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preface film scope – Top 5: 50’s Fashion Films 50’s films were the epitome of effortless style and grace. CAST presents its top 5. style – shop the look: lucy Indulge in these fashion treats for a complete ‘50s revival inspired by Emma Watson’s Lucy from ‘My Week With Marilyn’ style – style opinion: ban on fur The banning of fur retail in West Hollywood sets a strong precedent for fashion designers, retailers, distributors and wearers. Will fashion become fur-free? style – luxe shopping: fur nation Keep warm in these fierce, glamazon-worthy picks. Fashion Bio: Dior and It’s Stars Dior’s and its longstanding relationship with the stars has made it iconic. CAST looks into the past, present and future of the French designer’s namesake. Fashion: Some Like It Haute 50’s Pin-up Special



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January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

Fashion: Lolita’s Doppelganger Is the cultural icon Lolita an evil doppelganger or a doll blossoming into a woman? Fashion: Tropical Heat Wave A short trip down memory lane revives the spirit of a ’50s bombshell with a heady mix of prints in a sultry heat wave. costume designer’s seat: Jill Taylor We caught up with award-winning costume designer Jill Taylor to chat all things ‘My Week with Marilyn’. Director’s Seat: Simon Curtis Just how did ‘My Week With Marilyn’s’ director Simon Curtis re-create the ghost of Marilyn Monroe?



‘cherish cas as if it were t the dernier o n e v e ry t h i c r i bridging th ng g a p b e t w e e ne film and fa s h i o n . . . ’


ditor’s Letter

Mast Head: Editor-in-Chief: Soh Li Yin Art Director: Madeleine Lithvall Contributors: Windy Aulia, Gan, Dan Lecca, Nyen, Alexander Ow, Natasha Polskaya, Sarah Smith, Jiruda suwanpreecha On The Cover: Model: Chiharu/Mannequin Styling: Windy Aulia

At the beginning of the 1960’s, Barthes wr ote that cinema had beco me a ‘model means of ma ss communication’. Look ing back it seems tha t Its prevalence is more wi despread than ever no w. And modern moviemaking must be traced back to film’s Golden Era, the ‘50s, wh ere the rise of the gla mo ur model and stars like Ma rilyn Monroe continue to be felt and are constant source s of inspiration for us. In our exclusive ‘behin d the scenes’ story of the current British hit on Marilyn Monroe’s life an d character, ‘My Week wi th Marilyn’, one can dis cover all about the period and the difficulties entailin g Simon Curtis’ modern take on antiquity. Curtis detai ls the theoretical problems of film-making: its eerily pre sent pretext for reality, of rec reating what does not exist anymore and of facing questionable parallels wi th the past. He forces us to wo nder: to what extent we are meant to accept film’s ‘re ality’? A part of me actually does believe that what is happening now is a refl ection of the past and that we living as our ancestors have, but from a conte mporary context, and that histor y repeats itself. The chall enges that arise from this anach ronistic theoretical viewp oint are then accounted for, I believe, by the fact tha t we are only living in fragments of time and space; that today will be history tomorrow . Readers, therefore I be seech you to enjoy the moment and this inaug ural issue, a special one that will hopefully become a co llectible for all fashion, film and 50’s lovers. Cherish CAST as if it were the dernier cri on everything bridging the gap between film and fas hion. Enjoy! xox

Photography: Gan Illustration: Madeleine Lithvall Cotton top, Yves Saint Laurent Lycra bikini top, C&M camilla & marc swim Rhinestone and metal bracelet, Prada January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE



Film Scope

o p 5: 5 0’s Fa s h i o n F i l m s F unny F ace (1957)

Adapted from a Broadway musical, this filmed version of the 1927 George Gershwin Broadway musical ‘Funny Face’ features the play’s original star, Fred Astaire, and several of the preceding tunes. Astaire is cast as fashion photographer Dick Avery (a character based on Richard Avedon, the film’s visual consultant), who is sent out by his female boss Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) to find a ‘new face’. It doesn’t take Dick long to discover Jo (Audrey Hepburn), an

H igh S ociety (1956)

Grace Kelly made her final film appearance before her fairytale wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco in ‘High Society’. ‘High Society’ is a musical movie that contains a star-studded cast It also knowingly showcases Kelly’s splendid figure, grace and effervescence, firmly augmenting her status as the style icon of a generation. That Kelly remains highly watchable 50 years on is a reason for this film being a must-watch. High-society belle Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly) is about to marry a cold businessman in a politically-made match. Just as wedding preparations are being made and before the guests arrive, Tracy’s ex-husband Dexter, played by Bing Crosby, arrives to stir things up after being unwittingly invited to play jazz music by the planner. Throughout the alternating scenes of romance and comedy, Lord finds herself with conflicted feelings towards both her husband-to-be and her ex-

owlish Greenwich Village bookstore clerk. Dick whisks the wide-eyed girl off to Paris and transforms her into fashion’s hottest model. Avery falls in love with Jo and works overtime to wean her away from phony-baloney intellectuals like Professor Emile Flostre (Michel Auclair). The Gershwin tunes include the title song, “S’ wonderful’, ‘How Long Has This Been Going On’ and‘He Loves and She Loves’. Among the newer numbers is Kay Thompson’s energetic opener ‘Think Pink’- a cultural classic.

