Monday, March 2, 2015

Meet Anna: The Film Fatale, Femme Fatale!

We're big fans of Film Fatale here in Dirty Fabulous but for those few who mightn't have heard about it can you tell us a bit about it?
We produce screenings and vintage parties. We run large-scale Prohibition parties at IMMA, where we transform the great halls of The Royal Hospital Kilmainham into the kind of elegant yet wild soirée that would do Jay Gatsby proud. Meanwhile, Film Fatale has its bi-monthly night out at the Sugar Club. We screen a classic film, and then throw a vintage party around it. There is a red-carpet photographer, usherettes serving popcorn and themed cocktails. With its wood-panelled walls and red velvet booths and curtains, The Sugar Club lends this vintage night the perfect setting. We have the best-dressed femme fatales in town, not to mention live music and The Andrews Sisters' Brothers (Dublin's best retro DJ's and the two best-dressed men).
The Sugar Club

Where has your love of nostalgic films and bygone eras come from?
I have a life-long love of classic movies, their music and fashion. I studied film and was the programmer for the Screen cinema for a few years where my big joy was programming classic films. I love being completely absorbed and transported into another world, I want to drink a Gibson with Margo Channing (Bette Davis, All About Eve), dance with Fred Astaire, step into the smoke-filled jazz bars of film noir or party at the Gatsbies. What I do now is recreate these events!

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire

Is planning Film Fatale events all consuming or do you work it around another career?
It started as a side project outside of my job as a film programmer. I wanted to do Event Cinema and parties that don't work in a traditional cinema setting. Now it's an all-consuming job planning events in The Sugar Club, IMMA and for corporate clients as well.

How do you decide what films to feature or events to plan? Is it hard to come up with ideas or does your list of fabulous events just keep growing?
I have a never ending list of events I want to do based on what I feel passionate about, what I'd like to go to, what the best nights have been, what the audience have reacted best to and from chatting to people who come to my events. Some are inspired from films or the past or are a fusion. They all bring a certain level of escapism and glamour.

We are beyond excited for the Prohibition Party in IMMA as it will be our first 20's themed Film Fatale! Tell us a little about what we can expect there.
There has always been something special about our 1920s events. People really go the extra mile in terms of recreating the look. It made sense to take it to a bigger level and IMMA is just right as there are very few places in Dublin that you can recreate the majestic idea of Gatsbies Mansion with its manicured lawns, big hall and secret rooms. Once you enter the door of Prohibition, you’ll find ragtime bands, Charleston dancers, feather dancers, gambling, bath tub gin from tea cups and everything you would expect from a 1920s party. What made the last event so magical was the audience — everyone really embraced the look. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a better-dressed event. We also keep it fresh by fusing old and new with jazz-era style covers of modern songs, electro swing and a room that's 1920s to 1970s for those who want The Andrews Sisters’ Brothers all night long.

Most of your events are vintage themed. Do many people dress up and immerse themselves in the night? Is it ok to go in civvies? (why anyone wouldn't want to get dressed up is beyond us!)
We have a strict dress code for Prohibition and not a single person showed up in their civies. For something so specific, once-off and special, you need everyone to get on board. We're not as strict for the Sugar Club — occasionally we get someone in to meet their friends who isn't dressed up but after they’ve experienced it, they are usually the most dressed up at the next event. I don't like the culture of judging people based on what they're wearing. What we want is for people to embrace the theme of the night or the general vintage style, and to have fun with it. That can be as simple as some red lipstick and black eyeliner, classic vintage style or a bow-tie, to full on army suits or a full ball gown. Those who really go all-out don't get funny looks, they get congratulated. They are a lovely crowd and appreciate when you put the effort in.

Fabulous Prohibition Party Goers in their 1920's finery!

Any recommendations for inspiration? Where do you get your style inspiration from for your day to day and working life?
For events I throw myself into it as much as possible and put a lot of thought into the era or the film. That’s been ballgowns, army suits, a Tippi Hendren Birds costume, while  for week-night screenings and the office I usually go 1960s style which is the most day- to-day wearable era. I love fur coats in the winter and look most 40s or 50s in the summer. I get inspiration from films (anything featuring Edith Head dresses), amazing vintage shops and fairs, vintage blogs and I can go down the rabbit hole of pinterest for hours at a time. I also like a good root through Etsy but nothing beats being able to touch the material and feel the quality. The best inspiration is often found among real women at Film Fatale or out on the street. I like to see how they mix old and new and how they pull an outfit together to fit their own personality.

A few pics of 1920's fashion to inspire (courtesy of Vintage Everyday)

Crazily, there are people out there who just wouldn't watch an old movie. If you could convince them that they were seriously missing out, what would your top 3 absolute, must see, recommendations be?
They are crazy! You learn a lot about the world from old movies, how things have changed, how things never seem to change but most importantly you’re being promised an amazing cinema experience. The best films shine through so if every critic and film lover has been saying that a film is amazing for 50 years you know that your in for an experience with amazing actors, camerawork, dialogue and story. My favourites are Vertigo, Gone with the wind and All About Eve but I’d also highly recommend anything Fred and Ginger for frothy funny, solid rom-com humour and the most amazing dancing and costumes you’ll ever see.

The ice cool queen, Kim Novak in Vertigo

Bette Davis and Co. in All About Eve (ooh I adore this movie!)

 Ah... Mr Rhett Butler! 

