Monday, September 30, 2013

Fashion In Film: Irma la Douce (1963)

Director: Billy Wilder
Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon
Costume Design: Orry-Kelly
Jack Lemmon and Shirley Mclaine
I have always been intrigued by this movie. I found out about it years after watching these two actors in the an earlier Billy Wilder-directed The Apartment (1960). Finding these two very American actors starring in a French sex farce with Lemmon as a policeman and Shirley as one of the best prostitutes in France sounds like a huge mismatch. Here is a discussion of the film on Adapted from the 1956 Broadway musical, the movie was a hit and I'm sure I wasn't the only person who loved the interaction of these two actors together. I wish they had made more movies together. Can't you imagine them in an incredible (but offbeat) production of Taming of the Shrew?

The costuming of this movie is another reason to love it, Irma's wardrobe in particular. In the movie, Irma La Douce (aka Irma the sweet), has a favorite color that is represented in her wardrobe at all times. Her stockings, lingerie, and even her eye shadow come in the same lovely billiard table green. Her precious pooch, Coquette, is always sporting a green bow to match.

My favorite movie costume designer, Orry-Kelly, created some great outfits for this movie, which also included cool costumes for the many ladies of the night, sailors, pimps, eccentric gentlemen, and police (gendarmes) characters in the cast.*
Shirley on the cover of LIFE magazine, June 21, 1963.

When we first meet Irma she is not dressed as provocatively as her friends and competitors, though later oufits make it pretty clear what she does for a living.

Loving the see-through raincoat and the matching green barrettes on Irma and Coquette. A quick look at other images from this scene show that the dog is wearing her own translucent rain slicker too!

The suit looked black in the movie, but I have a feeling that it might have actually been a very dark green, as in the first photo above.

Is that apartment for real?!

I included so many pictures of this negligee because it is so amazing. This piece and the green lace top/bra below were my lasting visual memories of this film. Though it is see-through it reveals nothing but the belly button and cleavage, yet it is sexier than a skimpier outfit would be. I wouldn't be surprised to find that Shirley kept this after the filming...I would! Note the matching billiard green marabou mules. I've always found boudoir shoes decadent...but I guess that's the appeal. The use of the green lace and sheer net is genius. I wonder if you could find those materials in that particular shade of green today? Another amazing thing about the lingerie in this movie is how well it shows off MacLaine's dancer figure and that the engineered structure of the bras were giving her "girls" LIFE!

On the set.

Another fashion-filled Shirley Maclaine film to check out would be the amazing What A Way To Go(1964) with costumes by Edith Head. There are seventy-three!! different costumes for Shirley's character alone! One day I'll try to chronicle the fashion from that movie, though it might take a long time and will probably be in installments! 

* Watch out for cameos by Bill Bixby and James Caan.

Images: Leo Fuchs, Gjon Mili (Life photo)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hey, Hey, Pantone, What D'ya Know?

Hey, even if I didn't mean to participate in any of the Pantone sew-a-longs, it seems I subconsciously did anyway.  However, I did my sewing for summer instead of fall.

Fall 2013 Pantone Color Report

Shorts, A-line skirt, pencil skirt

Look at my last few finished objects:

Vogue 2532 Shorts: In this fabric alone, there is Turbulence, Acai, Linden Green, Mykonos Blue, and Deep Lichen Green.

Simplicity 2152 Skirt: In real life, the color is closer to Acai than Vivacious, but in the men's color report the Beaujolais shade is right on the money, pretty much a perfect combo of the two.

The second "mystery" skirt (not photographed for the blog yet), is Mykonos Blue with design accents in Vivacious.

Spring 2014 Pantone Color Report

Checking out the colors for next spring (so far awaaayyy) I see a few that I could see in my wardrobe. However, I would have to boost the intensity of a few because I don't wear many pastels. Of course, this all will depend on fabric stores stocking desirable fabrics in these colors. Which colors do you see yourself wearing?

Images: Pantone color report, my own photo.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Summer Walking Shorts - Vogue 2532

Pattern: Vogue 2532 c. 2001

Pattern Description: Shorts, micro-mini, above mid-knee, below mid-knee or straight-legged pants have waistband, carriers, in-seam pockets and mock-fly zipper. A,B,C,D: side slits and stitched hems. E: cuffs. Purchased top and belt. I made the above mid-knee view.

Pattern Sizing: (12-14-16) I chose a size 16 which actually did match my measurements and the finished garment measurements were just right.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes, mostly. However, I did not construct the side slits and did a blind hem instead of the visible one they suggest.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I wanted a pair of slim walking shorts, the opposite of my almost skirt-like pair. I also learned a new faux fly zipper technique that I will be using again which resulted in my best looking zip ever, exterior and interior. The only thing I didn't like was that they are too long waisted. However, that could have been fixed if I had made a muslin.

Fabric Used: A 44/45" madras cotton print FREE from the VA/DC/MD blogger swap, 7" Robin zipper in Lead Blue, thread, fusible knit interfacing, and a snap closure.

Isn't that a gorgeous inside zipper view?
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made?: I did not mean to make any alterations but when it got to making the side slits I decided to just make a simple straight hem. I think because the pattern was specifically drafted for those slits is why I had to ease the hem around and use steam to shrink the puckers. I really liked the zipper application, it was a different way to do a faux fly, worked smoothly, and looks great.

For the waistband I decided to forgo the pattern instructions to trim the corner of the seam allowance at an angle and instead followed this great Perfect Corners on Waistbands tutorial from Lisa G. at Notes From a Mad Housewife instead. And yes, they turned out perfect!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. 

Conclusion: I adore this fabric, it's a mystery but it has such a soft yet firm hand I would not be surprised if this were my first silk/cotton mix. Luckily, I have enough left to make a top from next summer. Too bad that the front crotch length was too long. If only I had checked more closely. I could possibly take off the waistband and replace it after cutting one inch or so from the top of the shorts if I also shorten the zipper from the top by an inch. I may* do that next summer, this year I'll just pretend I meant to make high-waisted shorts.

Images: My own, McCall Patterns

*knowing me, probably NOT.