Wild Young Minds: November 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Anna Karenina: divine, dynamic but oh so damned

“These joys were so trifling as to be as imperceptible as grains of gold among the sand, and in moments of depression she saw nothing but the sand; yet there were brighter moments when she felt nothing but joy, saw nothing but the gold.”
Based on the 1878 novel by Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina is the latest costume drama which focusses on a bored and beautiful woman in the late 19th century, played by Keira Knightley. Who else?

Anna Karenina is a Russian aristocrat and socialite, married to Karenin, a hardworking government official. The film has a marvellous decor, it´s almost as if we´re constantly looking at a theatre play, because of the many ways in which the film makers have tried to emphasize this during the film. Dancing and extravagantly dressed actors, changing stages, it´s all very magical and energetic.

The story begins with the travel of Anna Karenina from St. Petersburg to Moscou by train. She has to leave her husband and young son for a few days in order to help the wife of her brother, who has just cheated on the wife in question. In the train, dressed in an exquisite fur coat and hat (compliments on the styling!), she meets Countess Vronsky (the film is full of counts, countesses, princes and princesses). This short meeting doesn´t seem that significant, but it is the son of the Countess who will play a very important role in Anna´s life later on.

When arrived in Moscou, Anna manages to comfort Dolly, the wife of her brother. She joins the ball, which is a manifestation of beautiful people, dressed in even more beautiful dresses and suits. They are all dancing like we can´t imagine, the men just as graceful as the ladies. This is a very important ball for Kitty, Dolly´s younger sister, for she hopes to be proposed by Count Vronsky, a charming young guy with the most gorgeous blue eyes I´ve ever seen.

But Vronsky has more eyes for Anna, who is older, less curved than Kitty, but much more mysterious. There is a mutual affection between Vronsky and Anna, that is absolutely not done in those circles and for a married woman. Vronsky can´t forget Anna and goes to St. Petersburg as well.

A passionate affair commences and everyone knows about it, even Anna´s husband (played by an unrecognizable Jude Law). Anna and Vronsky can´t marry before a divorce though and a turbulent period begins.

´Anna Karenina´ is nothing more than a love story in the purest form. Can you give up your son, security and a good reputation for real love? The latter two definitely in my opinion (passion is everything) but I find it extremely selfish Anna wants to abandon her son in order to be with her lover. ´When he is old and experiences this himself he´ll understand´. Yeah, sure. More easily said than done and eventually Anna finds it hard to make the decision to really leave her husband, though that is a real coward, if you ask me.

Joe Wright, the director, did a good job adapting such an old script. As I already said, the story itself is very simple. We´ve seen this in a million films and stories already: married and rich woman becomes bored and falls in love with someone exciting and they have something passionate together. Despite the simple storyline, the film lasts for more than 2 hours. In the end, which is quite booming, it gets a bit long-winded and harder to concentrate. The climax worked out very badly, it didn´t affect me at all, which was, I guess, not Tolstoy's meaning when writing the book. And probably the book showed this better anyway.

Keira Knightley and her high chin were perfect for the role, so it was a logical choiche to cast her as Anna. But I have to say I've seen so many parts of Keira where she plays the troubled, crying but powerful woman, most of the time and preferably in a costume as well (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Silk)... I think I can dream her face expressions and the way she acts now.

All in all, ´Anna Karenina´ is a feast for the eyes. The way of filming is very original, just as the decor. The story was simple but intriguing, but they could´ve shortened the film a bit to avoid the long-windedness in the end. And yes, well, the end was a bit of a disaster, but the rest of the film makes up for that. If that makes any sense at all. Any way, give this film a shot, good for the cultural development and more importantly, good for the eyes!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Johnny Cash - Hurt

One of the purest songs I know... So sad, so beautiful.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Studio 54 - those were the days, my friend

When brainstorming for an article about fabulous designer Diane von Furstenberg (which is still to come, don't worry!) I came up with something bigger: Studio 54, the night club of the seventies. Strange enough it was only open for 4 years, I always thought it was the place to be for an entire decade.

Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, Calvin Klein, Jerry Hall, just to name a few. The things that happened are too controversial to tell. Well, that's not true, but let's keep this blog a bit sophisticated, will we (: Let's just say, there were drugs, alcohol and a lot of testosterone and estrogen of the most beautiful people in the world those days.

Studio 54 was located at 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan, New York City. Like they say about Jimmy Woo, the exclusive club in Amsterdam, the guards had a very strict door policy: only the most beautiful and famous people were allowed to go in. If you didn't have any money, you had too be amazingly beautiful to enter. Nevertheless, when you see photos of the place, it was always extremely crowded and the atmosphere looked marvellous.

Before Studio 54 opened, the location was used for Gallo Opera House, which opened in 1927 and later it became CBS radio and television and eventually Studio 54. Steve Rubbell and Ian Schrager transformed the building into a night club and soon it became a huge success, till it had to close due to a tax scandal.

Within a month after the opening, Studio 54 had to close for a day because it wasn't allowed to sell liquor without a licence. Studio 54 argued it was all based on a big 'misunderstanding', so the next night they only sold fruit juice and soda. But Studio 54 wouldn't be Studio 54 without the liquor, so they sold alcohol anyway, though they said it was only during events and weddings - which was permitted.

Studio 54 was glitter and glamour at its finest. It was all about personal freedom, it was the time of the gay movement, the etnic movement, the women movement. It definitely happened on the right time. It was the year of Saturday Night Fever and disco was what it was all about: Diana Ross, Donna Summer and Michael Jackson.

But that was then, a place like Studio 54 would never work in these days anymore - all thanks to the paparazzi, media and the way our celebrities behave. On one hand it's a shame, on the other hand, maybe it's good that it's all in the past - cause the past always tends to be the place where these secrets are best hidden - covered in stardust and glitter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On the other side of fear lies freedom

I'm a dreamer. I definitely am. But the ambiguous thing about my personality (I know, there is something (many things) wrong with me), is that I'm a great realist as well. Which means, I like to dream big, but when it comes down to it, I think you should do what you dream about. Like Blair Waldorf once said: 'Destiny is for losers. It's just a stupid excuse to wait for things in stead of making them happen'. And since I live in Amsterdam, I'm much less afraid to take chanches.

So that's what I did today. Cause I also like a touch of mystery, I'm not going to tell you straight away. Let me give you a few hints. I talked about it a few times earlies on my blog. I am extremely excited but also quite frightened to do it. It's going to happen in one month exactly, on the day the world is going to end (according to the Mayas). This last fact won't help you any further, just a little funny thing I wanted to mention.

Well, enough mystery for now, if you want to know what I'm talking about, keep following my blog! It'll be worth it ;)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lauren Hutton: the real American woman

68 & fabulous. May sound like something you'd hear from Sex and the City's Samantha, but for Lauren Hutton it's nothing but the truth. The first time I heard of her was while reading Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's coffee table book Influence. Lauren Hutton is one of their biggest inspirations and they interviewed her and have close personal contact with her. I immediately understood why they found her so inspiring, since she comes off as real, honest and a powerful woman.

One of the most admirable thing about her, is that she looks real. Though she absolutely doesn't look like she's 68 (I find her one of the most beautiful elder women I've ever seen, though my own grandma is still a beauty as well!), she has wrinkles and that makes her so much more respectable than all those Hollywood women using botox nowadays.

Lauren Hutton was born in 1943 in South Carolina. She was raised by her mother and stepfather(her parents divorced when she was young) and after graduation, she was one of the first ladies to attend the University of South Florida in 1960. A few years later, she moved with a disk jockey who was 19 years older than her, to New York. In this city she started working at the Playboy Club.

After she got a bachelor of arts degree, she quickly became of the most succesful models in America. Eventually she became very famous for the gap between her mouth (something modelling agencies cherish these days) but in the beginning she was advised to remove the gap. She tried doing this by using a particular wax to cover the gap. At last, she accepted the gap and it became one of the reasons she was known as 'The Fresh American Face of Fashion'. Her face is very accesible, friendly and open. Mostly, I love mysterious faces a lot more but Lauren Hutton has this certain thing. When she smiles, her eyes shine and that's a golden factor for a topmodel.

Besides modelling for Revlon, The Gap (coincidence?) and Vogue (on the cover 28 times!), Lauren Hutton also started an acting career. She had a part in 'The Gambler' next to James Caan. Other movies were 'American Gigolo' and 'Lassiter'.

She was a big fan of motorcycling, which I find very cool for a fashion model and such an elegant lady. But it wasn't always a party. In 2000, when she was 56, she had a huge accident on the road near Las Vegas. She was with many actors on a trip, when she lost control on a curve. The result: several arm and leg fractures, broken ribs, a punctured lung and many bruises.

'I'd like to be the first model who becomes a woman', is what she said. And I definitely think she succeeded in this. Wonderful as she was and is as a model (she's still signed at IMG Models, at her age!), the pictures where she's laughing, or the ones made in Africa, where's she's just wearing a simple costume and a hat, are the ones that appeal most to me.

No wonder Mary-Kate and Ashley gave her such a prominent place in their book. Lauren Hutton, who by the way never married, is strong, all-American yet edgy. May I look and act the same when I'm 68. That will be fabulous.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Red Chanel Lipstick

Two weeks ago I did something for the very first time in my life. Though I've done those things very often lately (since I'm living on my own in Amsterdam for two months now) this particular thing was très speciale. No, I'm exaggerating, but I do think it was something every girl wishes for at a particular point in her life. I bought a Chanel lipstick!

Though I'm not really into brands (I hate Louis Vuitton bags for the fact you see immediately what brand it is) and I'm not at all into expensive brands (I do love some designers, of course!) cause I simply can't afford them, Chanel is an exception. The elegance of the brand Coco Chanel established, the luxury of the products, it's all so... perfect.

