Friday, November 19, 2010

Be Childish

Tomorrow it’s the Universal Children's Day and to support it, on Facebook everybody is changing their profile picture into what used to be their favorite cartoon growing up.

What started as a link of an obscure Facebook page went hugely viral in just a few days and some estimate that around 500 000 people have changed their profile pictures into Disney princesses, Looney Toons and manga heroes. I personally am Bugs Bunny. The “I’ve just eaten/scratched my head/look at my vacation pictures” usual mind-numbing boring Facebook updates have now a common topic that is both nostalgic and escapist.

The immediate and enthusiastic way people have responded by changing their profile picture has made me think of the Hermès’s 2010 ad campaign "Life as a Tale", shot by the Italian photographer Paolo Roversi which has many references to fairy tales and popular films.

In Hermès’s spring/summer ads with a background of infinite sky above a tranquil deep blue sea, model Karlie Kloss calls to mind Cinderella whilst she is losing her sandal on the whitewashed steps of a Greek Island, sits on a rock watching the sea like Andersen’s Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, or has a silk scarf braided in her hair that hangs down like Rapunzel’s.





The tree house recalls Alice in Wonderland and a gorgeous orange scarf comes out of Alladin’s lamp with Kloss as the genie. The photo of Kloss with flowers in her hair has made me think of Michael Whelan’s Summer Queen.





Summer Queen by Michael Whelan.

For the autumn/winter campaign Roversi shot models Constance Jablonski and Jonas Mason in dark, misty, moonlit streets with references to Zorro’s adventures and Sherlock Holmes’s mysteries. Anticipating Christmas, a carriage full of orange packages mysteriously escapes without a driver.

The use of well-known fairy tale motifs and films that the viewer can immediately identify makes the campaign very effective. Due to the limited time a viewer spends on a magazine page or the few-minutes length of a tv-spot, the faster an advertising message is understood the better. So by tapping from folklore and fairy tale themes, the foundation onto which the advertising message is built is already there in the viewer's imagination and memory.

In Hermès’s campaign, Paolo Roversi’s imagery is so pervasive that the viewer is able to ignore the scarves’ hundreds of dollars price and just be enchanted by the photographs and dream for a moment of a happy ending fairy tale or feel the thrill of a midnight mystery.

So even if our childhood symbols are used for commercial purposes, sometimes the results are great and some commercials provoke an emotional response even if you know they are there just to sell you stuff. Sometimes advertising is art DESPITE itself.

Photographs by Paolo Roversi. Hermès 2010 print ad campaign.

Summer Queen by Michel Whelan.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Women of Talent

One month ago, at the end of the Fashion week at Milan’s City Hall, Palazzo Marino, Elle Italy hosted 100 Donne di Talento (100 Women of Talent) event that talked about women of excellence working in design, fashion, and architecture.

It was open to the public, so I grabbed my camera and went inside, feeling excited for a brush with the glossy magazine world.
The first speaker was the Mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, who talked about the woman’s position in the Italian society, and supporting initiatives like one year of maternity leave fully paid. This is a thorny and controversial issue, because in the current economic climate, the possibility that a woman employee goes on maternity leave for one year, could be a risk that the businesses aren’t probably willing to take and although it is illegal, they could discriminate against a woman of reproductive age.

Mayor of Milan Letizia Moratti in red.

Moratti’s presence and elegant speech, proved how one can be a woman politician and still have a stylish and feminine appearance. For men in professional positions, including politicians, it is a much easier task: wear a well tailored suit and be done with it. But women in high positions are more judged on their appearance and dress sense and therefore are faced with the dilemma: uber-power-dressing or should one dress more femininely and be considered too "girly" or even a fashion victim? Sometimes the tendency is to eliminate anything that could remind the audience that you are in fact a woman. However, it could be argued that if dressing femininely is considered weak then it would follow that there is something wrong with being a woman to begin with. Of course that a woman politician's wardrobe should not be the only thing that is talked about and not distract from her political message. In this case, Coco Chanel's quote that if you dress "impeccably they remember the woman", could be to dress impeccably so that people would remember both the woman and the woman's political message. Letizia Moratti’s case is a perfect example of understated style and fashion advisers of high flying women everywhere should have an eye on her for inspiration.

