The Golden Compass is coming out in December and looks like it's gonna be a great movie! (I like these kinds of movies...) It looks amazing and is designed by Ruth Myers. She designed many period/high concept films such as The Four Feathers, Emma, The Addams Family, and the HBO series Carnivale. She has a very full and varied work history, including one of my favorite films of all time: Center Stage! It is a nice guilty pleasure... although it is probably one of the worst costumed movies ever. (Although one only has to watch the movie to know that it didn't have much budget, so I'm not blaming her. )
This movie is a whole other story! Here are some of the official production stills... I'm loving the textures and knits!
I went to the amazing *free* Metropolitan Opera Opening Night of the 2007-2008 Season in Times Square last night. It was scheduled to start at 6:30 but luckily started the second I got there about ten minutes or so late. They blocked off the entire Broadway half of Times Square and set out many seats and we watched on the big screen facing south of Manhattan. They hung giant speakers from cranes on either side of the roped off area and the sound was incredible. There was virtually no traffic noise at all (the right side of the street on the other side of the island was not blocked off...), no honking, no loud radios or engines or anything at all. I think everyone was just so into it, and those passing who didn't really know what it was all about just shut up to kind of take it in and figure it out. People came and went freely, which was nice actually. It contributed to the very relaxing and easy atmosphere. (I know! Easy and relaxing on the streets of Times Square!?) The back half was not very full at all when I got there, but then -oddly- almost completely filled up for the great mad scene in the Third Act. It's like everyone knew that this was the moment.
The opera was absolutely riveting. And I'm not just saying that. I'm sort of an 'Idea-of-Opera' lover I've sadly realized after watching this performance. I say that because I always always watch it on tv, but inevitably end up getting bored after a couple of hours and flip the channel. Maybe that's because of the commercials or because I always catch it in the middle... in any case, this performance completely surprised me and I can now say that I am a bona fide Opera lover. At one point I thought my eyes were going to bug out of my head, I was so riveted and glued to my seat. I had not planned to stay through the whole thing because it ended after ten and I had not eaten since lunch... but I just couldn't get up, I wanted to see the whole thing. I can't gush any more about it, it was simply amazing.
The Mad Scene, Act III
In between the Acts, in the almost half an hour Intermissions, there were interviews and backstage glimpses. The first intermission Mary Jo Heath talked briefly with Director Mary Zimmerman and surprisingly Mara Blumenfeld, the costume designer (sorry Mara! I got such odd photos of you!) The interview was brief but she talked about her thought process behind the production and their decision to move the time period to the Victorian era. The idea was that as Lucia goes mad, or is already mad and gets increasingly so, in their view, that the Victorian time period would be a great backdrop to emphasize this story in that respect.
The palette Mara chose was one of blacks, dark greys, gunmetals, dark greens, and only one hit of red in the 'villian,' Enrico's costume. Of course Lucia's wedding gown in the final act was a bright white which popped dramatically against the cast's black ensemble. There were alot of irridescent taffetas used, in almost everybody's costume, especially the ensemble cast. Brocades were used as well, though they too were very shiny. The production on the whole was very dark and moody with lots of bare trees in the backgrounds to add eeriness- it was almost like a ghost story.
Maestro James Levine in action, and taking a final bow with the leading lady. Don't you just love him! I always have, I think he's adorable. Not to mention a genius, of course.
I was very happy to see that after the first bow, the production team came up and joined the line, including Mara Blumenfeld, to take curtain calls. Afterwards everyone took a final bow on the balcony of Lincoln Center, where an audience was watching outside on a large screen.
It's very easy to care about women's fashion and dress more than men's. I'm trying to make a very conscience decision to study the boys as well as the girls. This movie offers a very good chance to do that. And the more I researched it, the more I was interested. The palette is subtle but strong: deep browns, olives and greys. Everyone looks a bit too clean than I would expect them to look for the time period, but there's some texturizing done to the suits with regards to fraying the edges, roughing up the hats and some of the fabrics to add some layers to the characters. At this time people would typically only have one outfit until it completely fell off from too much use, and to that end most of the pieces, especially on Jesse James, just look too new, but damn if they dont look good.
Patricia Norris did double duty on this movie as Costume and Production Designer. She fulfilled both these roles on many films like Twin Peaks:Fire Walk with Me and Return to Lonesome Dove and Costume Designed most notably films such as Scarface, The Elephant Man, And Victor Victoria.
I found some actual portraits of the real characters and it's great to see how their personalities come through in the actors chosen to portray them.
Every morning while Pat Kiernan and I chat about what's in today's papers, I am bombarded with commercials for The Little Mermaid coming to Broadway "so get your tickets now!" However the commercial is nothing more than a poster-like title card and a voice over. But my curiosity was peaked as to how they were going to do this whole swimming around on stage business and how those mermaids were going to get around in their fishy costumes. There's practically no information or pictures to be found (dang Disney machine at work...) although I found a blog wholey dedicated to this one production and has a few tidbit pics on there. What I have found though, is not promising with regards to design. Completely predictable and boring... and actually kind of garish and loud. Reviews all over trash the production design as well, but this is just my pre-judgement. It's not fair to say for sure until I've seen it (or at least better pics.) If they're looking for some advise however, I suggest this dress as a fabulous place to start!
So we can all see Feist's new video 1234 on the new Ipod Nano commercials. I never really took note of her until I saw the commercial- like pretty much everyone. It's a good song and all but what really got my attention was....THIS AMAZING BLUE SEQUIN JUMPSUIT!!
The video is sort of reminiscent of that old Gap Mambo commercial- or better yet, Bjork's It's Oh So Quiet video by Spike Jonez:
Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh costumed the move Becoming Jane, which came out last month, and I think there's a really lovely palette used through out this movie. I haven't seen this movie yet, so I can't say how good it is or not, but that's not the point anyway. I can see a very subtle use of textures such as velvet and brocades and some monochromatic patterns used in the fabrics. I think it works to give that visual depth against an almost barren and cold feeling production design. And I mean that literally... everyone looks really cold.
I'm not that familiar with Ms. Mhaoldomhnaigh's work, but it looks like there's an adaptation of Brideshead Revisited coming out next year that she worked on- I need to move that book to the top of my 'To Be Read' list soon!
This image is from this month's Vogue magazine. Cate Blanchett, pictured as her character Elizabeth from the new movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age. The dress she wears in this picture is an 'inspired' dress by Givenchy. The photo is a nice teaser, but the costumes in the movie by Alexandra Byrne show much more promise.