Top 5: 50’s Fashion Films

R ear W indow (1954)

Grace Kelly and James Stewart co-star in this Alfred Hitchcock classic as a couple with a relationship at a deadlock. Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments around his courtyard. As he watches his neighbours, he assigns them roles and character names such as “Miss Torso” (Georgine Darcy), a professional dancer with a healthy social life or “Miss Lonelyhearts” (Judith Evelyn), a middle-aged woman who entertains non-existent gentlemen callers. Of particular interest is seemingly mild-mannered travelling salesman Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr),


who is saddled with a nagging, invalid wife. One afternoon, Thorwald pulls down his window shade, and his wife’s incessant bray comes to a sudden halt. Out of boredom, Jeffries casually concocts a scenario in which Thorwald has murdered his wife and disposed of the body in gruesome fashion. Trouble is, Jeffries’musings just might happen to be the truth. ‘Rear Window’ is a crackling suspense film that also ranks with Michael Powell’s ‘Peeping Tom’ (1960) as one of the movies’ most trenchant dissections of voyeurism. The name Grace Kelly however is probably enough to consecrate this movie as a fashion hit, especially with its array of New Look dresses and skirts.

husband. A love triangle forms just as a newspaper reporter (Frank Sinatra) arrives and starts serenading Tracy. With three men at her feet, conflict ensues and the men are toyed along by Tracy only to find her an

ingénue who plays the lost wideeyed lamb perfectly when in fact, she is a seductress. The movie’s script narrows down to the question of ‘who will Tracy choose?’ and ends with a glamorous wedding much like Kelly’s own.

R oman H oliday (1953)

Audrey Hepburn plays Princess Anne, a British royal on a visit to Rome. Weary of protocol and anxious to have some fun, Anne escapes her royal retainers and scampers incognito through the Eternal City, where she meets American journalist Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck). Bradley, being a journalist, instantly recognizes a hot news story but pretends not to recognize her and offers to give Anne a guided tour of Rome. The pair then go on a series of escapades. Featuring elegant shirts and full-flared skirts typical of 50’s fashion, ‘Roman Holiday’s’ fashion is

orchestrated by costume designer Edith Head, best known for her collaborations with Hepburn. ‘Roman Holiday’ garnered an Academy Award for the 24-yearold main actress. Another Oscar went to the screenplay - credited to Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton.

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE


Film Scope – Top 5: 50’s Fashion Films

A ll A bout E ve (1950)

Margo Channing (Bette Davis), an aging actress of the stage, is starting to lose confidence in herself. She meets a charming protégé – Eve (Anne Baxter) who establishes herself in Channing’s social circle in order to make it in the industry. Slowly, Channing finds herself dealing with an aspirant who will do anything it takes to get to Channing’s position of repute and experience, even blackmail. Marilyn Monroe makes a cameo appearance as a young wannabe actress in this film, for which Edith Head wins Best Costume Design. ‘All About Eve’ encapsulates classic 50’s style perfectly with characters wearing feathered hats, ermine embroidered robes and luscious fur scarves. It was nominated for 12

Academy Awards altogether, winning 6 of them including Best Picture and screenplay. Director Joseph L. Mankiewiz’s script contains some of the sharpest film dialogue ever written, including classic lines by Davis such as, ‘fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy night!’ One of the most fashion-worthy quotes however comes from Monroe’s character (the innocuous Claudia Caswell), who sees a sable coat and quips: ‘now there’s something a girl could make sacrifices for.’


Alexander Wang F/W 2012 . Photography: Dan Lecca



ST Y L E A- line

midis and bright bold prints knocked socks off this winter , paving the way for a winter warm enough with splashes of colour . January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

Style – shop the look



y e C a n dy

L oved E mma W atson ’ s look in ‘M y W eek with M arilyn ’? A dd a splash of colour to your wardrobe with c andy coloured basics . By Madeleine Lithvall Photography: Dan Lecca, Nyen, Alexander Ow

Prada SS2012

From Top to Bottom (clockwise): Acetate earrings, Marni Printed bandeau top, La Perla Cotton midi skirt, Kate Spade Patent leather clutch, Kate Spade Patent leather slingbacks, Nicholas Kirkwood Patent leather pumps, Sergio Rossi Satin midi skirt, Burberry Mixed wool cardigan, Prada


Editor’s Top Tip Accentuate your legs and narrow your waist with high-waisted midis that iconised 50’s style.

Emma Watson as Lucy in ‘My Week With Marilyn’

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE



Style Opinion


Could it be that the end of fur in the fashion world is imminent?


heavily on high fashion labels to stop creating clothing from fur, as recent criticisms of the use of ‘faux’ for real fur have disgraced many a fashion house. Whether fashion should be allowed to be ridiculed for measures that are instinctive to its nature is a conundrum worth considering as well. Like most purveyors of fashion however, my views towards the subject are largely ambivalent as I believe that our vanity and pride tend to get in the way of making (what would be perceived by animal rights activists as) the right decision. On the other hand, to hope for the end of a reigning and roaring industry such as fur trade is heroic but vain in itself. With time and a more unified understanding of those involved in the debacle surrounding the use of fur in fashion, the status of West Hollywood as an exception rather than a norm for states and cities banning fur retail can be reversed. Ending the existence of the commercial fur industry is for certain

e s t H o lly wo o d B a n o n F u r T he banning of fur in W est H ollywood sets a strong precedent for fashion designers , retailers and wearers , making fur trade a controversial industry . there are but two questions pervading the centuries - old commerce here : J ust how important is the selling and wearing of fur and what are the possible consequences of its prohibition for fashion ? L i Y in S oh investigates . illustrated by