After the Mayor’s departure, there was another key speaker—Mr. Roger Abravanel, ex director of McKinsey & Company and the author of the book Meritocrazia (Meritocracy) who is currently involved in a project to reform the Italian school system based on merit and competence. During his speech Mr. Abravanel underlined the need for more women in leadership positions. That is surely an ambitious goal as Italy’s society is based on the transmission of the family business from father to son and it has a guild-like organization. Mr. Roger Abravanel on the left.

As further proof, I could not help noticing how many of the women, shown as example of (Italian) excellence, presented on the big screen were clearly the heiresses of brands started by their fathers, uncles etc.

Mr. Abravanel has also suggested the necessity of women’s working comes from the fact that in the past, the life expectancy was much lower and now with people living up to 80 women should get out of the house more to avoid boring their husbands. At that moment I felt particularly empowered.

At the end of the discussions there were a couple of questions from the audience. An interesting question came from a lady who asked if there could be more women in leading positions in ambits of business that are not considered “feminine”. 

Overall, the event looked less like a discussion about merit and excellence and more like a private party. Why did I think that a discussion organized by a glossy magazine would feel all democratic and friendly? Should we really believe what Wintour says—Vogue is like “your stylish older sister”? Or is it that the glossies are more like well put-together press releases for the big brands that advertise in their pages than filled with sisterly desinterested advice for their respected readers?

© Snappy Style 2010.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Milano Loves Fashion—Anna Wintour in Piazza Duomo Milano

Tonight (Sunday 26 September) the editrix of American Vogue, Anna Wintour in an unusual public appearance could be seen sitting in the first row near Franca Sozzani, the editor of Italian Vogue on a specially erected stage in Piazza Duomo in Milan Centre.

The creations of ten finalists of the fashion scouting contest Who's on Next were presented tonight as part of the Milano Loves Fashion initiative.
There were sheer fabrics, some with applique flowers and silky floaty designs. There were also fringes, black tutus and knee-lenght, thirties style dresses that had a tie-dyed look with hues of grey, white, black and turquoise. I particularly liked the red dress worn with pants over the knee. Pants with geometrical designs in different shades of blue with blue electric standing out were worn with a sort of Batman-style rubber tank top.

There was a particular noteworthy look: while from the huge speakers Middle Eastern music could be heard, a model wearing orientalistic harem pants worn with a face-covering veil, all in white, appeared on the stage. Particularly controversial as these past weeks European countries like France and Belgium have imposed a ban on wearing the full veil in public.

A funny moment of almost lèse majesté, was when the song "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night" was played with only Ms Wintour having her never-missing sunglasses on. Or maybe it was just another way to point out her mystique. Of course Wintour was the last to arrive and the first to leave with an army of long-legged fashion minions around her to show her to her seet and the ever present bodyguard standing in front of her lest some mere mortal will dare to near her.

In Italiano:

Stasera l'editrix di Vogue America in un inusuale apparizione nel pubblico poteva essere vista nella prima fila insieme a Franca Sozzani, l'editrice di Vogue Italia su un palcoscenico eretto specialmente in Piazza Duomo nel centro di Milano.
Le creazioni dei dieci finalisti del concorso di fashion scouting Who is On Next sono state presentate stasera come parte dell'iniziativa Milano Loves Fashion.

Ci sono stati dei materiali trasparenti, con fiori applicati e di seta leggeri e fluidi; delle frange, e tutù neri. Dei vestiti fino al ginocchio, con un look anni Trenta, colorati con la tecnica tie dye, in grigio, bianco, nero e turquoise. Mi e piaciuto particolarmente il vestito rosso indossato con pantaloni sopra in ginocchio.

Pantaloni con modelli geometrici in diversi toni di blu, soprattutto blu elettrico sono stati combinati con una sorta di top di gomma a la Batman.

C'è stato un look particolarmente notevole: mentre dalle enormi casse si sentiva musica dal Medio oriente, una modella è apparsa in pantaloni orientaleggianti harem, indossati con il velo che le copriva la faccia, tutta in bianco. Un look controverso poiché in queste ultime settimane paesi europei come Francia e Belgio hanno imposto il divieto di mettere il velo in pubblico.

