This is your Bag: It’s Big.

Alice. D of Milano: Create Your Bag and Give Back 5% to Charity

Mother daughter team of Donatella and Alice make up the delightful Italian brand ALICE * D based in Milan. Italian craftsmanship in fine leathers and vegan options are created with a simple and impactful use of color blocking . The design is a classic tote bag shape in a variety of sizes from the MINI to the MAXI. The bags can also come with shoulder straps. Inside an unlined hand stitched construction is a zipper pocket for security or your phone. What we love about these bags is their practicality combined with a chic simplicity and lush materials like butter soft Italian leathers in a variety of colors that reflect the season. Winter Collections featured a cozy lamb fur mixed with leather to make its statement. Vegan options are made of clear acrylics with colors or even straw for the spring season. This combination can also be mixed with leather. A heavy linen fabric (pictured) mixed with leather is another favorite. You can put a laptop in the medium size, use the larger size for an airline carry on or evening event with the mini size bag with shoulder straps. Amusing combinations and leathers like leopard or snake are also added into the mix just for fun.

You can Order your own Bag for Charity

Dream up your own Combination for your Spring Tote and Give Back 5%

This collection will not be available in stores. In the Spring season, when the factory re-opens in Milan the design team and their craftsmen will be back to work and you will get your order in 3-4 weeks. Order here. via email and tell us the unique combination you want. We will contact you directly with ordering instructions. Please Add 4 weeks for order completion. In Stock bags are available with shorter shipping times once the business re-opens.

Editor’s Note: Just mention you are a reader of ART OF STYLE magazine and get a special opportunity to give 5% to charity.* Charity group (*nokidhungrey.org).

See Alice.D on Instagram for all their styles and colors to inspire you.

Solid Leathers or combinations in the medium sized tote bag custom made for you in Milano donates 5% to charity.

Emma: Clothes, Manners and Men

The Delights of Jane Austin’s World

She’s back and better than ever. Emma. Feisty, vain, elegant and well meaning she is one of literatures favorite busy bodies. If you are not familiar with the story, the young woman of Jane Austin’s collection of characters is known for her matchmaking skills that go woefully wrong. Not once. But several times. A defined social structure is important to the story, with each segment of society well displayed and the characters interacting between them creating both a flow and tension to the plot. All ends well; but on the way to a foregone conclusion, the characters are sharply drawn from Austin’s wellspring of experiences that continue to delight us. You cannot help but feel that she knew each of them very well. She was the quiet woman at the back of the sitting room watching carefully as her stylish relatives and betters interacted. Her wicked pen would finally gain some reputation while she was alive but sadly, she died before her great fame was achieved. Many consider her stories the greatest in the English language in novel format.

A backdrop for elegant clothes and furnishings: The English countryside

The views. The chairs. The warm fires. The windows looking out onto the garden; each express the experiences of the life led by the men and women of this period known as the Regency. The dinner parties alone give one pause, for the sheer amount of food consumed by candlelight. The Treats and Teas displayed should be of note to the London Hoteliers, who should use them as a theme; the set decorating crew and food stylists of the film, simply amazing.

The clothes; ah yes, the clothes. Scrumptious and delicious in their particular fussiness. Fabrics were all imported during this period. Cottons from India, silks from China, Italy or France and the wool manufactured in England. Each beautifully tailored into long coats, high waisted dresses and all with the deftness of a fairy like touch. The men are “beau brummel” rogues and the women feigned an almost biblical sense of purity in their carefully tailored coats and bonnets. The design team is to be commended for not only exquisite details but the particular (slight) exaggeration of some characters such as the parson, whose winged chasuble gave him a particular comic relief in the local parish. The hats, the ribbons the lace and other parts of the garments were made in England and represented the industry at home during the prosperous 19th century Industrial Revolution.

A word about the men’s styles:

Remember the suit? The famous English tailoring we have come to know was all invented during this period. The coats, vests and breeches (oh my) are all displayed in part of this film that gives Austin fans what they crave: romance, intrigue, luxe interiors and views as a backdrop for their beloved characters. Our heroic pair, Emma and Knightly are well matched for their wit and almost dangerously sensuous edginess. We can see the actors hold back their enjoyment of each other in their tightly wound scenes that take an acre of English gardens to finally resolve.

This version of the story has a certain comic and broader feel to it, with music playing a great part in the cadences of each scene. The lighting and interiors are a marvel giving us day and nights in the drawing rooms, hallways, dining and garden rooms of these stately English homes. Seeing how manners, feelings and intentions were so important for the period will be a marvel for the first time viewer. The truth of human experience is always well shown in an Austin story and this one has both fun and some seriousness of intention. Bravo. This one is on its way to some big awards at the Oscars and Golden Globes next year.

