films

Theme 15: Downton Abbey. The Exhibition in New York.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition Review. New York, 2018

When I first heard that Downton Abbey: The Exhibition was coming to New York, I was beyond excited! It has been years since the last season aired. Nothing could quite replace witty, funny quotes of Dowager Countess, the fascinating-to-watch competition between Mary and “poor Edith”, blossoming romances, emotional heartbreaks and seemingly never-ending miseries of upstairs and downstairs habitants of Downton Abbey.

Asking myself the iconic “What is a weekend?”, I decided to take my friend Allison, a fellow fiction writer and another die-hard Downton Abbey fan, to the exhibition on Saturday morning to explore and review it for my Pastiche.today readers. I already had a Downton Abbey theme running on my blog, and I knew that this experience will be a perfect addition to the collection of my articles about the show and looks inspired by the Downton Abbey’s characters. You can click here to see the rest of the posts inspired by the famous PBS show.

Mrs Patmore's kitchen. Downton Abbey exhibition in New York.

From the very beginning, the exhibition immerses you into the Crawleys’ household and really makes you feel that you are stepping into the Highclere Castle, where the PBS show was filmed. It all starts with the warm welcome from Carson and Mrs Hughes, and leads you through an impeccably and very true-to-detail executed kitchen of Mrs. Patmore, where she ruled over a handful of kitchen maids and footmen. Then you continue to explore the detailed sets and costumes of the servants’ quarters.

Servants Quarters in Downton Abbey. PBS show exhibition
Downton Abbey cast's costumes on display in New York.

The second and the third floor explores the lavish and beautiful world of Crawleys. It felt almost scandalous to peek at immaculately recreated Lady Mary’s bedroom, where I couldn’t help to avoid thinking of Kemal Pamuk. Then there is of course a grand dining room. Empty, but all set for an exquisite dinner party that could arrive any second. Every detail is intimately familiar and gives such a surreal feeling of invading Crawleys’ home that I half expected the Dowager Countess Violet to appear in front of me with a suppressed, but visible mark of a humorous disdain on her glorious face:  “Oh, roll up, roll up, visit an actual dining room! Complete with a real life table and chairs!”.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition.
Lady Mary Bedroom
20s dresses in Downton Abbey. Period drama costumes. Fashion of Downton Abbey.

Slowly walking and taking in all the magnificence of the masterfully designed space by Imagine Exhibtions, Allison and I especially enjoyed all the interactive and smartly placed insights of the historic events and changes that occurred in daily lives of British subjects from Post-Edwardian Era to the World War 1 and the Roaring Twenties. I can confidently and sincerely declare that even those who haven’t yet seen the Downton Abbey would enjoy all the valuable and entertaining information if they have even a remote interest in history!

Wedding hair in Downton abbey
Downton Abbey. Edit's Wedding gown
Downton Abbey fashion.
PBS Downton Abbey fashion styles.
Sybil's harem pants in Downton Abbey.

And how can I forget to mention the costumes and accessories of the Downton Abbey’s ladies and gentlemen! The abundance of wedding laces, strict lines of riding costumes and enchanting glitz of all the glamorous 20s gowns absolutely stole my heart. Even though sometimes I like slipping into pajamas at a Netflix kind of night at home, I desperately long for the times when an afternoon tea in a garden required a pretty hat, and for a 6 pm dinner you had to change into an evening gown and wear long elegant gloves.

20s fashion in Downton Abbey show.
Downton Abbey Exhibition

Lord and Lady Granham, Mary, Edith and Sybil, Tom Branson, Mr, Barrow, Isobel, Daisy and all other beloved and sometimes despised characters of Downton Abbey already felt so real to every fan of the show, but the exhibition immersed us into their world like never before. Allison noted: “The section with the gramophone and the visual explanation of social hierarchy reminded me of the circumstances these characters faced and the changing landscape they had to navigate. The characters already felt real and three-dimensional. All of this information along with the costumes, sets, and  props made them even more alive!”

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition has exceeded my expectations and truly made me feel like I was a dear guest at the Crawley’s, or a curious phantom wondering through the halls and sumptuous rooms of the family that quite honestly feels in a way like my own!


Week 22: Witches of Manhattan. Best Witches in Film and TV.

Magic has been fascinating me since I was a little child. I was too impatient to wait for my parents to read to me before bedtime, so I was absorbing fairy tale books by myself from morning to dawn when I was just three years old. While other children played with dolls and teddy bears, I immersed myself in worlds of magicians, beautiful sorceresses and evil queens.

