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film scope – Top 5: 50’s Fashion Films 50’s films were epitome of effortless style and grace. CAST presents the top 5. style – shop the look: lucy Indulge in these fashion treats for a complete 50’s revival, as 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 an iconic. CAST looks into he 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 About My Week With Marilyn... Director’s Seat: Simon Curtis Just how did ‘My Week With Marilyn’s’ director Simon Curtis re-created 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, David Gan, Dan Lecca, Nyen, Natasha Polskaya, Alexander Ow, Sarah Smith, Jiruda suwanpreecha On The Cover: Model: Chiharu/Mannequin Styling: Windy Aulia 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

At the beginning of the 1960’s, Barthes wr ote that cinema had becom e a ‘model means of ma ss communication’. Its pre valence is more widespre ad than ever now looking back in time. Modern movie making must be traced back to film ’s Golden Era, where the rise of the glamour model and stars like Marilyn Mo nro e continue to be felt and are constant sources of inspir ation for us. In our exclusive ‘behin d the scenes’ story of the current British hit on Ma rilyn Monroe’s life and cha rac ter , ‘My Week with Marilyn’, one can discover all abo ut the period and the difficulties entailing Simon Curtis’ mo dern take on antiquity. Curtis details the theoretical pro ble ms of film-making: film’s eer ily present pretext for rea lity , of recreating what does not exist anymore and of facing parallels with the past. He forces us to question how real film is and to what extent we are meant to acc ept its ‘reality’. On the other hand, I do bel ieve that what is happen ing now is a reflection of the past and that we are trying to live as our ancestors have from a contempo rary perspective; that history repeats itself in so many wa ys. The challenges of this the oretical anachronism ari se from the fact that we are only living in fragments of tim e and space; that today will be history tomorrow. Readers, I beseech you to enjoy the moment and this inaugural issue, a special one that hopefull y will become a collectible for all fashion, film and 50’s lovers. Cherish CAST as if it we re the dernier cri on eve rything bridging the gap between film and fashion. Enjoy! xox



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’ uses the play’s original star, Fred Astaire, and several of the original 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, who

H igh S ociety (1956)

Grace Kelly made her final film appearance in before her fairytale wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco in ‘High Society’. ‘High Society’ wonderfully showcases Kelly’s splendid figure, grace and effervescence. It firmly augments her status as a style icon of her generation; Kelly remains highly watchable 50 years on. High-society belle Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly) is a young lady about to get married in a politically-made match to a wealthy but cold businessman. But just as the wedding preparations are being made and the guests are starting to arrive before the wedding, Tracy’s ex-husband Dexter, played by Bing Crosby, incidentally stirs things up after being unwittingly invited to play jazz music there. Throughout the scenes of romance and comedy, Lord finds herself with conflicted feelings towards her husband-to be and her ex-husband. A love triangle forms just as a newspaper reporter (Frank Sinatra) finds himself serenading Tracy.

does her own singing), an owlish Greenwich Village bookstore clerk. Dick whisks the wide-eyed girl off to Paris and transforms her into the fashion world’s hottest model. Along the way, he falls in love with Jo, and works overtime to wean her away from such phony-baloney intellectuals as 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’.

With three men at her feet, conflict ensues and the men are toyed along only to find the effervescent Tracy, an ingénue who plays the perfect lost wide-eyed lamb a temptress. The movie’s script narrows to focus on the question of ‘who will Tracy choose?’

The film features some winning looks and a dazzling array of costumes created by Hollywood costume designer Helen Rose. Louis Armstrong and his orchestra also star in the film, making this movie a must-watch.

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 neighbors, he assigns them such roles and character names 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),

R oman H oliday (1953)

Audrey Hepburn plays Princess Anne in this film, a British royal on a visit to Rome who is 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), who, recognizing a hot news story, pretends that he doesn’t recognize her and offers to give her a guided tour of Rome. Naturally, Joe hopes to get an exclusive interview, while his photographer pal Irving (Eddie Albert) attempts to sneak a photo. The pair then fall hopelessly in love.


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. And the name Grace Kelly is enough to consecrate this movie as one of the best for fashion.

