Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall '09: drenched in romance, ruffles.

In my late teens I became a big reader of the fashion glossies and fell for the beauty of haute couture, right around the same time as I discovered the Romantic Movement in literature and art. (Hello, English Lit major!) I was a young (far younger than I knew) dreamer, and I'm glad I allowed my mind to flower then just as it was, without forcing my admiration for these things underground. In art, literature, music, and design I found myself most ardently inspired by references to the past.

The present may be "fresh", but as a sage person once said "There is nothing new under the sun".

The Fall fashion issues are currently on the newsstands, and as I'm no longer in the habit of buying magazines as casually as I do chewing gum, for me they have to pass muster at a first flip-through before I'll spend my money on what is mostly advertising. This year, Harper's Bazaar didn't make the cut (unusual), I haven't yet seen Vogue (I'm not holding my breath, though), but I did pick up Elle. A surprising and unexpectedly good Elle, in spite of Jennifer Aniston on the cover in a spray tan and black leather bustier.

Anyway, here are some of the best things I found in it, things noteworthy enough to share. There were more, and I'm thinking of a post on 80's references in the magazine (they ARE the past now) ... something about how the early 80's in the fashion world were roccoco-meets-punk. I remember that, and not without fondness! There are also some editorial shoots that remind me of 70's era Diane Keaton (think Annie Hall) and Jane Birkin, and some other references I can see but not yet name. Research, research, research.

Yes, it's an ad but how gorgeous is this? The magazine has a review of Jane Campion's new film "Bright Star", and this two-page ad deftly ties in the movie's costuming with some Fall runway trends.

Another ad, yes. This one for a billowy dress and short, ruffled bottom jacket. So feminine and nothing revealing. That, to me, is romantic.

Hints of the Pre-Raphaelites: on the right is an editorial shoot for designer Marc Jacobs' new perfume Lola. On the left (my own add) is William Waterhouse's "The Soul Of The Rose", a classic Pre-Raphaelite painting. See the echoes of the 18th century? Waterhouse and his group were, in turn, inspired by Medeival times. Some things never ever grow old.

Next, an ad for a Ralph Lauren boot (a very sensual twist on a menswear style shoe) and an editorial shot with a Dolce & Gabbana gown. Those 80's shoulder pads are coming back, but so long as they are used judiciously I've got no problem with it!

Here is the official trailer for Bright Star, which wowed Cannes this year. If you live in the Greater Boston area and would like to arrange a little go-see group, drop me a line. I've got a wonderfully diverse group of friends, but I can't think of any right off the top of my head who would travel all the way in to town to see it with me. I mean, I'll go alone ... but not if I don't have to.

Any fellow Romantics out there? Anybody else whose sensibilities sometimes seem bashfully, even anachronistically, out of step with the pace and taste of these times? (If you've read all the way to the end of this post, I think you just might be one of my flock).


  1. Hmm, I can't decide if that movie will depress me or make me happy that I'm in love! Definitely makes me want to pull out my Keats though.

  2. I can't decide if this movie will make me depressed or just happy that I'm in love! Definitely makes me want to pull out my Keats though.

  3. This occured to me as well! In spite of the fact that the lovers are star-crossed, it's the "beautiful sadness" that in the end will make me go. Darn that beautiful sadness!

  4. Katherine -- Heya! Another follow-up comment for you, as I've just visited your blog (and am now a follower).

    I've been waiting for a fellow blogger to show me the 60's from a fresh perspective ... I am a retro junkie, but somehow the fascination (mostly) ended with the very early 1960's -- with a few exceptions. And started up again with the 80's, as I'm a child of the 80's (or is it the 70's, since I'm 43?)

    So I'll be reading more! Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. I enjoy reading your writing and love your spirit of fun.

    p.s. DIGGING your music player playlist. Lounge-fabulousness ;-).