connections saved him.

Now, like his father he works in the Ministry for Transportation. He’s happy, he has a fabulous beard, a wife (Elina, one of the blind dates) and a baby boy; why would he risk that? Well, Arkady knows what kind of guy he is and taps into the honorable side. The side that warned the Americans about biological weapons. Arkady thinks Oleg is the guy to get Philip to spy on his wife, he refers to Philip as being “different” and notes that he met him once.

Just like that Arkady brings back not one, but two agents. Because Philip can’t ignore the signal and his whole demeanor changes in an instant. Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” kicks in just as Philip’s jaw clenches and everything Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell do with their faces and posture in this episode is everything I have been yelling at Emmy voters for years. They convey so much without saying a word.

Photo credit FX/Eric Liebowitz

The Philip/Oleg meeting is a coming together of these two worlds. Two worlds that are enmeshed and yet have always (well almost) been separate. Oleg knows the way to convince a very stubborn Philip, who keeps on insisting he is out of the game, is by emphasizing the risk he has taken. If Oleg gets caught he’s fucked, he has no diplomatic immunity and if he gets sent home he will be killed. Philip the ever loving husband notes Elizabeth is just doing her job, but Oleg sews the seeds of doubt about which side Elizabeth is on. Philip knows her well enough to get that she might be on the hard line side.

Over the course of this episode Philip and Elizabeth share three scenes; the first is wordless, the second is a stilted conversation with Elizabeth explaining why she can’t watch Henry play hockey and the third threatens to boil over. Since the whole sleeping with Irina thing, they’ve been pretty good at not keeping things from other. And it seems like Philip is going to tell her about Oleg, but Elizabeth’s lack of sleep causes her to lash out. She doesn’t want to talk and especially not to Philip. His concerns about her state of mind are warranted, but right now they are far from being on the same wavelength. Reagan is about to ask Gorbachev to tear down this wall and the one between the Jennings has never been higher.

At the Movies It is unlikely that Philip will be taking Elizabeth to see Wall Street when it comes out in December.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2018Paige’s jeans are a little too high-waisted and acid wash for my taste, but this jacket and striped shirt are right in my wheelhouse. A new haircut also gives Paige that college age feel.

Disguise I Want to See More OfElizabeth wears a lot of disguises in the season six premiere; the one we see the most is care worker Stephanie. Here she is trying to spy on Gilmore Girls Max Medina, or rather Scott Cohen as Glenn Haskard, an important person working in the State Department. Glenn’s wife Erica is an artist and it looks like she is going to tap into Elizabeth’s fractured psyche. And if you’re wondering about the real artist behind these pieces check out this interview with Alyssa Monks.

And I spoke to costume designer Katie Irish about season 6 here.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

23 Mar

Puppies, ladysuits and the Stylist issue of The Hollywood Reporter are all on the “Out of the Box” menu this week. The latter delivers the best roundtable conversation I have seen in a while and you can also watch this below. Sound the ladysuit klaxon! Daisy Ridley looks stunning in a Sara Battaglia Pre-Fall 2018 tuxedo at the Rakuten Empire Film Awards. Full Marlene Dietrich vibes. Every time I see Vanessa Kirby out of her Princess Margaret garb it takes me a moment to realize who she is. But she is just as glamorous in 2018 as she is in 1950s attire, including this super moody floral Erdem ensemble. A stunning Jasper Conran A/W ’18 two-tone blue dress worn by Simona Brown at the Rakuten Empire Film Awards. Love the choice of bag to make this outfit pop even more.

I did a whole post yesterday about how much fun this Americans press tour has been so far. The caped jacket as worn by Keri Russell at the Washington D.C. premiere is another distinct look and this is one of the many lipsticks I have been coveting. Makeup artist Tina Turnbow always delivers on the BTS and beauty delights. There were some very special plus ones at an Isle of Dogs screening this week and Jeff Goldblum has coordinated his shoes with his pup. Tilda Swinton always gives fabulous and interesting red carpet. The good doggo obviously draws focus, but this is a fabulous jacket.

