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Saturday, 28 January 2012

Getting the look: The Artist

This week I went to see The Artist at the cinema after having it on my to-do list since I read about it a few months ago. I loved it from the opening scene, the film was full of humour, tragedy and triumph (and one hilarious dog). Being set in Hollywood's heyday of the roaring 1920's & 30's it was also a goldmine of vintage style. The outfits, created for The Artist, by seasoned movie costume designer Mark Bridges, were the icing on the cake.  Mr Bridges really managed to nail the decadent glamour of Hollywoodland. As a fan of all (well, most) things retro, I took a look at how to recreate the style depicted in The Artist for this blog post.

Let's start from the top and work our way down - beginning with hair. In the movie, leading lady Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) - along with several other females in the film - sports a short bob with tight marcel waves. Learn how to recreate retro waves at home with Belinda Hay's easy to follow hairstyle guide Style Me Vintage.

Cute flapper girl dresses with shimmying tassells and embellishment are a must for any vintage vamp and French Connection have a great selection. This Fringed Freya dress is a good starting point AND currently in the FC sale:

Fringed Freya dress, £37 (was £150) by French Connection

 Antik Batik's Embellished dress (£172 at ASOS) mixes sparkling retro glamour with light fabric - perfect for dancing (Lindy Hop, anyone?), and would look great teamed with some vintage-style stockings.

When it comes to footwear, modest heels are key to this look so leave the YSL Tribute platforms at home. Give your feet a rest in lower-heeled mary-jane styles or peeptoes while still rocking this glam look. Remember, the Hollywood vixens in films like The Artist were spending their days running around town going to auditions, and they wouldn't have got very far in teetering six-inch heels. Metallic shades or black compliment the dresses well, and Schuh have an excellent range of sweet lower-heeled shoes. My pick are these silver Forest Side Bow low  heels would go great with a flapper style dress:

Silver Forest Side Bow low  heels, £60 at Schuh

 Finally, no darling of the silver screen would be caught dead without her 'face on'. The finishing touch to really getting this look right is some retro style make-up. I looked to vintage style guru Dita Von Teese for her take on how to create a 1920's look. In her book Burlesque and the Art of the Teese, Dita explains that skin should be very pale ivory, eyes should be dark with smokey greys & blacks, lips should be rouged with wine or plum shades and nails should be worn short and painted deep crimson or deep burgundy.

To help achieve this look, I would firstly recommend a good foundation that suits your (natural) skin tone. Put down the bronzer - after all, they never had Fake Bake back in those days. A smokey eyes eyeshadow palate will give you a selection of greys and blacks - my favourites are Benefit's Smokin' Eyes (which although priced a little steeper at £28.50, will give you everything you need to create a dark, smouldering eye look, including extras like instructions, eyeliner and tweezers), and Soap & Glory's Lid Stuff palate in Smokey Dokey (a reasonably priced eyeshadow kit with 4 rich colours to play with). For lips, we are truly spoiled for choice with the vast range of dark reds available to suit all budgets - I would suggest going to department stores and high street beauty retailers and playing around with different shades/ brands until you find one that you like (for me, MAC are my go-to guys for red lippy).

Finally, I always break out my OPI nail polish in We'll Always Have Paris - a deep, dark crimson shade - when I want to unleash my inner vamp. Its rich colour is the perfect finishing touch to a vintage style look:


OPI nail polish in We'll Always Have Paris, RRP £10.50 at salons & selected stockists

Will you be trying out 'The Artist' look? 

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