M adeleine L ithvall

West Hollywood is home to many a rich and famous name with an aging population demographic consisting of highly-educated middle to high-income earners. Recently, congress in West Hollywood voted 3 - 1 on a bill banning fur retail in stores. As of September 2013, retailers, who now have 2 years to remove all stock, have to discontinue sales. Some sellers have reacted by putting fur on full display in a last-minute attempt to prove its worth while others are looking to oppose the move, citing the US state’s decision as ‘annoying’. Some are choosing to relocate altogether. Setting such a strong precedent for other US states and worldwide legislation to follow, the reverbations left by West Hollywood’s actions are tangible. It would surely then be logical to ask whether it could be that the end of fur in the fashion world is imminent. The decades-old debate surrounding fur is littered with cries of immorality chartered by the naysayers against the fur trade. Those involved in this dispute

however have consistently ignored whether fashion, fickle as it may be, can live without fur in the first place. It is (with all due respect to exhortations against superficiality) partly due to fur that fashion is what it is: one of the most glamorous (and perhaps controversial) industries to work in. (Cue images of US editor Anna Wintour wrapped in bundles of animal pelt and celebrities parading the luxury item on their lavish bodies.) Fashion, and more importantly, the media need that sort of controversy and spectacularity in order to survive, I believe. Fur’s decades-old connotations of power and extravagance only prove that the wearing of another living being’s skin lends power, if only a sense of it, to the individual who has the means to play dressup. Fashion lives in a realm of fantasy, of a kind of apotheosised but tenable fantasy, one that is nonetheless requisite to fashion’s survival. After such a ban, the onus now weighs more

‘About a decade ago, no one would dare dream of wearing fur’ if time were a luxury to be bought by the activists. Looking back and charting its instigation will perhaps give interested parties the necessary insight to do so. The fur trade started in North America, growing out of the early contact between Indians and European fisherman who were netting cod on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland and on the Bay of Gaspé near Quebec.

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

Indians traded pelts of small animals such as mink for textiles, knives and other iron-based products and exchange was haphazard at first. It was only in the late sixteenth century, when wearing beaver hats became fashionable, that firms dealing exclusively in furs were established. At the time, highquality furs were available only where winters were severe so trade largely took place in Canada.. A large quantity of fur today comes from China, the world’s largest exporter, and India; although there are farms in Europe harvesting the material too. Its easy abundance from these manufacturing warehouses has paved the way for a spirited revival of fur in recent years. About a decade ago, no one would dare dream of wearing fur for fear of ostracism and physical attack. Yet fur is almost essential in cold climates where the weather bites and stings. Not only high fashion retailers but the high street as well utilizes fur’s exquisite texture to produce warm and beautiful apparel. The significance of West Hollywood’s ordinance is largely sociological and socio-cultural. It strikes a chord of relevance among a generation with increasingly polarised views of fur and fashion, whereby the ‘death of fur’ is seen as a viable possibility; the latest technology in manufacturing faux fur notwithstanding. That fur becomes more alive than ever is also possible as people could start wearing it as a political statement, a statement not entirely discrete from those fashion has often tried to make: of proclaiming its rights and instincts.


Gucci F/W 2012. Photography: Dan Lecca

Style – Luxe Shopping



ur Nati on

nothing demands warmth like fierce fur . take your pick from this haute selection . but beware of the animal rights activists . By Madeleine Lithvall photography by Dan Lecca, Nyen, Alexander Ow

From Top to Bottom (clock-wise): Rose gold drop earrings, Louis Vuitton Mixed wool and fur coat, Vionnet Faux fur clutch, Marc Jacobs Fur detail stilettos, Giambattista Valli Cotton anglaise skirt, Tibi Shearling fur vest, Barneys New York Raccoon fur jacket, J. Mendel Gold metal choker, Louis Vuitton

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE



Fashion Bio



christian dior had his name emblazoned in the fashion constellation since founding his couture house in 1947. to day , the brand continues to dazzle in its association with the most famous stars on the silver screen . c ast takes a retrospective look by exploring dior ’ s past , present and future . by: soh li yin Illustrated by Madeleine Lithvall

Christian Dior is name that is conspicuous with the fashion elite. One that evokes a certain timelessness and sensibility that the contemporary woman desires and represents French glamour at the pinnacle of its postwar couture renaissance. Harking to a time reminiscent of Grace Kelly’s aestheticism, the origins of Christian Dior as a fashion house began with the showcase of the designer’s Spring Summer 1947 collection, when the sensational ‘New Look’ advocated for postwar matriarchs was launched. The collection was mainly targeted at women who were tired of the pragmatic designs wartime depression had implemented, they wanted something new. As Dior was only designer to embrace the feminine figure in an hour-glass shape then, he was able to use this characteristic silhouette to create busty box suits and flattering below-mid-calf-length skirts that alluringly floated on the female form. These silhouettes enhanced a woman’s natural shape whilst keeping her appeal in touch with austerity. Dior and his ‘New Look’ had put Paris firmly back on the fashion map after the war-period lapse. After his first couture show, Christian Dior was flooded with orders from Rita Hayworth January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