While I’m on the subject of Isle of Dogs; I am a Wes Anderson fan and I am looking forward to this film, but this review by Justin Chang gave me pause (and reinforced some of my concerns from aspects of the trailer). This is why diversity in film criticism is so important.

Regular readers will know how much I love a roundtable, especiallyHollywood Reporter roundtable. So I am thrilled that the annual Stylists issue also includes the first ever stylist roundtable featuring Law Roach (Zendaya, Mary J. Blige) Jeanne Yang (Kumail Nanjiani), Jason Bolden (Ava DuVernay), Tara Swennen (Allison Janney) and a woman I have mentioned countless times on here, particularly for menswear; Ilaria Urbinati (Armie Hammer, Donald Glover, Rami Malek).

This is a fascinating conversation that gets to the heart of the work a stylist does during award season and beyond. It includes having to negotiate with brands depending on who the client is, which stylist had two days to find a dress before the Oscars and how they sourced that many black ensembles for this year’s Golden Globes. A fascinating and enlightening watch that includes a range of opinions and processes when approaching this job.The Hollywood Stylist issue of The Hollywood Reporter is one of my most anticipated—see also the Emmy actress issues and the Beauty issue—and the fact that it comes just after award season means we get to celebrate the people behind the looks we have been drooling over. The hard work deserves attention.

The Black Panther press tour is going to be long remembered for how incredible it was from both a menswear and gown POV. Chadwick Boseman delivered time after time in an array of striking blazers. He appears on the front cover with stylist Ashley Weston in another standout blazer, Weston bounces off this sartorial choice in delicate florals.While I didn’t love Saoirse Ronan’s Oscar frock, she kept things interesting throughout award season and it was impossible to predict what she would wear next. Elizabeth Saltzman is behind this bold style journey and I love everything about this candy pink cover in the Swingers diner. Lena Waithe is changing the game as her Vanity Fair cover story informs us, but so is new VF Editor-in-Chief, Radhika Jones. I screamed with joy when I first saw this image because it was such a surprise. Not because Lena Waithe doesn’t deserve it (she does), but because this is a surprise for a magazine like VF (which I end up buying pretty much every month, even after I didn’t renew my subscription), which featured Jennifer Lawrence last month and Alec Baldwin for the same cover last year.

I also love that style wise they haven’t tried to put Waithe in an ensemble that isn’t her. This is a beautiful cover and I cannot wait to pick it up when it hits newsstands March 29. Looks like I might re-subscribe too if this is any indication as to what direction Jones is taking the magazine in.

The Americans is a Serious Show, The Press Tour is a Delight

22 Mar

The Americans returns next week for its final season, which means press tour! This includes last Friday’s New York premiere, an appearance by the cast and creatives at the Newseum in Washington D.C. earlier this week, a Variety cover story and a joint interview with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (which you can watch below).

For a show that is so steeped in serious life or death material it is always a delight to see the stars shed those all consuming worried expressions for cracking up on the red carpet. Keri Russell’s polka dot Johanna Ortiz is perfectly ’80s inspired considering the period The Americans is set in and also reminds me of the dancing lady emoji if she ever changed her dress color. It is all fun and games until Stan finds out. I’m feeling a little nauseous just thinking about that inevitable scene.

For excellent behind the scenes interviews there is Jen Chaney’s piece over at Vulture, which highlights some of the ways they keep things light while shooting this material. For the L.A. Times, Meredith Blake includes a fabulous Margo Martindale anecdote in her article (and a delightful photo) and the aforementioned Variety cover story by Cynthia Littleton goes deep on the final season.

And if you want to know about Keri Russell’s lipstick from the Washington D.C. event (you know I do), then The Cut has all the answers (and you should also follow make-up artist Tina Turnbow on Instagram for more BTS secrets).

Last night the pair appeared on Colbert to promote the show. This might be my favorite look so far from Keri Russell during this press tour. Such a great polka dot dress; perfect for the start of Spring (let’s pretend the current weather is not snow)

And while they didn’t give away too much about the final season—other than the sweater fabric evolution (which you know I am more than interested in)—this is an adorable interview with the pair. I might be referring to Philip as “squishy” in my reviews in the coming weeks.

