The photo above is of my hubby and I at the HighVail Systems Inc. annual internal office after-New Year party, held this past January at the ultra-hip, totally fabulous Californian-cuisine-meets-Canadian-fresh-local-ingredients Toronto restaurant – Montecito – opened last summer by famous Hollywood Producer/Director Ivan Reitman (revered for so many of his fun-filled, comedic films such as Animal House, Meatballs, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Hotel for Dogs, I Love You Man, and many others) and renowned Master Chef Jonathan Waxman (of California’s Chez Panisse and Michael’s Restaurant, along with New York’s Jams Restaurant; and current Chef-Owner of Barbuto in New York’s West Village) just in time for TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival). We couldn’t resist holding this little icon of Mr. Reitman’s unforgettable movie, Ghostbusters, whose costumes were designed by both the late great Theoni Aldredge (who also
received Tony awards for Annie & La Cage aux Folles, was nominated for A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls, and won the Oscar for The Great Gatsby), as well as Suzy Benzinger (who worked closely with Ms. Aldredge and who was also the costume designer for the Broadway productions of Movin’ Out, Saturday Night Fever, and Miss Saigon, to name a few).
It’s definitely the season of the costume. With Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro & Venice, and the Chinese/Lunar New Year parades in the air, costumes are everywhere. And of course, on everyone’s mind this weekend, la crème de la crème – the Oscars 2015/87th Academy Awards – and the creative category of costume design.
The two big contenders for the 2015 costume design Oscars are Coleen Atwood for Into the Woods and Milena Canonero for The Grand Budapest Hotel (two movies I saw and adored). Interestingly, I just discovered that Milena Canonero was also the costume designer for an old fixation of mine, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (whose posthumous exhibit I had the pleasure of seeing over my “staycation” in Toronto, Xmas 2014, presented by TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)). On another note, I am as eager as every young, enchanted girl is, to see the costumes for the upcoming greatly anticipated film, Cinderella, by Oscar-winning costume designer, Sandy Powell!
I just love costumes. Who doesn’t? So it was pure luck and very good fortune that this past October, while in L.A. with my son Jory (aka amazing fashion blogger sassandleather.com) that the cutting-edge exhibition, “Hollywood Costume” had just arrived at the Wilshire May Company Building (at Wilshire & Fairfax), the space that is also the future location of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. It is the last stop of the tour (catch it until March 2, 2015!), organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
How lucky can a person get? To be in L.A. to see this magnificent exhibit was like having all our Hollywood dreams come true! No pictures were allowed (and boy did we try!) – a museum docent every few feet apart – but a beautiful coffee-table book was available and I sprung for the more expensive, hardcover variety as it is signed
by the curator, and Academy-nominated costume designer & founding director of UCLA’s David C. Copley Centre for the Study of Costume Design, Deborah Nadoolman Landis. The exhibition features not only iconic costumes of the golden age of movies, such as the real, famous red slippers worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (along with her light-blue & white gingham dress), the costume worn by Charlie Chaplin in The Tramp, the white blowing-in-the-wind dress of Marilyn Monroe, and so many others, but also has on display more modern-day costumes from such films as The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle.
Of course Halloween is one of the largest celebrations of costumes worldwide. Children, and adults alike, love the allure of dressing up as their favourite characters or acting out some of their (tame and not-so-tame) fantasies!
Even celebrities love the idea of dressing up. You’d think with all the roles they play in T.V. shows & movies, or having to go through wardrobe changes & heavy make-up on a regular basis, they would tire of the whole Halloween thing, but nooooooo, they love it just as much as we do!
Many cultures have similar holidays as Halloween. The Jewish people have Purim (coming up on March 5th), the commemoration whose cast of characters includes Queen Esther, King Achashverosh, Mordecai, and the evil Haman (after which a triangular pastry (a hamantash), injected with prune, poppy seed, apricot, apple, chocolate, and many other fillings, was named due to the 3-cornered hat the vicious & cruel despot wore). The Latin Americans have The Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Meurtes) wherein they honour those who have passed away. They are forbidden to mourn and be sad so they celebrate with lavish skull costumes….While in L.A. last fall, my son and I went to this awesome restaurant called Gracias Madre – a vegan, Mexican paradise (we missed seeing Cindy Crawford who was actually dining there). Hector, our adorable server, told us how he was to be in charge of their Day of the Dead celebrations, which take place every Nov. 1st.
In Tokyo, costumes are a big part of their teenage culture. They call it “cosplay” which is short for costume play. Travelling to Tokyo in 2006 was an eye-opening experience for my mom and I, when we went to visit my brother & sister-in-law. We got to see, up close and personal, some of these totally creative and cool characters that hang around in Harajuku, which is full of boutiques, shops and fast-food outlets. In Harajuku, on the street Takeshita Dori, you can’t help but see crowds of very creative youth all decked out in anime, manga, Lolita, punk, goth, and every kind of costume and style.
A few years back I was in Las Vegas with my mom and got to see one of my favourite Divas – Cher. Outside of the theatre was a stunning display of the costumes she had worn over the years, most of which were designed by legendary fashion designer Bob Mackie. It was so awesome to see them all. I recognized quite a few from the days of Sonny & Cher!
For those of you who, like me, are passionate about the dazzle of costumes and the art of costume design, it’s well worth visiting the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The legendary Diana Vreeland, past fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar and then past editor-in-chief of Vogue, was a special consultant at the institute, from 1973 to 1987, during which time she curated a dozen high-profile fashion exhibits including “The World of Balenciaga.” The collection houses and conserves over 35,000 costumes from all over the world, and reopened in May 2014 after being closed for 2 years, as the Anna Wintour Costume Center, (named after Anna Wintour herself, the current Artistic Director of Conde Nast and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue and chair of the prestigious Met Gala since 1995) after an extensive renovation. I have not had the opportunity to visit the center as of yet, but did indulge in purchasing a recently published coffee-table book called “Vogue & The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute – Parties, Exhibitions, People.” It chronicles the Met’s spring Costume Institute exhibitions and the swanky, celebrity-laden opening-night yearly fundraising gala, referred to as the Met Gala (previously the Costume Institute Gala) which many, including this beautiful book, refer to as “The Party of the Year.” No red carpet event is more
Speaking of celebrities, I hope you are looking as forward to the Academy Awards, tomorrow night, as I am! Enjoy the show and may the best men/women/teams win! I’ll definitely have my eyes glued on the Best Costume Design category!
Until next time, Hugs & Kisses
from The Pomegraddict