Tuesday, November 7, 2017

10 MOVIES WITH A FASHION STATEMENT



Movies and fashion are both visual form of art, so it is not a surprise they have always influenced and supported each other. Sometimes mainstream fashion recalls vintage styles from the classic movies, sometimes mainstream movies use fashion as their secret weapon. Either way, being stylish never goes  out of fashion and that is why we will recall now some of our favorite fashion inspirations from the famous movies.

1. The devil wears Prada (2006.)




Let's begin with a movie inspired by story about fashion industry. I remember watching this in 2006. and falling in love with Andy's fashion rejuvenation. We all wanted to recreate her new outfits so much. And still today, the clothes, the visual details, it is all perfectly arranged and eye flattering, as it should be. The real proof that even though fashion trends gently change, great style never goes out of trend.


                             


 










Every fashionista worships Holly Golightly and has tried to recreate ''the simple black dress''look. And who could blame anyone for that. Just as diamonds and pearls are forever, so it is the beauty of a classic fashion look from the movie. The style and grace of Audrey Hepburn have been an  inspiration for every woman, from teenager to an older age, as in 1961, and so it is today. And what makes this movie a fashionable classic is that you can enjoy it through different phases of your life in new ways, appreciating different visual details each time. The cat-eye sunglasses, the casual flats or lovely coat, we're in for it all.











Surely the title of the movie indicates the beauty of this movie. And beautiful Julia Roberts doesn't need all those expensive clothes to look stunning, but nevertheless her style was wonderful and it is still inspirational, even on celebrity carpets. Who could forget polka khaki dress or the evening gowns, or her famous shopping walk in the creamy outfit? Oh, and the hats, don't forget those amazing high class hats. Even Vivian's ''hooker outfit'' is pretty much relevant to the latest artistic performance trends. No offense to any performance artist, only praise for this ageless chic movie.













Probably nothing revolutionary in terms of fashion in this movie, but it is nice homage to the romantic aspect of the 70's, the old school french style which suits Angelina Jolie so well, naturally. Minimalist colors, silk, bonnets that accompany the summer mood of some isolated lovely french coast, just flawless.










No performance artist can make of fashion what Whitney hasn't done already, even just in this  movie. From her stage outfits to casual 90's vibe, the most recent trends couldn't go further from here: over-sized sweaters, classy evening gowns, Cleopatra style, tinsels, metallic details, you name it. The definition of diva is right here, with beautiful Whitney just being what she really was. Obviously we aren't talking just about movie or Rachel here anymore. But this movie is a joy to the heart and the eyes and we are thankful for this visual treasure.




























The hippie fashion of the 70's is something you might dislike in a theory, but cannot escape from. Its influence is omnipresent and never ending. Fashion has always been retrospective, like every other aspect of the culture. Back in that time it was all about freedom, so when it came to a fashion style, the rules were simple: No such thing as too much or too little. The colorful patterns, tunics, fur, rock n roll, we're in 2017 now, aren't we? The character of Penny Lane is not so fictional when talking about fashion icons, and it is still influencing many of the street style fashion, defining the classic ''boho look''. You may find some Penny Lane in Kate Moss, Olsen twins, Kate Hudson herself, Florence Welch…and we would love to see the more of it, not just during Coachella. The only trap of this free spirit bohemian expression is the trap of uniformity, ironic some would say. That is why we only named few names, known for their personal originality. And remember, as Penny says, never take stuff too seriously.










The iconic resting bitch face, legendary Elvira played by gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer. This one makes the glamorous style look cooler than ever. Sparkling plunge dresses looking casual, classic white costume looking as the most powerful weapon, one pieced swimsuit looking hotter than ever on her skinny model looking figure. Silk, richness of the colors and the simplicity of fashion items are faithful to the character through the whole movie, defining iconic Elvira's style. An inspirational fashion statement of a femme fatale who doesn't spend too much time or thought on trying to be one.











Even if the movie goes much deeper than some obvious fashion ideas, the fashion truly follows the ideas of the movie. As the characters of Thelma and Louise change, connect, and grow stronger, the same thing happens in their clothing style. We see two lovely ladies in the beginning wearing romantic scarves and summer tunics, converting slowly into two beautiful punks in washed up jeans and plain rock n roll tees. No need to say more.










This movie defines true sex appeal speaking in the language of fashion instead of cheap vulgarity. Even though the fashion isn't the most obvious and important part of such movie, don't ever underestimate its role. Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke play theirs so naturally, without even trying to look too good. Elizabeth style is minimalist, casual, feminine, classic beauty of the 80's, a fashion lessons we should definitely look up to today. Notice latest trends: slip dress, oversized coats and sweaters, the elegance of the color black, and so on. Simply everything in this movie is a visual masterpiece.











