Archive for January 2013

Shatner Sightings by Robyn Wyman-Dill

The incomparable William Shatner tells a tender story of a little boy knocking on his car shell door.  A little boy, wanting so much to meet Capt. Kirk and see – first hand – inside the USS Enterprise, stands outside.

Welcome to a smaller portion of the Shatner’s World, We just live in it…show.

“Are you Captain Kirk?” The little boy asks.

The post-Star Trek star turned down and out, unemployed Shatner takes one look at the kid and nods yes.

“Is this your spaceship?‘  The little boy inquires.

Shatner takes one look at the kid and nods yes.

“Can I see it?”  The little boy speaks again.

Shatner takes one look at the kid and nods yes.  The kid steps inside.

(Anyone ever seen the insides of the USS Enterprise?)

“Those are the controls, kid.” Shatner says, pointing to the two hot plates serving as his kitchen.

On the short tour Shatner stops at his iddy biddy bathroom.   Pulling back the shower curtains, he reveals a shower head and a tiny stall.

“Here’s where they beam me up.”  Shatner says matter-of-factly.

Imagination that.   Read the rest of this entry »

Clothes to Suit Their Occasions

photos and blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

 

If you are someone whose been dazzled by the sequins sewn on Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and now marvels at the turn of the century attire of the Crawley family in Downton Abbey, you are in for a treat.  The Bowers Museum’s current exhibition – “CUT! Costume and the Cinema” – presents five centuries of fabulous fashions with an informative look at the art of costume making from one of the companies that does it best.

Forty-three period costumes worn by likes of Keira Knightly, Johnny Depp, Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock, Uma Thurman, Laura Flynn Boyle, Julie Christie, and Angelica Huston from 27 films will tantalize your eyes with their beauty and precision to details. The cinematic couture – on loan from the London costume house of Cosprop Ltd. – spans five centuries of period costumes seen in comedy, fantasy, drama, adventure and historical films.

Their creation is no easy task.

Each piece requires extensive research of the fabrics and styles of their era to establish authenticity in the character’s personality, age and social status. Every costume is custom-made by the finest seamstresses from around the world.  Dyers, embroiderers shoemakers, jewelry designers, lacemakers and milliners are employed to insure that the very best quality is found in every detail.  Oftentimes, it requires the handmade skills of artisans whose crafts have been handed down over decades.

These costumes are not only works of visual art, they are testament to the complexity and painstaking details that go into the layers of period dress.  Undergarments are carefully constructed to accomplish the correct look.  But, with one caveat.  They must not cause any discomfort to the wearer so that the actors will feel at ease performing in them. Ironically, these one of a kind creations are often transformed into new pieces for other productions because of time constraints and limited budgets.

As a safety measure, production companies generally request the designers to produce one to two identical copies.  (Film productions will require backups of their wardrobe – in case – the original is damaged and/or is slated to be worn in adverse climatic conditions).  A technique will often be brought into play to ‘weather’ outer garments to reflect the passage of time in a character’s journey as well as render the garments with a more realistic, worn look. The designer will advise the correct accessories for the garments and prepare the costumes for fitting.  Each piece is fitted perfectly to the actor.  Observing the average dress size on display, it appears most performers are rather petite creatures.

Cosprop, founded in 1965 by fashion designer and actor John Bright, and in collaboration with designer Jenny Beavan, has a resume of fine film credits.  The company has been the favored period style-house for Merchant Ivory Productions, the Weinstein Company, ITV(Downton Abbey), HBO, Universal Studios and Paramount Studios – to name a few.   In 1987, they won their first Oscar and a BAFTA award for best costume design for “A Room with a View.”  Since then Cosprop has built on its design excellence with such quality films as  Howard’s End, The Remains of the Day and Jefferson in Paris.  In 2009, they took home another Academy Award for Costume Design for The Duchess.

Now, if you should miss the Cosprop Company fashion show while it’s here, don’t despair.  You really haven’t lost out completely. The art world takes this stuff seriously.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London have all featured major exhibits spotlighting clothing and fashion in film, theatre and television.

For the last 100 years, Western costumes in Los Angeles has also been seaming such fine productions as Gone With the Wind, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Pan Am and Cecil B. DeMille’s 1914 film The Squaw Man.  They are the source for those sequins sewn on Dorothy’s ruby red slippers too.

As a fledgling wardrobe assistant on television commercials, I had the pleasure of working with Western Costumes in the 80s. One of the largest costume houses in the world, it has a 50,000 volume research library and 6,000 piece “star collection” archive. Their staff is very professional and friendly.

Best of all, it’s a wonderful place to get lost.

In 2012, the Costume Designers Guild presented Western Costume with a special Service Award honoring the company for its professional contributions from the silent era to the present. (Now, we’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg – in terms of accolades so for more factoids take a look at Adam Tschorn’s article at  latimes.com/westerncostume).

But, should you ever have the occasion to meander through the Paramount Studios lot, take a detour from your tour. Head straight for the second floor of their costume department. No questions asked.  I think it will delight you as much as it did me to see those exquisite, glass-encased evening gowns worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

No wonder someone coined actors in clothes like those to suit their occasion – movie stars.

“Cut! Costumes and Cinema” now through March 10, 2013

Bowers Museum    2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, California

Phone: 714-567-3600

bowers.org

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays

$13-$15 adults

$10-$12 seniors and students

free for children under 12

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

photos and blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

 

 

January 2013, marks our baby blog’s first birthday.  Our vision – from the start – has been to offer our readers the opportunity to experience the many facets of beauty over a wide range of topics.  Travel Destinations. Restaurant Reviews. Food Topics.  Nature trails.  Environmental Issues. Theater Recommends. Movies.  Art.

We’d like to make sure your interests continue to be met by giving you the opportunity to voice which topics you’ve enjoyed the most.

Please drop us a line with your favorite topic(s) list.

We appreciate your time and thank you for your feedback.

And as we rolled up the carpet on 2012, we happened to catch some yuledtide remnants that inched into 2013, that we want to share.