From Harry Potter to A Single Man : Wardrobe inspiration

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  1. Hermione from Harry Potter – Olivia Hawe.

It’s World Book Day and, yet again, my Gryffindor robe à la Madam Malkin (M&S) comes out. My carefully crimped hair was intended to show everyone that I was my heroine, Hermione Granger (duh). But my flaming red hair betrayed me: “you must be a Weasley”.

When I was younger, Hermione was, and in many ways still is, everything I could ever wish to be. Despite brief moments of self-consciousness, “Is that really what my hair looks like from the back?”, her image seldom comes into the equation as she runs around saving the wizarding world from You-Know-Who.

Yet aside from some to-die-for accessories – the time-turner and her never-ending bag – there is one moment which fixes Hermione as one of my movie style icons: her dress for the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (If you can’t remember her entrance, watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQBW0aDOaxM)

For me, this moment perfectly encapsulates her coming of age, where for the first time, we see Hermione as an adult, rather than a girl. I am sure not to be alone when as a girl of the Potter Generation, growing up alongside the adventurous trio, I saw myself – nerves, anticipation, the first kiss, experimenting with hair, make-up and clothes – in Hermione more than ever at this moment. Here we have an unashamedly intelligent, caring and courageous girl, as clichéd as it may sound, growing up and ‘finding herself’. 10 points to Gryffindor.

2. Helena Bonham Carter in Burton and Taylor – Olivia Sung 

helena

I want to be Helena Bonham-Carter.

No, I want to be Elizabeth Taylor.

No, I want to be Helena Bonham-Carter as Elizabeth Taylor.

In almost every other role she’s ever played, Ms Bonham-Carter has been a saving grace for women everywhere whose hair has a tendency towards maniacal poodle frizz (like me). Think how badass-sexy Bellatrix Lestrange looks in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Helena works intelligent, eccentric wild woman the way Reese Witherspoon does blonde. She may not have invented batshit-crazy hotness, but over the past decade or so, she’s certainly patented it, at least as far as Hollywood is concerned.

But still, there was obviously no other choice to take on the monumental task of a biographical portrayal of the grande dame of 1950s/60s Hollywood royalty, Elizabeth Taylor (well, you know… Lindsay Lohan… but the less said about that, the better). When BBC2 commissioned their epic biopic Burton & Taylor, they posited Helena as the feisty, ballsy, glamorous queen of the Golden Era against her romantic counterpart, the love of her life, Richard Burton (played by the suitably erudite and admirably gravel-voiced Dominic West). Nobody could have played Liz better than Helena. The Burton-Taylor dynamic was an excitingly public, tempestuous, passionate and torrid one – these were a couple who disagreed on everything, were freely vocal about it, argued until the glass shattered, partied hard and openly admitted to having a fiery, if ultimately destructive, amorous life. They were also fiercely in love with one another… too in love, in fact, to stay together.

And still, you can’t have Burton without Taylor, and vice versa. Matching each other wit for wit, Taylor was the foil to Burton’s surly academic gravitas with her high-octane, ferocious glamour and gusto. Bonham-Carter and West portray the star-crossed lovers not at the zenith of their young, successful, famous glory, but during their darker fallout: in the aftermath of their second divorce, Bonham-Carter’s older, vulnerable Liz (still veneered in the shiny glitz of wearing her costume as Hollywood’s hottest property) sashays back into Burton’s life, draped in dangling beadwork, addicted to alcohol and neurotically determined to win back the love of her life from the arms of his quieter, less ferocious, sweet new wife Sally. Bonham-Carter is a heartbreaking study in what it means to be too passionately in love with somebody to spend your life with them, and too much of a match for them to stay away; and yet, even at her most broken and bruised, the Liz Taylor of this production – much like the Liz Taylor of real life – is the epitome of high-octane, vintage Hollywood style: think jade green off-shoulder dresses, silk palazzo pants, fur stoles, heavily beaded and intricately detailed blouses, impeccable fire-truck red lipstick, perfectly groomed hair and – of course – an abundance of the world’s finest diamonds.

An authentic Elizabeth Taylor look would probably set you back hundreds of thousands; luckily, every so often the high street offers a promising reiteration of what it means to be truly glam (Topshop’s most recent collaboration with Kate Moss offers a black cocktail dress I imagine would make the Cleopatra star proud, complete with marabou feather off-shoulder collar trim).

I can’t afford Liz Taylor’s wardrobe, and I can’t really carry off Helena Bonham’s wild woman hair with quite as much insouciant sexiness. But you can access “Liz Style” in other ways. And – next time I get my heart broken – I’ll remember her advice: put on some lipstick, pour myself a drink, and pull myself together.”

3. Lisa Rowe from Girl Interrupted – Léa Carresse 

lisa

I love Lisa Rowe (Angelina Jolie) in Girl Interrupted, and I completely relate to her, which is perhaps slightly worrying since she happens to be a manipulative sociopath who has spent the past eight years of her life in an asylum.

Lisa is fascinating. She’s crazy, seductive, and brutally honest. Perhaps that’s why the medical staff locks her up and numbs her with electric shocks : She’s not afraid to call things by their name, much to the displeasure of the hypocritical and petit-bourgeois suburban American society. She destroys the veneer of the so-called normality and safety reigning in the outside world. “You didn’t change the problem. You’re only changing the setting” Lisa reminds a girl leaving the asylum. In the end, she is a lot more clairvoyant than most of the so-called “sane”characters, and her honesty in the pettiness and injustice of the ’60s American society  is somewhat a mark of courage.

She’s also pretty stylish, rocking throughout the movie cute basic white tops, washed-out jeans, aviator sunglasses and a pair of heels like no one else, often with a pretty cool (and ridiculously warm-looking) vintage fur jacket. She even makes a hospital gown look good. She can pull off anything. She’s Lisa Rowe, after all.

4. George Falconer from A Single Man – Lisa Cave 

colin

 A Single Man was always going to be a film with that rare combination of style and substance and you would expect nothing less from Tom Ford, the director and heavyweight men’s fashion designer, renowned for his impeccable taste. He ensures that everything about his directorial debut, which takes place over the course of a single day, is simply beautiful.

Every cast member is painstakingly costumed and none more so than George Falconer, played by Colin Firth. Nicholas Hoult may be doing a mighty job of rocking the white mohair jumper (not an easy thing to accomplish), but it’s George’s simple and classic style that really gets me.

With sharp, clean 1960s tailoring and a few formal touches, such as the clip tie and those iconic black, thick-framed glasses, George Falconer is living (well, cinematic) proof that a crisp shirt + simple accessories + no-fuss styling is all you need in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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