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Posts Tagged ‘1980s fashion’

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As the pandemic rages on, it’s time for another of my favorite go-to movies: Pretty in Pink.

Pretty in Pink is the third in what became a trilogy of teenage films written by John Hughes. First came The Breakfast Club then Sixteen Candles. Molly Ringwald was in both and the story goes that Hughes wrote Pretty in Pink for her.

Ringwald’s character, Andie, is a high school senior –  creative, smart, and poor. Her best friend Duckie, played by Jon Cryer, is hopelessly in love with Andie, but his humor and charm go unnoticed. However, cute and sensitive Blane, played by Andrew McCarthy, is very much in focus for our heroine as he crosses the tracks from his slick wealthy existence into her world, which is more interesting if rather dingy. Of course there is a villain (James Spader) and an older hip mentor (Annie Potts) and lots of teenage strife, broken hearts, and a couple of really satisfying dramatic scenes.

When this film came out my first thought was: “Ahem, pink is not pretty on redheads.” As a redhead myself, I know the two colors we cannot wear are pink and red. Perhaps deeper shades of these colors, but not the classic pink and red … no way!

This is because, in my opinion, red hair is very striking and therefore other vibrant colors clash. We need deep shades that don’t compete, such as burgundy, mauve, navy, and we all know a redhead’s best color is green. Apparently, Ringwald had a “predisposition” for pink, hence the movie’s title.

That aside, Pretty in Pink is a fun film for its 80s nostalgia, the teenage romance, and of course, the costumes! Watching Andie today it seems that her quirky sense of style is rather timeless. She would stand out in this era just as much as she did in the 80s. Costumer Marilyn Vance worked closely with Ringwald, who had much to say about her character’s clothing.

They shopped thrift stores and flea markets to create a look of vintage crossed with homemade crossed with (almost) granny. Andie sports cardigan sweaters often embellished with pins or lace. (Ringwald said in a 2006 interview that she still owns several of those sweaters.) Hats tied with a scarf. She likes layers and even did what I used to do – layer short socks over stockings. (Stockings not nylons, not tights.) Her jackets are vintage, her jewelry is antique style and at home she dons lovely Japanese kimono.

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Duckie also has a very unique style. I love his collection of bolo ties. He wears vintage jackets, vests, baggy pants and a pork pie hat. Oh, and a lot of very large rings. He gets bullied, but he’s true to his look.

Our third stylin’ character is Annie Potts as Iona. In every one of her scenes, she dons a different and extreme ensemble from a punk rubber dress and spiky hair to a preppy red blazer complete with super size shoulder pads.

As for the ordinary kids, Vance said that she shopped Kmart for their “ice cream” colored skirts, t-shirts, and sweaters. There are lot of light colored jeans and our wealthy fellas sport linen suits! One of my favorite parts of this film is Spader slithering around the high school hallways in his Italian loafers (no socks), hands stuffed in his linen trousers. We’re not supposed to like him, but I find his snotty attitude hilarious.

Beyond the costumes, I really enjoyed the very strong performances by the entire cast. No one other than Ringwald could have played this role, and surprisingly, Paramount looked at other actresses, including  Jennifer Beal. Finally the powers-that-be wised up and went with the actress for whom the part was written.

Ringwald is solid as Andie, able to be confident as the underdog, yet vulnerable when she’s let down. Anger is not a problem and even a little bitchy comes out from time to time. But the real star here, if you ask me, is Jon Cryer, who clearly put all he had into Duckie. Passion, vulnerability, humor, even some dance moves. His character is over-the-top and Cryer is able to successfully deliver that without putting off the audience. Plus, who could resist that winning smile?

Well, apparently Ringwald could. She had a lot of input on casting the film and although she admitted that Cryer was a strong contender, she also liked Robert Downey Jr. for the role. She thought he was cute and could see herself (Andie) falling for him. She did not feel the same for Cryer. How it was that he was cast and not Downey is a part of the story not shared. But there is something else.

The ending we see in the film is not the original ending. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the movie (or don’t recall) and don’t want to know the ending, stop reading and go watch. Originally, after Blane disappoints Andie, she realizes the true love of Duckie is what she wants and they end up together at the prom. The whole script was written to follow this direction. They filmed the ending as written, despite Ringwald’s insistence that it was all wrong. Then they showed a test audience and … the audience booed. The young women wanted Andie to have “the cute boy.” So, Hughes quickly rewrote the ending (the quickly part shows) and six months after the first wrap they re-shoot the ending and Andie goes off with Blane, who has awkwardly redeemed himself.