Un momento divertente e quasi lèse majesté è stato quando la canzone "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night" (metto gli occhiali da sole di notte) si è potuta sentire, con la sola Wintour avendo i suoi immancabili occhiali da sole. O forse è stato solamente un altro modo per farci notare la sua aria di mistero. Ovviamente Anna Wintour è stata l'ultima ad arrivare e la prima ad andare via con un esercito di assistenti con gambe lunghe ad accompagnarla al suo posto e con l'inevitabile bodyguard in piedi davanti a lei in caso che qualche comune mortale si volesse avvicinare.

© Snappy Style 2010. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Milan Loves Fashion

Milan is sizzling with the excitement of the catwalk week. The center hotels are all booked, the pope herself Anna Wintour stays at the Four Seasons and the star watching has begun with paparazzi waiting for that top snap.
triumph make up
Supported by the Mayor of Milan Letizia Moratti all over town there are events to mark the fashion week like design, art, sculpture, gourmet food tastings, multimedia exhibitions and public fashion shows. A similar initiative to Vogue's Fashion's Night Out, Milan Loves Fashion is already at its second year transforming the catwalk season in a town festival. Milano Loves Fashion aims to achieve the important goal of not alienating the public from high fashion in a still limping international economy.

Part of the manifestations the lingerie house Triumph had a show yesterday in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the centre of Milan.
The models were very young and most likely Eastern European. Backstage some were smiling but most were looking bored and/or tired while having their hair and make up done by an army of stylists.


They were baby faced and beautiful but I couldn't help noticing their extreme thinness with hip bones jutting through the sheer fabrics. Apparently not many lingerie houses have the courage to use healthier looking, more fit models like Victoria's Secret. Triumph exhibition had a between wars theme with music and accessories from that era.
I am looking forward to The Who's On Next Exhibition that will show creations of new young designers, supported by the tsarina herself Anna Wintour this Sunday (26 September) in Piazza Duomo. Last year she made something worse than a fashion faux pas—a diplomatical one. Wintour caused a wave of bad press in the Italian media because of her wish to shorten the Milan fashion week due to her other engagements. This year it seems they have made peace with Wintour being involved in various events in the city.
Another event that I am keen to see is 100 Women of Talent that celebrates the feminine excellence in fashion, beauty and design that will take place the 28th of September at the Palazzo Marino.

In Italiano:
Milano Loves Fashion

Milano sta bollendo per eccitazione della settimana della moda. Tutti gli alberghi del centro sono pieni, la papessa stessa Anna Wintour sta al Four Seasons e lo star watching è iniziato con i paparazzi aspettando per quella foto di top.
Con lo supporto del sindaco di Milano Letizia Moratti, in tutta la città ci sono eventi per marcare la settimana della moda includendo design, arte, scultura, degustazioni di cucina gourmet, esibizioni multimedia e show di moda pubblici. Un'iniziativa simile al Fashion's Night Out di Vogue, Milano Loves Fashion è già alla seconda edizione e riesce a trasformare la settimana della moda in un festival della città con l'obiettivo importante di non alienare il pubblico dalla alta moda in un contesto economico internazionale ancora debole.

Parte delle manifestazioni il marchio di biancheria intima Triumph ha avuto uno show nella Galleria Vittorio Emanuele nel centro di Milano.
Le modelle erano molto giovani e probabilmente dall'Est Europa. Backstage alcune sorridevano ma la maggior parte sembravano annoiate e/o stanche mentre erano truccate da un esercito di stilisti.
Erano belle e con facce da bambine ma non ho potuto ignorare la loro magrezza con le ossa del bacino sporgenti tramite i materiali trasparenti. Apparentemente non molti designer hanno il coraggio di usare modelle con una forma fisica più atletica e sana come Victoria's Secret.
La performance di Triumph ha avuto musica e accessori basate sulla moda tra le due guerre.