The Americans returns Wednesday, March 28. Get ready for lots of devastating moments as this TV Ate My Wardrobe fave comes to an end.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

16 Mar

Award season is officially over, Fashion Week is officially over. But the events they keep on coming. The annual FX All-Star party, SXSW, sparkly suits and an amazing magazine cover feature in this edition of “Out of the Box.”At the FX All-Star event in New York, Sarah Paulson and Billie Lourd looked very pleased to see each other. Black tights are still very much required with this weather so I am all in on Billie Lourd’s choice here. This green floral jacquard Gucci Resort 2018 frock and teal heel combination is a dream.

Meanwhile, Sarah Paulson is serving dramatic power dressing in a grey Dior suit. I thought it was a skirt at first, but nope those are the widest of wide pants. I love them.

An FX/FXX crossover that needs to happen.

Congratulations to You’re the Worst creator Stephen Falk and make-up artist Kristina Frisch on the new babyThose Saint Laurent shorts belong in 2001—this is another indicator that early ’00s fashion is making a dreaded comeback—but I love the top half of Keri Russell’s outfit. Switching out the shirt from the runway look for something less fussy was a good move and it is always fun seeing these two on the red carpet.

Season six of The Americans the new trailer is now less than two weeks away; it looks tense as hell.

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Taking this as a personal message to me. SXSW is a lot like Sundance in both the kinds of work getting showcased and the more casual sartorial leanings. The big difference here is the temperature. As with Sundance there are a lot of outfits to covet, which would work in my closet, including Abbi Jacobson’s print dress complete with a Peter Pan collar at the 6 Balloons premiere.Regina Hall ‘Drinks Well with Others’ at the Support the Girls SXSW premiere. A slogan tee I can get behind.

Mustard yellow and ’70s styling are my weakness. This D’Arcy Carden shoot is fun and also I really want that blouse. Miss you, The Good Place.On the European leg of his tour in Paris, Harry Styles continues to delight in his suit choices, switching out Gucci florals for Saint Laurent sparkles. I screamed with joy when this Advocate cover popped up on my feed. More magazines featuring Natalie Morales and Stephanie Beatriz. Please and thank you.

The Americans Final Season Trailer: “It’s On Us”

14 Mar

The Americans returns in two weeks (March 28) and a new trailer is dishing out end of Cold War anxiety. Philip all but quit the spy biz at the end of season five, but his wig wearing game is still strong.

There is a strong sense that things are not going to be okay for our fave spy couple because even Elizabeth looks rattled. In some movies and TV shows, smoking means a character is a bad guy, in The Americans it is a sign that Elizabeth is stressed. There are flickers of scenes shown in earlier trailers such as the aforementioned pensive smoking and a bloody Elizabeth, but here she looks panicked when in full disguise. Plus a chat with Claudia reveals what they are up against. It finally looks like things are swinging Stan’s way.

Matthew Rhys continues to be the king of expressing the erosion of Philip’s soul with a look of the eye. From sitting alone, enduring another awkward group dinner with Stan (this time with Aderholt) and explaining to Elizabeth that they are complicit in all of this. But with the appearance of Philip in a wig it is clear he is willing to do anything; maybe not for country, but for his family. Also his plaid shirt game has never been stronger.

And Paige has a decision to make about her future career; to spy or not to spy?

Plus new cute wigs including a look that made me think of Diane Keaton and a brief appearance from Max Medina.

The Americans returns for its sixth and final season Wednesday, March 28.

‘The Americans’ Final Season Teasers and Key Art: Spying on the Spy

13 Feb

Everything looks set to fall apart for Philip and Elizabeth in the final season of The Americans, if these two new teasers are anything to go by. Philip quit the spy biz at the end of season five, but that doesn’t mean wigs and fake mustaches are no longer in his life.

A time jump means we’re also missing out on that transition period and ramping up toward the end of the Cold War. It also means seeing just how much the solo spy mission life has taken its toll on Elizabeth. Teaching Paige the ways of the spy world is one thing, frantically scrubbing blood off her hands a la Lady Macbeth is another.