Finally, we're busy planning our outfits but what will you be wearing on the night?
If I wasn’t working on the night, I’d be found wearing  head-to-toe beading, either a drop-waist flapper dress or a bias cut 1930s dress with all the frills, fur shrug, gloves, long chains and a sparkling head piece. I need to be a little bit more flexible for all the running around that’s involved so the performers will have the show-stopping outfits and I’ll be in something simple but sparkling and with lots of accessories. Actual 1920s dresses are antiques at this stage but luckily fashion is forever looking back so there’s amazing 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s vintage dresses that are inspired from 1920s fashion that you get your hands on and have this fun original era fusion look.

....Thanks Anna for letting us have a snoop through your busy life! You've certainly added to our excitement for March 14th's Prohibition Party. 
If you haven't snapped up your tickets for what's going to be the most fabulous and glamourous party ever then hurry up and get them here  before they are all gone!!! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jean Patou

On March 14th, Dirty Fabulous will be dancing our way to Film Fatale's Prohibition Party. In the run up we'll be delving into the 1920's and 30's a little more.
Our first little look back to this era introduces us to this man:
Jean Patou

Patou was a french designer who, after his initial launch was halted by World War I, returned in the 1920's with a bang. He created his dresses with both Parisian and American women in mind and recognised the potential that couture fashion, as an industry held. In the mid 20's both Coco Chanel (who we are all familiar with) and Jean Patou introduced hugely popular sportswear lines. It was a revolutionary move from these two different design houses. Patou focused on finding swimwear fabrics that wouldn't shrink and innovating luxury leisurewear.

Despite not being as well known for his flapper dresses, you can see they were utterly gorgeous:

Courtesy of The Librarian Tells All

It was mostly due to Patou's designs in 1929 that the flapper silhouette became "old news". House of Patou introduced gowns which returned the waist to it's natural, higher point and dropped the hemlines to the floor. It was a more romantic look which was once again embraced by high society and the fashion elite. 

Images from Pinterest

House of Patou also created some of the most world famous fragrances and perfumes, including Jean Patou's, Joy. 
Unfortunately, Patou died at an early age in 1936 and his sister and her husband stepped in to carry on his creative endeavours. The dresses from this period were still magnificent and the Couture house continued it's success. Many of today's most famous designers spent a spell with House Of Patou including Marc Bohan, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian LeCroix. 

This hat is hilarious and fabulous in equal measures!

There have been so many brilliant and talented fashion designers over the past 100 years. Hopefully you've enjoyed your introduction to one more! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Charles James: The Sculptor and Architect of Couture

 Charles James? It can't be...surely it's Dior? I bet you're thinking of this iconic image instead:

It was taken by Loomis Dean in 1957 of Dior's collection whereas the previous picture of Charles James gowns was shot by the great Cecil Beaton in 1948, nearly 10 years earlier. Like Dior, Charles James was a master couturier. Born in England but after moving to New York at an early stage, he was as far as anyone is concerned, an American.

I was already a huge fan of James but after doing a bit more research into the designer and his work I'm just astounded by his genius. If his dresses sauntered down the catwalk today they'd still be considered cutting edge. It's easy to see his influence in modern designers such as the late Alexander McQueen and Zac Posen who have both focused of the architecture of a gown. 

 It was Charles James vision to enhance the female shape. To create dresses that gave his clients better, more pronounced figures. He achieved this through the use of contrasting fabrics, complicated pleats and seams.

It's astounding that this outfit is from the 1940's, it's just so fashion forward. I can just imagine someone like Emma Stone rocking up to the red carpet in this.

This top, designed by Charles in the 1950's has touches of sports luxe that's featured on every hot trend list . I adore this, it would make a fabulous addition to my wardrobe!!!

If you've ever worn a puffa jacket, strapless dress or wrap dress then you are wearing a piece of fashion innovation that stemmed from Charles's designs. The dress pictured above is known as the "Taxi dress" and it's construction meant that it was so easy to get on and off that a women could put it on in a taxi!
The construction of his gowns are a thing of beauty in themselves.

Charles James considered himself an artist who's medium was fabric as opposed to a designer. His love of wearable sculpture was developed when he began work as a milliner. His ability to mold head wear into fantastical shapes enabled him to transition into women's clothing.

Wouldn't this pleated 1940's gown have made a beautiful wedding dress!

ARGHHH to-die-for!!!!

Any celebrity wearing this dress would surely have won best dressed!
This is the Clover Dress and it's formation meant that the hem never touched the ground but rather sashayed as the wearer walked.

Imagine the thrill of seeing these hot pink tulle layers peaking out as you move...utterly gorgeous!

The "Butterfly" was another stunning work of art created by Charles James. I'm not sure how this lady sat down (the dress weighed about 14lbs) but she certainly looked fabulous standing!!!

Another dreamy 1950's dress, this time in sorbet silks.
Charles James's finest work spanned from the 1930's to the 1950's. There are few true geniuses in the fashion world, they can be described with other adjectives such as pioneers and revolutionists.  The Metropolitan Museum in New York honoured him last year with an exhibition in the newly renovated costume institute. The Met gala ball also encouraged patrons to wear gowns inspired by Charles James's creations. Oooh how I would have loved to have attended both of those. You can see so many more of James work on the Mets archive, the images above are just a tiny selection.

The Met also have some fantastic video's charting the exhibition and his career. Sit back and relax and learn about a true fashion master...I dare you not to fall in love with his work!