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Category: Movies

Holiday films with fashion cred


Flapper dresses and cloche hats. Leather jackets and cargo pants. Three-piece suits and vintage eyeglasses.

Sounds like a list of looks included in a history of fashion, but during this season it’s part of the visual spectacle of holiday films.

“The Artist” and “Hugo” are set in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the beginning of the modern age of fashion, when women embraced a certain kind of liberation with shorter hemlines and even shorter hair.

The goth-punk heroine of the “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” is styled in distressed leather and fleece hoodies.

The hero of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” dons a 1950s suit and vintage spectacles, just one example of the subtle way a man's style can show something about his character.

At the end of 2011, first-run movies are full of fashion statements and subtle style cues. The Image staff gives a guided tour of some of the memorable looks onscreen this holiday season, in films including those above plus "W.E.," whose costume designer Arianne Phillips talks about recreating the wardrobes of Wallis Simpson and England's King Edward VIII. And more!


First Look: H&M's 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' collection

Theadora van Runkle, Hollywood costume designer, dies at 83

'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo's' Rooney Mara: A premiere beauty

-- Alice Short

Photo: Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo star in "The Artist." Credit: Weinstein Co.

Cowardly Lion costume from 'Wizard of Oz' on the auction block

OZ lion costume 2

One of the two known Cowardly Lion costumes worn by Bert Lahr in "The Wizard of Oz" is set to join Dorothy's ruby slippers on the auction block later this month.

The following description of what one can only assume is the holy grail of furries everywhere was provided by auction organizer Profiles in History

"This costume was worn when the Cowardly Lion first meets Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road and sings Cowardly Lion Costume‘If I only had the Nerve’ as well as when he later sings his trademark, ‘If I were King of the Forest’ in the Emerald City."

The Nov. 30 announcement of the costume's addition to a two-day Hollywood memorabilia auction that includes a Marilyn Monroe wedding ring, Bela Lugosi's "Dracula" cape and a DeLorean that appeared in "Back to the Future III," mentioned an interesting factoid we hadn't been aware of: the Cowardly Lion's costume, which has a presale estimated value of $2 million to $3 million, was made from an actual, honest-to-goodness lion hide. 

The auction is scheduled to take place Dec. 15 and 16 at the Paley Center for the Media at 465 N. Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. Additional information about the auction can be found at the Profiles in History website.

We're not sure who has the courage -- especially in this economy -- to drop a cool $3 million (or more) on such a trophy, but some small part of us would love to see it go to former CBS News anchor Dan Rather who, you may recall, briefly but famously made the word "courage" his one-word broadcast signoff back in 1986.


'Back to the Future' DeLorean, costumes and props set for auction

Ruby slippers worn in 'Wizard of Oz' to go on auction block

West Hollywood makes fur ban official

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos, from top: A scene from "The Wizard of Oz" with Jack Haley, left, Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr; the Cowardly Lion costume that will be up for bid at a Dec. 15-16 auction. Credits: Turner Entertainment / Warner Bros. Entertainment; Profiles in History

'Back to the Future' DeLorean, costumes and props set for auction

Back To The Future III DeLorean
Marty McFly's jacket, Doc Brown's shirt, a remote-controlled hoverboard and even one of the time-traveling DeLoreans will be among the items from the "Back to the Future" franchise up for bid at a December auction of Hollywood memorabilia.

More than 100 "Back to the Future" pieces will join a treasure trove of costumes, props and celebrity personal effects up for bid at Profiles in History's three-day auction in December, announced Tuesday.  

Among the pieces hitting the auction block from the original 1985 movie will be a jacket worn by Michael J. Fox's  McFly and the shirt worn by Christopher Lloyd's Brown character.

Back To The Future JacketPieces from the 1989 sequel, "Back to the Future Part II," include a jacket worn by Thomas F. Wilson's Biff as well as the Griff Tannen remote-controlled Pitbull hoverboard used on screen (and estimated to fetch $15,000 to $20,000).