Oh yeah it also looks like Philip is now meeting up with a beardy Oleg to discuss Elizabeth’s work.

All is probably not quite as the teaser makes it seem, but this is not going to go down well with our now officially married spy couple if Philip is indeed reporting on his wife.  Just like riding a bike, Philip still those casually eating, when actually spying skills ready to utilize when needed.

Both teasers are incredibly ominous, but it wouldn’t be the show I love if there wasn’t a feeling of dread in my stomach.

Season 6 Key Art Update! 

The Americans artwork is always a visual treat (the season two all red affair is still my iPad lock screen all these years later) and this year is no different. But unlike last year’s disarming stare toward camera, this is all suspicious side eye. Hinting at the dischord between the pair (and the factions within the Soviet Union) that is featured in the teasers.

The dominating use of blue in the background suggests the peace that is about to come (kinda) between these two countries. But it all feels very ominous to me. 

The Americans returns for its sixth and final season Wednesday, March 28.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

12 Jan

Last week felt like a busy “Out of the Box,” then the Golden Globes and so many other events took place. Coverage of the very different Golden Globes can be found across three posts including the activists that attended and why it is important to credit designers. Being a feminist and caring about fashion are two concepts that don’t have to exist separately.

Post Globes parties, other awards, premieres and looks from TCA panels are featured. For the Critics’ Choice awards—which were held last night—there will be a rundown post soon. Busy Philipps is usually Michelle Williams’ award show date. But after discussing using her place of privilege in respect to what has been going on in Hollywood in her Harper’s Bazaar interview, Williams came up with the idea of bringing activists as guests. Williams was accompanied by Tarana Burke, the woman who created #MeToo over a decade ago and seven other A-list actresses followed suit.

Don’t even get me started on the shit Marky Mark pulled with regard to the reshoots.

Later in the night the pair did hangout, Busy’s Stories included the ridiculous question a paparazzi dude asked Michelle “What’s next for women?” But if Busy did decide to put this Q on a tee or sweatshirt and donate the money to #TimesUp I would be first in line.

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Blurry mirror selfie with my bb.

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Black iridescent Jeffrey Dodd looks great on Busy, but I am also very much a fan of their day after outfits. This is such a fun spin on the ladysuit by Sonequa Martin-Green; cropped/high-waisted Vitor Zerbinato suit with high ruffled collar Elisabetta Franchi shirt. The latter is making me feel like my Alienist as a style influence prediction isn’t totally off.Amy Brenneman looks cool af at the HBO Golden Globes after party and I am still mad Leftovers got no love. I never thought I would be this enamored with a sheer turtleneck, but holy wow is Tessa Thompson working another fabulous twist on menswear inspiration in Alexandre Vauthier.

And after calling out Lena Dunham for doing the most Lena Dunham thing, Thompson got embroiled in an apology/not apology news cycle. She handled it well and with eloquence, even though her first statement didn’t need explaining or walking back as it sounded pretty accurate. But, Hollywood. Or as Ira would say, “Keep It” (check out his new podcast, which is also great).Including this photo mostly because of how great Gaten Matarazzo and Joe Keery are together in season 2 of Stranger Things. Also because I just remembered Keery was in Molly’s Game. His hair was just as impressive. Gillian Anderson got a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this week. Her new shorter, blonder do has been getting quite the workout this week, much to my delight. This silver number by Sophia Kah is my favorite of the three dresses she has worn this week. The specs with the glitz are excellent and X-Files co-star Annabeth Gish is also crushing the style stakes.

Oh, and this week’s episode of The X-Files was incredible, especially in comparison with last week’s mythology mess. So many fun Mulder and Scully scenes. Their chemistry is still off the charts and enough to make me feel like I am fourteen again. Lots of giggling.  There’s been a lot of dressed up Greta Gerwig this week, but here she is at a SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversation event in a super cozy sweater just to mix it up.