At the time, my dad had a rental VHS spot in my city, and we had access to all the latest movies. I especially vividly remember the film Willow with its lush magical world and the frightening and glorious evil Queen Bavmorda. When brainstorming my list of the most memorable witches in film and TV, I immediately thought of her, especially because people tend to forget about this movie altogether.

Year after year, my interest in witchcraft has only grown and I have discovered many new films and TV shows with enchanting white witches, Evil Sorceresses and modern day magicians, and I would like to share my favourites with you.

So, Abracadabra, witches, read my list below:

1. The Three Witches from Macbeth

Three Witches Macbeth

The Three Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth represent evil and darkness and tempt Macbeth with their prophecies. With the prophecy that Macbeth shall be king, they lead him to the path of his own destruction. It is incredible how with just a small appearance in the play, the ominous Three Witches and their many representations in art and film, can make your blood run cold.

Bonus: Visit Sleep No More in NYC to encounter The Three Witches! I even interacted with one of them during the show.

2. Seventh Son

Ведьмы в фильме Седьмой Сын.  Witches in Seventh Son film.

Julianne Moore is stunning as a wicked witch, Mother Malkin, in Seventh Son. The fantasy film also stars Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes and Alicia Vikander, who is growing on me with each new role she plays. Unfortunately, Seventh Son was a big flop in the box office, but I enjoyed it very much.

3. Salem

Best witches in film history.

I have just started watching this wicked show inspired by the real Salem witch trials in the 17th century. I can never say no to a period costume series, especially if it has a supernatural element!

4. Practical Magic

Best witches in Film and Tv series! 21 amazing witches

This beautiful film tells the story of the Owens sisters, who come from generations of powerful witches, and follows them on their quest fortrue love. I have watched this romantic film so many times. I love it!

Bonus: Did you know that this famous film was based on the bestselling book? Buy it here on Amazon!

 

5. Snow White and the Huntsman

Best witches in film history. Queen Ravenna.

Queen Ravenna is a ravishing Evil Queen and she might eat your heart. Literally.

6. Geillis Duncan in Outlander

Best witches on the screen - Geillis Duncan from Outlander. Red haired witch.

I am not going to spoil this for non-book readers, but Geillis Duncan is a wonderful, complex character in the Outlander series. Love her or hate her, she has powers and she knows how to use them.

7. Queen Bavmorda in Willow

Best Witches in films and tv.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Willow was my first favourite fantasy film, and evil Queen Bavmorda probably made an appearance in my childhood nightmares. 

8. Witches of East End

Witches of East End. TV series about witchcraft.

I was so disappointed when they cancelled Witches of East End in 2014! It was dark, sultry and gorgeous. I definitely recommend you watch this show. There are so many little details and stories that inspire me to continue writing my novel.

9. Craft

Witches on the screen. Fictional witches in history.

A 90s classic, this horror film tells the story of a group of teenage girls who practice witchcraft, and later use it to curse every one who wronged them at school. I usually despise scary films, but this one is entertaining and has just the right amount of spooky.

10. Stardust

Best magicians, witches and sorceresses in film and Tv. Stardust.

The main antagonist of Stardust, Lamia, is the most powerful witch in Stormhold. She lives hidden from the world with her sisters, Mormo and Empusa, waiting for the right moment to regain her rule over the land and obtain eternal beauty by eating the heart of a star. In the meantime, she consumes people to stay young and beautiful. What would a woman NOT DO for eternal beauty?!

11. Charmed

Best withes in film and tv series. Full list!

Let's face it, we’ve all watched at least a couple episodes of this long running show about the three Halliwell sisters who discover that they are descendants of a line of powerful witches. Each sister has a special ability: controlling time, moving objects, prophetic powers, and they can also use their powers together to fight all the demons in our world.

12. Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus Witches.

This Disney comedy is about three wicked witch sisters who are resurrected in Salem on Halloween night, and two teenagers who are the only ones who can stop them. Hocus Pocus is definitely a Halloween classic!

13. The Witches of Eastwick

Witches in America. Fictional characters with magical powers.

A great dark comedy about three dissatisfied witches, unaware of their powers, living in Eastwick, Rhode Island, whose lives change when a mysterious, rich man, Darvyl, moves to town.

14. The Chronicles of Narnia

Witches in film and TV. Best evil ice queen.

Queen Jadis cast a curse upon Narnia, that it shall be frozen and cold. The Long Winter she magically forced upon Narnia, earned her the title, the "White Witch".

