Tuesday, February 27, 2018

POSTWAR STYLE: Costume as a character in "A Place to Call Home"

If you're missing the costume dramas that kept us entertained during 
the last decade or so -- I'm thinking of Mad Men or Miss Fisher's
          Murder Mysteries or Downton Abbey -- you might find your 
             heart's desire in A Place to Call Home,
       "Australia's little series that could."  (Sydney Morning Herald)


This series makes a meal out of period fashion and design from the 1950s, 
treating it as a quintessential character in the show. Sweet shirtwaist dresses,
twirly A-line skirts, padded shoulders, "twin sets" (a matching shell sweater 
and long-sleeved cardigan ensemble, often worn with pearls
and single-breasted coats abound as the choices for women.
 
For men, dapper hats (think Don Draper's classic fedora) worn with comfortably fitting full-cut, slightly drape-y suits are what's in. The prevailing design  
ethos of the era was being able to take virtually any man’s body type 
and make it look good through proper tailoring.

Below: Actor Brett Climo is perfectly appointed and
appropriately slouchy here as George Bligh, a wealthy landowner 
from Inverness with a heart of gold.




°     °     °      °     °     °
     

Above: vindictive, conniving villianess Regina Bligh (Jenny Baird),
 dressed to kill, in rich mauve and jet black. She
reminds me of the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz. 

 Regina was toned way down
 by three years of repentance in a psychiatric hospital. 
If you're an aficionado of the show,
you'll have seen the dramatic change in her costumes
from bright, spotlight-grabbing primary colors to 
neutral, wishy washy ones.

Costume director Lisa Meagher
 says that she puts Regina (Jenni Baird) in florals 
when the character is "trying to be nice".


°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
Sara Nordman, just off the boat, arriving in Australia

I've always put the show's herione Sara (played by Marta Dusseldorp) 
above fashion, due to her history as a Holocaust survivor and her wise  
down-to-earthness. Below are a couple of her looks.



Is Sarah's lovely sweater/jumper an argyle pattern or not?
See comments section (below) to read a lively debate about this subject!

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °

Below: Abby Earl as Anna Poletti,
trying (unsuccessfully) to be happy as farmer Gino's wife. 



But no ...
 

She's much happier being Anna Bligh,
bestselling author and elegant glamour girl.

°     °     °     °     °     °
 
Anna's formerly secret parents, bohemian Carolyn and 
Dr. Jack Duncan (Sara Wiseman and Craig Hall)  -- a married couple
in real life -- strike a stylish Bonnie and Clyde pose.

°     °     °     °     °     °

Family matriarch Elizabeth Bligh (played by Australian film icon Noni 
Hazlehurst) starts off in the series as a judgemental, intimidating character, 
but life experience forces her to see her homophobia and anti-Semitism for
the ugly traits they are. As her attitudes soften, so
does her wardrobe. 



°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °

Where's season 6, Lizzie?

~ oOo ~

Seasons 1-5 can be watched on Acorn.tv
Season 6 is currently beginning production.

Monday, February 26, 2018

REMEMBRANCE: The Kennedys in the White House, a photo reminiscence


Jack & Jackie: The Kennedys in the White House 
Photos by Richard Avedon, through March 25, 2018 at the 
D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts  Springfield, MA  

In collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution. the National Museum
of American History, and private collectors, this exhibition explores the 
"legacy of the Kennedys as promoters of art, culture, and elegance."
  
Was there ever a first couple as photogenic and chic as this one?

"... You know the pictures. They’re the ones we’re still looking at, still marveling over, the ones that make us fall in love all over again with a family we’ve never met, and specifically with the man at the center of that family. These photographs have had an outsized effect on our assessment of JFK’s presidency, and our collective feelings about them have served as his magic fishbone, getting him out of one scrape or another as the years pass by and 
the revelations and reassessments pile up." 
... The Atlantic, Summer 2012 

 JFK, Jr. was only 2 months old when
his parents took up residence in the White House.

American Goddess
Jackie in her inaugural gown, 1961 





This now-iconic desk was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford 
Hayes and has been used in the Oval Office by several presidents, 
including, of course, John F. Kennedy.

For more information about all five museums located
on the Springfield campus, visit

~ oOo ~