I'm going to a 90s party tonight with all of my best gals. We've known each other since school - some of us since it was actually the 90s - and there's no-one else that I would rather dance the night away with (to the strains of if ya gettin' down, natch). Since my wardrobe is steadily becoming more and more 90s by the day I pretty much didn't even have to make a costume. I'm going to wear overalls, birkenstocks, a tartan shirt tied around my waist and a backwards cap. Grunge goodness.
Wasn't The Great Gatsby beautiful? I mean, wasn't it really, really beautiful? The production, the costumes, the make up, the jewellery. Rewatching it now, a few months after I first saw it on the big screen, I am struck by how truly spectacular it really is. It's such a perfect metaphor for the story's central message. Beauty is promise. But it is also ephemeral. It's growing up, it's getting old, it's the discarded party favours and crushed flowers that Gatsby treads on after the party... I really liked this film. And thanks to the lovely people at Village Roadshow I have 5 copies of the DVD to give away to readers of Capture the Castle! To enter, please leave a comment on this post with a link to your favourite image from The Great Gatsby. I shared a few of my own to get you started - Daisy and Jordan on that pristine, perfect lounge, Daisy surrounded by flowers at the afternoon tea, Daisy covered in rumpled silk shirts. Daisy, daisy, daisy. I really couldn't take my eyes off Carey in this movie. So, to win a copy, just leave a comment with a link to your favourite image and an email address so I can get in touch with you if you win, and I'll pick 5 winners in exactly a week's time on Thursday, October 3. It's that easy! Unfortunately this giveaway is only open to Australian residents. I can't wait to see your favourite pictures!
If you follow me on instagram this isn't going to be a surprise but... I'm going to New York! And Vancouver, and Denver and hopefully Portland and San Francisco too but... first things most definitely, undoubtedly first. New York. All that longing finally achieved something. It's not going to be purely a holiday, some of the trip I will be working, but oh! I could hardly think of a better way to celebrate the end of my thesis, the end of my degree, the start of something. New York has a magnetic pull for some people, the big apple, the conrete jungle where dreams are made. But for me it's the city where I met my best friend. Going back is always like a complex dance between what it was like the first time and what it is like now, and what it was like all those times in between. I never quite know how I feel about New York until I'm there, and when I'm there I never want to leave. And that's the point isn't it?
Please, please, please send me any tips that you have. It's been almost two years since I was last there and I would love to hear your suggestions! Leave a comment, tweet me or send me an email at email@example.com . Thank you!
It's much too hot for jeans today but I literally cannot stop wearing blue denim and black birkenstocks. It's just easy. I handed in my full draft to my supervisor yesterday and now I have a day of grace before I get the comments back and have to hit the ground running. So, naturally, instead of doing any of the million things I have stacked up in my mental to-do list, I read in bed all morning and drank ice-cold water through a straw. I'm not great in the heat, but on days like this I don't mind it, not at all.
'All I ever did to that apartment was hang fifty yards of yellow theatrical silk across the bedroom windows, because I had some idea that the gold light would make me feel better, but I did not bother to weight the curtains correctly and all that summer the long panels of transparent golden silk would blow out the windows and get tangled and drenched in afternoon thunderstorms. That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and ever procrastination, every word, all of it.'
Joan Didion, 'Goodbye to All That', Slouching to Bethlehem
So many different things have led to this moment. The release of Diana, for one, which has me thinking about how much the style in this movie referenced that 'Sloane Ranger' put-together-ness - although I guess if you were blonde and upper middle class in the 90s you probably couldn't escape a Diana reference, could you? I read an article about Emma Thompson writing Sense and Sensibility, and how the parts of the sisters was originally intended for Natasha and Joey Richardson (but Ang Lee, genius that he is, insisted that Emma play the role of Elinor, and wasn't that movie just... perfect?) And then, finally, the clincher. I watched Love Actually on the weekend. And I was struck, as I always am now, by Liam Neeson's storyline, and how eerily it foreshadowed real life. Liam Neeson was married to Natasha Richardson, and she passed away after a skiing accident in 2009. All of these things have reminded me both how much I loved Natasha Richardson and how much I loved her in The Parent Trap, a movie I probably watched at weekly intervals between the ages of 8 (I first saw it at my birthday party that year!) and, well.... 22.