15. Once Upon a Time

I am currently watching season 6 of Once Upon a Time, and to be perfectly honest, it is not as good as it could be. There were a couple of seasons I really liked, and of course I adore everything related to my favourite fairy tale characters, however sometimes it is painful to watch. Not all of the actors are great, the effects and props look cheap and the plot often annoys. But if there is one thing I love about it, is its Evil Queens!

16. Harry Potter

How could I leave witches from Harry Potter out of this list? 

17. Enchanted

Queen Narissa in Disney's feature hybrid film Enchanted is a beautiful, but cruel, vindictive, power-thirsty evil witch.

18. Red Priestesses in Game of Thrones

Carice van Houten has been on my radar since the Black Book film, and I am pleased she was cast as Melisandre in Game of Thrones. However, now I am also excited to see more of another Red Priestess, Kinvara, who debuts in the 6th season.

19. Penny Dreadful

Ben and I love watching this show together. It is eerie, grim, sinful and beautiful in its delicious blood stained darkness. From mysterious and powerful Vanessa Ives, to the evil coven of witches, whose every appearance makes my hair stand up on the back of my neck, this show has plenty of wicked beauties.

20. The Brothers Grimm

The Mirrored Queen, portrayed by gorgeous Monica Bellucci, is the Thuringian queen, treasured by all of Europe for her unbelievable beauty. Absorbed by her own reflection, the vain and selfish queen cares only about her appearance and uses black magic to gain eternal life and youth. I find her story one of the most compelling and I wish Hollywood made the whole film about the beautiful Mirrored Queen.

Week 7: Breakfast at Tiffany's. Iconic Style of Holly Golightly.

Impeccable style of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

This Themed Week is dedicated to Breakfast at Tiffany's, a film featuring one of my favourite actresses and style icons –  Audrey Hepburn. It is one of the Audrey's most memorable performances and it is hard imagine another movie with a more iconic fashion look than that stunning sleeveless black satin gown. The Givenchy creation, has a beautiful low-cut back, and was styled with long black gloves, large black sunglasses and strands of pearls. 

Tomorrow, I will show you my own interpretation of that iconic look, but today I wanted to introduce you to Audrey's character – Holly Golightly and her tremendous influence on the fashion world.

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Today it is hard to imagine anyone else but Audrey playing the role of the naive, fragile call girl with a great joie de vivre, Holly Goligthly, but the author of the novella Breakfast at Tiffany, Truman Capote (read about the book here), originally envisioned Marilyn Monroe playing the part. He was very disappointed when Monroe's acting coach rejected the role. The coach felt that the role for fear that playing an escort would damage the actress' image. Capote thought that Audrey didn't have the sex appeal or enough of a wild free-spirited Manhattan IT girl look about her. In his opinion she was a darling princess of Hollywood; too classy, sophisticated and well-behaved. But of course, Audrey landed the role of Holly Golightly and not only did it marvellously, but added new layers to the character.

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The first thing people recall about Breakfast at Tiffany's is THE STYLE. Audrey Hepburn's looks from 1961 movie are copied and celebrated to this day. Givenchy's styled looks from the film have launched trends that are alive and well today, including the LBD and oversized sunglasses. Moreover, the famous black dress was sold in 2006 for a record breaking $914,000 at a Christie’s auction in London. That is the highest price ever paid for a cinema costume. 

Celebrities as Holly Golightly

Countless celebrities have tried on Audrey's iconic look from Breakfast at Tiffany's for photoshoots and even in films. Although, I do feel a lot of these outfits skew towards costume territory and might be more appropriate for a Halloween party, some of the interpretations are as equally stunning as the original. For example, I do love Anne Hathaway's and Natalie Portman's classic Golightly look, and I might be a little bit biased, but I adore Blaire Waldorf (played by Leighton Meester) as Holly in the Gossip Girl TV series.

Anne Hathaway  looks elegant and chic as Holly Golightly in this Vogue photoshoot.

Anne Hathaway looks elegant and chic as Holly Golightly in this Vogue photoshoot.

Oh, Tina, WHY? I respect  Tina Fey , but I find this cover hideous. It looks like a mockery of Audrey Hepburn's character.

Oh, Tina, WHY? I respect Tina Fey, but I find this cover hideous. It looks like a mockery of Audrey Hepburn's character.

Natalie Portman  looks stunning in this very fresh and modern interpretation of  Holly Golightly's  classic   Breakfast at Tiffany's   look.

Natalie Portman looks stunning in this very fresh and modern interpretation of Holly Golightly's classic Breakfast at Tiffany's look.

Natalie Portman as Holly in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Paris  and  Nicky Hilto n are perfect examples that money cannot buy style. I do not how, but the Hilton sisters managed to make Holly Golightly look cheap even while wearing outfits that worth thousands of dollars.