You can rent this movie and binge it or share on Amazon Prime with the whole family.

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood: OSCAR TIME 2020

The Art of Film COSTUME Design: The Wardrobe Mistress, is in. 

What a journey for the past year in film; from the 19th century countryside in Massachusetts (Little Women) to the mean streets of New York (The Irishmen) and modern stories (like Ford v. Ferrari) or Marriage Story and a romp through Hollywood sixties glam (Once upon a time in Hollywood) all with the stars adding the shine. The war picture (1917) was epic both in size and scale for the costumes and surprisingly did not receive a Costume nomination (Best Picture) this year.  

Costume designers are integral to a film’s success and their relationship to the production designer and the overall mood of a film can’t be ignored. It is often said the Costume Designer is one of the last crafts remaining in filmmaking.

Here are the nominated films for Best Costume Design:

  • Sandy Powell,  The Irishman***
  • Mayes C. Rubeo, Jojo Rabbit
  • Mark Bridges,  The Joker
  • Jacqueline Duran,  Little Women*
  • Arianne Phillips,  Once Upon a Time in Hollywood*

What is the process of doing a film from the costume perspective, and how does this work get  created? Teams work together in filmmaking, with the leader taking on the creative point of view with director and producer.

Designers all work from different angles like an emphasis on character or style of a period or with fabric inspirations and some designers like Ann Roth who famously dressed Dustin Hoffman for (Midnight Cowboy) by leaving the clothes she picked for him to work through to decide for himself what his look would be (*this true story I heard in person from Ann herself).  A film could be an extensive period film with thousands of extras (*Sandy Powell dressed over 5,000) for her recent work in The Irishman to small intimate films with just a few characters with budgets ranging from $100,000 to millions. Designers will always tell you that what they do is both an art; a craft; a Psychologist or technician’s job that involves all aspects of making sure a production is both on time and on budget and brilliant, of course. 

Our favorite films (*see above) ranged from period to modern. I mention first the Oscar nominated film (for Best Picture) 1917 (*not nominated for costumes) as this film was sheer logistics in putting all the uniforms, accessories, and yes, even those acres of tragically dead bodies in uniforms, a huge undertaking. The team who did this film should not have gone unnoticed.

Our next favorite was Little Women designed by Jacqueline Duran.  Her unique ability to take a period of time, the 1860’s and make is modern, fresh and very lived in was also an imperative by the writer/director.  The characters were also carefully etched in shape, form, fabric surface and color making the story unfold with various moods as it went backwards and forwards towards its conclusion.  The director also made a concerted effort not to make the film ‘stuffy or period’ in its conception; she rightfully took the characters and their clothes and made them lived in and very easy to understand for a modern audience. 

Our next favorite was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood a celebration of the period of the 1960s in its exuberant color and shape.  A California vibe, and spin to the essence of this period was also well done by Arianne Phillips.  The male leads, Brad and Leo * were also very at ease in their sartorial duds supporting the vision by director Quentin Tarantino. Sandy Powell, who is nominated for The Irishman is a designer I have been following since her first film, ORLANDO that was created with a lower budget; I thought it was always her best work combined with a unique performance by the leading actress. SMs. Powell had very little money to produce this film; it’s a tribute to her that both her projects with vastly different budgets have been recognized in her career. 

Congratulations to all Nominees this year, and the artists of the world of costume for a banner year for the art of costume design.

*Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio

***Sandy Powell has won 3 Oscars: Shakespeare in Love, The Aviator, The Young Victoria.  She received nominations for The Favorite, Mary Poppins Returns.

Editor’s Note:   Pikke Allen has been an Assistant Designer, Costume Supervisor, Fashion stylists in Television, Film and Commercials. She currently writes for fashion from Paris and for films in Los Angeles.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

The Roar of the Greasepaint, the smash of the Crowd

Sag Awards in LA Red Carpet Musings: Hollywood is out in their finest threads and dazzling sparkles.   

The SAG awards was in fact the first big awards show we did, back when it was just a baby awards show.  Everyone thought we were nuts to do it, but here we are today one of the audience favorites celebrating the actors and their year of highs and lows.  So, with the clothes playing a major part in the fun, here’s below a few crowd snaps (*thank you to Darci Scanlon, event Production designer & gal in the gallery) who furnished these ‘street photos’ for us.  More about Darci, a bit later.   Now, to the fashions!