I think it's becoming abundantly clear that I am knee-deep in a 90s revival at the moment. I can't stop wearing overalls, and denim shirts, and birkenstocks, and cami dresses, and ray ban sunglasses. But that's a kind of contempo-casual 90s look, the kind of Angela Chase, lip-liner look of the fresh-faced 90s babes of Smash Hits. There's another side of me that revels - has always revelled, really - in the ice-cold, oil-slick city chic of girls like CBK and, of course, her British counterpart, Diana. On the New York side it is a world of corduroy, camel coats and iron-straight hair. For the brit-girls it is maybe just a slick more polished; a veritable smorgasbord of taupe and beige, a-line shift dresses and sensible court shoes. Yes, pantyhose too. That's maybe taking it just a step too far for me.
Natasha's wardrobe in this movie is everything. It is the definition of chic, right down to the smallest touches - those delicate gold chains that sit at just the right point on her chest bone, her bamboo-handle gucci bag, her slim watch with tobacco-coloured band, the umbrella that perfectly matches her outfit. The first thousand hundred times I watched this movie I never really noticed, maybe because I was more interested in trying to learn that handshake, or crying my eyes out, or wishing beyond anything that I had a secret twin sister. But when I watch it now I can't stop looking at how, well, put together she is. There's no other word for it. Even when she's losing the plot she is still a vision in camel and curlers. Drunk and delirious after her first plane ride in years, she is still absolutely remarkable in an ivory skirt suit with silk blouse and matching trench coat. I mean, who looks like that when they've just stepped off a plane, even in First Class? I think the great thing about the costumes in this movie was that they both played to and played off the stereotypes of that era. Dennis Quaid was almost overly masculine, a laid-back Californian guy in denim blues and chest hair. And Natasha was his opposite, buttoned up (but not uptight), put together (but in an elegant, not controlled way), a British girl with style and class and sophistication. These were stereotypes, but, as is often the case with stereotypes, they were also real life. Dennis Quaid really was that overly masculine, laid-back guy, Natasha Richardson really was that phenomenally chic English Rose. Costume by definition, of course, doesn't require that its actors understand or even believe in its vision. But it certainly helps.
Yes, I have shamelessly stolen Lin's idea. But when I clicked through to see the collection from her blog and saw the tagline 'easy like sunday morning' I couldn't help but post this, on an easy sunday morning. Easy in the sense that I got up early, made myself a bagel and a cup of tea and ate them while nose-deep in Stephen Fry's biography, dappled light streaming in, promising what I'm sure is going to be a scorcher of a spring day. I do have a lot of work to do, but I know I will get to that later. For now, this sunday is easy. I've always loved that line. It speaks to the poetical simplicity of songwriting, that quality that we call 'lyrical', of course. There are people for whom that kind of artful ease comes so naturally. I remember reading a review of Crazy Heart by Roger Ebert, where he spoke about that line, that great, great line, that bit where Jean walks into Bad's seedy motel room and he says, 'I want to talk about how bad you make this room look.' What a line. What a perfect, perfect country song line, with all of its open-handedness and simple sophistication. I like that. I like things that are obvious, almost self-evident, without being any less elegant.
I opened up about my beauty routine to the lovely Australian beauty website Walter Osborne. It's slightly haphazard and I don't always follow it, but it was fun to think about all the products I own (so many! I'm product obsessed even if I don't use half of them) and the stories behind them. You can read my little interview here.
Seeing Alexa out and about in a trench coat is like seeing your first boyfriend walking down the street looking so damn good. You know it's been years but you kind of think, why did we ever break up? So Alexa, why did we ever break up?
car slowed down. It had to take its place in the long line of cars that
moved at a foot's pace, now stopping dead, now jerking on, down the
narrow street, blocked by market carts, that led to the Opera House. Men
and women in full evening dress were walking along the pavement. They
looked uncomfortable and self-conscious as they dodged between costers'
barrows, with their high piled hair and their evening cloaks; with their
button-holes and their white waistcoats, in the glare of the afternoon
sun. The ladies tripped uncomfortably on their high-heeled shoes; now
and then they put their hands to their heads. The gentlemen kept close
beside them as though protecting them. It's absurd, Kitty thought; it's
ridiculous to come out in full evening dress at this time of day. She
leant back in her corner. Covent Garden porters, dingy little clerks in
their ordinary working clothes, coarse-looking women in aprons stared in
at her. The air smelt strongly of oranges and bananas. But the car was
coming to a standstill. It drew up under the archway; she pushed through
the glass doors and went in.