After Lady Bird won at the Golden Globes, Gerwig was asked about her position on Woody Allen as someone that has worked with him in the past. She fumbled with a non-answer; it was disappointing even if I could recognize that it was once again a woman being asked to justify another man’s abuse. But, she did follow up with a response that is far more definitive on her position and also acknowledges why it is important to speak up.At the 2018 Film Society Of Lincoln Center & Film Comment luncheon, Greta Gerwig got daytime dressed up in this fabulous pop of floral color. Get Out’s Lil Rel Howery took the suit/turtleneck pairing to new levels in this amazing color combination. At the National Board of Review Awards, Gal Gadot wears an Elie Saab dress that is reminiscent of her blue frock from Wonder Woman. Minus the giant sword of course.The Black Panther press tour is approaching and I am so ready. Lupita Nyong’o looks in command of a space ship in a sparkly Balmain ensemble.I finished Maureen Orth’s Vulgar Favors this week, the book the new American Crime Story is based on so my anticipation levels for the show are now even higher. Penelope Cruz gives Versace-adjacent vibes in velvet custom Stella McCartney.Queen Judith Light has been cast in the perfect part for her and she lights up the red carpet as always.As far as I can tell, Anna Chancellor is not in American Crime Story, but I wish she was. But I do love this patterned frock and ankle boots combo even if it looks more Sundance attire.

This is also a good time to mention how much I miss The Hour. If any show deserves another season it is this one.TCA is still going, but it is the FX panels from last Friday that I am mostly interested in. Including Edgar Ramirez wearing a lovely sweater while discussing American Crime Story. I would love to know what Darren Criss is reacting to. The last TCA panel for The Americans and Keri Russell brought out the polka dot pussy-bow blouse big guns. I’m still in denial that it is ending. And their TV family was rather well coordinated, all getting the black/grey/white memo. I mentioned this on Twitter, but Keidrich Sellati looks like he should be hanging out with the Stranger Things teens in star collared Givenchy. Holly Taylor’s long jacket/legs out is the perfect spin on panel attire and I am still super impressed with how The Americans broke the teens in a prestige drama curse.Atlanta returns for season 2 in March and I am so ready. At the TCA panel Zazie Beetz brought all the floral ensemble glory, while Donald Glover and Brain Tyree Henry worked the more casual versions of their red carpet style.At yesterday’s HBO session, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams were there to discuss 2 Dope Queens. And Phoebe is offering up another fun take on the ladysuit including a faux fur sash. I am very much looking forward to these specials.

Best of 2017 – Out of the Box: Look of the Week (Part 2)

29 Dec

 

Welcome to the Best of 2017! Today we are celebrating the outfits that lit up “Out of the Box” on a weekly basis.

The one consistent column here at TV Ate My Wardrobe is “Out of the Box,” a weekly round-up of the outfits that make my jaw drop, inspire or just look really fucking cool. We have already celebrated magazine covers—which can be found here—so now it is time for other public appearances, with a few magazine editorials thrown in.

The only rule is that the outfits in question had to appear as part of an “Out of the Box” column, so a lot of awards, TCA and other major moments are missing as they had their own articles dedicated to them. But it was hard enough to narrow down a reasonable list so this post didn’t sprawl for days. In order of what month they appeared, here are my fave Look of Week entries.  Best Leopard Print

Every award season there are a handful of actors who light up the red carpet/talk shows/magazines at every single turn. One such person during the last awards cycle was Ruth Negga. Negga kicks off the rundown in a MOVIE STAR outfit that looks straight out of Carol, causing so many dreamy sighs. Leopard print and olive green leather never looked better. Best Stripes

Sundance always delivers on the knit front (and you can see more excellent winter lewks here). Armie Hammer is working two of my favorite things—no not an arm sling—stripes and sweaters. This also shows how long the promotional/awards life of a movie can be as Call Me By Your Name was a big hit at this festival in January and it has now only just been released wide across the U.S. I know I am not unique when I say it is my fave film of 2017. Best Oscar Outfit Change