Fashion of course is not just about fancy dresses and classy outfits, the most interesting part of the fashion is the visual statement a character or a person makes. Then again, Lisbeth, punk, edgy and wild, could also be just as much a Replay or a Diesel model, or maybe Alexander Wang's creation at its finest. And maybe beautiful is not a word to describe her outfits, but the beauty of her style is real – there is no piece of a clothing she puts on that we wouldn't want to try on. So yes, we talk about her fashion style and it is beautiful. Rooney Mara is all in it and she perfectly supports this dark movie and the story in it. Maybe the saddest moment in a punk culture happened when punk has become a part of the mainstream fashion. What was once a statement might be today just some trendy expensive fashion look. Still, not everyone can pull it off so well. Maybe the biggest rebellion today should express itself through carelessness for the fashion style, or complete unpredictability. But let's be honest: who could lie to himself that much? If Lisbeth wore plain jeans, pink sweater and had a simple ponytail, there would be no such story as Girl with a dragon tattoo.





Thanks for scrolling!


A.B.


Love, Invitation to Inspiration <3

Saturday, October 21, 2017

NARCISSISM ON SCREEN


We live in the culture which rewards highly functional narcissism. That is why it is hard to find obvious examples of narcissism in pop culture and in our everyday surrounding. In everyday life, narcissistic traits are justified, romanticized, rewarded.

The good news is you can find more and more great articles on the web treating the seriousness of narcissistic disorder and narcissistic abuse. The ''selfie'' culture has gone wild along with the ''ego'' culture, or ''me, myself and I'' culture, that it was only about time when the term of narcissism will become popular on social networks. The thing is, it doesn't have as much as in common with selfies as you may think. 

 If we want to talk seriously about narcissism, we must be aware we are talking about real personality disorder. Because most of us are not psychiatrists, we must be careful not to become paranoid by jumping easily into diagnoses. On the other hand, we must learn to be aware of this disorder which is so well covered, individually and socially. We must reject universal superficial talk and start thinking for ourselves to protect ourselves.

 It is all stories and metaphors until you become a narcissistic victim before you realize what's going  on. You might have already been one, you might have lived in such surrounding. The trickiness with this mental disorder is that it's more dreadful to the people that narcissist interacts with than it is to himself. It affects them like a virus, going gently and directly to the heart and brain of  unprepared victim. The bond between these two must first be artificially created for all of this to happen. In most cases, narcissist isn't completely aware of his own condition. Yes, they know what they are doing, and no, they don't analyse the reasons of their behavior. They must swim on the surface so they wouldn't have to face what's actually underneath. When we talk about ''the attack'', we mean mental abuse, mental draining, guilt games, mind games, emotional blackmail, fine exploiting, setups, passive aggression or violence in extreme cases. In the best scenario, you'll  witness a personality full of crap. The attacker does this to maintain his imaginary kingdom, to feed, to survive. I bet many vampire stories found inspiration right there. During the daylight on the other hand, in front of many witnesses, they'll do their best in charming and seducing the audience, just like they might have charmed you at first. But we are still talking about a real people here, someone who feels and craves, cries and laughs, dreams and loves cool stuff. Someone who needs more help than all of their victims. When low on their supply, these people find themselves in literal hell. Up there on the ground, the unaware victims might suffer psychological consequences, questioning their own mental stability, even long after the narcissist's game had become obvious.




Even though the ''narcissism thing'' has become ''a thing'', it is still only the surface of what the disorder really is, and poor information sometimes does more damage than no information. We are not even sure if the scientists are sure what it takes to become a narcissist. Just like with other mental disorders, that might trigger our human compassion more easily, is psychotherapy barely a hope? Alex de Large might be laughing at us right now. And we have no power here. The narcissistic attack is a clean and perfect crime, no one saw it, no one would believe it, nothing bad happened. 

Let's just see how it happens in movies:



AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000)

 Patrick: constant need for evaluating things, high self preoccupation and absence of empathy, superficial obsessive tendencies.

''I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for the greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip.''




This one poops out first , even though it is an extreme example of a narcissistic disorder or to be more precise, more of a sociopath. So maybe this is not the most representative example of the subject, but just watching this clip, without the rest of the movie, you might get an insiders view into narcissistic mind.



 HEATHERS (1988)


J.D. : charismatic and charming, manipulative, controlling, no conscience, disturbed view on humanity and life, considers himself above the others, traces of narcissistic rage.