 

Wow, Cynthia Erivo basically won the carpet. Her Schiaparelli gown was stunning, powerful, sexy and made the statement that she is ‘here to stay, thank you, very much’.  And speaking of (wow) some of the ladies learned their lessons from the GOLDEN GLOBES (*Jaylo, that’s you dearest) who (if you were lately under a rock) wore the largest Christmas Wrap bow ever seen on the carpet. I am sure that those “Valentino” people had a blast making that bow and wanted to see how large it could get (meow) telling poor Jaylo it was the height of fashion (Twitter told her  “NO” ) thus, no need for me, to go on.  Jaylo responded, with a black strapless gown (whew) was both elegant and sexy.  She’s really getting that she is a superstar, so why not ‘ultra elegance’ instead as Queen of a road show?  Renee (bless her) had the 1950s sculptured strapless on “A La Judy” and it was a fitting tribute. She is super petite; her small frame was not engulfed by the dress though her hair was a bit ‘unexplained’.  The Duchess’ can get away with a messy bun, but few can measure up to her example. Renee always looks great in a Chignon, or French updo a better choice for her.

Tops in my book is Zoe Kravitz who having just been married in Paris over the holidays has taken vintage GIVENCHY “A La Audrey” to heart.  She has made it new and modern again. Her salmon toned silk dress will revive and modernize many trends in the industry. I hope the gloves were made of kid leather (*not easy to know that from a distance) were a bit over the top for California (*yes, Mrs. Clooney) but nevertheless the look was a game changer for Zoe.

Charlize Theron took on the super simple and sexy athletic look almost wearing a yoga top and slit front skirt that was truly a surprise and a trend of things to come. How far can a couture house go towards “athleisure” looks?  Jennifer Aniston, a true LA beach girl wore what we all could fantasize about; if we threw on a gown and headed to the beach (sounds sorta casual) but the results was a 1930’s style Harlow gown that really looked elegant and unfussy. Sophie Turner is enjoying her reign as the ‘corset queen’ in a hot pink number that was belted and reminiscent of the sort of Gaultier gown worn by Madonna.  She is certainly on the right track. She is a warrior, and it suits her. There was some hot pink, black, silver and even that royal blue showing up on the carpet. There were a few pantsuits and mixes of the two (some better than others) and apparently an entire spring garden of puffs and clouds ( I personally think are just silly in January).  Many are Oscar(tm)  hopefuls, so let’s see if this high level of couture and red carpet savvy will continue.

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Editor’s Note: All photos used with courtesy of Darcy Scanlin and must be licensed for further use.  Ms. Scanlin’s photo backdrop for the awards was designed by her and her team, bravo.  See our Instagram feed for more of those fun photos @artificeworld

 

 

 

The Mad Hatter of Venice: Nicolas Fouquet

Here is what happens when ‘unconventional’ style meets the typical men’s hat in Los Angeles.

There was one evening on the Grammy stage when several notable stars wore stunning hats on and the rest is hat-history. The beaver fur hat, a unique felted fabric that is rendered into post-historic shapes decorated with multi-colored bands of fabric or bits of inspiration from the Colorado mountains; you are now taking in the NICOLAS FOUQUET hat made in Venice, CA by the mad hatter himself. The name is distinctly French, his origins both American and French with a worldwide journey in between. Only a world traveler with a curiosity for the things that move or inspire him could also be in the midst of reviving a 1970’a geodesic dome in Topanga Canyon that is sure to be another stylish creative project.

Nicolas also recently opened his 2,000 square feet location in Venice he supevised and designed himself; a mix of spare desert style (inspired perhaps by Georgia O’Keefe) with the clean lines of a beach lifestyle just a few blocks away. Mixed with mid-century furniture create there is a luxe lounge area in the center of the space with the surrounds displaying an eye popping collection of hats, accessories and jewelry. There is a core collection of hats available in the store but he is always busy with his endless supply of custom designs created for a unique cast of celebrity clients.  What we say is, Mad Hatter or not, he is on to something to, well, take your hat off to. Nicolas  adds his name to the unique artists that make up the LA fashion scene that has taken off and is attracting attention around the world.

What Were They Thinking? Forgettable Emmy Red Carpet Moments 2019

Sometimes bad gowns, happen to very nice people…..Oh dear, this Emmy’s red carpet was perhaps the worst ever. Here are a few examples of looks that should not have left the house. Where do we start?

