Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Introducing THE PHILADELPHIA STORY for Last Remaining Seats on June 10


I'll be introducing The Philadelphia Story (1940) at the historic Los Angeles Theatre as part of Last Remaining Seats on June 10! It's a real honor to be invited by the Los Angeles Conservancy to be part of this beloved series. An additional honor is that they're allowing me to do my type of introduction, which will include a visual presentation. I can't wait to share the film's backstory along with how costume design was integral to the production along with its ongoing legacy.

Saturday, June 10
The Philadelphia Story (1940)

8 pm
Book signing with Larry Edmunds Bookshop before and after screening

Los Angeles Theatre
Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Click here to purchase tickets
$18 Members/$22 General public/$16 Youth

Some of the opulent Los Angeles Theatre, a 2,000-seat venue that opened in January 1931
with the help of Charlie Chaplin because he wanted City Lights (1931) to premiere here

The Los Angeles Conservancy launched Last Remaining Seats in 1987 to draw attention to the spectacular yet overlooked historic theatres of the city. The film series has since become a treasured summer tradition.

Click here to learn about the programming of the entire 2023 series.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

FILM NOIR STYLE Starts a Summer of Noir at the American Cinematheque


Thanks to everyone who came to the first event for my Film Noir Style series at the American Cinematheque! Packed house, people raved about my talk, and lots of books signed and sold for the Larry Edmunds Bookshop. And I made it on the marquee! Wow. 

The second event of the series - The War Years with a screening of Laura (1944) - will be June 25. Click the link to learn more about the entire Film Noir Series, including dates and the films that will be discussed.

Because the first event in my Film Noir Style series focused on "Before the War 1940-1941," I chose a two-tone pale blue 1970s dress that reflected a lot of early 1940s style and some of the influence of costume designer Orry-Kelly. My accessories included a 1950s salmon patent leather purse and floral satin pumps from Louise et Cie.

Though the audience at the event was largely new to me - which I loved - I did see some familiar faces who have come to my other events. But my most special guest at Film Noir Style was Kevin. He can't often join me, so I loved having him there to see it all and meet some people who are important to me.

At long last Jeff Mantor and I were able to do an event and book signing together! Film Noir Style came out during the pandemic, so things were delayed for us a bit. The feedback from people on both my book and event were absolutely incredible. Several men bought it after being blown away by my talk. And another gentleman brought his well-read copy from home for me to sign. Jeff and I teased some people that he got his Ava Gardner tattoo because he was such a fan of my book.

The screen as the audience entered the theater

Welcoming everyone to an event that's a dream come true -
finally starting a series to support my book Film Noir Style

Exploring the origins of film noir and digging into the backstory of The Maltese Falcon,
which was one of three movies I discussed and our screening that day

Jeff and I pause to take a selfie in front of the marquee

See you June 25 for "The War Years 1942-1945" and a screening of Laura!

Thanks to the American Cinematheque, Jeff, and Kevin for photos

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Cinema Connections at the 2023 Met Gala

This year the Met Gala was a tribute to Karl Lagerfeld and coincided with the Costume Institute's exhibition "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty." Though he was a controversial choice for the Met's theme, no one can argue that the designer had a career that is unmatched in fashion. It's difficult to summarize it all because he often worked at multiple houses at once - often rescuing and revolutionizing their fashion lines - and would do so until he passed away in 2019.

Here is just some of his incredible experience:
  • Jean Patou - Artistic Director 1958 to 1962
  • Chloe - Creative Director 1963 to 1978 and again 1992 to 1997
  • Fendi - Creative Director 1965 to 2019
  • Chanel - Creative Director 1982 to 2019
  • Karl Lagerfeld (his eponymous line) - Creative Director 1984 to 2019

Especially because of his time at Chanel, many who paid tribute to him at the Met Gala did so in designs of black and white. Even the carpet was changed from red to a creamy white with only accents of color.

Though the Met Gala was a tribute to Karl and his designs, I could still see Cinema Connections - dresses whose design shows the influence of costumes from classic film. I share some below.

Precious Lee in Fendi + Rita Hayworth in Jean Louis for 1946's Gilda

Kim Kardashian in Schiaparelli + Gloria Swanson in Clare West for 1919's Male and Female -
both dresses made of real pearls

Tory Burch in Tory Burch + Gloria Swanson in Chanel for 1931's Tonight or Never

Salma Hayek in Gucci + Jessica Rabbit (voice by Kathleen Turner) in 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Margot Robbie repurposing a Chanel dress that Cindy Crawford wore on the runway in 1993 
+ Ava Gardner in Vera West for 1946's The Killers

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Celebrating Costume Design with Mark Bridges at FASHION IN FILM OF TCMFF 2023


Thanks to the Hollywood Heritage Museum and everyone who came to Fashion in Film of TCMFF 2023! It was pure joy to be with Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges once again AND to spend our time celebrating the incredible influential costume design of everyone from Orry-Kelly to Hubert de Givenchy.

The museum made the event even more special by creating an exhibition of Mark's costumes. Rachel Parham, archivist from NBC Universal and part of the museum's team, curated costumes from Phantom Thread (2017 - Academy Award) and News of the World (2020). Not only did the audience enjoy them, but they stayed on display for visitors throughout the TCM Classic Film Festival. 