But it's a piece from the third movie in the franchise, "Back to the Future Part III," that's likely to generate the most interest (and an estimated price of  $400,000 to $600,000) -- one of the seven DeLorean time machines that appeared  over the course of the trilogy. Profiles in History's description:

"This particular car was used in the 1955 drive-in movie scene when Michael J. Fox drives it into the past and lands in 1885 to find Doc. It was built completely for off-road use. Of the seven DeLoreans, only three have survived since filming, and this is one of those three -- the only one in private hands.... The car comes with a Universal Studios certificate of authenticity and an original signed bill of sale with the vehicle Identification number."

According to the statement issued by Profiles in History, part of the proceeds from this section of the auction will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, which was the beneficiary of September's auction of 1,500 pairs of the futuristic-looking, light-up 2011 Nike Mag (a real-life version of the mythical self-lacing sneakers that appeared in the second movie).

The location of the auction, which will also include Marilyn Monroe's wedding ring and a pair of "Wizard of Oz" ruby slippers used on screen and is scheduled to take place Dec. 15 to 17,  has not yet been announced.


Behind the Laces: A closer look at Marty McFly's 2011 Nike Mag

Nike offers up Marty McFly's  'Back to the Future' shoes

Debbie Reynolds to auction costume collection

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: A DeLorean that appeared on screen in "Back to the Future Part III," top, and a jacket worn by Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly character in the first film  are among  more than 100 items related to the film trilogy that will be on the auction block Dec. 15 to 17. Credit: Profiles in History

Why not let fashion frame debate over who pays for 3-D glasses?

An article in Thursday's Times highlighting the spat between movie studios and theaters over who should foot the bill for 3-D glasses concludes that it could result in viewers having to pay for their own eyewear. 

According to the piece by Ben Fritz and Rebecca Keegan, although it is common practice in the U.S. for movie studios to subsidize the average 45 cents a ticket it costs to hand out (and then collect) the glasses, in Europe they're sold as a separate concession item.

Which is why European luxury labels like Gucci and Armani Exchange were quick to offer stylish versions (for $225 and $58, respectively), which hit retail in December 2010. (We'd also heard secondhand about several styles of Calvin Klein-branded 3-D specs, but they don't appear on the website.) 

With the promise of more 3-D movies in more theaters -- and living rooms -- it's a model that makes fiscal and fashion sense. First of all, even the best loaner glasses feel like a pair of pincers on the temples after about a half an hour, and it's a good thing the glasses are worn in a dark theater since they're about as stylish-looking as the eye grill that LeVar Burton's character wears in "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

My guess is that label-conscious moviegoers would be willing to shell out their own money to buy a permanent pair. Another alternative would be to let fashion designers pay the cost on a film-by-film basis to build brand awareness or leverage product-placement synergies. Tom Ford frames could promote a 3-D Bond flick in which 007 wears a TF tuxedo, for example, or a version in Ray-Ban Wayfarer frames to promote a 3-D re-release of "Risky Business."

SoCal eyewear maker Oakley did a version of that, offering a limited-edition $150 "Tron"-themed pair of 3-D glasses timed to coincide with the release of the Disney movie 

And there's a huge untapped marketing opportunity in the novelty arena as well -- just imagine a theater full of patrons watching a slapstick comedy while wearing 3-D Groucho Marx glasses. 


Gucci, Armani Exchange debut stylish 3-D glasses

Currently Coveting: Barton Perreira's retro-inspired shades

A deluxe 'Tron' pop-up store to debut at Royal/T later this month

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo (left): Armani Exchange introduced its 3-D eyewear frames in December. Credit: Armani Exchange

Photo (right): Gucci's 3-D eyewear frames debuted in December too. Credit: Gucci

Saving movie costumes as 'Gone With the Wind' novel turns 75

Cara Varnell works with the green velvet gown from GWTW 
It's been 75 years since the publication of "Gone With the Wind," and it still captures the public's imagination. The novel and subsequent movie keep generating controversy for their portrayal of slavery and keep generating headlines, thanks to fans who want to read and re-read the book, collect the paraphernalia and dress up like Scarlett O'Hara.

Earlier this year, we noted some of the many events inspired by the novel's 75th anniversary.  Now the Associated Press reports on efforts by the University of Texas to repair five of the dresses by 2014 -- in time for the film's 75th anniversary.

Buttons on the green velvet gown from GWTW Which dresses? Scarlett's green curtain dress, her green velvet gown, a burgundy ball gown, blue velvet night gown and her wedding dress.

