Costume Design, Hollywood and the Oscars

By Sunday, February 22, 2015 0 Permalink 0
"Who Ya Gonna Call?" - Bradley & I at Montecito, Toronto

“Who Ya Gonna Call?” – Bradley & I at Montecito, Toronto

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).

The evening began with a superb scotch tasting, followed by delicious gourmet treats such as this divine charcuterie/cheese plate & Montecito's signature Kale salad with anchovy dressing and pecorino shavings #nomnom!

The evening began with a superb scotch tasting, followed by delicious gourmet treats such as this divine charcuterie/cheese plate & Montecito’s signature Kale salad with anchovy dressing and pecorino shavings #nomnom!

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.

In San Francisco for 2014 Chinese/Lunar New Year parade - year of the Horse

I was lucky to be in San Francisco last year for the 2014 Chinese/Lunar New Year parade – it was the year of the Horse

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, Cinderellaby Oscar-winning costume designer, Sandy Powell!

Clockwise: Grand Budapest Hotel - source: latimes.com; Grand Budapest Hotel - source:  Into The Woods - source: latfusa.com; Into The Woods - source: examiner.com

Clockwise: Grand Budapest Hotel – source: latimes.com; Grand Budapest Hotel – source: Into The Woods – source: latfusa.com; Into The Woods – source: examiner.com

"A Clockwork Orange", part of the Stanley Kubrick exhibit, December 2014, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto

“A Clockwork Orange”, part of the Stanley Kubrick exhibit, December 2014, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto

I dared to put this photo in my blog post! Can you believe this is 14 year old me holding my Clockwork Orange album trying to look like the protagonist, Alex Delarge. I could swear it looks like a selfie (except in one of those antiquated photo booths) and I'm posing with duck lips! lol!

I dared to put this photo in my blog post! Can you believe this is 13 year old me holding my Clockwork Orange album trying to look like the protagonist, Alex DeLarge. I could swear it is the first-ever selfie (except in one of those antiquated photo booths) and I’m posing with duck lips! Check out the freckles!! lol!

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.

My son & I at the Hollywood Costume Exhibition in L.A. at

My son & I at the Hollywood Costume Exhibition in L.A.

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.

"Hollywood Costume" coffee table book, edited by Deborah Nadoolman Landis

My “Hollywood Costume” coffee table book, edited by Deborah Nadoolman Landis

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!

My sweeties when they were little. So adorable!!!

My sweeties when they were little. So adorable!!!

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!

Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka and their kids dressing up for Halloween 2014

Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka and their kids dressing up for Halloween 2014

Beyonce & Blue Ivy Carter as Janet & Michael Jackson - Photo Source: Mashable.com from @Beyonce from Instagram

Beyonce & Blue Ivy Carter as Janet & Michael Jackson – Photo Source: Mashable.com from @Beyonce from Instagram

My favourite: Ellen! Clockwise from top left: 2013: as Nicki Minaj (Photo source - 1035kissfm.com - kman); 2012: as Sofia Vergara (Photo source - us magazine.com - Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. & Jon Kopaloff/Film Magic; 2014: as Amal Alamuddin & George Clooney (Photo source: us magazine.com - Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.)

My favourite: Ellen! Clockwise from top left: 2013: as Nicki Minaj (Photo source – 1035kissfm.com – kman); 2012: as Sofia Vergara (Photo source – us magazine.com – Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. & Jon Kopaloff/Film Magic; 2014: as Amal Alamuddin & George Clooney (Photo source: us magazine.com – Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.)

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.

Delicious Hamantashen made by my sweet sister-in-law in Montreal for Purim last year

Delicious Hamantashen made by my sweet sister-in-law in Montreal for Purim last year

The alter at Gracias Madre on Melrose, L.A. for

The alter at Gracias Madre on Melrose, L.A., set up for The Day of the Dead, by our wonderful waiter, Hector

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.

Tokyo - cosplay

Tokyo 2006 – cosplay

Harijuku, Tokyo - cosplay

Harijuku, Tokyo – cosplay 2006

Harajuku, Tokyo - cosplay

Harajuku, Tokyo – cosplay 2006

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!

Outside the Cher concert in Las Vegas, 2010, an array of her costumes over the years most of which were designed by Bob Mackie

Outside the Cher concert in Las Vegas, 2010, an array of her costumes over the years most of which were designed by Bob Mackie

One of my favourite photos of my mom and I outside the Cher show in Las Vegas 2010. Even WE got into the costume mood!

One of my favourite photos of my mom and I outside the Cher show in Las Vegas 2010. Even WE got into the costume mood!

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

lavish.

My beautiful coffee table book is brimming with vibrant, gorgeous photos of the most beautiful, elaborate costumes ever!

My beautiful coffee table book is brimming with vibrant, gorgeous photos of the most beautiful, elaborate costumes ever!

More photos from this most elegant collection of costumes from the Met Gala! You'll recognize a couple of powerhouse ladies for sure!

More photos from this most elegant collection of costumes from the Met Gala!

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

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