Monday, 28 November 2016

RETRO MAKEOVERS AND AFTERNOON TEA AT CLARIDGES


By now you will have seen my vlog from the premiere of Allied, which took place a week ago today. Situated in the foyer of the Odean Leicester Square were some of the stunning costumes from the film. I was unabe to get a proper look at the craftmanship and tailoring as we were ushered in to get our seat pretty swiftly. Luckily I new the next day would deliver an opportunity to get up close and personal to the beautiful 1940's designs.


The lovely folk at Paramount invited myself and some other bloggers and journalists for a day of retro pampering at The Soho Hotel. In one of their achingly cool events rooms there were two beautifying stations governed by gorg ladies, The Powderpuff Girls. Look how adorable they look in their pillar box hats and pink button down dresses! Imagine a uniform being this damn hot!

 
At the make up station this lovely blonde bombshell gave me eyeliner flicks that were bold, but more importantly symmetrical, an attribute I have managed to avoid during the whole of my years applying make up. She also added a matte red lip, making me do that rather saucy looking action of sucking your finger to prevent it from being able to rub off on your teeth. The sultry brunette then went on to give me Veronica Lake waves and a statment victory roll.

Amber Doig Thorne and I trying not to look wkward in an attempt to document our retro makeovers.

After some mingling with some bucks fizz we then had the opportunity to watch the film on one of the hotel's screen rooms. Myself and Amber had already watched it the night before so we left to grab some lunch before meeting the rest of the gang after their viewing session, to then head to Claridges.


I've never been treated afternoon tea before, but all the images on my instagram by fellow bloggers over the years has made it an activity I've been deesperate to experience. How lucky am I that my first experience would take place at the iconic and heralded Claridges. In the sophisticated french salon, we would not only get to pleasure our taste buds, but see the film's costumes up close and personal, and even meet the creative (and oscar nominated) lady behind them.


I was lucky enough to be sat next to oscar nominated costume designer Joanna Johnston, so had a great opportunity to ask her lots about the inspiration behind the glorious fashion featured in the film. I really felt that her choices really helped us as viewers to feel immersed in that war torn era, but it was also a huge part of what injected the glamour and romance into the movie, but also helped to create the more cosey and homely family feel during the shots at home. 
I've always heard positive feedback from film industry people in reference to Brad Pitt, it sounds like he is a thoroughly decent guy to work with, which is something Joanna confirmed. She said working with Marion and Brad was a complete pleasure and they were extremely easy to work with, more than happy to trust her cirection when it came to the wardrobe choices. She said their enviable figures and stunning appearances also make her job more than a little easier in terms of creating flattering looks.


She said that working with actors and celebrities is easier if the project is set in the past. If it's a contemporary feature the talent is more likely to have a strong opinon of what they feel/want their character to wear. Perhaps their personal relationships with brands will play a part for instance. For example if there character is in jeans they may have a personal preference in terms of brand of denim they like to wear. If it's based in a different time, they tend to be willing to go with what the costume designer believes to be right, because they will be more clued up on what is accurate for that time.


I asked joanna whether there is an era she's particularly drawn to, perhaps a style movement that appeals to her more, and brings more joy to the creative process. She talked about her work for the Man from Uncle and said how much she loved the looks from the late 60's, which weren' the hippy dippy 60's, it was the more formed and sophistaced looks that started to emerge towards to early seventies. I asked whether a film's era would be the decider for whether she would want to get involved in the particular project, but she said that it's more about the story for her, if it's a tale she believes and feels invested in. She went to explain how taken she was with the romance of Allied, that she feels it's very relationship that what draws you into the film and truly makes you care about the ending.


The look on the right here very much reminded me of Katherine Hepburn. I always adored how she she wore tailoring. I love how a look can still showcase a woman's waist but have a strong and masculine element too. 


The silk dressing gown is one of Joanna's personal favourites, she adored the feminine print, as did all of us. The scenes of Marion is her nightwear definitely made me feel like I need to up my game - I can't imagine my Slipknot tee would have had quite the same effect on Mr Pitt. She also said she had a particular soft spot for the wool crocheted outfit the baby wears when they are having their picnic.


This green dress was my favourite look from the movie, I loved the subtle green that was used, thefeather bead and embroidery work, and the draping on the hip. It was so luxe, and managed to find a balance between utterly classy but completely sexy. Joanna told us that at one point she had toyed with a blue but felt this hue complimented Marion's colouring the best.


We also found out that she had to make 8 versions of this dress, which isn't something I considered before, but it now seems very obvious. Of course there needs to be back-ups in case anything happens to the dress, film making is expensive and time in money, so filming can't be halted because a rip, stain or other malfunction. Joanna also told us how she needed to amend the design of the skirt for the scenes which require Marion to run - so that was another dress that needed to be made. Then there needed to back up's for the scene where Marion and brad flip the table, in case and liquid got on to the satin. She also nodded when I asked about whether human bodily functions are considerd when you decide on the materials you use - afterall we all know that some fabrics are very effective at showing up sweat patches.


This stunning pleated skirt detail of the ensemble Marion wears when they are sat outside at the cafe was a particularly tricky design for Joanna. The geometric print was a nightmare in terms of it making sense with the pleats. The hard work paid off because she looks draw droppingly beautiful in these scene. She's managed to create a look completely fitting of the era and setting, but one that has a contemporary freshness and unfussy nature about it.



When I met up with the girls after they'd seen the movie, where we shared our heartbreak and confessed to sobbing to an embarrassing extent, we went on to discuss other elements of the film, including Brad's appearance. We all agreed that he is looking better than ever. The new shorter haircut appears to have taken years off, and he looked offensively dashing in all of Joanna's costumes. 
Of course it's not a not a new concept to find a man attractive in uniform, but he somehow looked just as refined in the less formal looks too, when in the desert (that scene in the car....corrr) and wearing that slightly oversized light coloured suit for the scene at the cafe. He has the sort of body and stature that looks great in clothes, they never look like they're wearing him and he never looked out of place in the 1940's environment.

Joanna kindly signing illustrations of her costumes

Claridge’s is famous for it's Christmas tree but this year they have gone a step further. Their offering  has long symbolised the start of the festive season in the capital, drawing visitors and Londoners alike to admire its magnificent design. But this year Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson, and in collaboration with renowned British set designer Michael Howells, have created an immersive festive installation. You will find yourself in a magical, snow-covered forest.


Sir Jony Ive, Chief Design Officer at Apple, and Marc Newson, one of the world’s most influential industrial designers, are both long-time friends of the hotel. 

“There are few things more pure and beautiful than nature, so that was our starting point, layering various iterations of organic forms with technology. Our aim was to create an all-enveloping magical experience that celebrates our enormous respect for tradition while recognising our excitement about the future and things to come." 

The high light boxes that glow with black and white photographic images of snow covered silver birch trees, set on a pure white floor. Against this backdrop, rise cast models of Scots pine, layered with both natural and photographed silver birch and fir trees, reaching to a canopy of natural green pine.

This is the seventh year that Claridge’s has invited a favourite guest to reinterpret the tree in their own distinctive style and I've dcided to make it a new tradition of my own, to go and see each year's creation from this point onwards.  

I can't say enough gushy words about my Allied themed day, I was utterly spoiled rotten. But before I go I will urge you to watch the movie. Not only visually stunning, the thriller aspect of the film will keep you glued right to the very end.


Thanks so much to Paramount for inviting me to be part of such a wonderful day, I'm so very grateful.

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