and Sophia Loren, the hottest names in Hollywood at the time. Hayworth in particular loved his designs so much that she picked out a navy blue taffeta evening gown for the premiere of her new movie ‘Gilda’. Her marriage in 1949 to an Islamic Prince was marked her bridal trousseau’s solely consisting of Dior’s New Look collection. Sophia Loren, a eternal Diorist, wore Dior in nearly all her films: from her earlier screen titles, ‘A Countess from Hong Kong’ (1967) by Charlie Chaplin, up until Robert Altman’s ‘Prêt-à-porter’ (1994). Hollywood’s elite was enraptured by this Parisian’s flattering creations. But not only stars were fascinated, wealthy couture clients from the US too flocked to France just to see his Autumn 1947 collections. Success was also witnessed across the French border, where Christian Dior was cordially invited to give a private presentation of his collection to the British royal family; an offer Dior gladly accepted. And as his reknown spread worldwide, Dior was appointed as the exclusive designer of Marlene Dietrich’s dresses in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Stage



Fashion Bio


‘everything Dior makes celebrates women...’ Charlize Theron

Fright’ (1950). Ava Gardner then demanded that he design the fourteen dresses for the film she was to star in, Mark Robson’s ‘The Little Hut’ (1957). Dior’s achievements for fil were finally marked by a BAFTA nomination for Best Costume Design in 1967. Christian Dior had also designed costumes for the French theatre before launching into international stardom. Odette Joyeux, Queen of French film and theatre, commissioned Dior to design for the Roland Tual movie she was to star in, ‘Le lit à colonnes’. The collaboration marked a triumph on the legendary designer’s part as it signified approval from both the modern silver screen and the classical stage. The remarkable relationship between Christian Dior and the world of film continues to flourish today. We see in advertisements that Natalie Portman is the face of Dior fragrances and cosmetics while South African star Charlize Theron has seen a loyal pact between herself and the brand foster. The culmination of a 7-year relationship has resulted in a tour de force moment for the brand and Theron, who reemerges this Fall as the face of the re-invented J’Adore Dior. Recently released was a film featuring Charlize Theron which evokes the spirit of Dior’s historical relationship with film. Theron says: ‘my experience with Dior has been amazing. It was really a no-brainer for me … everything Dior makes celebrates women, and the kind of women I like — sensual, beautiful, confident, complex and, of course, sexy.’ The 91-second film illuminates the actress’s aura as we see her

rushing through the scenic Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, only to appear at the end at a Dior fashion show with exhilarating panache. As part of the relaunch for J’Adore Dior, the film shows the actress perfectly at ease with her role as beauty and brand ambassador for the brand, alluding mystery and a certain je ne sais quoi as she moves through her grand settings in a fastpaced tempo. The footage also highlights the power and sensuality of iconic film actresses through the digital reviving of Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich, actresses whom Dior used to dress. It is with nostalgia that Christian Dior’s presence remains sorely missed more than half a century after his inopportune death in the Italian spa town of Montecatini. Advocates of the fashion giant continue to mourn his absence, as the female ideal that Dior best symbolized through his designs cannot be replicated for Dior. In an autobiography the man famously (and perhaps idealistically) stated that he wanted his ‘dresses to be constructed, moulded upon the curves of the feminine body, whose sweep they would stylize’. With the range of products Dior has iconised over the years, from the Lady Dior handbag to his perfume collection, no one can follow in the footsteps in his namesake. Not even John Galliano it seems. What spectacularity Raf Simons will create now would make a good guess. What one can hope for for certain is that the level of dynamism and excitement he has brought in these tumultuous times to Dior will remain unparalleled as its years go by. ◊

‘what spectacularity raf simons will create now (at dior) would make a good guess.’

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE


n uge dE




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50’ s P in -U p S pecial CAST pays the ultimate tribute to the 50’s, mixing real jewellery with costume pieces. And 50’s pin-up style can’t do without lingerie. Question is, do you want to be naughty or nice?

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, £110 Pearl necklace Kenne


an Top & Pullover Charini, Pric db e up £750 a , e e on Lan y Ja Tights Pretty Polly by t s e u Hen req ry H oll a nd ,£ 12

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Necklace Assad Mounser, £550 Rings Ileana Mnakri, price unavailable Top Rosamosario, £615


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ur 10 F 1 0 £ , £75 nia Kim , e g e u E n d a Head ban Jay L £1200 Pearl necklace Kenneth Gloves Stella McC Pant artney, £214 Top Charini s By M by alene He Birger, £ nr y 67 Tights Pretty Polly Hol land , £12 Shoes M elissa

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Necklace Mawi, £230 Lingerie set Charini Tights Topshop, £7 Shoes Miu Miu, £650

Photography Natasha Polskaya Styling Soh Li Yin Hair & Make up Cornelia Page Model Sona Malanikova January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

Cape vest: By Malene Birger; Necklace: Alexander McQueen; Dress: Stephanie Steele; Bracelets and rings: Model’s own; Shoes: TUK UK

Necklace: APC; Top: Salvation Army; Harness: Topshop; Skirt: Vintage; Socks: Tabio; Shoes: TUK UK

Photography: Jiruda Suwanpreecha Styling: Li Yin Soh Hair & Make up: Oonah Anderson Model: Sara Pelliccia, Ploypayap Srikarnchana Fashion Assistants: Pinpanee Israngkun, Pum

