January 30, 2008

"You won't switch brands of cold cream without asking me, but you applied to law school?"

There is a magical moment during "The Devil Wears Prada": a montage of scenes of Andrea (pronounced ahn-DRAY-uh) post-Runway-makeover walking to work. I am utterly hypnotized by the six amazing looks in this segment. Each one is classy, expensive, and impossibly chic. To a runway-apropos soundtrack of Madonna, our newly minted fashion plate trots through Manhattan looking the epitome of style and grace. Every time I see it, I am floored. And to make it even more delicious, the cinematographer only allowed us maximum 3.5sec on each outfit - just enough time to ogle, take a mental note on accessories, and wish you had the ensemble, before a bus passed before the screen and another five-figure outfit was unveiled to delight your fashion palate.

There are some movies I love for comedy ("Swingers"), some for deep thinking ("Gone With the Wind"), some for out-of-control, over-the-top romance set to a pop mashup soundtrack ("Moulin Rouge"). Then there are movies I love at a new level, because of the delightful costumes the lucky actresses get to wear.

"Mona Lisa Smile," in my opinion, was very underrated, but combines a little comedy, some feminism, a love story and the heroic teacher character with some lovely 1950s style. Dated though pin curls may be, the tweed polo coats, full skirts, twinsets and ubiquitous pearls make me yearn for the days when people dressed for class, dinner, travel... and really dressed. Not like the way college students dress these days....

Not to mention the Harvard Spring Fling scene is so well-shot, with lovely formal dresses and the perfect male a capella choir. So here are some action shots from one of my favorite films for fashion, and enjoy the lack of Julia Roberts. Her character was too artistic for silly things like saddle shoes.