Featuring elegant shirts and full-flared skirts typical of 50’s fashion, ‘Roman Holiday’s’ fashion is orchestrated by costume designer Edith Head, who is also best known for her work with Hepburn. Filmed on location in Rome, ‘Roman Holiday’ garnered an Academy Award for the 24-year-old main actress. Another Oscar went to the screenplay - credited to Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton but actually co-written by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo.

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE


A ll A bout E ve (1950)

Margo Channing (Bette Davis) is an aging actress of the stage who is starting to lose her confidence and then meets a cunning doppelganger protégé – Eve (Anne Baxter). Eve insinuates herself with Channing’s social circle, trying to curry favour with everyone she meets until Channing finds herself dealing with a two-faced aspirant who will do anything it takes to get to Channing’s position in society. ‘All About Eve’ was nominated for 12 Academy Awards. It won 6 of them including Best Picture and screenplay. Marilyn Monroe also makes an early appearance as a young wannabe actress in a few short scenes. Edith Mead wins Best Costume Design for this movie, which encapsulates classic 50’s style with

Film Scope – Top 5: 50’s Fashion Films

characters wearing New Look dresses, feathered hats, ermine embroidered robes and long luscious fur scarves. The director Joseph L. Mankiewiz’s script also contains some of the sharpest film dialogue ever written. It includes classic lines such as, ‘Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy night!’ One of the most fashion-worthy quotes in the movie however has to be when Monroe’s character (innocuous Claudia Caswell) sees a sable coat and quips: ‘Now there’s something a girl could make sacrifices for.’




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

Prada SS2012

Photography: Dan Lecca, Nyen, Alexander Ow

From Top to Bottom (clock-wise):

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




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 precedentfor fashion designers , retailers and wearers . one question prevades for the centuries - old commerce : J ust how important is the selling and wearing of fur and wh at are the poss ible consequences of its prohibition ? L i Y in S oh investigates . Illustrated by Madeleine Lithvall

West Hollywood is home to many a rich and famous. With an aging population demographic consisting of highly-educated middle to high-income earners, one would think that this existence of fur in stores is an important aspects of residents’ lifestyles. Recently, congress in West Hollywood voted 3 - 1 on a bill banning fur retail in stores. As of September 2013, retailers have to discontinue sales completely so sellers now have 2 years to remove all fur stock from their stores. Some are even retaliating by putting fur on full display and are even looking to oppose the move, citing the US state’s decision as ‘annoying’. While others are choosing to relocate altogether. The ordinance has set a strong precedent for other US states and worldwide legislation. The consequences are hardly imaginable; could it be that the end of fur in the fashion world is imminent? The decades-old debate surrouding fur is pervaded with cries of immorality chartered by the naysayers against the fur trade. Those involved in this dispute

Style Opinion


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

should have consistently ignored whether fashion, fickle as it may be, can live without fur. The importance of fur to the industry on the whole cannot be overrated for it is (with all due respect to exhortations against superficiality) partly due to fur that fashion is perceived as one of the most glamorous 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. 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 dress-up. Fashion lives in a realm of fantasy, of a kind of apotheosied but tenable fantasy, one that is nontheless requisite to fashion’s survival. After such a ban, the onus now weighs more 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 fashion house. Whether fashion should be allowed to be ridiculed for measures that are instictive to its nature is a conundrum worth considering I believe. Like most purveyors of fashion however, my views towards the subject are largely ambivalent as 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 debale surrounding the use of fur in fashion, the status of West Hollywood as an exception rather than a norm for banning the sale of fur can be reversed. Ending the existence of the commercial fur industry is for certain if time were a luxury to be bought by the activists. Looking back and charting its instigation will perhaps give inform interested parties the necessary insight to do so. The fur trade started in North America,

About a decade ago, no one would dare dream of wearing fur...

