What to Watch on Netlix When You're Snowed in for Fashion Week

It's day one of NYFW and there's 8 inches of snow outside my door, which exceeds the 4 inches of the heels I was planning on wearing to the Michael Costello runway show. So, if like me, you're snowed in, or you're simply craving some kind of fashion participation this week, I've found several new listings on Netflix to keep you involved. 

Fraco Rubartelli, Vogue 1969

Fraco Rubartelli, Vogue 1969

Inside British Vogue

The newest fashion doc to be released on Netflix, the film maker follows recently resigned E.I.C. Alexandra Shulman around in an intimate, but not entirely complimentary angle. My immediate thought was that this documentarian has no business making movies about fashion, as his ineptitude on the subject becomes glaringly apparent when he asks Kate Moss inanely simple questions about her career, to which she barely replies. Kinda painful to watch, and I wonder if it had anything to do with the abrupt resignation of Shulman, which happened the same week the doc was released. 

The First Monday In May

The second Vogue documentary to be made by the guys who brought us The September Issue (Why isn't that on Netlix?!) We see even more of The Devil Herself in the rare form that it takes to choreograph The Met Gala and last year's China Through the Looking Glass exhibit. An assistant's shaky hand reaches into frame just at the right moment for Anna to swipe the latte from her without missing a beat- or acknowledging the girl... the things fashion dreams are made of... right? The tension between the Gallery of Asian Arts and Vogue was quite dramatic- with both sides fighting for fundamental importance, and eventually culminating in one of the best Costume Institute exhibits yet.   

Working Girl

Not a documentary, but it could be considered a study on modern feminism in the 1980's. Tess McGill (played by the stripper-voiced Melanie Griffith) climbs the corporate ladder of Wall Street, and is fowled by her boss (played by Sigourney Weaver) who is not only a fellow female, but gasp! YOUNGER than her. If you've ever been an assistant and dreamed of surpassing a boss who's done you wrong, you'll like this one. And the power suit, shoulder pad, and commuting sneakers strike a kind of Céline cord. 

The Paradise

A great BBC import that I never hear anyone talk about! If you've ever worked in retail, and you like a good period piece- The Paradise has you covered. Based on the establishment of Selfridge's department store in London, we follow a passionate young shopgirl with big ideas that translate to today's retail operations. Her ideas about merchandising, service, and sales are based on true events that lead to the development of the modern-day shopping experience. Of course she gets involved with the charismatic store owner... but what's a retail job without a little drama? 

Brooklyn.

It's been quite a few years since I've seen a movie that I knew immediately, I would love forever. It was October, 1997, I was in 5th grade, and Rose DeWitt Bukater was my spirit animal. Since that fateful night, when I learned that True Love was letting your man freeze to death because you couldn't scoot your ass over on some floating debris, a few films have grabbed my heart, but none so much as Brooklyn. 

Having started my career in costume design for independent films in New York, I need great costumes, hair and makeup, and production design to really be immersed in a film. Brooklyn's costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux (sidenote: also the costume designer of another one of my all time favorite wardrobe moments An Education... click to read me wax poetic about those costumes) transports us to 1950's Brooklyn via Irish import Eilis. 

Boarding her ship to America with barely enough to fill a suitcase, Eilis moves to Brooklyn on the good graces of an Irish priest, falls in love, becomes a working New York woman, and shows her hometown what she's made of. What I imagine my Great Grandmother Agnes did back when she was my age. Without ruining the whole film, I will simply say- go see Brooklyn. And bring some tissues (that's saying a lot since I am not a cryer).

Are you a fashion girl from a small town?

I come from a small town on the Jersey Shore. I'm something of a local celebrity, simply because I have met Justin Timberlake. I recently sat down with a glass of sav blac, and Sweet Home Alabama was on ABC Family. I've seen it before, (like, 6 times at least), but this time it really was kind of like watching myself... a blonder, bitchier, shallower, more successful version of myself. 