felt at once a sense of relief. Now that the daylight was extinguished
and the air glowed yellow and crimson, she no longer felt absurd. On the
contrary, she felt appropriate. The ladies and gentlemen who were
mounting the stairs were dressed exactly as she was. The smell of
oranges and bananas had been replaced by another smell--a subtle mixture
of clothes and gloves and flowers that affected her pleasantly. The
carpet was thick beneath her feet."
The new Vogue Australia is something of a revelation, or maybe it's just this beautiful editorial with Julia Nobis in it (do you love her yet Talisa???). I know the quote doesn't really go with the images, but ever since I read The Years for the first time I've been struck with that idea of the smell of oranges and bananas. I'll be smelling oranges for weeks after seeing this spread.
Nothing that could happen this fashion month could top this. Celine could come out with overalls and birkenstocks on the runway (oh wait) and it wouldn't even top this. This is everything. This is everything and more. This is my favourite Australian label working with one of the biggest antipodean brands in the business. This is classic, intuitive collaborative design. This is an accessories range for girls who love their accessories. This is a bag collection that will slot effortlessly into the lives of cool girls the world round. This is the way bags ought to look and be and feel. This is one for the ages. This is Benah for Karen Walker.
I know the kind of life I want I just don't know how to get it. Whenever I have a nothing day - like today, sorry thesis - I tend to think about the future. People have been asking me a lot and I don't have a sensible answer for them. I wish I could just show them the pictures from this series and leave it at that.
I was reading an article today in an old Elle UK about the big, imagined love that poisons all of your relationships. Since for so many women nowadays that big love is Ryan Gosling (all the guys I know exclaim agressively that they don't understand what the appeal is but I think it's a case of the lady doth protest too much) I thought that I might finally get around to doing that cinematic style that was requested more than a year ago (sorry Bianca!). Ryan Gosling (hey girl!) in Drive.
I remember being so excited about this movie before it even came out. Carey broke up with Shia when she was filming it, and there were all sorts of hilarious, innuendo-driven stories on the Daily Mail about how 'Carey Mulligan turns to Ryan Gosling for comfort after her painful breakup'. I was expecting a Mr and Mrs Smith kind of love story to emerge from the film, which I imagined would be sensual in a slow-burning, Los Angeles kind of way. I guess it was in some sense - they had great chemistry and, well, that kiss, and Carey famously described making the movie as a process of 'staring longingly at Ryan Gosling for 3 months' - but I mean, once you see this you expect just a little bit more when Gosling is involved. I saw the movie by myself at my favourite little cinema, which is a short walk up the top of my street. It was so hot that day and sitting in an air-conditoned cinema with an ice-cold coke seemed like the only viable option. Watching that movie, with the slow, steady movement of the camera, and that dreamy-synth soundtrack went one step better. Even with all the violence, the blood splatters, the fast driving, it was like a swimming in an ice-cold pool in the middle of summer.
This is probably the one film in the entire of the cinematic style series with the least costume changes. The driver goes through a roster of contempo-casual getups - denim jacket, baseball cap, endearingly grubby white tee shirt - until that final look, the one he spends most of the movie in, the silky driving jacket with the diamond quilting and the collar popped, the leather gloves, the sunglasses, all of which become steadily more and more blood-stained and filthy as the film progresses. It's funny because I've always thought Ryan Gosling is a bit of an everyman. He looks like that guy you used to know, he's almost a little bit nondescript, but isn't that what makes him extraordinary? I feel the same about this wardrobe. The whole point is that the driver just slips under the radar. People don't notice him until it's too late. It's almost too much to bear, when it's accompanied by the roar of an engine, or the way he looks at Carey Mulligan. The understatement of the clothes is key. It's almost like anti-costume. The film was hyper-stylish, like hyper-real, but at the same time those simple, understated costumes worked to make the character seem real, even thought he's about the furthest from my own personal experience than almost anything else. I think that's the mark of good, no, great costume design.