Lolita’s Doppelganger

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

Jersey dress: By Malene Birger; Necklace: Kabiri Jewellery; Watch: Model’s own

Black necklace: The Editor’s Market (Singapore); Chain necklace: Topshop; Top: Pinpanee Israngkun; Dress: Pinpanee Israngkun

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

Top: Stephanie Steele; Necklace: Stephanie Steele; Skirt: Stephanie Steele; Bracelet: Model’s own

Head accessory: Pinpanee Israngkun; Dress: Alexander Wang; Top: Pinpanee Israngkun

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

Top: Beyond Retro; Dress: Beyond Retro; Accessories: Model’s own

Top: Stephanie Steele; Necklace: Topshop Unique; Dress: Pinpanee Israngkun; Belt: Topshop

r T

l a c A i p o

a v e W t a He

short trip down memory lane revives the spirit of a ’50 s bombshell with a heady mix of prints in a sultry heat wave . Photography: Gan Styling: Windy Aulia

Leather jacket & Leather skirt Chanel Lycra bikini top, Anna & Boy Rhinestone and metal bracelet, Prada Leather Lady Dior bag, Christian Dior Patent leather platform pumps, Christian Louboutin Organza scarf, stylist’s own Opposite: Georgette blouse & Cotton palazzo pants, Raoul Organic cotton bikini top, Gorman Perspex bangles, Christian Dior Metal and pearlite necklace, Chanel

Lycra one-piece swimsuit, Chanel Printed cotton dress, Dolce & Gabbana Rhinestone and metal bracelet & Leather and rhinestone sandals, Prada

Silk chiffon skirt, Chanel Rhinestone and metal bracelet, Prada Leather and stretch band belt, Bottega Veneta

Lycra one-piece swimsuit and tweed jacket Chanel, Rhinestone and metal bracelet & Leather and rhinestone sandals, Prada

Model: Chiharu/Mannequin Hair: Ken Hong/Evolve Lycra bikini top, Jets by Jessika Allen Printed cotton and silk jacket, Miu Miu Stretch silk hot shorts, Christian Dior Leather and PVC belt, Raoul Canvas and leather wedges, Yves Saint Laurent

Makeup: Dily Wang/Face Bistro Photography assistants: Ang Jong Jye, Louis Li Styling assistant: Cecilie Mevatne Additional assistance: Carlos García, Caitlin Reid Special thanks to Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort


Behind the scenes

The first time we see Michelle as Marilyn she’s the iconic stage star in a glitzy figure-hugging dress but much of the film sees her wearing more casual clothes.


ill Taylor W ith

a subject like M arilyn M onroe and stars including M ichelle W illiams and E mma W atson to dress , award - winning costume designer J ill Taylor certainly had her work cut out for her with the biopic M yW eekW ith M arilyn . W e c aught up with J ill to talk M arilyn , M ichelle and film magic …

What was it like looking into the more private Marilyn style? Well I had been a huge fan of hers since I was a child and had loads of books on her so I knew that she had a very different style to the iconic creature that we all know and love. Looking more closely at it she was the Calvin Klein girl before there was Calvin Klein because she was way ahead of her time in her personal styling. During that period women were much more, in their everyday life, put together and she was very casual, very simple. I think she dressed for comfort. I wanted to bring that to the film, that she had a simplicity, an ease about her and a casualness, which obviously she didn’t in her professional life. There are hundreds of photographs and film reels of Marilyn but did you find yourself working from any particular reference? Yes, in our story she’d just got married to Arthur Miller, about three months before she came to London and there are lots of photographs of her on her honeymoon with him. There was a picture reference of her wearing a man’s shirt and a pencil skirt, which I drew upon that to do the shirt and skirt that you see in the movie. She was very much into simple skirts and men’s shirts, and she always looked great in them. Again, I’ve got a great picture of her at the Actors Studio wearing this fantastic cream chunky cardigan with a t-shirt and a pair of white capri pants. There was also one scene when [Michelle as Marilyn] is in a car and she’s got a black chiffon headscarf and there was a coat I did for her that was actually in the Sotheby’s catalogue.We reproduced that coat, which was like an oatmeal silk coat with a black velvet collar, and we made it into a jacket for Michelle, rather than a coat. Michelle gets the movement and the nuances just right. How much do you think costume helps actors get into character? I think it must help. I think when you stand there as an actress with your hair and make-up and the costume on, it’s got to have an effect, because you’re not looking at yourself anymore. I think with [Michelle’s] underwear, and just the styling and the form fitting clothes that she was wearing, it does make you walk in a different way. It makes you hold yourself differently. Michelle put huge amounts of time into researching her movement so I think that coupled with the costume, I think, was a help. It’s been said that director Simon Curtis was moved to tears on first seeing Michelle in full costume and make-up, is that true? That came from me! He’s going to kill me when he sees me! Not quite tears but he got emotional. I wouldn’t want to say that he was blubbing, he wasn’t. But he did get very emotional about it. On a film we always do

