Chalk red, mustard, greys, Blood burgundy, beiges, Turquoise blue, Emerald Green.... It seems like this season's palette has been inspired directly by our own planet earth. The Mojave Desert, African Savanna or the seaside on an Greek island are the places I imagine myself wearing these clothes.... In the meantime, snow predictions are back to London. Woop woop.
Yes, I know. How can ever a prequel or a sequel or ANYTHING top Sex and the City?! Of course, this is not taking into account the two movies that came after.... no comment about those. But really, how can you expect to follow the series that exposed to the world all of women's troubles and desires, sex, relationships, love, marriage to the whole 90s generation and had a massive impact on the fashion world, bringing to our attention the genious that Manolo Blahnik is. Yes, as you can see, I had big issues with this series coming out. I haven't read the book but even if it was good, I wasn't ready for my cherished memory of Carrie Bradshaw, sitting by the window and writing away on her laptop an article for Vogue Magazine or talking loudly about wild sex while having brunch with Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. Every girl will agree with me when I say Sex and the City is like a rite of passage and once you've been through it, you are a woman.
Oh God, I started this post to talk about the Carrie Diaries, so sorry about that... It turns out that the series wasn't that bad! I mean, apart from the fact that Carrie is 16 and all her friends are 16 and they do what any 16 years old would do (which in contrast, makes me feel very old) But it also has some sharp truth in it. It portrays the social environment that teenagers were living in during the 80s: a lot of freedom from some parents and a lot of expectations from others, wild parties, drugs still legal, big artistic movements, gay revolution, punk, sex liberation... There were pretty big things going on in the 80s and the series filters them in, subtly but steadily.
And the clothes, oh boy, they are relics. Shoulder pads, neon, blazers, leggings, nike, leather jackets, polka dots, high waisted trousers, tutus, full skirts, feathers, anything you can't imagine putting together, put together with a bow on it. It is so crazy it's good. There was such a freedom and a sense of real fun during that decade. People weren't afraid of making mistakes, of being rejected. It was time to be brave, to experiment, to have fun and to be oneself. And that comes through with the clothing. The Costume Designer is Eric Daman who also worked in Gossip Girl and was assistant to Patricia Field in Sex and the City. So far, I have no complaints about it and I like what he's doing with Carrie. You can see her innate fashion sense coming through even as a teenager.
I will keep watching and although the storyline might not be amazing, the costumes certainly are and the men too... Sebastian Kydd, mark my words....
P.D Beware of cell phones. Those things could've killed someone....
P.D 2. Here I leave you a quote from the film Easy A about the 80s. If you consider yourself a romantic and a decent film buff, you should know every reference.
Olive Penderghast once said: "Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in the 80s movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off in a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80s movie, preferably one with a really awsome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life"
On Tuesday I gave myself a little treat, you could call it an early Valentines present from me to me. I went to the Royal Opera House for the Ashton Programme. It is such an exciting thing to go to the ballet (or any other theatre venue) on your own. I find it quite relaxing, being alone but surrounded by people at the same time. Walking through the crowds feeling somehow incredibly lucky to be there in those marvellous rooms, heavily decorated in gold and burgundy. Getting ready to go is always a bit of a ritual: choosing the clothes, hair, make up (although I always feel underdressed). And despite the ridiculous amounts of poshness in the room, the overpriced everything and the snobs that look you up and down, I still feel pretty special walking down the corridors where ballet history was made.
The first performance was La Valse, a romantic reminiscence of a 19th century Imperial Vienna where Balls were celebrate constantly. The stage appears dark and smoky after the curtain rises. Gradually, we begin to see couples of dancers, slowly turning. The movements become quicker and bigger and suddenly, a semi opaque curtain is lifted and the colours on the puffed, 50s silhouette skirts suddenly pop and seem brighter. The stage is filled with dancers in tailcoats and ball gowns who whirl and dance under golden chandeliers. The swooping waltz melodies become faster and frantic, overwhelming and intense, reaching a cenit as the curtain starts to close.
My second favourite was Meditation from Thaïs, a short but intensely exotic pas de deux with music from the opera Thaïs. The story of a courtesan and the priest who tries to convince her to join the spiritual life. Ashton saw a love relationship from the beginning and choreographed the piece accordingly. The ethereal and romantic music of Jules Massenet complements Ashton's ardent love duet. The first costumes were designed by Anthony Dowell.
And the last and my clear favourite was Margarite and Armand. I was already going with high expectations just because Tamara Rojo was performing the main role. She is such a versatile, technically perfect and with a passion and theatricality rarely seen on a classical dancer. The set design alone was sublime. Whites and greys filled the stage with elegant white drapes hanging from the ceiling. A metal structure contrasting against the fair background and representing the "cage" in which Margarite is socially a prisioner. A simple green velvet divan stage left, which is a simple object but carries a lot of the action throughout the ballet. Marguerite's costume is always a tight fitting dress with a full skirt to emphasize her movements and sensuality. The colors are very primal: from black and white on the ball scene to white at the park to bright red (representing love and passion) to then come back to light grey/white for the final scene.
The narrative for the ballet was taken from the play Le Dame aux Camelias written by Dumas. A burning love between Margarite and Armand which is threatened by social conventions and the "cage" in which Marguerite lives. The choreography draws the tragic essence of the play, expressing the consuming desire of the lovers through increasingly free movements and created for Margot Fonteyn and Nureyev to show their unique partnership.There are points when you forget you are watching ballet and engage so fully in the story that you begin to appreciate what is happening in front of you as a "real" scene rather than a choreographed series of movements. Tamara Rojo gives every port de bras, turn and lift a new meaning and infuses such emotion into it that you can literally "feel" what she is feeling. The audience was in complete silence, mesmerized; you could hear the gasps from the two performers as the tragic ending approached and I couldn't help holding my breath as Marguerite holds her lover one last time.