5 posts tagged "Keira Knightley"
The Karl caravan has arrived in Singapore. Lagerfeld and forty-seven models are set up at the city’s famous Raffles Hotel, the gorgeous nineteenth-century English-colonial hotel, with enough hardworking dressers, stylists, and global PR reps attending them to put you in mind of a postcolonial Downton Abbey. Today, they’ll put on Chanel’s Cruise show. But last night, it was a party for a prelude: a pair of short films, screened alfresco in the hotel courtyard, beside which Maugham and Hemingway sat in the Long Bar, sipping Singapore Slings.
Leave it to Lagerfeld to make not one, but two films. The preview and the movie: They just go together, he explained. So Women Only featured a raft of his favorite girls—Kati, Cara, Lindsey, Lina, Xiao Wen, Soo Joo, et al., all clad in Chanel Pre-Fall—piling into a movie theater for the debut of a new film. Then the film within the film: Naturally, it’s a little number by Lagerfeld. Once Upon a Time… takes us back a century, to the opening of Gabrielle Chanel’s shop in the French resort town of Deauville. It opens with a scene of two servant girls impugning the name of Chanel. “Who is Gabrielle Chanel?” they wonder as they wander past her shop. “I don’t know, but she has no taste.”
But he who laughs last laughs best. Business starts out slow for Coco Chanel (Keira Knightley, absent from this Singaporean affair, on her honeymoon) and her partner/confidante Aunt Adrienne (Clotilde Hesme), but the crème de la crème of Riviera society eventually come swishing through her door. That Chanel girl, the consensus eventually runs, she’s really got something.
So does her latter-day inheritor, Karl Lagerfeld. “I did everything,” Lagerfeld said after the applause had died down. “I designed the set, I made the costumes, I made the characters, I made the dialogue. I make everything—otherwise, I’m not interested. I could never work with somebody who makes the dialogue, because I want them to talk the way I’m thinking.” He built a town from scratch—the whole thing was shot at a Paris film studio—and assembled a cast of thousands. (Well, 160 extras, at least; but as Hesme laughed, “I think the budget is much larger than the film I did before.”) And he bravely tossed the book out and shot without a script, calling out lines just before takes and encouraging his actresses to improvise. A task like that separates the wheat from the chaff. And who knows, some stars may have been born. Lagerfeld saved special mention for Ashleigh Good, who played the Swedish actress Jacqueline Forzane, and he wasn’t the only one. “Keira was impressed by Ashleigh,” he said gravely. As for others—well, the catwalk is a fine consolation.
Lagerfeld is as new to filmmaking as many of his actresses, but Karl’s gals—out in force tonight to celebrate—were full of praise for their fledgling director. “It was great fun—it was a giant playground,” said Stella Tennant, fresh into town from the Met Gala, who played Lady de Grey, Oscar Wilde’s patroness. “He’s very fresh,” added Caroline de Maigret, who played the towering Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein. (Lagerfeld made her even more towering by dismissing all but the shortest extras for her scene.) “He’s very enthusiastic, excited. He’s laughing, ‘Ah, brilliant, brilliant!’
“He gets excited by everything he doesn’t know,” she declared, stubbing out her cigarette—usually a hot-button issue in law-abiding Singapore, but Karl’s night, Karl’s rules. “That’s his power. That’s what drives him, the unknown.”
We cheered for up-and-coming Parisian designer Alexis Mabille when Keira Knightley selected his strapless dress with tulle trim for the London premiere of her film The Duchess. Now the frock has made a second high-profile appearance, on Dita Von Teese at the Dsquared² party in Cannes. An interesting coincidence, considering the stars don’t exactly share a personal style (or figure). Who wore it best? We have to go with the pin-up girl on this one—Von Teese’s hourglass shape and delicate heels make the dress look enchanting, while the more willowy Knightley comes across as a prom look gone wrong.
Dita; Dave M. Benett / Getty Images
The latest Oscar bid from Keira Knightley, “The Duchess,” a biopic of Georgiana, an eighteenth-century Duchess of Devonshire, prompted some unexpected reactions in me. Number one was, damn, Keira sure gives good jaw, doesn’t she? (Apparently, others have noticed this before.) Still annoyingly pretty, mind you. Number two was, damn, Ralph Fiennes (as the Duke) sure can do a good Prince Charles impression—who’d have thought? But perhaps the most unexpected was that it made me want to give prostrated thanks that I live in the era of “Big Brother,” “America’s Got Talent,” et al.
One of the main themes of the movie, stressed far more than in the book by Amanda Foreman, is that Georgiana was the reigning fashion icon of her age. As one character proclaims (it’s that kind of film), G is “the empress of fashion—what she wears you will wear tomorrow.” Now, as a member of the arsitocracy, Georgiana’s entire life and identity was based on being married to some hideous jerk who preferred pillaging the occasional servant to hanging out with her; someone whose sole accomplishment in life was being off-loaded by her mother onto a man whose ancestors once killed a lot of people and nicked their houses. Whoa—cooo-el. Heaven knows much has been written bemoaning the cult of modern celebrity and how sad it is that kids (and adults) today bow down at the altar of useless celebrities whose reason for existence is that they want to be famous. But look at how much worse it could be. Does anyone care about royals or the aristocracy anymore? Even as fashion icons? I mean, look at them! The British have pretty much fallen off everyone’s radar since Diana (who was, coincidentally or not, a descendent of Georgiana’s), and even she wasn’t exactly a fashion icon—she just wore Versace well and didn’t look as horsey as the rest of them. Nor can the new generation be called “empresses of fashion.” Zara Phillips is a jockey and Kate Middleton dresses like her mum. The best they’ve got is Princess Beatrice, and that girl wore a pashmina to Kate Moss‘ birthday last year.
Yes, yes, I know that Dolce & Gabbana cited the Queen as the inspiration for their Fall collection, and I can see where they’re coming from, but by this time next year I’d wager the Dolce girl will be rocking a whole new look while the Queen will still be the Queen. The royals in Monaco are, granted, slightly more fabulous, if only because everyone’s a little fascinated with Princess Grace’s descendants. The Greek and Spanish royals have the plusses (quite pretty) and minuses (utterly anonymous). My favorites are the Swedish royals, not just for the shock value of Sweden having a royal family, but because they are so determinedly normal and, by all accounts, nice.
But the truth is, with the exception of a few Hello! magazine reading diehards out there, nobody cares about royals. Nobody. One, they don’t wield any real power anymore, and two, most people have realized that they’re just a bunch of inbred louts. But how to fill that gaping hole of necessary idols and fashion icons? Well, we make our own. And somewhere along the way, it was decided that everyone would get excited about people who appear on TV and movie screens as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, dentists or veterinarians. Is this necessarily better? Well, it’s more democratic, at least. Thanks to reality TV, you’re no longer restricted by birth, brains, beauty, or talent—ANYONE (and I mean that literally) can be dubbed a celebrity and/or style icon these days. Yes, this system may have made Simon Cowell millions, but at least we’re not all gawping at pictures of Princess Anne every day. And that’s progress.