As I mention above, the outfits that appear here all featured on “Out of the Box” so no Oscar dresses. But the Vanity Fair party is fair game. Viola Davis crushed it with her red Armani gown and then again in a white Brandon Maxwell ladysuit paired with Stella McCartney platforms. The Oscar statue makes a great accessory, but my eyes are on Davis. Best Casual Talk Show Arrival

The talk show exit/arrival will often feature the outfit that will be worn on the show as this acts as a great low-key runway. But not always (see also Tatiana Maslany) and here Yara Shahidi goes casual cool giving me so many strong mustard cardigan feelings. Shahidi has been a repeat “Out of the Box” fixture in 2017 and I imagine this will be the case next year too. Best Introduction 

Back in April, Kelly Marie Tran was introduced as a new Star Wars cast member and she did so in style. This ruffled shirt dress is the kind of spin on a classic outfit that I am here for (none of this deconstructed shirt business). Plus those sparkly shoes add a touch of fun glitz to proceedings. Tran continued to thrill on the red carpet, particularly very recently.Best Fancy Sequins

At the MTV Movie and now TV Awards nothing made me happier than this photo of Taraji P. Henson and Tracee Ellis Ross in a prom pose covered in sequins.Best Airport Style

When flying in for the Cannes Film Festival expect cameras at the airport. Kirsten Dunst has picked the perfect outfit leaning into ’70s casual, even if high-waisted jeans don’t make the most comfortable sitting.

Bonus Jesse Plemons kicks off this mini Best IRL Couples of TV Ate My Wardrobe section. Best Polo

Every year the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic delivers on the crisp collars, sunglasses and general chic summer attire. 2017 was no different with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys switching out ’80s spy garb for stripes, ruffles and straw hats. Best Fancy Tiling Adjacent Patterns

The Big Sick is another film that makes my Top 10 from this year. At the premiere in June, Emily V. Gordon looked stunning in a dress that also doubles as a pattern for fancy tiling in the bathroom of my dream house. Great lipstick choice too. Kumail Nanjiani also scrubs up well. Best Putting A Bird On It

Also in the same week in June, Zendaya at one of the many Spider-Man events, continued to show what a strong sartorial presence she is in this Delpozo ensemble. Best Colorful Strips

At the BET Awards, Issa Rae went bold in a rainbow Balmain blazer and formal shorts. Insecure costume designer Ayanna James also doubles Rae’s stylist and she gives her great outfits both on and off screen. Best Ladysuit (Part 1)

The Cut has done some of my favorite profiles of the year including this one with Insecure’s Yvonne Orji. The fact that she is wearing this fabulous ladysuit is an editorial bonus.
Best Ladysuit (Part 2)

Ditching the jacket and striking a pose for Interview that makes me want to frame this photo of Tatiana Maslany. Giving me Cosima in a tux vibes while also wearing some serious eyeliner flicks, which even the best YouTube tutorial, would still be impossible for me to recreate. Best Matching

At the Ingrid Goes West premiere, Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen both wear almost matching Marc Jacobs in a spin on the plot of the movie they are promoting. A cute twist I am definitely on board. I loved Ingrid Goes West and other than some third act issues; it is the best look at Insta culture on film so far.Best Jester 

Harry Styles upped his style (sorry) game in 2017 leaning into some fun and decadent suits, often Gucci (such as the one above). One of the best deep dives into Styles’ style (sorry) story comes from Twitter pal Fiona and her ongoing thread noting the similarities between Styles and Cate Blanchett’s red carpet looks.Best Casual Sequins 

More Gucci treats with Lupita Nyong’o showing she is just as strong at casual red carpet style as she is with the fancy pants events.Best Botanics 

There has been a lot of florals on the red carpet this year. My favorite came late in the year from Zoe Kazan. It is a complete coincidence that there are three very different Gucci looks in a row, but it also shows just how strong (and leaning to my twee adjacent taste) this brand has been in 2017.Best Striking a Pose

Ending out of calendar sequence because this is the perfect shot to celebrate the style highs of 2017. Embracing the fanfare and decadence of Cannes are Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst. All wearing dresses that look just as fabulous from behind as they do from the front.

Here’s to more sartorial wonders in 2018!

Julie Hammerle

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