Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"The passion burns deep"

Continuing my journey back through time to some of the defining films of my teenage years, I watched St Elmo’s Fire recently.

Made in 1985 and directed by Joel Schumacher ("Lost Boys", "Flatliners"), it involved virtually every hot brat packer of the time: Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson.

The film tells the story of a group of friends that have just graduated from Georgetown University and their adjustment to their post-university lives and the responsibilities of encroaching adulthood. Some of them do not handle their new life well: Lowe is a drunk constantly in trouble and milking his wealthy best friend (Mare Winningham) for all she is worth and Moore is a credit card/drug abuser living an ‘apparently’ glamorous life. It’s all typical of the American yuppie generation of the mid-80’s with their cheesy politics, outfits, belief in advertising as art and cocaine addictions.

The soundtrack is too tacky for words, featuring such 80’s masters as Airplay, Fee Waybill, Elefante (who?) and the irritatingly unforgettable theme song "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" performed by David Foster.

It is incredible to watch again for a few reasons: Demi Moore, pre plastic surgery and still with her puppy fat, Rob Lowe destroying his life (not sure any man should be born that beautiful, but that is beside the point) and the apartments these kids live in - particularly the one Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy own with its giant Nike add covering an entire wall of their loft – yes, this was what was covetable in 1985. Didn’t we also want to look like Demi in her homage to Madonna (all corsets and fur and teased hair) and the pearls … god these girls wore them and they wore them well, usually teamed with a Holly Hobbie lace collared long dress – remember those? It seems frump fashion really rocked hard in 1985.

See it now if you consider yourself a true 80’s fan, but be a purist and only rent out an old boxy ‘video’ if you can get your hot little hands on one.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Artist

Time for another style icon alert and what has taken me so long to discuss Tilda? It's craziness.

Not only is Tilda Swinton an amazing actor, she is transformed into a living artwork when she dons various designer pieces and she has a husband and a younger live-in lover. If that's not a winning combination, then what is?

In terms of her art, there is really nothing she cannot achieve in film – it really seems to be her moment. She is one actor who authentically manages to straddle both the alto and more pedestrian worlds of film with mesmerizing turns in earlier offbeat films such as "Love is the Devil" and "Caravaggio" to more popularist fare such as "Michael Clayton", "Burn After Reading" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". She has come a long way since working with Derek Jarman and Sally Potter (think "Orlando" where she plays the title character in both male and female guises).

Right now in film she's back to the risky arena where she stars as “Blonde” in the new film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, "Limits of Control", the story of a mysterious loner, a stranger, whose activities remain meticulously outside the law. His journey, paradoxically both intently focused and dreamlike, takes him not only across Spain but also through his own consciousness.

Right now in fashion, she's taking risks too, appearing swathed in liquid cranberry Haider Ackerman at Cannes, immediately after every fashion editor worth his/her salt raved about his recent collection. Personally, I think it an absolute crime that she is often placed on worst dressed lists as since when has Prada or Lanvin been deemed distasteful?

All fashion brutality aside, this amazing creature is 100% deserved of our complete admiration as she embodies a kind of utopian ideal of true life, fashion and craft 'original'.

Yearning for more? Grab yourself a copy of the latest "AnOther" magazine, where she graces the cover ... and speaks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hirdy Girdy

Muccia Prada continues to stun with her inclusive philosophy of art, fashion, design and architecture – exactly what The Crystal Plumage gets turned on by.

Her latest incredible project sees her again working with Rem Koolhaas to create the Prada Transformer in South Korea.

In a recent interview in Interview magazine, they both take great pains to inform us this is not merely a “pavilion” … it is a space that is mutable: its 3 sides are shiftable by cranes to suit the intended purpose e.g. cinema, art or fashion. It is essentially a metal structure consisting of 3 shaped "walls": hexagon, circle, cross and rectangle and covered with material used to wrap abandoned planes. Genuis!

As Prada herself says:

"What makes this project so radical is this kind of ever-changing shape and form according to requests ... But this flexibility and changeability was crucial. The conent could be done any place, but the real invention is the architecture. The architecture is the only work that really defines a new way of doing things. I think this point is fundamental."

I think this is what impresses me the most about Prada as a designer. She isn't primarily focused on having her dresses worn at the latest Hollywood premiere … she really falls into the category of “visionary” and works with others at the top of their fields, such as Koolhaas to conceive her fantasies. Prada sets the pace, she doesn’t just attempt to keep up.

With evenings in the Transformer where famed directors discuss their favourite films and the infamous touring “Waist Down” skirts installation feature, who wouldn’t want to enter this bizarre futuristic tardis.

Next stop for this "amorphous" structure is Milan – could you include Sydney or Melbourne please, please, pretty please?

For more information or timetables for events see: http://prada-transformer.com/.