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. 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, high-quality furs were available about a decade ago, no one would dare dream of wearing January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

fur... 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. It’s 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 attacks. 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 against instutional law, a statement not entirely discrete from those fashion has often tried to make of proclaiming its rights and instincts.◊


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


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


Fashion Bio



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 post-war 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 post-war 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-midcalf-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. They became an instant hit as women were allowed to fully embrace January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

their new silhouettes. Dior and his ‘New Look’ 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 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



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

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 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 were marked by a nomination for a BAFTA 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 re-emerges 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 ‘ what spectacularity raf simons will create now [at dior] would make a good guess.’ 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 fast-paced tempo. The footage highlights the power and sensuality of iconic film actresses through the digital reviving of Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich, actresses Dior used to dress. 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,

Fashion Bio

moulded upon the curves of the feminine body, whose sweep theywould stylize’. With the range of products Dior hasiconised over the years, from the Lady Dior handbagto his perfume collection, no one can follow in thefootsteps in his namesake. Not even John Gallianoit seems. What spectacularity Raf Simons will createnow would make a good guess. What one can hopeis that the level of dynamism and excitement hehas brought in these tumultuous times to Dior willremain unparalleled as Dior’s years go by. ◊


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

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE




t I e k i L

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 Ken


a Top & Pullover Charini, P db rice £750 , e ea n upo La n y e r t P t y s t P h o Ja g l i ly by est T H u q enry re Ho lla nd ,£ 12

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Necklace Assad Mounser, ÂŁ550 Rings Ileana Mnakri, price unavailable Top Rosamosario, ÂŁ615

Fu £110 , 50 m i , £7 ni a K e e g u E n d a Head ban Jay L £1200 Pearl necklace Kenneth Gloves Stella McC Pan artney, £214 Top Charini ts By by M alene He Birger, nry £67 Tights Pretty Polly Hol land , £12 Shoes M elissa

i, cc u G pe r ca

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

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

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

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

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

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

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

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

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

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

January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE

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

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

This page: 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 page: Georgette blouse & Cotton palazzo pants, Raoul Organic cotton bikini top, Gorman Perspex bangles, Christian Dior Metal and pearlite necklace, Chanel

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

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

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

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

Model: Chiharu/Mannequin Hair: Ken Hong/Evolve 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. Do you have a favourite costume from the film?

I don’t know that I had a favourite, I’m always very critical of my work so I think in terms of success. I was very pleased with the white dress that she wore in The Prince and the Showgirl because I had a fitting photograph of Marilyn with the costume designer from The Prince and the Showgirl, a back view of her, and I took the same view of Michelle and it was pretty good, it was very good actually, so I was very pleased that was successful. That dress was quite intricate to make. I was kind of relieved with it and we only had the one dress, no doubles, so [Michelle] had to work in the 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, 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 shirt. She liked the black dress that she wore. She pretty much liked it all but I think she particularly liked those two.

‘I love that, when I have an actor who wants input... alot of actors don’t...’

The comparative styles of Vivien and Sybil and Marilyn are fascinating, do you think there was a clear difference between 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 guys as well. There was a different style, there were different fabrics used. We had not long been out of rationing in this country, after World War 2, so did not have as much as the American. Vivien Leigh is probably not the best example because she had things made in France and was exquisitely dressed but in terms of your average person, or your average British film star, it was a very different style. I hope I brought that to the screen. And Emma Watson’s character comes across as slightly naïve but fashion conscious. How did you go about defining her character through costume?

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 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 .

On how it all started: I bought the 2 books Colin Clark’s memoirs ‘The Prince, The Showgirl and Me’ and ‘My Week with Marilyn’ shortly after the first book was published in 95’, ‘My Week with Marilyn’ came out a few years later. It 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. My enquiring after the rights started a very

‘I promised michelle that she would get... the equivalent british cast today’

long journey: it took six or seven years to come up with the script and acquire the rights and we shot over about seven and a half weeks. While setting up for the film, financiers really liked the script and said to me: ‘will you get anyone to take the gamble?’ That 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 Marilyn’s life that we were looking at, when she was 30.