My deepest appreciation goes to Mark. He is a hero - he flew across the country just to do this event (and then flew back). And also huge thanks to those at the museum who were so supportive and made this event possible, especially Bryan Cooper, Angie Schneider, Beth Werling, and Rachel.

Fashion in Film of TCMFF 2023 was completely sold out even with a competing pre-festival event at the Roosevelt Hotel down the street. I'm STILL hearing from people how much they loved the event and that it was a highlight of their time at the festival. Mark and I loved being with you all!

Mark and I together again 
in front of some of his costume design from News of the World (2020)

Two people who were important to making this event possible -
Kelly Kitchens Wickersham and Bryan Cooper

Welcoming my film family to Fashion in Film of TCMFF 2023

Theresa Brown captured me getting situated in my seat and beginning my welcome

A couple of the movies we discussed at the event -
One Way Passage (1932) and A Touch of Mink (1962)

My look for Fashion in Film of TCMFF 2023 was inspired by Eva Marie Saint's iconic floral dress from North by Northwest (1959). Though far from a literal copy, the influence was noticed by a couple of my friends at the event. I paired my Dress the Population frock with a vintage black patent leather purse and black patent leather pumps. Because it was chilly and misty outside, I occasionally draped a black silk cardigan over my shoulders as well.

People dressed up for Fashion in Film of 2023! Lots of stylish vintage and there was a definite red/floral fit-and-flare trend. Here is just some of the fashion. I wish I could celebrate you all!

See you all next year!

Thanks to Jack Fields, Aurora Desmond, Ruth Mundsack, and other attendees for some of the pics

Cinema Connections at the 2023 Academy Awards


This year has been filled with exciting events, and as a result I am a bit behind on sharing everything I should here on the site. So I'll start catching up with some of the cinema connections - dresses that show the influence of classic costume design - and a couple other observations I made on the "champagne" carpet at this year's Academy Awards.

I felt some inspiration from Michelle Pfeiffer in 1983's Scarface for Elizabeth Olsen's Givenchy gown at the Oscars. I have since learned that Olsen really admires Pfeiffer, so I have no doubt that Patricia Norris' costume design did influence her "champagne' carpet look.

There's something about Sofia Carson's Giambattista Valli on the Oscars "champagne" carpet that felt like a mash up of the white gowns in 1951's A Place in the Sun and 1955's To Catch a Thief - both by Edith Head. It looks like the goddess pleating of Grace Kelly's bodice along with Elizabeth Taylor's tulle skirt.

I could not help but think of the green Adrian gown Loretta Young wore when she won her Best Actress Oscar as soon as I saw the voluminous green wrap around the Tony Ward Couture that Fan Bingbing chose for the "champagne" carpet.

An interesting Oscars flashback. 2023 nominee Kerry Condon in yellow Versace is channeling an iconic red carpet look from 2001 - Renee Zellweger in vintage 1959 Jean Dess├Ęs. Condon later confessed that this was indeed her inspiration.

Not a Cinema Connection, but had to comment on yet another Oscars flashback. Did Vanessa Hudgens (in Chanel) not recall that Reese Witherspoon (in Tom Ford) already did this look at the Academy Awards back in 2015? I feel that Reese did it better, too.

Oscar getting ready for the "champagne" carpet

Monday, April 24, 2023

4-Part FILM NOIR STYLE Series at the American Cinematheque Starts May 7


At long last, I'll be back in person at the American Cinematheque for 4 events celebrating Film Noir StyleThe summer series mirrors my book Film Noir Style: The Killer 1940s, and each event will include a presentation followed by a film screening. It all begins Sunday, May 7.

Sundays in May - September 2023
American Cinematheque presents Film Noir Style

2 pm lecture and screening 
preceded by book signing at 1 pm

Aero Theatre
Santa Monica, CA

Click here to purchase tickets for one or more events

Like the book, the series is divided into 4 parts:

Before the War 1940-1941
The War Years 1942-1945
The Year of Transition 1946
The Post-War Years 1947-1950

Before the War 1940-1941 with The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Sunday May 7, 2023
2 pm

In the first event Before the War, I will present and discuss influences that contributed to the style of the film noir genre, the historical context, and the impact of three movies from this period – The Maltese Falcon, I Wake Up Screaming, and The Shanghai Gesture (all 1941).

The War Years 1942-1945 with Laura (1944)
Sunday June 25, 2023
2 pm

In the second event The War Years, I will present and discuss the impact of World War II on the home front and fashion along with six films from this period - This Gun for Hire (1942); Double Indemnity (1944); Laura (1944); To Have and Have Not (1944); Murder, My Sweet (1944); and Mildred Pierce (1945).

The Year of Transition 1946 with The Killers (1946)
Sunday July TBD
2 pm

In the third event The Year of Transition 1946, I will present and discuss the impact of the end of World War II on the home front along with the backstories and iconic style of five film noir from 1946 - The Killers, Gilda, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Big Sleep, and Notorious.

The Post-War Years 1947-1950 with The Lady from Shanghai (1948)
Sunday September TBD

In the fourth and final event of the series, I will discuss and present the historical context of the time, dramatic changes that happened in both fashion and film after World War II, and the backstories of 6 films noir from the era - Dead Reckoning (1947), Lady in the Lake (1947), Out of the Past (1948), The Lady from Shanghai (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), and Sunset Boulevard (1950).

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