Anyway, the reason I bought this lipstick wasn't because I had too much money on my bank account (I wish I had) but because I received a 25 euro giftcard of The Bijenkorf (a department store in The Netherlands). I actually wanted to buy a lot of make-up from L'oréal, etc. but they don't have those brands at this store. So I decided if I have to buy an expensive product, why not buy Chanel? ;)

After wondering through the Chanel collection for half an hour my eye fell on the advertisement of the new christmas collection. The beautiful Polish model Jac Jagaciak looked very sophisticated wearing dark red lipstick and a gold/black sweater. Since I was looking for dark red lipstick for some time now, I figured this was meant to be.

Dark red lipstick is a real eye-catcher. More than regular red lipstick, which is more natural. But I love dark red lipstick for the edgy look it gives you. Especially if you have green eyes, it makes them really stand out. And in this time of the year, with a dark green jacket or knitted sweater, or something gold and black at Christmas, you look amazing, really ;)

The lipstick is available until the end of the year and afterwards it won't come back in another collection at all. After two days of consideration, I bought the lipstick eventually and god, how happy I am I did.

But the real question is: is the quality of Chanel really better than the quality of any other lipstick? I have to say, but that's also because this lipstick is really matted, that I don't think it's true. After a glass of milk or wine I have to redo my lipstick, and I didn't have to do that with my l'Oréal lipstick. But the colour is perfect, just like the package.

The moral of this story, don't buy a product because of the brand, but because you think it's a good product. I'm still very happy I bought this Chanel lipstick, because it was exactly what I was looking for. But if I didn't have the giftcard, I wouldn't have bought it, cause Maybelline or Rimmel also sells these kinds of products.

And the most important thing: like Coco Chanel said so herself, 'Elegance does not consist in putting on a new dress' and the same applies to lipstick. Elegance is something you create yourself, though a dark red lipstick can definitely help.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Riverside Blues

So much atmosphere in these paintings, makes me long for a cozy, warm afternoon in a jazzy café somewhere in Frisco.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

'''The eye has to travel'' through the magic world of Diana Vreeland

'A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later'. The dress Diana Vreeland, 'The Empress of Fashion' would wear, would definitely be an extravagant and eccentric dress. Because that's exactly how we can describe her personality and her life.

The documentary 'The Eye has to Travel', composed by the wife of Vreelands grandson Lisa Immordino Vreeland, gives us a quick look in the world of fashion. We see the marvellous editorials Diana Vreeland made as editor-in-chief at Vogue, the shoots with celebrities and the costume collections she arranged when she worked for the Metropolitan of Art.

With designers as Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein and Hubert de Givenchy, models as Lauren Hutton and Veruschka, former assistants of Vreeland and her children as commentators we get to know how miss Vreeland was: an authoritarian lady with an exquisite view on fashion. She discovered many models and photographers and made them into icons.

'Diana Vreeland - the eye has to travel' isn't dull, not for a single moment, and that's not just because of the many colourful and outrageous images of the editorials - mostly shot in foreign places - and images of the 'Roaring Twenties' and Sixties, but because of the interviews with Vreeland.

She is extraordinary, everything she says makes you laugh. She has a certain self-deprecating and is hilarious because of the many striking quotes. Diana Vreeland has an opinion about everything and isn't afraid to say it. The way she sits in her flamboyant and completely red room, speaking with the writer of her memoires, with red rouge on her entire face and a rasping voice, you gotta love her.

If there's truth in everything she says, is the question. But that's a part of her. She always wanted to take the reader of Vogue in a world of imagination and let their eyes travel, even if they were just sitting at home. She had a romantic view on life but was very hard working. She called the world fake but that wasn't a problem for her. Why be natural why you can exaggerate? To be natural is a form of laziness, in her opinion. God, how she inspired me by saying that. Don't be like the rest, when you can be yourself, right? Wear what you want. Though Diana Vreeland didn't really look real on the outside, she is one of the most inspiring and honest persons I've ever seen in fashion. So much more fun than the cold Anna Wintour.

‘“The first thing to do, my love, is to arrange to be born in Paris. After that, everything follows quite naturally.” Easy to say of course, but because of the infecting way of talking, we believe Diana immediately. She was born in Paris indeed, as the daughter of a British father and American mother. She loved to dance, that was her entire youth, she met Reed Vreeland when she was young and stayed with him until he died of cancer. She started working at Harper's Bazaar, with a column called 'Why don't you?', where she gave tips about outrageous things to do with your outfits, hair or children - even during war. Later she got a job as editor-in-chief at Vogue, where she was eventually fired because she was too expensive. At that moment, her would fell apart, but she glued it back to pieces when she got a job at Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The only thing that was disappointing to me, was that we didn't got to know a lot about her personal life. We did know she was very insecure about her looks when she was young, that she had a tough relationship with her mother, that she wasn't a warm mother herself either, and that she loved Reed, but we get very rare details about these facts. And this is exactly what made Diana Vreeland the way she was, I think. A hard working, real and inspirational woman.

Even people who have nothing with fashion, will admire Diana Vreeland for her fresh view on fashion, for her hilarious way of talking, for her persistence and for her real personality. Vogue wouldn't be Vogue without Diana Vreeland. She was unconvential and took risks and that are just two of the things that inspired me when seeing this film. 'You don't have to be born beautiful to be wildly attractive'. Because that's exactly what she was.