Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Film #14: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel: where to begin? So much wit. So much humor. And so much pink.

 Ralph Fiennes is amusing and lovable as M. Gustav, concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel. He is a perfectionist who douses himself in Eau de Panache, reads poetry, and romances wealthy lonely old ladies. He also provides the bulk of the humor in this movie. Over time he befriends Zero Mustafa, the lobby boy in training. After the death of his wealthiest client Madame D., Gustav is accused of murder by her family and flees his beloved hotel with Zero and the priceless painting, Boy with Apple. 

The plot synopsis I just wrote is interesting but not all that important for our purposes: rambling about some of the costumes from this film and briefly discussing my favorite character, Agatha. Agatha is a baker for Mendl's, the bakery where the Grand Budapest Hotel gets its desserts from. She is also Zero's girlfriend. She wears a grey monogrammed dress for work and is only seen out of it on two occasions. 1) When she is in bed she wears a pink silk slip. 2) On her wedding (then it is a different color). She also wears this lovely coat covered in pockets throughout the movie. Her shoes are low heeled black oxfords. Everything she wears is intended to be functional and warm, but it still has to look aesthetically pleasing and distinctive. This is a Wes Anderson movie after all.

Also, I have to admit that I loved both the purple 1930s hotel uniforms and the striped ensembles Zero and Gustav wear post-prison break. 

On whole the sets, props, and costumes in this movie are amazing. You should go see it, if not for that then for its humor and poignance. 



    (Gustav and Zero, after the prison break)

Source for most of the photos

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday in Fremont

  Spending a Sunday afternoon in Fremont is not an uncommon occurance for me. It's due mostly to the Sunday Flea Market there. On a rainy day it's enjoyable, but on a sunny day like today it's transcendent. I usually have mixed success at the market and today was no exception. Good: I found three or four yards of 50s novelty print fabric and "Laura," the book that Gene Tierney movie is based on. Bad: An amazing pair of 50s Woody Allen glasses with ruined lenses (that everyone talked me out of buying) and 50s jeans with a broken zipper that were far too small. 

 The best thing about today was the photographs I took. Seattle is at its most beautiful in the sunlight. 


Monday, February 3, 2014

She was just seventeen, you know what I mean

  The opening lyrics to the Beatles' tune "I Saw Her Standing There" are appropriate right now for many many reasons. I'm not very good at writing coherently without some form of organization, so without further ado...

A list of reasons as to why I named this post what I named it:
1) I have become obsessed with the sixties and sixties fashion (again). Blame Bob Dylan for that. Early '60s Dylan is one of my most beloved style icons and less than a month ago we rewatched the excellent Scorcese documentary on him. 

2) I am attempting to write a novel set in the early '60s (around the time thus song came out).

3) It is one of my favorite Beatles' songs ever.

4) I am turning eighteen this month, so soon that lyric will no longer apply to me. I always wanted to use it as a post title and this is my last chance.

5) Most importantly, I am wearing a late '60s I Magnin dress and so I wanted the post to have a sixties title. Now I will stop using the word "sixties" before you, my loyal readers start hurling heavy objects at me. 

And now I conclude with pictures of Amanda posing awkwardly, brought to you by the Super Bowl's half time show, and my pal Amelia O.Z., photographer extraordinaire.

I Magnin dress: Beats and Bohos
Beret: found 
Shoes: UO

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas greater Seattle area!

  Usually we do not get any snow at all and I am okay with that. For twelve years I lived in an extremely snowy and cold state. That led to snow losing all of its novelty and excitement in my eyes. This year for some reason was different. I have no idea why, but I was very happy to wake up to the snow. I'm sorry to have been absent for so long. All I can really offer you is instagrammed pictures of my house in the snow that I took this morning. 
  Everything looks more beautiful with a dusting of snow.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Film #13: Damsels in Distress

