Shorts story by Craig McDean

Natasha Poly by Craig McDean Vogue us April 2005_8

An array of elegant ways to wear shorts this season. I love dressing a pair of short pants up just as much as I love dressing a skirt down. It’s prettiness wedded to absolute practicality, and I am all for that.

Natasha Poly by Craig McDean Vogue us April 2005_4Natasha Poly by Craig McDean Vogue us April 2005_5Natasha Poly by Craig McDean Vogue us April 2005_9Natasha Poly by Craig McDean Vogue us April 2005_2Natasha Poly by Craig McDEan Vogue us April 2005_6Natasha Poly by Craig McDean Vogue us April 2005_3

photos: Craig McDean for Vogue US, April 2005 | Natasha Poly in “Short Change”

Posted by classiq in Fashion, Fashion Photography | | 8 Comments

Bucharest behind the trees

Classiq-Bucharest architecture

The architecture is one of the things I love the most about the city I live in. The center and north part of the city are packed with beautiful buildings, some of which I’ve seen maybe hundreds of times, others, I’m just discovering. Whether majestically lined up along the main boulevards or hidden on side-streets, they are grand in their ensemble, but I am even more drawn to their incredible details. I often find myself sliding my camera behind big iron gates and fences and tree branches in my attempt to capture their uniqueness: they are filled with character and a certain mystery that lures you in.

Have a wonderful week!

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Classiq_Bucharest behind the  trees

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photos by me

Posted by classiq in Beautiful Bucharest, Photography | | 7 Comments

Gueule d’amour

by guest writer

Gueule d'Amour 1937Gueule d'Amour-1937

Since the moment he became a star with Julien Duvivier’s Maria Chapdelaine (1934), Gabin had begun a series of successful movies that ended with Remorques (1941), due to the beginning of WWII, when he fled to the US to meet his friend Jean Renoir. The approach taken by the director in this movie is quite surprising. At the debut you find Lucien entering a French town with his regiment. He is the idol of all women and everybody knows his reputation of Don Juan. The first half of the film you get the notion of a comedy, but then everything changes when he meets mysterious Madeleine (Mireille Balin). Jean Grémillon makes a sudden turn to the poetic realist side, where fatalism seems to take over.

Lucien’s obsession with Madeleine becomes unbearable and, from this moment on, he will change his life to please her and keep her by his side. Madeleine is the stereotyped femme fatale, usually seen in film noir. Every aspect in her behaviour leads us to this conclusion. Gueule d’amour uses a wonderful black and white cinematography signed by Günther Rittau, with depth of field and breathtaking chiaroscuro lighting. Jean Grémillon’s own editing of the movie is not coincidental, as he only chooses fragments suggestive for his conveyed message. Jean Gabin takes over the entire movie with one of the best performances in cinema’s history. He is in a class of his own and I’m sure that you will agree with us.

photos: stills captured by Classiq from this DVD edition / credit: L’Alliance Cinématographique Européenne, Universum Film

Posted by classiq in Film | | 2 Comments

Capturing beauty #33

hanneli-mustaparta-tuscany

Like a still from an Italian classic…

We are expecting a few hot summer days around here (aren’t we always?), but I can’t say that I complain. No matter how torrid it gets, I always find ways to enjoy the summer. It’s going by too fast! Wishing you a beautiful and relaxing weekend!

photo: Hanneli (taken in Tuscany)

Posted by classiq in Capturing Beauty and Then Some, Photography | | 5 Comments

Style in film: Audrey Hepburn in ‘Sabrina’

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (3)

She wanted to wear a real Paris dress in Sabrina. Audrey Hepburn had a style that was very much her own, knowing exactly what complimented her slender figure, and insisted that she selected her own wardrobe for the film. In Billy Wilder’s 1954 romantic comedy, Audrey played Sabrina Fairchild, a chauffeur’s daughter, who falls in love with one of the sons of the wealthy employer her father works for. Lovesick, she leaves for Paris, only to come back two years later and cause an uproar when the two high society sons, David (William Holden) and Linus (Humphrey Bogart), fall for her.

Edith Head, the wardrobe supervisor for the film, had prepared sheets of drawings on which she and Audrey could collaborate sketching the dresses. She was shocked to hear the actress’s wish, as this was a film that would have given her a great opportunity to design for a leading lady “looking like a Paris mannequin”.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina

Sabrina transforms from a shy waif into a sophisticated Parisienne after her trip to Paris. When she returns, her hair is fashionably cropped too, because, as one of the characters she meets in Paris says about her previous hair-do, “this is not a hair style suitable for Paris”.

