I recently saw a marvellous documentary by Australian director Gillian Armstrong called "Women He's Undressed". It was a documentary/ biography of probably one of the most famous men from Kiama you've never heard of. His name was Orry Kelly, and he grew up in the small coastal town of Kiama (just down the coast from Wollongong) famous for its blow hole. He moved to Sydney in his late teens and later on to Hollywood where he began by painting scenery and backdrops. Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, he started designing costumes for leading ladies and would go on to be nominated for four Oscars, three of which he won for his costume designs in the following films: "An American in Paris", "Les Girls" and "Some Like It Hot". He also had a relationship with Archibald Leach (who later changed his name to Cary Grant) and was responsible for the costume designs for some estimated 280 films including "Casablanca", "Now, Voyager" and "Oklahoma!" just to name but a few. Here's a terrific site dedicated to Orry-Kelly with his sketches and biography and here's a good synopsis of the documentary "Women He's Undressed".
Above (left to right) Ingrid Bergman in an Orry-Kelly designed ensemble for "Casablanca", Bette Davis with whom he had a lasting friendship, Kay Francis in a sparkly Orry-Kelly for the film "Mandalay", Lesley Caron and Gene Kelly in "An American in Paris" and Jack Lemmon and Tony Curis in "Some Like it Hot".
The dress extravaganza, otherwise known as the Oscars, is only one day away. To get you in the mood for dress scrutinising, Vogue has collated a set of 103 of the best Oscar dresses in the last 10 or so years. For anyone partial to dresses, it makes for entertaining viewing. I have selected two of my favourite dresses from Vogue's list above: Cate Blanchett in Valentino (2003) and Natalie Portman in Lanvin (2005).
These beautiful feathered fans come from France, America and China and they are all part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art's collection. There are lots of other pretty fans too, but I have selected the feathered fans particularly as I was interested in the different shades, designs and types of feathers used that make them all so utterly unique.
Just a night ago I watched an interesting documentary about the fashion editorial team at Vogue (USA) who work under the helm of Anna Wintour. It was called In Vogue: The Editor's Eye. Gee it was interesting! Everyone knows about Grace Coddington who was made famous by the also excellent documentary The September Issue, but this documentary looks at seven other long time editors who have as equally distinctive styles and ways of putting together a shoot as Grace does. Anyhoo, by chance I saw that it is Lewis Carroll's birthday today and I thought I'd celebrate that with Grace Coddington's beautiful Alice in Wonderland themed fashion spread she did way back in 2003. Not only is it shot by master photographer Annie Leibovitz, but it also features all the leading designers of the time which was a quirky touch that delighted many a fashionista! Can you spot Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Steven Jones, Donatella Versace and Rupert Everet (OK not a fashion designer, but there nevertheless)? It also featured Grace Coddington' favourite model at that time Natalia Vodianova. You can read Grace Coddington's account of the shoot here.