Thursday, September 24, 2009

Odd Hair

Some of the most interesting pictures, in my opinion, are those of actresses with their hair dyed a different color...especially when it is a big mistake. Usually this means brunettes who go blonde on a whim and come out looking odd--featureless in some cases, like ducks or other animals in others. Here is a tribute to actresses who change their hair with wigs, dyes, or whatever, and provide us with an interesting spectacle. You should be able to figure out who is who, they are all rather famous, but if you can't, that is rather the point, isn't it? Leave a comment if they're any you're not sure about. I know a couple are quite surprising.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Layout

Today I revamped the layout of this here blog, which you may have noticed has been looking mighty ugly recently since I fiddled with it a few days ago. I'm not quite satisfied with the new look, mainly the header text, but I'm through messing with it for now, so here it is.


Ah, not really, I can't just post a few sentences and disappear, of all things. Actually, I can.

But anyone who reads this thing deserves a purty picture or two now and then:

Beautiful, huh?

Forgive me, please, working on the layout has addled my brain. And staying up till one in the morning last night watching Sweeney Todd has made me very vulnerable to addling.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin

This is a great book to learn how to do several classic movie star looks from, which is why I am reviewing it. Some of the classic looks Kevyn Aucoin recreates are those of Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Striesand, Ingrid Bergman, and Jean Harlow, as well various inspired makeovers that are vintage influenced. However, if the lookalike makeup looks are the only reason you would consider getting this book, Face Forward is probably a better choice. I have not read it, but its focus appears to be more on real people's or otherwise very stylized looks, rather than the more general makeovers presented in Making Faces.

If you don't know the first thing about makeup, this book is a great start, and it should have a few tips that even a very experienced person would not know...but, it isn't phenomenal in that regard. If you practice enough with makeup you would probably learn much of what is said on your own. The best part of this book, in my opinion, is the way it teaches you how to formulate a look. Before I read it, putting on a lot of makeup meant putting on everything rather than highlighting certain features or sticking to a color scheme to acheive an effect. I realize now I was quite wrong, and this has been very helpful, and because of it I have found it easier to look at a picture and figure out what makeup is being worn. That is quite valuable! This book helps you see the makeup that goes into a look and makes it all seem as simple as "putting the right color in the right spot."

I did have problems with many of the looks though. Most of them weren't very flattering, and in many cases, as you may remember, my sister told me I looked like a dead bird. This happened so often there was a range, from dying bird to long gone, and it was discouraging that what looked so good on other people could be so ugly. Probably most people look best made up one or two ways, even though the attitude of Making Faces is anyone can do any look, and this book will help you find those ways, even if it is by showing you what not to do. You will never really know anyway until you try, but don't expect every look in the book to work for you. As long as you are aware that you look awful when you leave the makeup table, you'll be fine. It's when you don't realize it there's a problem.

The photography in Making Faces is gorgeous, and the before and afters are amazing. The level of glamour is comparable to a classic movie, with everyone looking flawless, heavily made up without looking like a costume. The interpretations of vintage makeup are warmer and more natural looking than many of the blue-tinged looks people go for, and this is refreshing. There is one thing about the cover, however, that nobody seems to have noticed, especially not the book designers. This is the book:

Does it remind you of anything? Of anything at all? Because it could easily suffer from association:

Okaaaay now, moving past that, Kevyn was a phenomenal makeup artist, and his transformations are miraculous. Take a look at these beautiful pictures:

The entire book is filled with similar shots. Some people say it's worth it just for the artwork.

Rating: 9 out of 10
Recommended for: Fans of Classic Style

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Joanne Woodward

It is painfully obvious what people think about Joanne Woodward because they do not say it. When people talk about Joanne they say she's a wonderful actress, an amazing person, and so lucky to have been married to Paul Newman. Is anything missing from that list? There seems to be a silent pact, made out of respect and admiration for the Newmans, and a selfish desire not to appear judgemental, to say nothing about the way Joanne Woodward looks. I think she was a pretty lady. But I bet you the most commonly thought thing about Paul and Joanne is something like, "How did she ever get HIM?" or "Gosh, he's gorgeous, but she's kind of ordinary." Nobody mentions Joanne without mentioning Paul, and secretly even the most devoted fans must wonder if the couple acknowledged to themselves that hubby was so much better looking than wifey. Almost as if he were doing her a favor by marrying her.

