Here are my lovely sparks of inspiration and insight for the week! I’m only just become uncongested from my lingering cold and feel like I haven’t been working with a clear (and unstuffed-up) head, so I haven’t been reading as much as usual, and what things I do read get muddled up in my head crazily. Luckily clothes and movies rush in to fill the spaces!
I Can’t Wear Rick Owens But I Can Pretend on My Blog
I have long loved Rick Owens, but I can only really afford his knitwear (and only then, by hunting it out at resale shops and sales sites.) It’s worth it for me — the fabric is of the highest quality, and his pieces keep for years. I’ve had a long skirt by him for nearly 10 years, and it still has its beautiful shape and silky texture. But his masterpieces are his jackets, which are pretty much out of my reach, even at a sale price — and his leather ones? Ha! Which is too bad — he makes rigid, structured biker jackets into sonnets of artful, graceful drape, cutting them so that they look like they’re elegantly melting off your body. And to be flattering to a large number of female body types as well? That’s pure genius. He’s an absolutely brilliant cutter and while his dark, glamorous aesthetic is strong, his designs actually nestle alongside other clothes in your closet quite nicely, and don’t overwhelm women when worn in real life.
But luckily, he’s so influential and so widely-copied that his techniques and ideas do trickle down into more affordable price points. And you never know what will trickle down, and where. I was buying my mom a gift card at Kohls, believe it or not, when I spotted this on a sales rack — it’s not Rick Owens but Vera Wang, but it’s kind of a distant cousin of a classic Rick Owens take on the biker jacket, a mass market riff on his use of mixed textiles, dramatic details and supple drape and cut. The fur is faux, the knit parts are simply cotton, but it’s as close as I’ll come to real Rickness for awhile. And I still love it, because it’s Goth-y and eye-catching and I can wear it with my wedge-heel high-top sneakers as well as my fancy shoes and my old, beat-up combat boots. One day I will have my real Rick Owens jacket, but until then, it’s a nice placeholder for the real thing.
My Girl Crush on Mia Wasikowska Knows No Bounds
I love Mia Wasikowska. She’s one of my favorite young actresses — she radiates such watchful intelligence. I’m excited, though, that she’s using that kind of rare presence in darker, more flamboyant roles, in movies like the upcoming Stoker, where she plays a weirdo teenager in a very odd family. The film got raves at Sundance (all my peeps who went this year and got into the screenings loved it) and it’s getting lots of buzz for being Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook’s first English language film and its strong Hitchcockian vibe. But I’m really going to see it because I love Mia and Nicole Kidman, both really amazing actors at different points in their creative trajectories. (Also: Wentworth Miller wrote the screenplay, and my former screenwriting prof at Duke worked on it as well!) Here’s the trailer, it’s so creeeeepy:
She’s also going to play a role in the Jim Jarmusch vampire movie, Only Lovers Left Alive, which is also coming out this year. (Jarmusch + vampires = CANNOT WAIT.) Mia told Dazed and Confused her role in it (as Tilda Swinton’s younger, crazier vampire sister) is kind of like Kim Kardashian as a vampire, really silly and vapid and fun. I always love seeing really smart actresses play almost bimbo type of characters and see what they tease out of these stereotypical roles (thinking of Jessica Chastain in The Help as a kind of example, or maybe Anna Faris’ entire career.) I think Mia will do wonderful things with it, and I’m especially interesting in seeing such a still presence transform onscreen.
I Believe the Hype: 70-Millimeter is So Worth It
This past Saturday we went to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master in 70mm projection at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. Often I’m slightly skeptical of cinephiliac fixations on medium, print quality or whatever, but I have to say: it was so worth it to see the film in the projection in which it was shot. We sat further back than I would’ve liked and the screen seemed so small to me from the first time I saw it (digital projection at my local multiplex.) But even then, the film just looks so much more luminous and sensuous — you noticed stuff like how Philip Seymour Hoffman’s skin would redden, or the beautiful textures in the scenes that took place in the department store, or how inky and rich the shadows were. The whole thing was just beautiful in a way that strikes you immediately and viscerally. Perhaps only cinephiles can really articulate the differences (less crushed blacks, more vibrant contrast, more saturated colors.) But even if you’re not conversant with the intricacies of post-production color and image correction, you can feel an impact if you’re at all sensitive to the visual richness of film in general. There’s something about 70mm that returns sensuality to the filmgoing experience, so if there’s a chance for you to see a film originally shot in 70mm actually projected at that size, go see it!