But the restoration of iconic movie costumes that have gone through decades of traveling displays and been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presents a series of challenges: "Stitching and holes can be repaired, and extra feathers added years ago can be removed, but the dresses are old, badly faded in spots and, in one case, just too fragile to handle," the Associated Press reports.

The dresses "are culturally important,' said Cara Varnell, an independent art conservator who specializes in Hollywood film costumes and is doing the restoration work.

Continue reading »

Sharen Davis: Dressing Southern belles, maids for 'The Help'

'The Help'

The costumes in “The Help,” the film based on the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, offer a glimpse into the fashions of the “Mad Men”-era South. Unlike their cosmopolitan counterparts working for the Sterling Cooper Agency in New York City in the early 1960s, the Southern belles in Jackson, Miss. were dressing for the bridge club, not the secretarial pool.

For costume designer Sharen Davis, that meant hyper-feminine dresses in Easter egg shades, with bold floral prints, modest necklines and full skirts nipped at the waist.

“This is probably the most color I’ve ever used in my life,” said Davis, whose credits include “Dreamgirls” and “Ray.” “And it’s the first time I have not used a color palette for a film. Each of the women had her own story, her own home and her own color palette.”

Davis built 50 costumes from scratch using vintage fabrics (the rest were sourced from costume rental shops and vintage stores).  The job was challenging because the film, which opens Wednesday, was shot in Greenwood, Miss., where resources were nil. “The only store is a Walmart. There wasn’t even a Starbucks or a Target,” she said. “I had to fly a lot of people back to L.A. for fittings on the weekends.”

Bryce Dallas Howard in 'The Help.'

 “The Help” revolves around Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone). Freshly graduated from Ole Miss, she is ready to put marriage and family on hold to get a job in journalism, and, ultimately, to write a book about black maids working in the Jim Crow South. Not surprisingly, her proto-feminism is met with disdain from her bridge club peers, especially her friend, Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard). 

Davis paid keen attention to the details of every outfit, just as a Southern social butterfly would. She spent $15,000 alone on period accessories, including patent leather structured handbags with matching shoes, pearl choker necklaces and cluster earrings, cat’s eye sunglasses and garden party-festive hats.

If there is a Joan Holloway in “The Help,” it’s fish-out-of-water Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain), a town newcomer whose hourglass figure and clingy clothes leave little to the imagination. “In the book, the character loved Marilyn Monroe, so we stayed with that. We padded poor Jessica with bigger breasts and bigger hips. We used waist-cinchers too. It’s a very Hollywood look but tacky and country.”

Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer in "The Help."

Davis first turned to old Vogue magazines for research, but found the looks too fashionable for everyday people. “Jackson is a very small town, and women there may have been watching the style of Jackie O, but they were two years behind her in fashion.”

So she looked to 1960s-era Sears, JC Penney and Montgomery Ward catalogs instead. Seventeen magazine was also a guide. “There’s a line in the book that describes these women as ‘babies making babies,’ and that’s what they were,” Davis said.

Emma Stone in "The Help" Except for Skeeter. “Skeeter was a bit of a tomboy. She didn’t care how she looked. Her objective was to appear business-like, not feminine or masculine,” said Davis, who consulted photos of students from a 1960s Ole Miss yearbook for ideas for the character’s coordinated sportswear separates in earth tones.

When Skeeter lands a job writing the “Miss Myrna” cleaning hints column for the local newspaper, she seeks assistance from the help of the title. More than their stain-fighting tricks, she is taken with their stories. So she starts on a journey to record the experiences of Aibileen (Viola Davis), Minny (Octavia Spencer) and other maids working for white families.

For Davis, who is African American, creating the costumes for the black maids had special meaning because her grandmother, Nelly Moseley, worked as domestic help in Louisiana during the same time period as the film’s.

“In the book, the uniforms were white. We tested white uniforms for the film, and yellow and pink. But they looked like nurse’s uniforms,” Davis said. She settled on gray, which is what her grandmother wore. 

All of the uniforms were plain cotton, except for Minny’s, which was made from a gray pinstripe fabric sourced from Los Angeles-based designer James Perse.  “We went to this place in downtown L.A. that sells ends of designer fabric,” said Davis. The irony isn’t lost on her. “The rest of the fabric was probably used to make expensive shirts!”