Costume designer’s seat: Interview

wardrobe tests before we start filming, and the first time she got her hair and make-up done and she was in her costume he was so excited because he’d been working on this project for about seven years and to see it come to fruition, he just said to me: “I’m really emotional.” And I said: “Well you’re making me emotional, so stop!” But he was lovely, it was great to witness. Just his excitement and his passion, which rubbed off on everybody. How closely did you work with Michelle? Is the design process something that the actor can contribute to? Oh well yes, I welcome that. I love that, when I have an actor who wants input. A lot of actors don’t, and it’s actually much harder. [Michelle] would bring picture reference, all of the things she liked about Marilyn, so we would sit down and talk and I did sketches for her and it was a collaboration about what she thought she would like to wear and what I thought. And then, bless her, she had to put up with long fittings, which took up a lot of her time.


we were just throwing a robe around her because we so frightened something would happen to the dress. Was there a particular outfit that Michelle mentioned was her favourite to wear? I think Michelle enjoyed wearing the skirt and the

‘I love that, when I have an actor who wants input... alot of actors don’t...’ shirt. She liked the black dress that she wore. She pretty much liked it all but I think she particularly liked those two. T h e comparative styles of Vivien and Sybil and Marilyn are fascinating, do you think there was a clear difference b e t w e e n American and British style at the time?

Oh yes, definitely. And that was one of the things I wanted to highlight in the film, and with the Do you have a guys as well. There favourite costume was a different from the film? style, there were I don’t know different fabrics that I had a used. We had favourite, I’m not long been always very critical out of rationing of my work so in this country, I think in terms after World War of success. I was 2, so did not have very pleased with as much as the the white dress Marilyn Monroe in ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ (1957) in the dress. American. Vivien that she wore in Leigh is probably The Prince and the Showgirl because I had a fitting not the best example because she had things photograph of Marilyn with the costume designer made in France and was exquisitely dressed but from The Prince and the Showgirl, a back view of her, in terms of your average person, or your average and I took the same view of Michelle and it was pretty British film star, it was a very different style. good, it was very good actually, so I was very pleased I hope I brought that to the screen. that was successful. That dress was quite intricate to And Emma Watson’s character comes across as make. I was kind of relieved with it and we only had the slightly naïve but fashion conscious. How did you go one dress, no doubles, so [Michelle] had to work in the about defining her character through costume? dress for eleven days! I was absolutely wetting myself, everyday, because I thought if something happens to this dress, we’re absolutely screwed. Poor Michelle had to endure us running to her every time she had a drink,

I’d found, in my research, an original cast and crew photograph of The Prince and the Showgirl. Emma was based on a real character and so there was a girl, January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE


Behind the scenes

I’d found, in my research, an original cast and crew photograph of The Prince and the Showgirl. Emma was based on a real character and so there was a girl, or a couple of girls, that we could have chosen [from the photograph] so I just picked up on one girl and I based Emma on her because she feasibly could’ve been her. She was wearing a tartan dress, so I found Emma an original tartan dress – all of Emma’s clothes were vintage. I also wanted to introduce a touch of the American influence with Emma because the youth culture was just hitting at that period and we had Jimmy Dean, Marlon Brando, Sandra Dee. I wanted to pick up on that Sandra Dee type of character. You’ve also worked with Scarlett Johansson on Match Point and Gwyneth Paltrow on Sliding Doors do you prefer working on fiction-based characters or ones from real life? Real life is a challenge because you have a responsibility to represent that person correctly, so it’s a different challenge. I did something a few years ago on Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland and Charlize Theron played Britt Ekland. It was a real research project to represent them in the most accurate way possible, or certainly to get the essence of them correct. You have a little bit more freedom if you just have a fictional character. I equally like both, I like mixing it up, I like doing all of it really. As long as I have some variety it’s good. My Week With Marilyn was released in cinemas Friday 25 November 2011.◊ By Sarah Smith

Michelle Williams in ‘My Week With Marilyn’




Behind the scenes

imon Curtis C ontrary to his debut movie ’ s subject , S imon C urtis is by no means of the old school H ollywood mould . B orn and raised in B ritain , curtis has seen his work progress fr om small scripts to mainstream TV over the past dec ade with the BBC C ompany . T he director of ‘M y W eek with M arilyn ’ speaks to CAST on his first feature film , one that re - creates the haunting memory of an affair between an unknown film production runner and the biggest H ollywood starlet of all time .

Director’s Seat: Interview


O n M ichelle W illiam ’ s acting method : L earning the dance from ‘T he P rince and the S howgirl ’ that M arilyn does back in 1957 was a way into discovering M arilyn ’ s body language for M ichelle , and ironically for the film , which makes a lot of the difference between ( as perceived in 1956) E nglish theatre - based acting & external acting and A merican method - based acting & external psychological acting , M ichelle came to the part in both directions . H owever , I think if you asked M ichelle , she ’ d say she isn ’ t trained in

O n how it all started : I bought the 2 books , C olin C lark ’ s memoirs : ‘T he P rince , T he S howgirl and M e ’ and ‘M y W eek with M arilyn ’ shortly after the first book was published in 95’, ‘M y W eek with M arilyn ’ came out a few years later . I t was some years later that I enquired about the rights . I think other people have tried to make a film of it but panned out . M y enquiring after the rights then started a very long journey : it took six or seven years to come up with the script and

‘I promised michelle the equivalent of that british cast [of 1957] today’ acquire the rights and we shot over about seven and a half weeks .