Paris and Nicky Hilton are perfect examples that money cannot buy style. I do not how, but the Hilton sisters managed to make Holly Golightly look cheap even while wearing outfits that worth thousands of dollars.

Emilia Clarke  as Holly Golightly in   Breakfast at Tiffany's   musical on Broadway!

Emilia Clarke as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's musical on Broadway!

Can we take a minute and mention HOW amazing Emilia Clarke is?! You might not recognise her with natural brown hair, but it is actually our favourite khaleesi, mother of dragons, Daenerys Targaryen! Yes, she played Holly Golightly on Broadway in Breakfast at Tiffany's musical in 2013.

Pixie Lot  looks surprisingly good as Holly Golightly. I am not a fan of her gloves, but Pixie's outfit is overall is quite glamorous and wearable at the same time.

Pixie Lot looks surprisingly good as Holly Golightly. I am not a fan of her gloves, but Pixie's outfit is overall is quite glamorous and wearable at the same time.

It is strange to see another British lingerie and nude model channeling her inner  Audrey Hepburn  and looking so great and natural. The look has a slightly cheaper feel because of the cut of the dress and its fabric, but  Keeley Hazell's  face is seductive and innocent at the same time, which saves it.

It is strange to see another British lingerie and nude model channeling her inner Audrey Hepburn and looking so great and natural. The look has a slightly cheaper feel because of the cut of the dress and its fabric, but Keeley Hazell's face is seductive and innocent at the same time, which saves it.

Kelly Brook is one of the lushest women I have ever seen. I tried to find something about this look I do not like, but Kelly looks beautiful 

Kelly Brook is one of the lushest women I have ever seen. I tried to find something about this look I do not like, but Kelly looks beautiful 

Barbie  has never looked SO good. This doll is on my Wish List!

Barbie has never looked SO good. This doll is on my Wish List!

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Blair Waldorf  ( Leighton Meester ) from   Gossip Girl   in a dream sequence as Holly Golightly? YES PLEASE!

Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) from Gossip Girl in a dream sequence as Holly Golightly? YES PLEASE!

Jennifer Love Hewitt  played  Audrey Hepburn  in the movie   The Audrey Hepburn Story   which was enjoyable, but not amazing. Even though Jennifer does bear some resemblance to Audrey, something was missing. Here is a free idea, Hollywood: do a remake and cast  Anne Hathaway  as  Audrey !

Jennifer Love Hewitt played Audrey Hepburn in the movie The Audrey Hepburn Story which was enjoyable, but not amazing. Even though Jennifer does bear some resemblance to Audrey, something was missing. Here is a free idea, Hollywood: do a remake and cast Anne Hathaway as Audrey!

ennifer-love-hewitt-as-audrey

Later this week I am also going to show you some of Audrey's best looks from the movie, and select items for any budget, so you can re-create all of them. So make sure to come back because our BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY's WEEK is going to be fabulous!

shop audrey hepburn dolls:

Week 6: Marie Antoinette. In Art and Popular culture

I have seen my share of American and European films about Marie Antoinette. One of my favourite blogs, Frock Flicks, made the most complete list I have seen of all the movies about the French Queen (view it here). I have decided to feature just a few of the very best actresses who have been lucky enough to portray the fabulous Marie Antoinette (how jealous I am that they got to wear all these sumptuous costumes during filming!)

Best portrayals of Marie Antoinette in films. All actresses from 30s to our time

My favourite portrayal is Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, partly because the film is so gorgeous. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it!

Marie Antoinette actresses

Marie Antoinette in Art

It is always interesting to compare actors to actual portraits of the historical figures they are portraying. Marie Antoinette had more than her fair share of portraits painted during her lifetime.

Marie Antoinette with a Rose  by  Vigée Le Brun

Marie Antoinette with a Rose by Vigée Le Brun

Portrait of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France by  Jean-Baptiste Andre Gautier-Dagoty

Portrait of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France by Jean-Baptiste Andre Gautier-Dagoty

By   Martin Meytens

By Martin Meytens

By unidentified artist

By unidentified artist

Portrait of Archduchess Marie-Antoinette by  Joseph Ducreux , 1769   

Portrait of Archduchess Marie-Antoinette by Joseph Ducreux, 1769
 

Portrait of the Queen Marie Antoinette by  Jean-Baptiste Gautier Dagoty

Portrait of the Queen Marie Antoinette by Jean-Baptiste Gautier Dagoty

Marie Antoinette En Chemise, Portrait Of The Queen In A "muslin" Dress, By  Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Marie Antoinette En Chemise, Portrait Of The Queen In A "muslin" Dress, By Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Marie Antoinette was and is an enduringly  popular figure among artists and photographers. Although she is certainly seconded by Cleopatra, who has inspired an even more impressive body of paintings and sculptures. You can see Cleopatra's representation in Art on my blog here. Regardless, Marie Antoinette, without a doubt, deserves the status of the most fashionable and glamorous European royalty in history.