Sto anticipando Who's On Next il public view delle collezioni di nuovi designer che ha lo supporto della zarina stessa Anna Wintour, questa Domenica (26 Settembre) in Piazza Duomo. L'anno scorso la Wintour ha fatto qualcosa di peggio di un fashion faux pas—uno diplomatico. Ha causato un'ondata di articoli negativi nella stampa dopo di aver apparentemente espresso il desiderio che il fashion week italiano durasse di meno per venire incontro ai suoi altri impegni. Questo anno sembra che abbia fatto pace con i designer italiani con la Wintour essendo implicata in vari eventi nella città.
Un'altro evento che voglio vedere e 100 Donne di Talento che celebrerà l'eccellenza femminile nella moda, bellezza e design e che avrà luogo il 28 settembre al Palazzo Marino.

© Snappy Style 2010. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fashion in Film: Easy Virtue

For this article I have used publicity photos and screen caps.

© Snappy Style 2010.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Open Road


Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart.

Summer Feeling

Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in Atonement.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

2010 Oscar Night—Red Carpet Complete

This time around James Cameron hadn’t had the chance to say that he is the king of the world and of the entire galaxy! His ex wife (who looked pretty much like a Na’vi herself—the woman is TALL!!) swept all the major awards with the war film The Hurt Locker—for best directing (the first time a woman director receives it) and for best picture. The Hurt Locker is the lowest grossing film of all the films that have won Best Picture in the past. So Cameron eat your heart out!

82nd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room
The Hurt Locker wins Best Picture

I guess the Academy isn’t ready yet to give the best picture award to a Science Fiction film. The SF films over the years have been the Cinderella of the Oscars, never being nominated for best picture, even though masterpieces like Blade Runner or Matrix surely needed recognition beyond the technical awards (the nerdy awards how some chick on the red carpet called them).

82nd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

The Best Actor in a Supporting Role was Christoph Waltz in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and Moni’que won for her Supporting Role in Precious.
As expected, Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock won as Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress respectively. “Atta boy!” that is what Jeff Bridges told one interviewer that his deceased father Lloyd would have said about his nomination. Sandy showing that she really is a good sport just days before picked up the Razzie Award for worst actress for her performance in All about Steve.

The presenting duo, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin haven’t blown my mind with their funniness. Maybe they should have asked Conan O’Brien to host the Oscars! He was free! (poor thing; I am considering these days to start an account on twitter to follow Conan and his amazing conversations with the squirrels in his back yard!). He did a great job hosting the Emmy Awards in 2002 and 2006!

The John Hughes in memoriam brought on the stage the stars of The Breakfast Club and tears in the eyes of those who grew up in the eighties. I both enjoyed and got freaked out by the horror movies retrospective (it was like 4 in the morning here in Italy while I was watching).

Other highlights of the evening were a blue Na’vi costumed Ben Stiller (tail and all) giving an award for best Make Up. The sketch originally included Borat’s Sacha Baron Cohen but the producers of the Oscars were afraid that James Cameron would have felt offended and would have stormed out of the Kodak Theatre during the ceremony. The intense director is not known to have a self-deprecating sense of humor.

The funniest moment of the evening came when Tim Robbins along with Colin Farrell, Michelle Pfeiffer, Vera Farmiga and Julianne Moore had to say a few words to praise the Best Actor Nominees. Tim Robbins said that at the end of filming Shawshank Redemption, Freeman talked to him about the value of friendship: “Being a friend is getting the other a cup of coffee. Can you do that for me TED?”.


Black and White and Everything in Between

Best Actress Nominee Meryl Streep was classy in a white Chris March gown with a V cleveage:

2010 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals
Best Director Winner Kathryn Bigelow in grey (Yves Saint Laurent):
Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET
Amanda Seyfried in white (Armani Prive). I am not crazy about the shelf-like quality of the top part of the dress. The same style that J Lo wore:
82nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Colin Firth and his wife Livia Giuggioli:
82nd Annual Academy Awards Red Carpet Arrivals

Elizabeth Banks in Versace. She’s the one with the nerd joke of before:

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Nudes, peachy skin tones

Best Supporting Actress Nominee Anna Kendrick (Elie Saab gown) A lovely rosy-nude dress but unfortunately Anna looks a bit washed up in it. She did say it wasn’t her first choice:


Diane Kruger (Chanel) I don’t know what to make of this dress. You surely won’t see it on any best dressed lists:


Demi Moore looked great in the nude-peachy Versace gown:

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Demi Moore at the 82nd

Anika Noni Rose (voice in the Princess and the Frog) has an oscary look but maybe the bust of the dress should have been longer:

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Ladies in Red and Blue

Red and blue in different tonalities were the main colours on the red carpet this year.

