Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ho Ho Ho and Happy 2014

Best wishes for a wonderful (and sane!) holiday season and all the best for 2014. Its been a busy fall (I took on editor duties for the the online vintage site Ruby Lane's magazine Ruby Read - be sure and check it out!) and look forward to spending more time on Cinema Style next year. In the meantime,  Wolf of Wall Street, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are a few Christmas releases that look promising. If only every day were Christmas at the box office.

Or stay home and catch my big three - Holiday Inn, Christmas in Connecticut and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Cousin Eddie gets me every time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

JFK on Film

In honor of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy, Cinema Style takes a look a the numerous actors who have portrayed the late president on film and television.

PT 109 (1963)
Cliff Robertson

This film is memorable for two reasons -- it was released while JFK was still in office and Robertson gives one of the best portrayals to date. Legend has it the young president selected the actor to play him as a WWII Navy lieutenant after viewing his screen test and Jackie wanted Warren Beatty. Peter Fonda was also considered for the role. The film was released five months before JFK's assassination and apparently the President's only complaint was the fact Robertson parted his hair on the wrong side.

The Missiles of October (1974)
William Devane

ABC's made-for-television movie chronicles JFK's handling of the Cuban missile crisis. William Devane has always been a dead ringer for the President in my book (and I loved him as
Greg Sumner on Knots Landing but that's another story).

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981)
James Franciscus

Fans of a certain age will remember the late heart throb James Franciscus as TV's Mr. Novak and perhaps the most handsome JFK portrayal of all. Jaclyn Smith plays Jackie in the mini series tale of the First Lady.

Kennedy (1983)
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen is no stranger to political dramas (West Wing and The American President) and portrayed JFK in the popular five-hour miniseries that aired before the 20th anniversary.

A Woman Named Jackie (1991)
Stephen Collins

The First Lady seems to have had as many bio pics as the President. Stephen Collins takes another handsome turn as JFK in the NBC miniseries with Roma Downey was Jackie.

JFK: Reckless Youth (1993)
Patrick Dempsey

In another twist on the JFK saga, the future McDreamy of Grey's Anatomy Patrick Dempsey plays the young Kennedy as he is nominated for Congress.

Thirteen Days (2000)
Bruce Greenwood

Greenwood plays JFK during the Cuban missile crisis with Kevin Costner as aide Kevin O'Donnell. (And a piece of trivia - Costner also starred in Oliver Stone's JFK).

Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (2000)
Tim Matheson

The CBS miniseries (that makes all three of the majors having their own JFK shows) starred none other than Tim Matheson aka Animal House's Eric Stratton (to be fair he played the VP in West Wing too!) as the 35th President with Joanne Whalley as Jackie.

The Kennedys (2011)
Greg Kinnear

The Reelz channel won four Emmys for their miniseries The Kennedys. Former Talk Soup and Academy Award nominated actor Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes played the presidential couple.

and lastly,

Killing Kennedy (2013)
Rob Lowe

Just in time for the 50th anniversary, former West Wing star Rob Lowe turned in an incredible performance as JFK. Based on Bill O'Reilly's book of the same name, the thriller centers on the assassination. Big Love's Ginnifer Goodwin stars as the First Lady.

Photo Credits: NBC, ABC, National Geographic, CBS, Reelz, Lifetime, Warner Brothers, New Line

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Transylvania Style

Even the castle at Transylvania had style. Floor to ceiling windows, quatrefoil designs on the fireplace and double candelabra iron sconces make Dracula's lair via the Universal backlot one of my favorite sets from the thirties.

Happy Halloween!

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Good Wife: As Good As It Gets

The Good Wife just gets better and better...between the acting, storyline, and sets, it is perhaps the best show on network television this season.

I have covered the CBS Sunday night mega-hit on several occasions as the set decoration has caught the eye of the home furnishings industry -- first with a furniture line from Mitchell Gold followed by a home accessories collection with Interlude Home.

I was delighted to co-host a party with Traditional Home magazine for the launch of The Good Wife's next collection with the French home accessory company Madura at their Manhattan store. Designed in collaboration with the show's set decorator Beth Kushnick, the collection includes curtains, decorative pillows and accessories (coasters, magazine racks and picture frames). Inspired by the decor of the show, it's a touch of Paris via Alicia Florrick and Lockhart /Gardner.

Here's hoping you didn't miss the season's most explosive episode this past Sunday!

The show's powerhouse cast
Vignette inspired by  character  Grace Florrick's bedroom

I love the selection of pillows at Madura!
The company's Madison Avenue store 

Photo Credits: Madura, CBS, Traditional Home

Friday, October 11, 2013

Designing Dracula

Designing digs for Dracula has been done for years and always so familiar  - the crumbling walls, the cobweb filled castle steps, the creaky coffin... all trademark staples of the Gothic castle in Transylvania.

This time around, the Prince of Darkness is alive and well in the form of a wealthy American industrialist (The Tudors's Jonathan Rhys Meyers) Alexander Grayson and living in Victorian England in NBC's drama series Dracula. And his environs receive a modern twist.

Rhys Meyers turn as the Prince of Darkness

Set in 19th century London (via Budapest), British production designer Rob Harris (Mr. Selfridge) designed Dracula's opulent mansion Carfax Manor on a soundstage with a more modern take (think electricity) yet historically accurate to the period. Instead of looking to the famed vampire count for design inspiration, Harris looked to another icon, Jay Gatsby. "The design came from a very rich person's house in Londong fromt he same period. We didn't want gothic or a castle tower and it's kind of similar to an 1896 Great Gatsby with strong colors," says Harris. Some 150 sets were built for the ten episodes and the designers faced the challenge facing any vampire - designing a world of living in the night as "Dracula lives in a twilight world."