Week 4: Bridal. TOP 10 Movie Weddings

Top 10 Best Film Weddings

Aren't we all guilty of comparing our own lives to the ones we see on the movie screens? Especially when it comes to relationships and, of course, to ridiculously fun, romantic or just simply lavish and extravagant weddings! Although, real love is always better than the one you have to fake, we still can get inspired and take a note or two watching our favourite film characters tying the knot.

Top 10 Film Weddings

1. Gossip Girl

I still remember how impatiently I was waiting for every episode of Gossip Girl, and even though I am not a fan of re-watching TV Shows (unless it is Game of Thrones!), I sometimes have an extreme wave of nostalgia and an urge to watch this most fashionable show ever. 

Gossip Girl weddings. Best film and tv show brides

Blair and Chuck, Serena and Dan and Blair (again!) and Louis. Who knew the show about school gossips, loaded mean girls and teenage romances will have so many weddings after just few seasons?

2. MAMMA MIA

Even though the wedding did not quite happen, Amanda Seyfried makes a beautiful bride. A few golden details here and there, and you too can look like a Greek Goddess!

Mamma Mia Wedding Inspiration

3. TWILIGHT

I have a love/hate relationships with the Twilight saga. I think it is a very silly, poorly written and badly constructed teenage fantasy romance story, BUT I still read all the books and watched all the movies. Bella's dress in the film, made by Carolina Herrera, is very elegant and beautiful. However, my attention is devoted not to Kristen Stewart's bridal look, but to the gorgeous decor. 

Bella and Edward beautiful wedding ceremony, Twilight.

4. DOWNTON ABBEY

Hands down, one of my favourite shows. If you haven't watched it, start today! The show is filled with a romance, engagements and several weddings during six seasons of the show. Here are the ones I admire the most:

Downton Abbey Brides. Wedding Dresses

5. STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES

Being a big fan of Star Wars, I cannot miss a chance to include this short, but breathtakingly beautiful ceremony of Anakin and Padme. The scene was shot at the Villa del Balbianello that overlooks Lake Como in Italy. Absolutely perfect wedding spot! 

6. EMMA

Jane Austen is an author every bride-to-be should read. One of my top bridal looks from 'Austen's realm' is Emma's! The role was played by lovely Gwyneth Paltrow. You can actually see this and other wonderful wedding dresses from films at the Fashionable Romance exhibition, at the Biltmore House in North Carolina. Plan to visit before 4th of July as that is when the exhibition will end. I am certainly determined to travel to North Carolina now!

Best Film Weddings including adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen

7. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING

Ok, let's admit that this wedding dress is a little bit over the top. But if you want a good laugh before your own marriage ceremony, this is a comedy movie you should watch! Bonus? The sequel of this surprise hit movie is now in cinemas! 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie dress

8. REIGN

Adelaide Kane, who plays Mary Queen of Scots, in this absolutely NOT historically accurate TV show, is one of the most naturally gorgeous people I have ever set my eyes on. Seeing her in the wedding dress made my heart literally skip a beat. But brides can get inspired not only by that wedding episode. The whole show is filled with gowns to-die-for, thanks to Meredith Markworth-Pollack - the wonderful costume designer (who also follows me on Instagram! Yes!)

Reign Wedding Dresses. Mary Queen of Scots as a bride

9. BRIDE WARS

A female oriented comedy focusing on two beautiful brides - Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson.

Bride Wars Wedding Dresses. Top 10 film brides and weddings

10. LA REINE MARGOT

La Reine Margot is not a film for for the faint-hearted, and certainly not a pre-bridal movie to watch. Have you heard of St. Bartholomew's Day massacre? It took place five days after Margaret's de Valois (yes, Francis' sister, if you learn about history only from shows like Reign) wedding to the protestant Henry III of Navarre. It is believed that marriage was planned by Catherine de Medici (yes, Francis's mother) to gather the most wealthy Protestants in catholic Paris, in order to brutally kill them all. And we thought the 'Red Wedding' was bloody!

Red Wedding Dress at The Reign Margot movie

Well, at least the Queen Margot played by Isabelle Adjani looked stunning in her red wedding gown. Can I have that headpiece, please?