-- Booth Moore


Movie Review: The Help

'Crazy, Stupid, Love': A fresh take on the male movie makeover

LACMA''s Costume Council hosts the weird, wonderful costumes of Cirque du Soleil

Bob Mackie lets fans own a piece of Hollywood history

Photos from "The Help," from top: Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone, back to camera) plays bridge with friends Elizabeth Leefolt (Ahna OReilly, from right), Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Jolene French (Anna Camp), while Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) looks on.

Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard)

Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain) and Minny (Octavia Spencer)

Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone). Credit: Dale Robinette/Dreamworks.

'Crazy, Stupid, Love': A fresh take on the male movie makeover

Crazy Stupid Love Collage

There are all kinds of reasons to go see "Crazy, Stupid, Love" starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone, which hit theaters Friday. While our film critic Betsey Sharkey has laid out most of them in her review (linked at the bottom of this post), I'll add another: the clothes.

From the opening scene -- which starts with a pan across a room full of restaurant patrons' feet that finally comes to rest on a pair of Prada heels toe-to-toe across from a pair of New Balance running shoes -- to the closing one in which the wearing (or not wearing) of a necktie says nearly as much as the dialogue itself, the clothes play a key role in the transformation of Carell's Cal Weaver character.

That's thanks in large measure to the film's costume designer Dayna Pink, whose love of menswear and appreciation of its details is apparent not only in the way she dresses Gosling (in Alexander McQueen, YSL, Simon Spurr and custom Gossuin shirts) and the post-makeover Carell (in labels like Burberry, Zegna, Canali, Prada and Etro), but in the way she reverse engineers Carell's character into a fashion don't for the early parts of the film.

Pink had been enthusiastically telling me about "Crazy, Stupid, Love" since shortly after I interviewed her last year about the hilarious mid-'80s wardrobe she put together for the John Cusack comedy "Hot Tub Time Machine," and after I saw a screening, it was apparent why: Cal Weaver's transformation is a fresh departure from the traditional male makeover we're used to seeing on the silver screen.

That spurred me on to researching how the male movie makeover has been portrayed in the past, and why it might be changing now. The resulting story, which appears in this Sunday's Image section, is probably one of the few style stories that includes "The Bridges of Madison County" and "Avatar" in the same sentence -- not to mention the same genre.

Memorable male makeovers in movies

Makeover tips: Clothes make the man

  -- Adam Tschorn

Photo: At left, pre-makeover Steve Carell with Julianne Moore in "Crazy, Stupid, Love." At right, Ryan Gosling (left) and a post-makeover Steve Carell. Credit: Warner Bros.


Movie review: "Crazy, Stupid, Love"

A Carell-Gosling bromance in 'Crazy, Stupid, Love'

'Hot Tub Time Machine' costume designer totally takes us back

Frugal Fashion: 'Friends with Benefits' star Mila Kunis in Balmain at the MTV movie awards

MilaThe MTV movie awards tend to deliver that certain wow factor every year with a musical performance or outrageous skit of some sort, but this year Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis stole the show. While the two "Friends with Benefits" stars announced the award for best male performance the two "friends" decided to prove their platonic status by, ahem, groping each other's private parts.

As I gasped in amazement at the utterly ridiculous yet hilarious spectacle, I became transfixed. Not because of the incessant groping, which seemed to go on forever, but because I suddenly -- and more importantly -- realized that I needed to get my hands on Kunis' uber sparkly, 1980s-flashback Balmain miniskirt, stat.

Kunis has been turning heads at awards shows with her fashion choices, such as the jaw-dropping red Alexander McQueen she wore to the SAG awards well before her "Black Swan" glory days. She's a pro at going uber glam with a gown for the Oscars or, as in this case, fun and flirty for an MTV event.

Last Sunday Kunis wasn't the only one wearing Balmain, but she did wear it best. "Twilight" saga star Kristen Stewart wore a red Balmain dress with frenzied safety pin embellishments and "Gossip Girl" vixen Leighton Meester went hyper glam in a Balmain long-sleeved dress that looked a little like a shiny, shattered mirror.

Mila Kunis rocked her Balmain jewel-bedazzled mini with a dolman sleeve classic black top and sky-high pale pink platform pumps.