One of the outfits Audrey selected in Paris was the elegant double-breasted wool suit, collarless, that she wears on her first day back home. The actress was given instructions by Edith Head to buy a dark suit, “the type you would wear crossing the Atlantic by plane and arriving in up-state New York by train”. She was also advised by the costume designer not to choose “dead black or dead white” (and go instead for dark blue or oxford or charcoal grey), as these non-colours did not show up well on film, so costumes were usually made in derivations of tones. Audrey chose “that jazzy suit” – an Oxford-gray wool-ottoman tailleur with a cinch-waisted, double-breasted scoop-necked jacket and a slim, calf-length vented skirt. Hepburn finished off the suit with the hat with which it had originally been presented, a miniature turban of pleated pearl-gray chiffon, created by Givenchy’s in-house milliner.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (4)

costumes Sabrina (1954)

Some sources say that Billy Wilder’s wife (others say that Gladys de Segonzac, wife of Paramount’s Paris executive) sent Audrey to Cristóbal Balenciaga in Paris. The designer would surely have provided her a fabulous wardrobe, but he was too busy preparing his latest collection. He sent Audrey to his friend, Hubert de Givenchy, who had worked for Balenciaga. As it turned out that Givenchy couldn’t design something especially for her either, as he was in the middle of a collection himself, Audrey asked him to show her his previous collection. It was exactly what she needed and she ended up buying a capsule wardrobe, formed of three outfits (the aforementioned suit and the two gowns she would wear in the film), which amounted to the sum of $850, from the French couturier for her post-Paris make-over. It was their first collaboration.

Edith Head, much to her disappointment, had to design the rest of Hepburn’s outfits, a lot less glamorous, but which, in my opinion, beautifully shaped up her character. The costume department also had to manufacture duplicates of the Givenchy clothes that would be needed in case the original ones were ruined during production.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (6)

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (18)

Sabrina had to look like a princess when she arrives at the Larrabee ball, out-shining the other women in their New Look evening dresses (this last part, its style being against the trend, is what I love the most about this dress). The bustier gown in white organdy was decorated with a navy floral embroidery pattern of silk thread and jet beads and the flowing over-skirt was split at the front to reveal a pencil skirt beneath. There is one detail I would have dispensed with though: the black ruffled hem of the over-skirt.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (7)

I simply love the shot above, because I love seeing a gown (or any other fashion item for that matter) taken out of its context.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (8)

A summery, easy outfit Sabrina wears when she goes sailing with Linus. Checked shirt knotted at the waist and with collar and sleeves turned up, little white shorts and espadrilles. This ensemble suited Audrey just as well as the glamorous Givenchy gowns.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (9)

I just love John Williams (Thomas Fairchild, above) in the film, the sense of humour of his characters always gets me.

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style on film-Sabrina

The black cocktail buttoned down its deep V back before flaring out below the fitted waist into a full ballerina-length skirt and had a sharp boat neckline with small straps fastened with bows. Givenchy said that he adapted his design to Audrey’s desires, as she wanted a bare-shoulder evening dress modified to hide her collarbone. What he invented for her became a style so popular that the designer named it décolleté Sabrina. Audrey wore the little black dress that accentuated her tiny waist with long black gloves, black pumps, and that cute catwoman-like jewelled hat, paved with rhinestones. It is a medieval-looking toque that Audrey found in Givenchy’s atelier. “Audrey always added a twist, something piquant, amusing, to the clothes”, says the designer.

Clothing manufacturers reproduced the bateau neckline dress by the thousands the year the movie was released. Edith Head would make sketches of the dress for books and appearances and signed them with her name. Only after Edith’s death did Givenchy, a true gentleman, confirm that the black cocktail dress was his original design, and had been made under Head’s supervision at Paramount.

I have already mentioned in another blog post that both the studio and the costume designer kept quiet about Givenchy’s involvement in the film. Not even when she won an Oscar for the costumes in Sabrina, did Edith Head acknowledge the French designer’s merits – he was the one who created Sabrina’s Parisian-inspired look after all, the look that dominates the movie and that has become one of fashion’s lasting legacies. “Imagine if I had received credit for Sabrina”, said Givenchy, “at the beginning of my career. It would have helped!”

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (19)

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (10)Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (13)

This costume was described as a “street outfit and light coat” and was very much a hallmark of Audrey’s look: slim black Capri pants (a style launched by this film), high necked black top plunging into a V-neck at the back (love this sly detail), ballet shoes and a black wool coat on top.

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (14)

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (15)Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (16)

Audrey Hepburn's style in Sabrina (17)

Audrey Hepburn’s personal style would be inextricably linked to Hubert de Givenchy for the rest of her life, and, after Sabrina, Audrey requested Givenchy to design for all her films. “His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier; he is a creator of personality.”

photos: stills from the film captured by me from this DVD edition / credit: Paramount Pictures
sources: Classic Hollywood Style by Caroline Young, Edith Head: The Fifty Year Career of Hollywood’s Greatest Designer, by Jay Jorgensen, the article “When Hubert Met Audrey”, by Amy Fine Collins, Vanity Fair, December 1995

Posted by classiq in Style in film | | 14 Comments