The TCM Classic Film Festival officially kicked off last Thursday at the Roosevelt Hotel and what excitement. The relative calm of the day before was gone and replaced with the feverish energy of 25,000 fans flooding Hollywood and Highland for four full days. Being part of this festival is an experience like no other. Each one feels like you're strapping into a roller coaster...though you have a sense of where the wild ride will take you, you're never quite sure of all the unexpected twists and turns. This constant rush of adrenaline gives you something of an out of body experience that is enhanced further by food and sleep deprivation as you make it your mission not to miss any festival favorites. It's as if you're floating through it all much like falling in love, which makes sense since that's what separates this festival and its festival goers from any other--genuine passion.
First on the agenda Thursday was meeting the incredible people behind the network at Club TCM in the hotel's famous Blossom Room. Producer and podcast host Scott McGee introduced TCM's new General Manager Jeff Gregor along with VPs Sean Cameron (Studio Production), Pola Changnon (Production), Charlie Tabesh (Programming), Richard Steiner (New Media), and Tom Brown (Original Productions) to the appreciative audience. This was quite the stage for our Q & A time with them...the Blossom Room happens to be the location of the very first Academy Awards. Fans shouted out that it cost a mere $5 to attend the ceremony there. Honestly, the history of Los Angeles never ceases to amaze me. When you're as big a classic cinema fan as I am, this kind of setting always gives me goosebumps.
Adding to the excitement was the fact that I was then invited to be interviewed on air by the great TCM host Robert Osborne. Since the festival's theme was Style in the Movies, that's what we discussed in front of the audience...from my earliest exposure to classic film (including film noir greats The Thin Man and Double Indemnity) to my biggest influences in costume design and style. Of course I spoke of the life changing moment twenty years ago when I saw Edith Head's work in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window for the very first time. As my friends and fans know, that laid the foundation for almost everything...from the way I dress to the very existence of GlamAmor today. I also added my appreciation for the iconic style of TCM's April Star of the Month Doris Day, which was particularly evident in the outfit I chose for filming (above). I will be sure share the interview just as soon as the video is ready. It was heaven.
Not long after the interview, we in the media headed across the street to Grauman's Chinese Theater to set up for the opening night premiere of Cabaret. I chose a great spot on the red carpet--right next to the TCM stage where hosts Robert and Ben Mankiewicz would both hold their interviews with the stars. Even so, I was still sitting among the notorious paparazzi of Los Angeles and literally fighting a throng of photographers who make their living from these types of events. One even climbed the railing hitting me with all his equipment to try and take my spot! Not that I could really blame them--style icons Liza Minnelli, Tippi Hedren, Eva Marie Saint, and Debbie Reynolds all walked the red carpet along with Woody Allen alumni Tony Roberts and Michael Murphy, and many others. There were also younger celebrities there as well such as Rose McGowen, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Jordana Brewster. Photographers were screaming at celebrities and running back and forth to try and get their shots, which made the entire experience quite the challenge. I was even the subject of one such moment...1927's Wings star A.C. Lyles approached me on the red carpet and showed he still had the moves at a frisky 93-years-old. The photographers couldn't get enough.
But it was Patricia Ward Kelly, widow of Gene Kelly, who was my favorite throughout the festival for her impeccable style. We first bonded on the red carpet over her vintage alligator handbag (since I have the same one). But it was her custom-made suits--by L.A. based designer Ali Rahimi for Mon Atelier--paired with gloves that made every one of her appearances special. Patricia was there to introduce Singin' in the Rain Saturday night (which coincidentally was our weather report) and I was lucky enough to talk with her twice over the course of the festival. Since both of our styles are so classic, we couldn't help but connect and have a genuine appreciation of one another. Saying of my style, she gave possibly the greatest compliment--"Gene would definitely approve!" Soon I'll be going to visit her and her talented team to discuss influences, inspiration, and all things style. Couldn't be more thrilled!
As you'll see from the photos below, the red carpet was tented in anticipation of the oncoming rain. In fact, the threat of thunderstorms loomed so large that the evening's poolside screening of High Society was moved inside the Blossom Room. No matter...nothing could dampen the fun when Frank Sinatra's daughter Tina joined us and gave a champagne toast to the incredible style of the movie. A great way to end our first day with still so much to look forward to at the festival. Stay tuned here for even more coverage and check out GlamAmor's YouTube channel for a video playlist of TCM's daily recaps and clips of my favorite festival films. Cheers!
Entering the atmospheric Club TCM
and greeted by the glamorous Joan Crawford
Clips from classic cinema shimmered on the screen including Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Swing Time (above)
Givenchy's vintage copy of Audrey's Sabrina gown decorated Club TCM
and enthralled the audience with its diminutive size and intricate detail
Audrey was also found in the beautiful photography that adorned Club TCM
The audience gathers to meet the panel of talent who runs TCM
Meet TCM (left to right): Scott McGee, Sean Cameron, Pola Changnon, Jeff Gregor (above)
and Charlie Tabesh, Richard Steiner, and Tom Brown
Back in the lobby for my interview on air with the great Robert Osborne
before heading over to Grauman's Chinese Theater to cover the red carpet of Cabaret
On the Red Carpet: 1960s pink shortsleeve dress, 1960s black leather purse,
J. Crew black patent leather skinny belt, Nine West black patent leather peeptoe pumps,
vintage pearl drop earrings, vintage pearl necklace (doubled as a bracelet)
Cabaret star and style icon Liza Minnelli being interviewed by TCM host Robert Osborne
Cabaret star Joel Grey with his daughter--Dirty Dancing's Baby--Jennifer Grey
Hitchcock heroines Tippi Hedren and Eva Marie Saint
Spitfire Debbie Reynolds interviewed by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz
Woody Allen alumni Tony Roberts and Michael Murphy
My festival favorite was Patricia Ward Kelly, widow of Gene Kelly,
who shows the ladies how it's done with her stylish suiting by Ali Rahimi
William Wellman Jr., son of Wings (1927) director William Wellman (above),
and frisky and flirtatious Wings star A.C. Lyles
Festival passholders also dressed up and walked the red carpet...
here's friend and fellow blogger Kay Noske working the scene in vintage
Heading back to the Roosevelt Hotel to see Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra in High Society
Tina Sinatra with Ben, who tried on a little of Frank's style in introducing the film
Coming up next on the TCM Classic Film Festival coverage--
Friday interviews and Kim Novak's premiere of Vertigo!