I don't think I've accomplished nearly enough yet- let's get that straight. I'm not like, "Where's my naked cover of Paper Magazine?" Kardashian-proud of myself, but yea- I left town and did some shit. 

Fun fact: This clip stars Melanie Lynskey, with whom I made the film "Hello, I Must Be Going" between this movie and her role in Ever After- you can believe I fanned out when I met her.

I went to school in New York, worked there as an assistant costume designer for film for several years thereafter, then picked up and moved to LA. I didn't know a (professional) soul there, and moved in with my wonderful aunt and uncle in Newport Beach. Not a bad deal. I then got wrangled into the crazy world of celebrity styling (The Rachel Zoe project was NOT an exaggeration, guys) I did some amazing work, and worked with photographers, stylists, and celebrities that I've admired all my life. 

Then I moved back to New Jersey. Initially for a job opportunity that didn't pan out due to logistics (aka a 70 mile drive, for a very well known high-end e-tailer) Now what? I was back to my small beach town life, and couldn't help but feel I had outgrown most of the people and places I had known all my life. The song Brandy makes me cry because it's what my life would've been had I never left. Just a harbor town girl throwin whiskey down for the local sailors... Brandy... you're fine girl... what gooooood wife you would be.... 

Anyway... Reese's character in Sweet Home Alabama, left town and became a successful fashion designer in *exotic* New York City, and, upon her return home, is pretty much an asshole. She exerts all of her energy denying her small town roots, up-keeping the veil that she is a New Yorker worthy of marrying her politico-socialite finance. Of course, it is impossible to ignore your roots- she learns the err of her ways, embraces her southern heritage, and falls back in love with that hot guy from high school who turned out to be a millionaire selling lighting glass (?) wtf. {If anyone I went to high school with is now a millionaire selling, I don't know... drift wood from hurricane damage... please raise your hand and make a dinner reservation}

I guess what I saw in the movie this time around is that it's so important not to loose sight of the real world, and to appreciate and embrace your roots. Professionally, being from a different background than your co-workers or clients, should be viewed as a strength and embraced. 

In the world of fashion- people take themselves way too seriously, and I make it a personal goal of mine to break that seriousness whenever possible. I've cracked jokes as an assistant on shoots with major celebrities because everyone was being too uptight- and you know what? It created a mood of levity that created better work. 

So, fashion people- stop being assholes and start having more fun. 

Stylish Cinema: An Education

I love movies. Good movies, bad movies, funny movies, old movies, NOT scary movies- I don't like those. But my favorite movies are always movies that have superb costume design, so I thought I'd pick a few and tell you why, beginning with An Education. 

Carey Mulligan is probably my favorite young actress, and she commands the role of a 17 year old London school girl, Jenny, in the early 60's, struggling to get enthused about University. To remedy her boredom, she gets entangled with Peter Sarsgaard's David, and his glamorous posse. Joining them on trips to Paris, where she buys French cigarettes and Chanel No. 5 for the other girls at school, art auctions, and horse races… and you can probably guess how things pan out for the couple… but I won't tell you here. 

But the WARDROBE. Oh the wardrobe. From Jenny's frumpy (but kind of chic!) school uniform, to her slow transformation into wanna-be-socialite, costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux shows the journey of the character through the clothes. When she realizes she needs to up her style game if she wants to fit in with the fast crowd, Jenny seeks a makeover from Rosamund Pike's uber-glam Helen. The result is a awkward glamour, Jenny looks great- but you can tell she's still kind of 'faking it'.  

An Education also speaks to the Savile Row boom of 60's London, and the men look smart in their navy suits, spread collars, and tie bars. Fun fact- Savile Row was the first place I had to see when I visited London- it's a menswear fanatic's Mecca. Another fun fact- the Beatle's Apple Record Studio is on Savile Row. 

Anyway… see An Education.