Saturday, 30 June 2012

An internet relic!

Hey pals and gals!

So, this morning, CBS was kind enough to provide, in their show CBS This Morning, exclusive footage from an interview they had done in 1954 with actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
Their love was really beautiful, and their family was at the climax of their happiness. You can see it in their eyes and it's an almost cathartic experience to see something as authentic and as priceless as this.


So long,

P.S. Post on Bogie and Bacall coming soon!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Woman actor? - The style of Katharine Hepburn

Now, now, don't get ahead of yourself. This is not an attempt to reduce Kate the Great to something as *frivolous* as fashion. This is only this blogger/fashion lover trying to understand and cherish one of Kate's many innovations: The way she dressed. Which, mind you, can relate completely to her personality and life story. How's about we get started?

Kathy, in her slacks, circa 1942
I. She wore the pants
I'll admit it myself: This one was far too obvious. Kathy was one of the first glamour girls in Hollywood to show up wearing pants to the studio. Surprisingly enough, she had no intention of being a visionary or changing the rules: The only thing Kate wanted was to be comfortable while being active and athletic as she was her entire life. Always elegant, she favored khakis for more informal occasions and black, high-waisted slacks for evening wear, which helped give her mile-long legs and to elongate even more her already thin, subtly hourglass-shaped figure. Eventually, she even went for the full-body romper.
If you, like me, live in an insanely hot climate, don't be afraid to channel the tennis-playing Kate, who gave us the honor of seeing her legs revealed by high-waisted shorts.

II. What do I pair it with?
Looking relaxed and lovely, and probably feeling so
Kathy - thank goodness - didn't go for prints on the bottoms, so don't be afraid to rock them on the top. Polka dots always looked cute as a button on this 5'7'', austere-looking actress. She generally played it very safe with her outfits - sticking to the slack and button down shirt combo, a classic that looks good on any body shape. However, the occasional light turtleneck with the black slacks looked particularly elegant on the first lady of cinema, and, depending on the formality of the occasion, she'd even rock a statement piece of jewelry on a dark shirt. Another option for tops would be a neutral sweater over a colored button down shirt, with the nice pretty collar peeking through. For cold days, stick to the blazer - androgynous as ever - or, if the temperatures fall very low, a polished trench coat is just swell.

III. Complementing
Silly hats aside, Kathy was not one to rock too many accessories. She played it safe and understated, but never boring. If you're channeling a true Kate, make sure your accessories are functional: Old fashioned (cough cough VINTAGE!) sunglasses, to protect your darling eyes from the sun, maybe a nice watch, or the occasional non-silly hat. For a beach day or a very casual occasion, I see nothing wrong with the Jackie O. scarf around the head (as pictured above). All other jewelry, keep it simple: A simple and delicate necklace OR a few plain bracelets OR bigger earrings than the usual studs. But don't clog your outfit trying to rock them all at once. Oh, and before I forget, heels!

IV. Dat volume
Kathy's hair was frizzy and rebelious: Must get it off her face! In an effort to be comfortable, as usual, the first lady of cinema set a trend. Getting the hair off her face in any way she could, she started the trend of messy half-up hairstyles. Sometimes with the little poof on the front, looking very forties, sometimes just pushed to the side, or sometimes with a high sexy bun, it was always up and messy. Here are some examples of Kathy typical hairstyles:
To achieve this forties look, tease your hair by
backcombing it to add volume. Then part it around
your ears and bring it all up. Secure with bobby pins. 

The Woman of the Year hairstyle (my favorite), consists
of a deep side part followed by pinning your hair loosely

Channel my favorite movie, The Philadelphia Story, by volumizing
your hair (a lot) and then putting it up on a very loose high ponytail.
After you're done with that, wrap your hair, again loosely and
messily, around the ponytail creating the top bun. Secure with bobby
V. All made up
Finally, ladies, let's talk makeup. Kate didn't rock a lot of it on her own time. She, as should all of us, favored naturality to flawlessness. Stick to a light coverage foundation, a mascara that focuses on lash length and subtle liquid eyeliner, just to make sure your eyes are accented. Take it from me, girls: Coral lipstick is SO Katharine. 
One of Kate's earliest color pictures

How about some wearable outfits?

Outfit K - Summer casual day

Outfit A - Formalish in Winter

Outfit T - Night out

So, that's it for today, folks! I hope you enjoyed today's post and I wish you all a swell day!