  For those not familiar with the entire filmography of Fred Astaire, "Damsels in Distress is named after his 1937 musical film "A Damsel in Distress." Therefore it is no surprise that our protagonist Violet (played by Greta Gerwig) is obsessed with dance. Her self-proclaimed goal in life is to start an international dance craze in the vein of the Twist or the Charleston. She and her group of friends work at their private university's suicide prevention center, teaching tap dance therapy with the help of a boy nicknamed Freak Astaire. Their other charitable acts include dating idiotic Roman fraternity members and educating them about personal hygiene. The pairing of intelligent, determined but snooty girls with hapless unintelligent boys reminds me of Wodehouse (which makes sense because "A Damsel in Distress" is based on a Wodehouse book). The two events that spurt the bulk of the film's action are a) a new girl joins Violet's group, b) Violet's boyfriend breaks up with her. 

  The costumes are excellent. According to Kirsten Blomberg, one of the film's two costume designers, she was inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Indeed Violet's ensembles are very 1950s inspired with feminine full skirted silhouettes and little scarves tied at the neck. Her right hand woman, Rose dresses similarly. Another group member, Heather dresses more modernly, but still with a similar aesthetic. Lily, the new girl, dresses completely unlike them. She is always in jeans, something none of the other girls seldom if ever wear.

 (These pictures are mostly from the other costume designer that worked on "Damsels in Distress," Ciera Wells' website.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The best argument I can make for why you should #savethehour

  Hello, my name is Amanda and I am a period television series junkie. Today I am here to tell you why BBC's cancelled television show "The Hour," is superior to any other period television show I have ever seen and in general, just the tops. I am explaining as adequately as I can why it needs to continue or at least be properly resolved.

1) It is not soapy. "Downtown Abbey," I love you, but when your plot lines begin to sound like something out of a bad romance novel or a telenovela you've gone too far.
2) It is not extensively sexist or racist. Yes, I understand the importance of showing viewers a less idealized more realistic portrayal of the past, but after awhile I grow tired of listening to the sexist and racist jibes in "Mad Men." 
3) It is well acted. It has Ben Whishaw in it. Need I say more? Also Romola Garai, Dominic West, and just about everyone else are excellent. 
4) The costumes are beautiful and suit each character. Bel's jewel toned pencil dresses and skirts, her silk blouses and headscarves. Her trench coat. Freddy's tweed suit in Season one. Lix's Katherine Hepburnesque trousers. Marnie's full skirted dresses. These are just what immediately comes to mind.
5) The sets, which were done by the same woman who did the sets for "The King Speech," are chock full of good period appropriate detail.
6) The jazzy understated soundtrack.
7) It doesn't center almost exclusively around one person (especially not season two). Cough Mad Men cough. That gets boring. There is only so much about we can learn Don Draper. His psyche and troubled past are not six seasons worth of (good) material.
8) It is aesthetically pleasing to watch.
9) It is intelligently written. 
10) You can't end a series (spoiler alert!) with one of the more major characters critically injured. It's cruel. 
11) It inspires in me the sort of fanatical obsession I have not had for anything since the first season of "Sherlock." Translation: it's good.

P.S. Perhaps it seems like I am bashing "Mad Men" and "Downton Abbey." I enjoy them, I truly do. I am just pointing out the traps "The Hour" has avoided. Also I have seen other period television series. They just are not mentioned because this is getting long enough as is.

Photo source: http://icapturetheperiodpieces.tumblr.com/post/35695315305/the-hour-tv-series

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I can't get started

Note: This post was written last Friday.
   Today was the last day of school for the year. I'm (obviously) so happy about that. We celebrated with Molly Moon's ice cream and food from Beth's cafe. It was fun, although I may have rambled on about Belgian history for a touch too long. 
  These photographs were taken on Monday or Tuesday. I really like them. My mother's outfit photography skills are improving, even if my posing isn't. This dress is from the 40s. I found it in Everett. It is what home sellers would term a "fixer upper." To top it all off, it is a size too small. The good price and the collar made it irresistible, so to my home it went.

Dress: vintage
Shoes: Nordstrom

(Taken by my mother.)

Have a good week!