The simple fact is September in Los Angeles, is not the Fall Season in New York, and I have always been of the opinion the season on the Emmy’s Carpet is just like a TV sitcom: “Forever Spring” . There were Emmy looks too heavy for this theme, some are terribly made, some are so ridiculous in their seriousness, that even the Fab Four managed to look better on the carpet in their fashion send-ups by comparison. The Emmy’s has become a clown parade and the entire event has lots its purpose of celebration, becoming like a TV prom parade of very bad fashions. There were some bright spits from both the ingenues and some veterans, who chose to take their moment carefully and in keeping with their brand, and those merit their own separate blog post. I hope if you suffered the slings and arrows of the fashion press and learned the hard way, you will do better next year.

The Wardrobe Mistress

Murder Mystery Fashions: The Golden Age of 1930’s Cinema

The Kennel Murder Case” (1933) starring William Powell and Mary Astor.  As the character PHILO VANCE some say is is a “preview” to his later career as “The Thin Man” which debuted later in the decade and into the 1940’s as audiences could not get enough of his crime solving skills and debonair manner.  The THIN MAN series gained much acclaim and success.  It’s a favorite series on many TCM lists of Detective genres but this early mystery is considered one of the best.  It’s a short skip and jump to the “Film Noir” genre that is related though not the same.  My obsession with these films is the look and feel of the atmosphere, and especially the costumes. The 1930’s was the era of the depression when the movies provided the a lifestyle that audiences could only dream of.  The perfect suit worn by William Powell is in stark contrast to his cohorts down at the police station as he is a cut above in social class. The big stars of the film would have had their clothes especially tailored  and designed and Mary Aster’s clothes would have been created by a studio costume designer to reflect her high social class and taken from the pages of a fashion magazine.

ORRY KELLY was a well known costume designer known for his elegance for both women costumes and his filmography is long and contains some of Hollywood’s most famous films.  This film was one of his works and you can easily see Mary Astor and a few of the female main characters wearing his elegant designs.  The looks of the film were contemporary, and not fantastical.  A wardrobe mistress would have dressed the remaining cast members and extras.  Bill Powell most likely has a tailor who made his suits (at least 3 for the shoot) and costume stock from studio wardrobe would have dressed the cops, extras, and smaller characters in the film.  Before there were huge 531572240costume houses in Hollywood, there were huge wardrobe departments and stock that provided the costumes.

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The black and white film is a challenge that is unique to the art of costume and scenic design. Exploring the tones, textures and lines of the clothes is an important aspect to telling the story of the characters. When captured in black and white, the story becomes even more stark as the lights and shadows become as important as the fashions depicted.

What makes the genre of the detective story so fun, is the rooms are often bathed in shadows, characters emerge into the light, their clothes sometimes blending into the background until they are revealed and often with critical plot points. Satins and fur trim are important fabrics of the period as are silk crepes lending the look and feel for the bias cut dresses, coats and gowns; they lend specific textures and play with light which was the second most important aspect of the clothes next to the depiction of character.  Murder mysteries and ‘who-dunnets’  are peculiar in their aspects of “conceal and reveal” of each character in a story line; characters experience a progression as plots unfold and giving things away too soon can ruin the best plotlines.  The art of making sure the characters can both tell their stories and also emerge from the shadows at the right moment is a key aspect of a design.  Orry Kelly was a unique designer in his relationships with female stars as well as his unique ability to design both an ‘everyday’ look that also rises to the heights of movie star style.

The familiar faces of the often repeated cast of actors in this film are like old comfortable sweaters; you are happy to see them as they appear in yet another role perfectly cast for their personalities. The marvelous characters of the film seem to have been lifted right out of the pages of the original novel in their dusty and rumpled clothes; the stars pop off the screen in their beautifully tailored clothes that are a testament to both the designers and craftsmen who created them.

Editor’s Note:  Film historians such as William K. Everson, who pronounced The Kennel Murder Case a “masterpiece” (in the August 1984 issue of Films in Review) consider it one of the greatest screen adaptations of a Golden Age mystery novel; ranking it with the 1946 film Green for Danger.

Mary Astor and Her Dirty Diary https://www.dametown.com/mary-astor-and-her-dirty-diary/ via @DixieLaite

The Kennel Murder Case”  is available to Amazon Prime Members and a fun mystery to watch for the early career for William Powell.

Related Costume Research:  http://americancinematheque.blogspot.com/2015/07/fashion-expert-kimberly-truhler.html

TCM.com for more information on the genre of the Murder Mystery in Hollywood’s Golden Age.