So long,

Friday, 8 June 2012

“Gee, it’s nice to see you looking swell!” - Vintage Lingo

The pre-1960 years are famous for many reasons: the American Way of Life, the joyous post-war periods with their cutesy rock songs, the classic fashion styles, the sexy and suspenseful film noir... However, there is an aspect that characterizes that period that is usually forgotten. Believe it or not, ladies, one of the most irresistible part of the thirties, forties and fifties is the way people spoke.
Watching a classic film or listening to a classic rock song is enough to point out many typical words, slangs, accents and manners of speaking that have been mostly lost, but are still fabulous.
Let's take a look at a few of them, shall we?

I. The Mid-Atlantic Accent
Actors Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant
In the hilarious movie Bringing Up Baby, from 1938, actors Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn share a scene where the latter, crying copiously after breaking a heel and falling down a cliff, babbles something that sounds like:
"Ah know when to gaw wheah I'm not wounted! And don't you wahrry about me: Ah can take keah of mahself!" 
Poor Katharine. What she intended to say was: "I know when to go where I'm not wanted. And don't you worry about me: I can take care of myself!" She was a speaker of the Mid-Atlantic Accent.
Phonetically, the Mid-Atlantic Accent is one of a kind on the English language. It has both North American and British influences, and both to almost the same degree. It exaggerates vowels, adding "a" and "e" where they don't belong, and it minimizes 'r' sounds, transforming them into almost "AH". Just as Katharine called her notorious beau Spencer Tracy, "Spensah".
The Mid-Atlantic Accent was considered a rather normal way of speaking in those glorious decades. Despite its almost being lost today, it is recognized as one of the most charming ways of speaking of all time. Some attribute Cary Grant's charm to his chin, some to his accent. And, really, can you blame them?

II. The Over-The-Top Adjectives
Marvellous! Extraordinary! Splendid! Terrific! Formidable!
Formidable actress Audrey Hepburn
It was not uncommon to hear any of those adjectives in normal, everyday conversation, in the pre-1960 years. While today slangs have taken over our vocabulary (awesome, cool, super and all that other junk), back in the good old days, the richness of vocabulary employed by virtually everyone was impressive. Descriptions were rich, permeated by various adjectives, some of them very over-the-top when you compare it to today's speech. This passionate way of talking was trademark of the post-war period, that was characterized by a joie de vivre unseen since the roaring twenties.
But, hey, let's be fair. It's not like the pre-1960 folks didn't have slangs of their own. My favorite one is "swell", word that today has but a negative meaning, was used to describe anything nice, pretty, useful... the list goes on. Basically, swell means everything good. You are swell for reading my blog. I am swell for writing it. We are swell, life is swell. Hooray!

Actor Humphrey Bogart and his "Baby"
III. The politeness 

Okay, let's be fair and square: Not everyone in the pre-1960 era was polite. Of course not. There are lurid people and swell people in every decade. But, the speech back then was so much more polite. You were neither woman nor man, you were lady or gentleman. There was no snogging or canoodling, there was smooching. To make love was more often than not used in favor of to have sex. This is a reflection of two different mindsets: It was both an era where discretion was valued, and the openness of conversation that we have today was not present; and an era where love, affection, companionship was far more valued by society and, mind you, by the media, than sex.
Another endearing proof of the second mindset mentioned were the terms of endearment all too often used between people. Darling was the shining star, used by almost everyone. Honey was pretty common among married couples and sweetheart was used in referring to small children or among friends of the female sex. Baby was almost private property of actor Humphrey Bogart and his wife, also actress, Lauren Bacall. It's my impossible dream to live a devastating love with a man from the forties, who treats me like a queen and calls me darling. Oh, well. 

Anyhoo, that will be all for today, my pals and gals. I hope you all enjoyed my swell little post on the Vintage Lingo, and please leave comments and suggestions in the comment box! Thank you for your visit and I hope to see you again!

So long,

Here's to the past!

Norma Shearer, looking young and lovely
Hello girlies!
This blog is nothing more than what it seems: A celebration of the past! Let's face it: all those movies, songs, clothes, lifestyles, and so forth survived the test of time! They were alive forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, and they're still just as alive now! This is why they are called "vintage". They are classics. They were amazing enough to survive decades. This is gonna be a space to discuss and drool over everything that is old, cute and fascinating. You guys are more than welcome to bring in ideas.
I have to admit I find the classics absolutely marvellous. My friends say my soul is 88 years old, and considering the present in comparison to the past, I consider it a compliment. The past is permeated with extraordinary people who had so much to say and who left their message in this world in the most various ways. It is our jobs as citizens of the present to look back and recognize the value of these messages, and not let them ever be forgotten. I'm very inspired by the past, and I try to incorporate those values into my everyday life as a 21st century girl. And it is more than possible to do so.
Let's all sit down and have a swell little tea party like we're all girlfriends!

So long,
Marcela Costa