Putting aside our rather interesting fictional history together, this post is dedicated to Joanne Woodward, an effort to bring her beauty, talent, and personality out of the shadows. I wonder, if perhaps I should actually do this, because I think women feel threatened by a woman who got everything we all want without doing it the way the rest of us do. It bothers us because if skin deep qualities won't get you Paul Newman, what is it that she's got the rest of us haven't?? Seriously. All the beautiful women in Hollywood, and he chose her. Why?? So instead of trying to convince everyone Joanne Woodward has everything we don't think she does, the focus will be on what we haven't noticed she has--those elusive traits that must be super special.

First of all, she was pretty in a girl-next-door way. Among all the glitzy, fake Hollywood goddesses, obsessed with the way they look, someone with a down-to-earth, girl you can come home to appeal has its advantages. Joanne was pretty, but not so stunning you felt she was unreal or mysterious. How would you feel if your mother was Greta Garbo? On a day to day basis, you don't want someone who inspires worship. Do you like people because they're superior to you? I think these pictures capture Joanne's non-threatening beauty:

(No makeup!)

Only occasionally is she really beautiful, but it doesn't matter. And I am beginning to wonder if it is just me, but does she remind you of your mother, at least in Sybil? OK, never mind.

Not willing to be extravagant for the cause of glamour, Joanne made her own dress for the 1953 Academy Awards ceremony. Paul Newman must have appreciated that--you never, ever hear a man complain his wife spends too little on clothing. Also, the dress is actually quite nice. She seems to have been a skilled seamstress.

Because she isn't very famous apart from her husband, it is hard to find out anything about Joanne's personality. Yes, the famous personality that must be The Secret. Like I said, there isn't much about it, but what there is reveals a humorous, confident, intelligent, and down to earth woman.

"Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat."“I'm tired of playing worn-out depressing ladies in frayed bathrobes. I'm going to get a new hairdo and look terrific and go back to school and even if nobody notices, I'm going to be the most self-fulfilled lady on the block.”

"Intensity is so much more becoming in the young.

"I'm upset when I see that people don't seem to observe what's happening with the environment, what's happening in terms of global warming. "

Her favorite activities are said to be ballet and horseback riding. Her favorite actress is Bette Davis and she prefers the theater to film.

Maybe someday people will say Paul Newman was lucky to have been married to Joanne Woodward (and he was!) but at the moment she is a very unappreciated lady.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Under the Influence

In many cases, classic films are not realistic. And when, plot-wise, they are, it is still true that normal people would not have looked like old movie stars in the same situations. This glamorous haze of classic film can be a dangerous, manipulative thing, especially if you are an impressionable, sentimental pushover like me. And I think most of us classic film buffs are alike in that many of us probably like the idealized images of life in many classics. We don't want realism, we want magic. Or good old magical realism, so often absent in modern films. Some movies are so idealized they can convince you certain situations are wildly romantic and dramatic...and very desirable. (See the danger yet?)
These are the ones that do it for me:

His Girl Friday: Every time I watch it, I start considering becoming a reporter. Because, of course, my boss will be Cary Grant and suddenly I'll start speaking the fastest dialogue in motion picture history. Isn't that enough incentive for anybody?

Bringing up Baby: This one makes me want to be a nut al a Susan Vance. Blondes don't have more fun, nuts do!

Vacation from Marriage: This is a less well-known movie about a dowdy British couple that joins the armed forces during WWII and undergoes miraculous transformations. At the end of the war, each remember only how the other was before and decide before they reunite that they should get a divorce. Then they meet each other. Doesn't just the plot make you want to join the army? Even if it wasn't portrayed almost like a finishing school?

A Place in the Sun: The theme "Men kill for pretty women" is one of many reasons to avoid this depressing fare. I didn't think Shelley Winters was all that bad looking, but there is a distinct feeling to this film that unless you're Elizabeth Taylor, you're nobody. This is the "make yourself want to be a perfect beauty" film. Since in most cases there isn't much you can do about that, it get's classified as a depressant. A strong depressant.

Splendor in the Grass: The perfect film to convince you your eyes are too small.

Rebel Without a Cause: It makes you want to be a rebellious, victimized teenager. Judging by the stories of teenagers after its release, the effect is somewhat universal. Luckily, the plot of the film is good at convincing you you have a great life.

Breakfast at Tiffany's: The best advertising for New York ever! And who doesn't want to be Holly Golightly at some point in time?

Which ones do it for you??