Best Actress Nominee Vera Farmiga was too fussy in Marchesa but the color looked great on her:

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Vera Farmiga at the 82

Sigourney Weaver can do no wrong (Lanvin dress):

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Sigourney Weaver at th

Michelle Pfeiffer arrived backstage and co-presented the Best Actor Award:

82nd Annual Academy Awards - Backstage Arrivals

George Clooney’s girl Elisabetta Canalis was patriotic in Cavalli:

82nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Penelope Cruz was like lushy wine in Donna Karan:

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Jane Seymour works it at sixty in a red David Meister gown:

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Jane Seymour at the 82

Maggie Gyllenhaal in an interesting Dries Van Noten print dress:

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Mariah Carey’s Valentino dress seemed unfinished:

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Mariah Carey at the 82

Best Actress in a Supporting Role Moni’que in Tadashi Shoji:

82nd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

Best Actress Nominee Gabourey Sidibe looked good in blue Marchesa. Maybe it’s not politically correct to say it but I really think that the girl should lose weight because I think she is in a health danger. Makes me think of the comment of Anna Wintour (maybe bitchy but true) that America’s problem is not anorexia but obesity:

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Kristen Stewart looked mature in a midnight blue Monique Lhullier gown:


Silver, Gold and some Light Purple:

Best Actress Winner Sandra Bullock in Marchesa was siren like and princessy. As opposed to the “keeping away people except of her husband” dress of J Lo (see down) the dress of Sandy was like a second skin and she had her glossy hair wore down. It gave her a sweet air of vulnerability and her Oscar speech was so cute and all the faux flirting with Meryl Streep was hilarious. Sandy’s big tattooed husband had tears in his eyes!

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Nicole Richie in a metallic Reem Acra dress. Her husband was deejaying at the reception in the publicity breaks:


Cameron Diaz exuded old Hollywood glamour in Oscar de la Renta:

82nd Annual Academy Awards Red Carpet Arrivals

Kate Winslet (Yves Saint Laurent). I’m feeling a bit zzzzz about this although she looked good in it:


One of the best dressed of the evening. Helen Mirren in Badgley Mischka:

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Charlize Theron (Christian Dior) The color and shape of the dress are great on her but the roses on her breasts kinda distract you from her amazing face:

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Queen Latifah (Badgley Mischka Couture). The snake shape of the bejewelled detail is very complimentary to her curvy body:

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Queen Latifah at the 8

The Memorable, Quirky, and Sometimes Fun Dressed Category

Why rent multi-million dollars diamonds when you can get to the Oscars with little forks and knives on your dress! How cute and self ironic is Carey Mulligan's Prada dress? One of my favorites!

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Zoe Saldana (Givenchy). I would have loved this dress if the lower half would have been less pompon—French cancan like. It kinda looks like some plant in Avatar and I expect it to light up when you touch it. But Zoe’s face and hair are perfect:



Sarah Jessica Parker (Chanel Couture) The choice of a true fashionista. But the hair looks like big loaves of bread :

Photo by: W6005Y/AAD/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Sarah Jessica Parker a

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

Jennifer Lopez (Armani Prive) Sheer white or pink? J Lo’s it’s a "husband-only friendly" gown. She can keep her husband by the hand on the RIGHT side. All others keep a respectful distance. Exquisite hair and make up. The woman does not get old:

Photo by: W6005Y/AAD/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Jennifer Lopez at the

Photo by: W6005Y/AAD/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Jennifer Lopez at the

Rachel McAdams (Elie Saab Haute Couture & cool Lorraine Schwartz earrings) I adored the aquarelle painting quality of the dress. Rachel made one of the most interesting style choices of the evening:

Oscars 2010 - RED CARPET

2010 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals