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Suspension Of Disbelief


My number one film style inspiration is Audrey Hepburn in How To Steal A Million. I've talked about how I enjoy the film before but I've been going back to it recently and being inspired all over again. It stars Audrey Hepburn in super mod Givenchy designs and while that could be enough visual stimulation, what I really enjoy is Audrey's character in the film and her motivations for dressing in increasingly theatrical ways. Not to delve too much in the film, but Audrey plays a rather wealthy young woman who thinks she is becoming involved with an art thief and starts to plan a heist. In the process of her supposed future as a criminal she begins dressing as if she is in a spy film--she wears dramatic black lace complete with facial mask and attempts to speak in code. Essentially, she's dressing as she images someone involved in international intrigue and danger will dress, but she's not really involved in anything quite so serious or scandalous. In reality, she's a young woman who is perceiving things as much more exciting than they are and dressing accordingly and it's wonderful. I mean, she's playing a girl after my own heart who's life is not quite interesting but wants to dress as if every day is the plot to a thriller.
I love that feeling when you walk out of a theater or finish a good book and you're still engrossed in the world of the book or movie. Perhaps it changes your stride, makes you look over your shoulder in suspicion every few feet or wish that your friends would spontaneously burst into a musical routine in the middle of the street. Part of that fictional world is still clinging to you and although life is completely normal, you can see this phantasmal image of what could be hovering just outside of reality. In How To Steal A Million, Audrey manages to live as if she's in that fictional world and while it bewilders some of the people around her, she's often so delusional and self-satistified she doesn't notice a thing wrong with her behavior. I'd love to live in that world.
When packing for New York it was such a struggle between practical shoes and interesting dresses and not wanting to accused of "peacocking" but wanting to dress your most interestingly because you're finally surrounded by people who are dressed just as passionately as you. One of my outfits in particular felt so outside of my typical style while sharing the silhouette I feel comfortable in and featuring sandals I've worn quite often this summer. Putting it on I felt squeamish for a minute, wondering "is this really me?" But the greater part of me when back to that idea of theatrical dressing and wondered "does it have to be you?" Can't fashion sometimes also just be dress-up? A chance to walk down the street in an outfit that makes you feel as if you're a few blocks away from international intrigue and you're smuggling a million dollars in diamonds in your purse instead of a granola bar and some chapstick...Sometimes you just want to reject reality.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.theonion.com/articles/collegeaged-female-finds-unlikely-kindred-spirit-i,33729/

Hannah said...

How to Steal A Million is my all time favorite Audrey Hepburn movie. If it Audrey's outfits and the plot weren't enough, Peter O'Toole's blue eyes are there to complete the picture.

MarieBayArea said...

Dress up is a form of play. Indulge!

Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

@Anonymous, I think that Onion post is funny.
I would point out though that this post isn't actually about the actress, but a character. And the character is merely an illustration for a way of dressing/living; if I knew of a different example to illustrate my point with a different actress or outside of a film I would. I just don't want the point of this post to be lost because I happened to use a popular actress to express my point.

MsNotWeirdAtAll said...

Interesting post :) My opinion is, that dress up is fun, when you feel great in it and that's the whole point. I also think, that it is kind of a play with different aspects of yourself (just more drastical you usually express them). So in one way it's still you, a small part of you (your fantasies). :)

http://msnotweirdatall.blogspot.com

Rae said...

I find this interesting because I wrote a blog post with the same title, though the content was much different. Love reading your blog, as always. :)

Sonya said...

The anon is being a jerk, and IMO so is the Onion. Oooh, so edgy, make fun of young women's interests, how dare they LIKE THINGS THAT OTHER YOUNG WOMEN ALSO LIKE, WOW THAT'S LAME!!!~ *eyeroll*

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

I know this post is not really about the movie, but anyway, I LOVE THAT MOVIE.

I agree that sometimes it's good to remember that not everything you wear has to be "you," or even make you feel comfortable (i.e. I loved your cape dress today). I also take this approach with flattering clothes. I guess most things I wear are reasonably flattering, but sometimes I love something that just isn't, and wear it from time to time although my mother makes all sorts of noises...

Magpie said...

I love that: "does it have to be you?" Could the act of deciding what isn't "you" and still dressing like that other person MAKE it "you"? Oooooor, maybe I'm just making things too complicated! :) Anyway, I have to see that movie now, definitely caught my interest.

Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

@Sonya, oh that's a really good point I hadn't considered--it's mostly mocking girls for having a common interest. Which is pretty lame. It's also so strange to mock girls for liking Audrey Hepburn specifically when she's one of the best known actresses for being a humanitarian--I mean who else did as much work for UNICEF?

Amy Daniewicz said...

Don't feel bad. You are the one who is brave, taking risks, and putting yourself out there. People who mock get to hide behind their words. I really liked this post! :) Amy