The decision to change the ending remains controversial and even some very young audiences watching the film today think Duckie was the right guy for Andie. Still, the movie was a hit at the time and has since become a cult favorite.

I could write so much more, but I’ve gone on long enough. Pretty in Pink is a great escape from today’s social media, cell phones, bad news, pandemic. Turn it all off and go back to a time when we still bought records. Speaking of that, the soundtrack was a big hit too.

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pretty4I refuse to accept that clothes from the 80s are vintage. My teenage daughter loves to tell me otherwise. 

Molly Ringwald, American actress.

Pictured here is Molly Ringwald as Andie in the 1986 film, Pretty in Pink. I recently watched this movie and it struck me that Andie’s style is timeless. She was distinctive among her high school peers then and she would be today.

Andie didn’t buy “mall clothes.” She shopped at thrift stores and handmade a lot of her wardrobe, creating a unique look.

Check back tomorrow for more commentary on Pretty in Pink.

 

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maxresdefaultQuite frankly, the way I see fashion after being in the business since 1967, fashion is out of fashion. And if fashion is what you look like, you do not represent the modern woman. Style can be fashionable, but this whole idea that the fashion industry is the same and fashion has the same meaning in a woman’s life, it doesn’t. It’s completely different. Today it’s instantaneous: “I want this now, I want it overnight,” if not the same day. I don’t want to wait for anything. I mean, I’m one of those shoppers myself, I only shop online. I never go into stores.

– Norma Kamali, American fashion designer, as quoted in an interview for Women’s Wear Daily.

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Norma Kamali fleece designs in the 1980s.

In the 1980s, way before the idea of ath-leisure, Ms. Kamali designed a line of women’s clothing using gray fleece. She used the sporty material for structured silhouettes – dresses, skirts, and oversized tops with shoulder pads. It was unexpected, it was chic and a big hit both with the fashion press and customers.

As for her point that fashion is not fashionable. (I think that is what she’s saying.) Well, there is much discussion going on about what fashion is these days. Currently there is a slight push-back against corporate fashion and name brands with people concerned about the environment, sweatshops, and blind consumerism. With a trend toward recycle/reuse, a desire for individual style has developed. Still, I’m seeing a lot of leggings and tunics out there, not to mention ath-leisure. I believe that despite the changes in the way we find our fashion and how we buy it, fashion is what it has always been –  trends that can come from designers, celebrities, or people on the street.

Congratulations to Ms. Kamali for her recent CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015.

Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015.

The Art Deco Society of California Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2015 was a big success with a record-setting crowd of over 1100. The weather was late-summer perfect (after a week of horribly high temps) and the Don Neely Royal Society Jazz Society Orchestra was in top form. The only thing was, “It ended too soon,” I heard people say as they wistfully packed away their vintage linens and picnic gear.

For me it was kind of unexpectedly special. Year after year I enjoy putting together outfits for Gatsby Summer Afternoon. With a collection of vintage from many eras I often cobble together looks from my closet but I have also gone shopping the season before at the Vintage Fashion Expo.

This year I decided to sport something I had been saving. It’s a dress that my older brother made back in the 80s and gave to me for my birthday one year. My brother and his wife started their fashion business Kiss of the Wolf in the late-70s and quickly became known in the wearable art world for their unique hand-painted silk clothing for women.

A simple sheath, I knew my dress had the right silhouette for the 1920s. Even though the colors of light violet and mauve are very 80s as is the diamond pattern, the combination worked just as well for the 20s. To emphasis the proper era, I took the accompanying silk sash and tied it below my waist at an angle. I added navy blue shoes and an actual 20s cloche hat, donned my grandmother’s long beaded necklace and I was Gatsby ready.

I knew it was an acceptable outfit for the very discerning crowd but I didn’t think it was anything more than that. Hey, I was wrong. Never before in all my years attending Gatsby Summer Afternoon have I received so many compliments. Both men and women made an effort to come up to me and say how fabulous they thought the dress was and how authentic. One woman said I should have won the costume contest (thanks for that!) and another commented that the whole outfit matched illustrations from 1920s fashion magazines. I mentioned, of course, that the dress actually was designed and hand-painted in the 80s by my brother, who died at a young age from cancer. People really understood then that this was indeed a very special dress.

I think my brother would have gotten a kick out of how I wore his dress and how timeless it is. I know he would be pleased that people were interested and appreciated his work.

Thanks to all the individuals who took the time to talk to me – you made my day!

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