An entrance hall even Jay Gatsby would find over the top

Dracula's inner sanctum minus the coffin as a bed
The Victorian wardrobes - generally severe and dark - get a facelift as well through the work of costume designer Annie Symons. Bright and colorful, the show's executive producer Daniel Knauf notes, "There is a slightly David Lynchian, Tim-Burton-esque like element. If Alexander McQueen were alive in Victorian England, he would be in charge of the wardrobe for this show." Premiering on NBC Friday, October 25th at 10/9 central, tune in as there is something you can sink your teeth into - no pun intended.

Symon's colorful frocks are anything but Victorian

English society is introduced to the lightbulb by Dracula

For more on Designing Dracula and just in time for Halloween, see my story in The Hollywood Reporter.

Photo Credits: NBC, The Hollywood Reporter

Friday, October 4, 2013

House of Versace

Well this should be fun.

Take the elements of money, sibling rivalry, fame, and murder against a backdrop of over the top fashion coupled with the inimitable Donatella Versace and you have all the makings of a very entertaining made for television movie.

Based on the book House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder and Survival by Wall Street Journal reporter Deborah Ball, Gina Gershon does an uncanny dead-on performance of the iconic Italian fashion designer and sister of the late Gianni Versace in the Lifetime production (airing Friday, October 5th, 8:00 PM ET). The biopic focuses on Donatella's role in the fashion house after her brother's murder in 1997, weaving in the dramas of her drug addiction, near bankruptcy of the company and eventual triumph as she rebuilds the Versace brand. (Rumor has it the real Donatella is not pleased with the production). House of Versace also starts Raquel Welch as her aunt and Enrico Colantoni (Person of Interest) as Gianni.

The hour long documentary "Versace: Beyond the Headlines" that follows the film (10:00 PM ET) promises a fascinating look into Gianni's multi-million dollar fashion empire. Between this and the new fall shows, I may need another Tivo.

Actress Gina Gershon

Colantoni, Gershon and actor Colm Feore as brother Santo 
Santo, Donatella and Gianni Versace

Raquel Welch in a Versace creation

One of the many lavishly sets from Production designer Patricia Christie
Photo Credits: Lifetime/Jan Thjis, Telegraph

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Divine Dante

The Age of Innocence, The Aviator, Meet Joe Black, Interview With the Vampire and most recently, Hugo are just a few of the incredible celluloid worlds created by Academy Award winning production designer Dante Ferretti. With a body of work that includes 50 feature films, 24 operas and collaborations with directors Fellini, Zefferelli, Scorsese, and Coppola, his designs are at long last  being celebrated at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Dante Ferretti: Design and Construction for the Cinema features a large scale multimedia installation with  original set pieces from his Oscar winning films (Hugo, Sweeney Todd and The Aviator) and a six month retrospective of 22 films showcasing his exceptional work (much of it designed with wife of 35 years and set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo).

The exhibit opened September 28th and runs through February 9th. For more information, see the museum's site here.

The train station clock, a centerpiece of the film Hugo

Getting ready for its closeup at the Museum of Modern Art

Ferretti's Golden Age of Hollywood sets for The Aviator with Leo DiCaprio

Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner in The Aviator
The Age of Innocence with Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day Lewis

Ferretti's drawings for The Age of Innocence above and below

Drawings for Mrs. Mingott's conservatory

Meet Joe Black with Brad Pitt

Photo Credits: Museum of Modern Art, Warner Brothers

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fashion Week Muse: Tory Burch and La Piscine

The 60s film La Piscine (The Swimming Pool) provided the perfect inspiration for Tory Burch's Spring 2014 line that debuted today at Fashion Week. Starring Alain Delon, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin (of Birkin bag fame) , the drama tells the tale of a couple, father and daughter who share a villa together on the Côte d'Azur. Sexual jealously plays a dominant theme and it's interesting to note that Schneider and Delon were an offscreen couple at one time and remained friends during the filming.

French fashion designer André Courrèges served as costume designer on the film and it's easy to see how his modern geometric designs (think triangles and squares), casual preppy looks, French Riviera bikinis and long maxi dresses influenced Burch's line. (Courrèges is credited - along with British 60s designer Mary Quant - with the invention of the mini-skirt). 
The bohemian yet tailored and simple costumes are as classic today as they were in the sixties.  He once made the statement, “High heels are preposterous. They are just as absurd as the ancient practice of binding the feet of Chinese women. Boots are a more feminine solution – and more rational and logic. Beauty is logical.” Given our Manolo obsessed society, I wonder what he thinks about them now.

Romy Schneider
Alain Delon

Romy in monogrammed blue shirt

Romy in classic white sheath dress, still a staple today

Jane Birken in crocheted bikini
Romy's silk maxi dress

Romy in a signature geometric classic Courrèges

Behind the Scenes with director Jacques Deray

Tory Burch's Spring 2014 line is filled with botanical themes in green and white, wicker totes, metallic low heels, lattice cutout leather, linen burlap and two piece pant sets with a Preppy Meets the French Riviera look. While summer is barely a distant memory, I look forward to collecting some of these items for spring! And renting La Piscine on Netflix.

Jewel neck tunic dress

Botanical bikini with linen burlap coat

Green floral beaded sandals

Two piece pant sets so reminiscent of the 60s and 70s

Botanical themed shift with lattice handbag

Botanical and lattice themed bikini and scarf print cardigan

Botanical scarf print dress with Peter Pan collar....

Peter Pan detail on the original

All items are available at Tory Burch. Check out her playlists on Tory's Blog while you are there as I always discover new music!

Photo Credits: Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie, Tory Burch, Courreges