Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm not as elegant as Chanel, but I'm nicer.

Today my mother and I braved the Los Angeles freeways on our own to attend The 19th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design at the FIDM Museum (my sister, the SoCal, local drove us to the LACMA yesterday). The exhibition was very interesting but it might have been more so if I had seen more than just one of the movies featured (Shutter Island.) No photography was allowed or this post would be filled with pictures. I was particularly taken with the dresses from Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, a movie I haven't seen. There's something about a dress and coat ensemble, where the coat is lined in the same fabric from which the dress is made, that strikes me as incomparably elegant. It kind of makes my heart ache, though in a good way, with a dreamy longing, wishing my life merited that kind of elegance.

The Chanel costumes have made me want to see the movie, though I've never been Ms. Chanel's biggest fan. I think she's more than a little overrated as an innovator and a trend setter, and my impression is she was never a very nice person, even before she was a Nazi sympathizer. It beats me why she's so celebrated. The costumes for her character in this move were beautiful, but it was obvious that they were intended for a body type far different from mine. Unless you're willowy thin I'd wager that sophisticated simple styling is going to come off as frumpy and matronly, not sexy.

Here's what I wore today. It's nowhere near the elegance level of the Chanel costumes, or any of the costumes for that matter. The dress has a wrapped, crossover effect in the bodice that is causing some strange lumpiness under the cashmere sweater. I didn't notice this until I saw it in the pictures. I wonder if I don't look at myself closely enough when I look in the mirror.

In front of my sister's backyard koi pond.

Looking a bit over-exposed in the SoCal sun.

After perusing the exhibition my mother and I took a turn through the museum store. I added two books to my Amazon wish list and walked away with this:

Pop-top pocketbook.
It's made of recycled soda can pop-tops crocheted together. This photo doesn't capture it's real beauty. It reminds me of the crocheted bags of the forties, while also being space-age and modern. You really have to see it in action to properly appreciate it. It catches the light beautifully. It looks like chain mail armor. (Like nineteen forties space-age chain mail armor? Yep, that describes it perfectly.)

I'm excited that it's recycled (and produced by a fair trade artists cooperative in Brazil.) I'm supportive of  the concept of up-cycling and re-purposing, but usually I think- "Well, that's a cool idea, but it's not really something I would ever wear." But this- this really turns me on, and the recycled and fair trade aspects are a bonus that makes me feel that my money is well spent.

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