For a look-at-me mini of your own, you can ditch the jewel embellished pieces. Sequins add just as much bling without the eye-popping price tag. Go for the LaRok flirty sequin camo skirt from for $158.99, Tumbled sequin miniskirt from for $127, smoke sequin miniskirt from for $79.50 or the sequin mini skirt from Express for $59.90.


Kunis' loose top transforms the mini from night club status to elegant-party-ready. For a similar top, snag the 3/4 sleeve tee by Juicy Couture for $24.97, 3/4 sleeve dolman from for $14.90 or the 3/4 dolman sleeve twist tee by C&C California for $24.90.


Kunis' pale shoes are a great color contrast to her skirt but it might be fun to play around with the shoes you might already own, so no need to splurge there. Any pair of solid-colored pumps in bright red or even black would work great with this look.

Happy shopping!

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? Email us a picture. We're up for the challenge.

-- Jenn Harris


Frugal Fashion: 'Margaret' star Krysten Ritter at the Fox Television Distribution bash

Frugal Fashion: Rihanna pre-'S&M' at the Billboard Music Awards

Frugal Fashion: 'Fringe's' Anna Torv on the blue carpet at Fox upfront

Frugal Fashion: "Scream 4's" Lucy Hale goes Tribal at a Nylon magazine bash

Photo: Mila Kunis on stage at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards at Universal Studios' Gibson Amphitheatre on June 5, 2011, in Universal City. Credit: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Skirt photos: (From left) LaRok flirty sequin camo skirt. Credit:; Tumbled sequin miniskirt. Credit:; Sequin miniskirt. Credit:; Sequin miniskirt. Credit:

Shirt photos: (From left) 3/4 sleeve tee. Credit:; 3/4 sleeve dolman. Credit:; 3/4 sleeve dolman twist tee Credit:

Will Amy Adams’ Lois Lane have a fresh look?


Superman fans have just learned that Amy Adams will be the new face of Lois Lane in director Zack Snyder’s latest installment of the comic book franchise. So far the blogosphere has been mixed on the casting choice — is she tough enough, is she young enough, is she sexy enough? All valid questions, but we can’t help but wonder— what is she going to wear? Amy_Adams

Lois Lane is the seminal working gal and no matter who plays her or in what era, she’s always dressed the part. Portrayed as a bosomy high heel-wearing siren in the original comic books, her various updates have included the box hat and string of pearls look concocted for Phyllis Coates in the 1950s and Margot Kidder’s loose peasant gowns and wide legged pants in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Teri Hatcher turned her sexy in the 1990s and earlier this decade Erica Durance ("Smallville") and Kate Bosworth have played her as more earnest, and less stylized. Clearly, we are meant to assume, a hard-working serious news journalist in this day and age doesn’t care what she wears.

How will Snyder and his team interpret the sartorial choices of America’s reporting sweetheart in the second decade of the 21st century? It’s still too early to tell. In the meantime, here’s a look at the fashions of Lois Lanes past.

--Deborah Netburn

Photos: Margot Kidder with Christopher Reeve in 1977's "Superman." Credit: AFP. Bottom picture, Amy Adams at an Academy Awards pre-party this year. Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg.

Brushing up on hair history: "Vidal Sassoon: The Movie"


There's no doubting how Michael Gordon, founder of hair company Bumble & Bumble and producer of the upcoming documentary "Vidal Sassoon: The Movie," feels about his subject.

In the first few moments of the film, Sassoon is described as the "Dior of hairdressers," "Einstein" and "the Messiah." It's all a bit tongue-in-cheek, for sure. But the film is still an incredibly flattering portrait of the British hairdresser who changed the look of women's hair in the 1960s, creating geometric, wash-and-wear cuts that were their own kind of liberation and echoed the sharp lines in fashion at the time.

The project started out as an 80th birthday tribute book for Sassoon and became a movie when Gordon brought in director Craig Teper. The result is a rags-to-riches documentary told through interviews with Sassoon and his friends.  

Between the treacly parts, there are plenty of fascinating facts about the man, now 83, who had the foresight to open Vidal Sassoon styling academies around the world and to launch a product empire with the famous tag line, "If you don't look good, we don't look good." [Updated]*

Whether you're just brushing up or reading about Sassoon for the first time, here's a crib sheet:

Continue reading »


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