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Archive for December, 2010

A Tourist in Celebrity Land

Johnny Depp & Angelina Jolie in "The Tourist"

Tonight I went to see The Tourist and while I was unmoved by the film’s plot line and many other aspects, the lavish jewelry and luxe costumes got me to start thinking about our desire to emulate celebrity style, whether it be on the big screen or the red carpet. For me, the suspension of disbelief in films was always much more magical, beginning when I was a young girl.

Like most of my peers, I started out wanting to be Cinderella. But, I preferred a real live actress rather than the animated version and was entranced by Leslie Ann Warren in the 1965 made for TV film. In the movie, Warren had a killer body, twinkly tiara and sparkly jewels. She was my kind of girl.  At age five, when I watched in my living room with my mother, unwrapping Twinkies, I was not yet into the prince, or the love story, (that would come later). Nor did I care for the glass slippers– I was already embarrassed by my big feet–and really, why would I want to show them off through see through shoes? I wanted my accessories full of shimmer and glitter.

Later in my twenties, as a fashion editor, I was no different from everyone else I knew in magazines and tried endlessly to conjure up Audrey Hepburn in any movie she was featured in.  But mostly, we all wanted to be Holly Golightly.  I was determined to pull off a backless black gown, bib style choker, gingerly eating a croissant while wearing opera length gloves. Audrey had done this brilliantly in the opening scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (Although I wasn’t there for the ‘takes’)   I became the fashion director of Accessories Magazine and wrote a first person piece about the perils of being invited to a black tie event and wondering if I could eat, drink, dance and keep my shoulder length gloves on all night. It was a feat but I pulled it off, ditto for my hair piled high in an up do, the jewels and even the backless back dress. God, I was young.

Then, last night when I saw The Tourist, I was transported back to my youth, trying to envision myself as stylish as Angelina Jolie’s character. Too bad the moments of fantasizing are much shorter lived when you get older. While bundled up in a blanket of a cashmere sweater and down parker,  I could, for a moment,  imagine myself in the enchanting jewels and sophisticated sumptuous clothes she wore in the film. The costumes were magnificent thanks to Colleen Atwood (of whom I’m a big fan) and who I interviewed about the costuming of Chicago and Memoirs of A Geisha, both films, which wound up landing her Oscars for Best Costume Design in 2002 and 2006 respectively.  As far as the jewelry for The Tourist, Atwood worked with Jolie’s personal jewelry designer, former Asprey CEO, Robert Procop, to create an extravagant ultra wide choker from an antique tiara, not to mention several other remarkable pieces for the film

But here is the truth of the matter. While I could play act in rhinestones and be swept away in the belief that I could pull off Leslie Anne Warren’s Cinderella at five. and that I could dash out of the house while putting on earrings and imitating some toned down attempts at Audrey’s iconic styles in my twenties, I know better now. It took a while, but I finally developed my own look and figured out what works to accentuate my best features and also my worst–and how to subtly introduced some of my favorite celebrity moments into my own wardrobe without looking like one of the don’ts in a fashion magazine.

That’s the rub when trying to emulate actresses on-screen or the red carpet.  You need to take a good look at yourself and see what you can pull off. I know that my neck, while still long, is starting to be, shall we say, less taut, therefore, I will never be as graceful in an ultra wide full on diamond choker. Instead I might opt for a more toned down style, some sort of pretty garland motif on grosgrain ribbon or a slightly more fluid and longer variation with more movement.

For the same reason, I cannot pull of shoulder length earrings, but can wear those that fall somewhere around my chin. I wear white and colored diamonds, all shades of sapphires, rubies and pretty much all tints of blues, particularly aquas and moonstones to detract from the crows feet, that seem to be branching out and instead, bring out the blue in my eyes and more pleasing tones in my complexion rather than my wintry shade of pasty gray.

There are a lot more tricks I’ve learned over the years about how to work in some styles from the silver screen, but for now, I will leave you with this:

I recommend The Tourist, ONLY to jewelry and fashion aficionados, who can watch a film and be swept away by creamy white gown and  black off the shoulder numbers,  sophisticated yet feminine natural colors in cashmere and silk, stark and sexy black fitted suits, accented by Asprey pearls– a ball scene, where even Johnny Depp fades into the background (okay well maybe I’m exaggerated just a tad) –but where you just might be swayed by the dazzling dance of the sparkling necklaces, pendants and earrings, all moving you to go out and take your own trip down movie lane–to re-discover your favorite style-setters again –and then down to your local jewelry store to try to find looks like the ones you most want to emulate, and most importantly, translate into pieces that are best suited to you.

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Note:  Angelina Jolie is collaborating on a new jewelry collection with Robert Procop, who designed pieces for the actress to wear in several of her films, including The Tourist, as well as public appearances, including earrings from  the new collection for the NY premiere of The Tourist.