W hile setting up for the film ,

financiers really liked the script and said to me : ‘ will you get anyone to take the gamble ?’ T hat was also in my mind but when were ready to send the script

out , which was about two years ago , we bore in mind that it wasn ’ t a biopic but a very specific moment in

M arilyn ’ s life that we were looking at , when she was 30. O n casting M ichelle W illiams : I t was decided we would cast everyone from the

to be able to offer her the equivalent of that

B ritish cast today . I first met her a year before we started filming . A nd we had a sort of email , phone dialogue and we ’ d just compared notes on M arilyn , watched everything , read everything , talked about everything . T hat was phase one . P hase two when was she came to E ngland a couple of months before we started shooting and worked with the choreographer for a little dance for ‘T he

P rince

S howgirl ’ that M arilyn does . I think M ichelle is just a phenomenal actress . all her performances are so textured and rich . S o I and the

was thrilled when she said she had wanted to meet and had read the script .

I went to meet her in U pper S tate N ew Y ork and on the bus ride back to the city after I had met her , I was just desperate she would say yes . H aving met her , I couldn ’ t imagine doing it with anyone else . M ichelle is the greatest of the A merican actresses of her age . H er performances have such a psychological complexity . A nd while some people wanted the ‘ song and dance ’ M arilyn , I really wanted someone who could bring that psychological detail to it .


notice her unless she flicked this invisible switch on and the whole place would grind to a standstill .

ways because people were as fascinated by her private life as they were by her career , her marriages , her

‘he [kenneth branagh] knows the agony and ecstacy of being a film director.’

the character , to work out the emotions and the psychology , it is method - based , yes .

W hat most S o they

actors do nowadays are both sides of it .

work on the body language and the movement of the character and on the psychology too .

M ichelle

is definitely a very deep thinker and digs very deep

into her characters in that way but she isn ’ t exactly trained in the ‘ method ’.

O n casting K enneth B ranagh : K enneth B ranagh was always at the top of my list and I was really lucky because he was doing post production for ‘T hor ’ when we were filming and it didn ’ t look like he was going to be available . A nd then our dates shifted and he was able to . O bviously because his name has been attached to the O liver name his whole career , there was also a risk for him to do it but I think he brings a level of dynamism to the film as he has so much knowledge of O livier , he was able to do both the comedic O livier and the emotional O livier . I also think that what ’ s great about K enneth playing the part of O livier is that director . I was also really lucky he could do it because it had to be an actor of a certain stature as well , he couldn ’ t be nobody . T hat ’ s the trouble with casting because for most films , you have a wish list that you go down and eventually somebody does it . B ut there are only a certain number of actresses who could play

M arilyn aged 30 and O livier aged 50 so I was K enneth and M ichelle worked

really lucky that both out .

O n casting E ddie R edmayne : I’ d seen E ddie at the D onmar in ‘R ed ’ and a lot of other things , and he is an old E tonian and there was a big question of who could play that part and we did see an awful lot of guys but he felt authentic to me .

H e has a great combination of the qualities H e just seemed to work . O n A drian H odge ’ s script : I would say almost all of it was scripted but the line where K enneth B ranagh ’ s says ‘ oh you ’ re frightfully busy ’ was something he came up with on his own . I t was so funny and so perfect . B asically we were telling C olin ’ s version of the story and that was in the script . O n K enneth B ranagh ’ s line of ‘ teaching urdu to a badger ’: I n fact , the actual line as scripted ( written in the book ) was teaching U rdo to a marmazet and no one of sweet innocence and emotional maturity .

knew what a marmazet was so we just changed it


do think of her as the prototype celebrity in many

the method but the way that you had to get inside

he knows the agony and ecstasy of being a film

UK and luckily , we have so many great actors who live here . I promised M ichelle that she would get an equally good cast because when M arilyn came , she was introduced to a great B ritish cast of O livier , Z immerman and people like that … I wanted

I’ m really glad we did and that I’ m I can ’ t take credit for . T hat was definitely not in the source material . O n the nature of celebrity and M arilyn M onroe : I read about M arilyn that she would be walking in broad 57 th street in N ew Y ork and no one would to a badger and

affairs and subsequently her mysterious death and so on .

A nd that ’ s now accepted that people are as

interested in celebrities ’ private lives and their work .

A lso , men felt like they could rescue M arilyn . I

think that the idea of celebrity was also one of the

things that attracted M ichelle to the part because M ichelle knows all about celebrity and fame . B ut I think M arilyn craved it more than M ichelle does and there ’ s that sense that contradictorily M arilyn wanted to push it away and sometimes really needed it .

Y ou don ’ t see that need in M ichelle . O n the 50’ s , 60’ s and the film industry : I think one of this things I really learnt , which is new to me , as I was born in the 60’ s , is that in 1956, E ngland still was very much living under the shadow of the second world war , the rationing had only just ended and this was on the cusp of rock

and roll , look back in anger at the royal courts , commercial television etc .

E verything was changing (M arilyn M onroe and L aurence O livier ) were doing ( the one which ‘T he P rince and the S howgirl ’ was based on ) was like the last kicks of the old theatre , they were still in the past . A nd I like the sense that C olin was a young man who ( young man in those days did dress like their dads in their tweeds and so on ) had it been a few years later , would have been a teddy boy or a hippy or whatever . S o I do think there is that sense that O livier ’ s way of working was out of kilter with the way film acting was going for sure . O n the veracity of C olin C lark ’ s memoirs : C olin described it as a fairytale that nevertheless was true . B ut that he went public with it was good enough for me . I think it ’ s a published account so I think that it is true to a certain extent . I think C olin culturally and this play that they

published it after some time because he wanted as much distance from it as possible .

