‘Swan’ Song: The Most Fashionable Film of the Year
Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller Black Swan, now open in theaters, features technically perfect ballet dancing, a graphic lesbian sex scene between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, and particularly fashionable costumes. That’s because eight pieces that appear in the film were crafted exclusively by Rodarte’s sister design-team Kate and Laura Mulleavy. They designed each of the pieces Portman (and her body double) wears onstage during her performance of Swan Lake, which consist of feathers, tulle, and 247,000 crystals donated by Swarovski. According to Amy Westcott, the film’s head costume designer, the collaboration with the Mulleavys was initially Portman’s idea. “I felt their line was very vulture inspired,” she says—which made sense with the swan themes in the movie. The collaboration played out between New York, where the movie was filming, and Los Angeles, where the sisters are based, via Skype. Although there were initial concerns about how well the dresses would move onstage, they were addressed by Westcott and her team. “Basically, we worked with them to make them functional,” she says. “The dresses were difficult to keep intact because it was very physical—so we were doing a lot of repairs.”
Poker Face: The Season’s Most Stylish Games
After the eggnog’s been served and the Yule log burned, there’s only one thing left to do: play for keeps. Luckily, there’s a stylish crop of new board games and puzzles available just in time for the holidays—and they’d make for great gifts. Armani/Casa offers the sleek Delfino backgammon set ($3,305) and a red lacquered Delphi poker set ($1,655), complete with chips, cards, and dice. For travelling, Smython’s portable Mara Bridge Set ($705) and Mara Bridge Card Case ($330) will come in handy on a flip down tray-table or beach chair. For something cheaper, try personalizing a puzzle on SnapFish, where you can upload your own pictures to create a jigsaw puzzle ($13.99). Good luck trying to reassemble Fluffy’s face from a million little pieces.
For the Kids: The Digital Wish List
A holiday wish list has never looked this fancy. On Thursday, Gucci will unveil the “Children’s Collection Playground,” an interactive new iPad app for kids. Fashionable tots will be able to play dress up with digital dolls, draw and color on Gucci templates (such as the line’s monogrammed teddy bear), and pick items from the new children’s collection that they want for the holidays (images of the app includes a sketch of one child dressed in cargo shorts and sneakers; another in a double-breasted suit.) After creating unique designs, future Karl Lagerfelds will be able to sign their work: the app also gives kids the ability to record voice messages and “fingerprint” their designs. Santa, take note! (The free app will be available after 12/9 at www.gucci.com/iphoneapp.)
What To See: Fashionable Exhibitions
Here’s some good news: this year, there are plenty of holiday fashion essentials that have nothing to do with credit card bills. One place to start is the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York City, where a new show, Balenciaga: Spanish Master, consists of works exclusively designed by Cristobal Balenciaga between 1937 and 1968. The exhibition was conceived by Oscar de la Renta and curated by Vogue's Hamish Bowles, who also wrote the show's forthcoming catalogue, Balenciaga & Spain, which will be published by Rizzoli in March. (See The Daily Beast’s preview of the exhibition here.) For fashion fans across the pond, there’s Art Fashion Identity, at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. The show, which aims to “use clothing as a mechanism to communicate and reveal elements of our identity,” includes work by 30 artists and designers—from Maria Abramović to Alexander McQueen; Martin Margiela and Cindy Sherman; Yoko Ono and Yohji Yamamoto. A highlight of the exhibition is a new dress by Hussein Chalayan (which was inspired by Japanese puppet theater) and commissioned exclusively for the show.
(Balenciaga: Spanish Master is on view at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York City through February 19, 2011. Art Fashion Identity is on view at the Royal Academy of Arts in London through January 30, 2011.)