Monday, February 18

COLONIAL fashion

I watched Out of Africa last night for the first time. Film fanatics out there, boo away. I borrowed the dvd from a dear friend of mine with no specific reason; I suspect that hearing my dad saying what a wonderful actress Meryl Streep is for the past twenty years had something to do with it, though. Whatever the reason why, I watched it last night and was firstly surprised by the quality of it, if it weren't for Streep's perfect skin I would not have been able to guess when was it filmed as this extraordinary film creates a limbo of itself, preventing time to make any effect on it.

However, as much impressed and moved by the acting, the landscapes and the plot as I was, there is something in my retina that wouldn't let me stop scrutinizing the costumes. I don't have the least idea of who the Oscar nominated for best costume design were that year, but I do know Milena Canonero was the perfect winner. This kind of films usually have an ok yet well-studied wardrobe at the beginning and keep the audience expectant to wow them a little later with an outstanding gown during a night gala event. Out of Africa's costume design has something special because the first big wow comes when you least expect it, at the very beginning. Meryl Streep shoots the chilly morning away in a full-length black ensemble with abundant fur accessorizing, letting the audience know that right in front of them there is a rich, powerful woman. This outfit made me think of Oscar de la Renta's chic and exotic feather hats.

One of the following scenes in the film is a wedding, for which Meryl's character gives quite the fashion lesson wearing a beautifully detailed yet untraditional white two-pieces with a hat. I am all about the hat. This made me thought of Proenza Schouler Spring 2008, a woman so confident she knows she looks beautiful and sexy in manly clothes.

The rest of the film is a grass and sand catwalk of outfits combining utility and fashion trends of the moment. Straw hats (quite in this season, see Rag & Bone) and high waists with semi-wide belts (Proenza Schouler, Donna Karan) and an endless collection of casual blazers for the day all finished up with comfortable safari trousers and a good pair of fashionable and practical leather boots (see Hermès) are the key garments in the motion picture.

Since the story takes place in Africa, the colours keep a "low key", mimeting the background with shades of beige and sand colours that see no end. Darkness for elegant events is brought in by navy blue (view DK), a perfect match with the other colours. The ensembles had to look formal and casual at the same time without stopping comfort from entering the equation, this equals manly looks (also in this season) with the only femininity a real woman can provide.
To end, I have to admit I was deeply inspired by all clothes choices in the film but also by the African tunic colours and their colorful über-long strings of beads that I was happy to find at this Spring's Oscar de la Renta show.

[Picture credits: &]

I'm off.


María said...

I've always loved Out of Africa costume design. Her wedding dress was just perfect, so Poiret!

Adele said...

Ive never seen it! Maybe i should because Meryl Streep is always fantastic :) I love how you have compared the costumes to the catwalks... definatly shows you have a great mind for fashion. Just wanna say thanks for your comment on my new hair. was really nice :)

Shaz said...

ooo i love the meryl's wedding outfit. It's strong yet sexy with a bit of a sailor vibe to it.

Mer said...

nop, I didn´t see it!! And after reading this post, i feel I HAVE TO!!!!

great post!

Mary-Laure said...

You had never seen Out OF Africa?
I spent several years as a child in Kenya, so Karen Blixen has always been part of my personal mythology (we actually went horseback riding at 'Karen's farm' near Nairobi).
The style in that movie is just amazing!

Coco's Tea Party said...

It looks good, I think I may rent it. I love the style, although I think I prefer her Devil Wears Prada wardrobe

Suzanna Mars said...

Streep has always carried clothing well, even that deliberately awful costuming in She-Devil.

Secretista said...

I've never seen it. Hmm, I'm gunna go rent it now. Partially because I think the title is AWESOME! Andd, you've persuaded me.