On casting Michelle Williams:

It was decided we would cast everyone from the UK and luckily, we have so many great actors who live here. I promised Michelle that she would get an equally good cast because when Marilyn came, she was introduced to a great British cast of Olivier, Zimmerman and people like that… I wanted to be able to offer her the equivalent of that British cast today. I first met her a year before we started filming. And we had a sort of email, phone dialogue and we’d just compared notes on Marilyn, watched everything, read everything, talked about everything. That was phase one. Phase two when was she came to England a couple of months before we started shooting and worked with the choreographer for a little dance for ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ that Marilyn does. I think Michelle is just a phenomenal actress I think all her performances are so textured and rich. So I was thrilled when she said she had wanted to meet and had read the script. So I went to meet her in Upper State New York and on the bus ride back to the city after I had met her, I was just desperate she would say yes. Having met her, I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else. Michele is the greatest of the American actresses of her age. Her performances have such a psychological complexity. And while some people wanted the ‘song and dance’ Marilyn, I really wanted someone who could bring that

Director’s Seat: Interview

psychological detail to it. On Michelle William’s acting method:

Learning the dance from ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ that Marilyn does back in 1957 was a way into discovering Marilyn’s body language for Michelle, and ironically for the film, which makes a lot of the difference between (as perceived in 1956) English theatre-based acting & external acting and American method-based acting & external psychological acting. Michelle came to the part in both directions. However, I think if you asked Michelle, she’d say she isn’t trained in the method but the way that you had to get inside the character, to work out the emotions and the psychology, it is method-based yes. What most actors do nowadays are both sides of it. So they work on the body language and the movement of the character and on the psychology too. Michelle 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’. On casting Kenneth Branagh:

Kenneth Branagh was always at the top of my list and I was really lucky because he was doing the postproduction for ‘Thor’ when we were filming and it didn’t look like he was going to be available. And then our dates shifted and he was able to. Obviously because his name has been attached to the Oliver 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 Olivier, he was able to do both the comedic Olivier and the emotional Olivier. I also think that what’s great about Kenneth playing the part of Olivier is that he knows the agony and ecstasy of being a film 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. That’s the trouble with casting because for most films, you have a wish list that you go down and eventually somebody does it. But there are only a certain number of actresses who could play Marilyn aged 30 and Olivier aged 50 so I was really lucky that both Kenneth and Michelle worked out. On casting Eddie Redmayne:

I’d seen Eddie at the Donmar in ‘Red’ and a lot of other things, and he is an old Etonian 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. He has a great combination of the qualities of sweet innocence and emotional maturity. He just seemed to work. On Adrian Hodge’s script:

I would say almost all of it was scripted but the line where Kenneth Brannagh’s says ‘oh you’re frightfully busy’ was something he came up with on his own. It was so funny and so perfect. Basically we were telling Colin’s version of the story and that was in the script. On Kenneth Brannagh’s line of ‘teaching urdu to a badger’:

In fact, the actual line as scripted (written in the book)


was teaching Urdo to a marmazet and no one knew what a marmazet was so we just changed it to a badger and I’m really glad we did and that I’m afraid I can’t take credit for. That was definitely not in the source material. On the nature of celebrity and Marilyn Monroe:

I read about Marilyn that she would walking inbroad 57th street in New York and no one would notice her unless she flicked this invisible switch on and the whole place would grind to a standstill. I do think of her as the

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

prototype celebrity in many ways because people were as fascinated by her private life as they were by her career, her marriages, her affairs and of course, subsequently her mysterious death and so on. And that’s now accepted, people are as interested in celebrities’ private lives and their work. Also, men felt like they could rescue Marilyn, who did define the modern celebrity in many ways. The idea of celebrity was also one of the things that attracted Michelle to the part because Michelle knows all about celebrity and fame. But I think Marilyn craved it more than Michelle does and there’s that sense that contradictorily Marilyn wanted to push it away and sometimes really needed it. You don’t see that need in Michelle. On 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, England 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. Everything was changing culturally and this play that they (Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier) were doing (the one which ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ was based on) was like the last kicks of the old theatre, they were still in the past. And I like the sense that Colin was a young man who, young man in those days did dress like their dads in their tweeds and so on. If it had been a few years later, he would have been a teddy boy or a hippy or whatever, do you know what I mean? So I do think there is that sense that Olivier’s way of working was out of kilter with the way film acting was going for sure. On the veracity of Colin Clark’s memoirs:

Colin described it as a fairytale that nevertheless was true. But I say he went public with it so that 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 Colin published it after some time because he wanted as much distance January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE


Behind the scenes

from it as possible. He died before I could meet him but it is an interesting question for when he published those 2 books. The 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 doors saying ‘it’s your time on stage’. So actually his access to her was very believable and also Michelle had insight, going back to the question about the method, because the character Marilyn plays has an interest in the young king at the embassy and Michelle’s notion was that that was why Marilyn was first interested in Colin - she was exploring what it was like to befriend a young man and it is true if you look back at Marilyn’s history that all of the men in her life were high-status, dominant, famous, influential older men. It pretty much was the only time she showed interest in anyone younger so I thought that it was an interesting theory. I’d like to think that Colin had a lot of compassion for her (Marilyn) and gave us an inside account of how it was with Marilyn Monroe then. On whether Colin Clark was gay:

Colin was a much-married man so I don’t know. There are allusions to that in the diary but are not fleshed out so that wasn’t somewhere we were going to go.

‘All of the men in her [Marilyn’s] life were high status, dominant, famous...’ On recreating history through film:

We tried to stick very closely to the book, but inevitably, when you shoot things, actors have ideas, things evolved. But I felt the point was to tell Colin’s version of the story rather than any other version because all the characters on the set had different takes on it. I’d like to think we stuck very closely to the book.

On spooky filming reoccurences:

It wasn’t that hard to turn shabby pinewoods back to 1956 but you know Michelle was given Marilyn’s old dressing room, we were told, and I remember the very first day we did the camera and make-up test for Michele in costume, I walked with her from her dressing room to the stage, along the corridors Marilyn 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. When Marilyn does the little dance, it was on the same stage on which Olivier filmed so it felt good. Norman Wisdom was the biggest star in 1956 and we wanted Colin to see him drive in and the strangest thing we filmed that obviously with a younger Norman Wisdom look-a-like. The same day we were re-creating the Norma Wisdom, the real Norma Wisdom passed away so these strange things kept happening. When we were filming at Parkside house, which was the house that Marilyn had rented, on the day we were filming that, this new book was published called Fragments, which had poems Marilyn had written when she was in that house, and we were there filming on that

Director’s Seat: Interview


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

staircase where Marilyn had been so it just felt good to be tapping into that history. In the city like this, there’s so much history you can find. On his favourite scenes:

I think the scene I most love as I watch it is when Colin first goes to Marilyn’s dressing room and she’s looking in the mirror, and Michele looks incredibly Marilyn in the picture and it’s the first time Colin gets a private view of Marilyn – that’s sort of the theme of the film in many ways. So I loved that one. And the read-through scene is fantastic. There are all those brilliant actors around that table playing all those brilliant actors so it’s special to me. On tricky scenes:

If you’d been there when we did the scene of the swim in the late, it was in late October and you know in England it’s not a time to go skinny dipping. Interestingly, 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 Marilyn or Olivier would pop and sometimes we’d have it accidentally on one take or whatever so we did do a lot of takes, something which I was really grateful for in the long run. On his personal connection to the movie:

chord in me. They were about a young man hungry to work in the film business who got the golden ticket to work on this film in London. So it was a sort of love for the book that motivated me to create this film and I remember the chances I got when I was trying to break into the business and the sense of ‘you’re lucky enough to get the job as the runner or the assistant to the director as somebody being paid - even if it’s a pittance - to work alongside or in the same room as your heroes’. So I recognised that and it was really Colin’s story rather than Marilyn’s that interested me. In fact, growing up in the 60’s, Olivier was a much bigger figure in my life than Marilyn because I was a theatre addict and Oliver’d run the national theatre and the Olivier theatre and the new national theatre so that was really a way in for me into making the movie. On being a director, filming, passion and experience

In my experience, most people with the passion to make it as an actor or a director tend to do so. So you can stick it out and focus on the kind of work you want to do and hope everything goes your way. The film is opening after all this work and that feeling that you don’t know what fate awaits you remains with me. It is scary but I feel very lucky to be able to have done this film. I’d agree that being a director is the best job in the world.◊ By: Soh Li Yin

I fell in love with the books because they struck their January/ 2012 CAST MAGAZINE


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