H e died before I could meet him but it is an interesting question of ‘ how true these accounts were ’ for when he published those 2 books . T he funny thing about filming is that the third

assistant to the director does get a lot of access to the stars because they ’ d be knocking on their

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE


Behind the scenes

Director’s Seat: Interview


doors saying ‘ it ’ s your time on stage ’.


actually his access to her was very believable and also

M ichelle had

insight , going back to the question about

the method , because the character

M arilyn

plays has an interest in

‘The same day we were re-creating norman wisdom, the real norman wisdom passed away so these strange things kept happening.’

the young king at the embassy and

M ichelle ’ s

notion was that that was why

M arilyn was first C olin - she

interested in

was exploring what it was like to befriend a young man and it is true if you look back at

M arilyn ’ s history that all of the men in her

life were high - status , dominant , famous ,

influential older men .

I t pretty much was the

only time she ’ d shown interest in anyone younger so

I thought

that it was an interesting theory . that

I’ d like to think C olin had a lot

M ichelle looks M arilyn in the picture and it ’ s the first time C olin gets a private view of M arilyn – that ’ s sort of the theme of the film in many ways . S o I loved that one . A nd the read - through scene is fantastic . T here are

of compassion for her

(M arilyn ) and gave us an inside account of how it was with

M arilyn

M onroe then . O n whether C olin C lark was gay : C olin was a much - married man so I don ’ t know . T here are allusions to that in the diary but are not fleshed out so that wasn ’ t somewhere we were going to go . O n recreating history through film : W e tried to stick very closely to the book , but inevitably , when you shoot things , actors have ideas , things evolved . B ut I felt the point was to tell C olin ’ s version of the story rather than any other

‘All of the men in her [Marilyn’s] life were high status, dominant, famous...’

version because all the characters on the set had different takes on it . closely to the book .

I’ d like to think we stuck very

O n spooky filming reoccurences : I t wasn ’ t that hard to turn shabby pinewoods back to how it was in 1956 but M ichelle was given M arilyn ’ s old dressing room , we were told , and I remember the very first day we did the camera and

make - up test for

M ichelle in costume , I walked with her from her dressing room to the stage , along the corridors M arilyn would have walked down , and I couldn ’ t help but feel the effect of that history . I don ’ t know if it plays out in the film but certainly when we were making it , it felt meaningful . W hen M arilyn does the little dance , it was on the same stage on which O livier filmed so it felt good . N orman W isdom was the biggest star in 1956 and we wanted C olin to see him drive in . W e obviously did it with a younger N orman W isdom look - a - like . B ut the same day we were re - creating N orman W isdom , the real N orman W isdom passed away so these strange things kept happening . T he day we were filming at P arkside house , which was the house that M arilyn had rented , this new book was published called F ragments , which had poems M arilyn had written when she was in that house , and we were there filming on that staircase where M arilyn had been so it just felt good to be tapping into that history . I n the city like this , there ’ s so much history you can find . O n his favourite scenes : I think the scene I most love as I watch it is when C olin first goes to M arilyn ’ s dressing room and

she ’ s looking in the mirror , and

being paid , even if it ’ s a pittance , to work alongside


or in the same room as your heroes ’.

all those brilliant actors around that table playing all those brilliant actors . I t ’ s special to me .

O n tricky scenes : I f you ’ d been there when we did the scene of the swim in the lake , it was in late O ctober and you know in E ngland it ’ s not a time to go skinny dipping . I nterestingly , one thing we did work out was that because there would be so many high - calibre impersonations , we did try and do as much coverage by doing as many takes as possible and in the edit I was really grateful we had done that because you never quite knew the moment

M arilyn or O livier

would pop and sometimes we ’ d have it accidentally

on one take or whatever so we did do a lot of takes , something which long run .

I was really grateful for in the

O n his personal connection to the movie : I fell in love with the books because they struck their chord in me . T hey were about a young man hungry to work in the film business who got the golden ticket to work on this film in

L ondon . S o it

was a sort of love for the book that motivated me

I remember the chances I got I was trying to break into the business and the sense of ‘ you ’ re lucky enough to get the job as the to create this film and when

S o I recognised

C olin ’ s story rather than M arilyn ’ s that interested me . I n fact , growing up in the 60’ s , O livier was a much bigger figure in my life than M arilyn because I was a theatre addict and O liver ’ d run the national theatre , the O livier that and it was really

theatre and the new national theatre so that was really a way in for me into making the movie .

O n being a director , filming , passion and experience : I n my experience , most people with the passion to make it as an actor or a director tend to do so . S o you can stick it out and focus on the kind of work you want to do and hope everything goes your way . T he film is opening after all this work and that feeling that you don ’ t know what fate awaits you remains with me . I t is scary but I feel very lucky to be able to have done this film . I mean it ’ s a dream come true , it was a passion of mine to make this film so I felt incredibly fortunate making it , let alone with this cast . B ut that ’ s not to say everyday isn ’ t quite tricky - do you know what I mean ? H owever , I’ d agree with what O livier says in the movie : that being a director is the best job in the world .◊ BY: SOH LI YIN

runner or the assistant to the director as somebody

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE


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