''J.D.: Is your life perfect? 
Veronica Sawyer: I'm on my way to a party at Remington University... No, my life's not perfect. I don't really like my friends. 
J.D.: I... I don't really like your friends either. 
Veronica Sawyer: Well, it's just like - they're people I work with, and our job is being popular and shit. 
J.D.: Maybe it's time to take a vacation. ''



This movie shows the intense flow of the romantic relationship with a narcissist. In the clip you can notice how the main character, Veronica, starts to see J.D. 's real persona, his disturbed view on life and inability to see or hear her, or anyone truly. J.D.might be more of a sociopath too, but the line is thin between these two, nevertheless.



MALEFICENT (2014)





Stefan: deceitful, calculating, unreliable and unscrupulous, will go low for gaining abundance and status.


''True love does not exist.''


Fairy tales and Disney movies have a tradition in representing narcissistic villains, and the characters in the story are simply good or bad. In Maleficient, we see the witch as a complex human being, while the king Stefan is actually the bad guy: manipulative, greedy and dangerously deceptive. There is strong and an important scene in the movie when Maleficient realizes she has been played upon, used and abused. The consequences she suffers here are not just physical. This is also a real representation of of the inner pain  every victim goes through. There's more truth than fantasy in this story: The evil is powerful and contagious, but only through selfless love we become fearless and invincible. That is why hope is never meaningless.


CRUEL INTENTIONS (1999)




      Kathryn: Highly manipulative, charming, controlling, deceitful, looks down on everyone, hypocritedeviant behavior, absence of empathy, need to be admired.

''Kathryn Merteuil: My advice is to sleep with as many people as possible.
Cecile Caldwell: But that would make me a slut, wouldn't it?
Kathryn Merteuil: Cecile, everybody does it; it's just that nobody talks about it.
Cecile Caldwell: So, it's like a secret society?
Kathryn Merteuil: That's one way looking at it.
Kathryn Merteuil: [under her breath] Fucking idiot...''

Cruel intentions is a modern version of the movie Dangerous liaisons, which is based on a famous classic novel written in 18th century by Pierre de Laclos. We recommend at least watching both films if you haven't. It shows the downfall of the human need for intimacy, questioning the difference between love and admiration, respect and honor, passion and sex drive, moral and social norms. This movie is a great example of the relationship dynamics where the narcissistic consciously tries to deceive, dominate, control and diminish other human beings in the most perverted scenarios only they could create. Which probably makes them powerful in their minds, but only before the inevitable fall. Kathryn 's partner in crime, Sebastian, shows the same narcissistic traits, but we have chosen Kathryn since the second one was clearly under her powerful influence. The inserted clip shows Kathryn's fall through public revelation and humiliation. The only time when she could actually feel the shame and regret: being exposed – one of the narcissistic biggest fears.


 GASLIGHT (1944)



Gregory Anton: Con artist, deceitful, manipulative, charming, deviant, materialistic, controlling and calculative.



''Gregory: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to me.
Cameron: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to her.''


Amazing performance of Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. The movie starts with the idealistic love story between two characters. It describes perfectly the classic pattern of a relationship where the charismatic narc charms the innocent target in the beginning in such way that even later, with all the warning signs, it seems unreal to think this match made isn't perfect. The methods the witty narc uses are love bombing and gaslightning – the second term was named after this movie! Gaslightning is a tactic of mental abuse where a person tries to manipulate another person, making him or her question their own words, thoughts, conclusions, even their own perception. You may think know how naive and limited one must be to fall for this cheap mental trap, but before any conclusions, watch the movie. It all happens only after the abuser has obtained the trust and love of the victim. In the clip, the victim, Paula, confronts her abuser, mirroring him – mocking at his own game.


THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2006)




Miranda: careerist, domineering, intolerant of other people's flaws, careless towards emotions or needs of others - enjoys degrading them and testing their limits, poor emotional expression and absence of healthy emotional life: emotions of satisfaction, disappointment or rage.

''Andy Sachs: I don't think I'm like that. I couldn't do what you did to Nigel, Miranda. I couldn't do something like that.
Miranda Priestly: You already did. To Emily.
Andy Sachs: That's not what I... no, that was different. I didn't have a choice.
Miranda Priestly: No, no, you chose. You chose to get ahead. You want this life. Those choices are necessary.
Andy Sachs: But what if this isn't what I want? I mean what if I don't wanna live the way you live?
Miranda Priestly: Oh, don't be ridiculous. Andrea. Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us.''

A classic example of a needy boss who's mission is maintaining a high status, who believes to be irreplaceable, who is incapable and uninterested in forming healthy relations. One who believes other people exist to serve their own needs. One of the most iconic performances of our favorite actress and Hollywood's favorite Meryl Streep.



GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)



Scarlett: stubborn, puts herself and her own ways above everything and everyone, charming and manipulative, calculative, selfish.

“You're so brutal to those who love you, Scarlett. You take their love and hold it over their heads like a whip.” 


You might wonder why should such complex character necessarily be a narcissist. Any person can have and has special qualities and each one of us is fighting our own battles. Our culture encourages us to think we can justify any scam and carelessness with proficiency and intelligence. It seems that Scarlet could have been a perfect hero if only….she wasn't a narcissist. 
In the inserted clip we see Scarlett's attempt to provide herself an  ''easy money'' from another person  - a remarkable act of a self created show to obtain her goals. This is Scarlet from the beginning to the end. And if Rhett Butler couldn't change her ways, neither can you change them when loving a narcissist no matter how hopeful it may seem in those rare perfect moments. They are reliable only to themselves, and you do matter, but only as long as you serve their current needs. Frankly my dear, you shouldn't give a damn.


THE DEPARTED (2006)



Colin: deceitful, status obsessed, unscrupulous, careless, prone to deviant behavior, calculative bonding.

''Colin Sullivan: [in their new apartment] Hey, now why do you work for the state?
Madolyn: Why not? You do.
Colin Sullivan: No, what you do, the degrees and everything you got, you're hot shit. So why do you make as much as a guidance counselor?
Madolyn: Because... I believe in public service.
Colin Sullivan: [pause] So now you're gonna fuck with me?
[starts laughing]
Colin Sullivan: Now you're gonna be ridiculous?''

Colin Sullivan, played by Matt Damon is a great representation of the narcissistic character. You might feel confused when this guy shows up as decent in the beginning, a guy ho had a hard time in past and deserves good time in future. You almost feel sorry for him, then you admire him and then you dislike him.
In the first clip you can see the seduction game he plays, a classic witty and attractive man with a cool job – he knows what to say to impress even the girl who is trained to read the most obnoxious people. 
In the second clip you can see how he adapts his attitude towards life when speaking to someone who encourages a laid back life style in the terms of fidelity and the importance of gaining reputation. This is important: He doesn't care for his girlfriend, or for the life of his ''friends'', what he cares for is his social success and superficial satisfaction. Being a criminal and cop in the same time, a false friend to both sides, and a perfect guy to everyone, makes a perfect life, a perfect lie, and a perfect narcissistic con artist.


 BREAKING BAD (2008 - 2013)


Walter White: controlling, domineering,  deviant, deceitful, prone to degrade others, no conscience, power obsessed, prone to outbursts of rage.


Skyler White: What happened?
Walter White: I won. 


I love Breaking bad, and I love the chemistry between the main characters. It never occurred my mind that the main character played by Bryan Cranston is almost a typical narcissist if there is such thing as typical narcissist. Not until I ran into some articles where it was listed as such. Maybe it is because the writers and the director sucked us into his own world and we feel too connected with him, we cheer for him. Yes, he was a decent guy before his illness kicked in, along with new lifestyle. People change over crisis and confront them in different ways, but this was something more than that. Walter felt for the first time he actually could have a tremendous power and the only consequences he cared about was not to get caught. Some people become  spiritual and stronger than ever confronting serious life events, Walter confronted his true and desired self, a chance to be the only thing he wants to be – on the top of his own game. 
He doesn't mind creating a false world around himself and isolating from the people who love him, his own family. Love is irrelevant, the game is everything. And while his partner, Jesse, manages to naturally develop certain bonding feelings with Walter, or at least stops being indifferent, we never really get the real proof of Walter's affection towards Jesse. If you sense it, if something's there, it is always there as part of his business. And Jesse understood who Walter was. He is hard to work with since he puts himself high above the others, his life and business partners, and rarely gives the other any kind of recognition for their role. It seems that Jesse, with a serious addiction problem and many personal and emotional problems was still more emotionally healthy than Walter.We justify Walter's anger, irrational moves and risky behavior with sudden illness and his inner middle age frustration. When Walter feels sorry, it is only when he fears he's losing in his game. Such crave for the adrenaline and power without consideration of other's people's feelings and lives must ring the alarm. Definitely one of the most memorable TV characters ever, in one of the most interesting and entertaining TV shows.



 HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (2002)




Gildory Lockhart : excessive need to be admired, obsessed with public image, charming, deceitful, prone to glorify his own superficial and empty actions, a coward.

''Gilderoy Lockhart: Harry, Harry, Harry. Can you possibly imagine a better way to serve detention, than by helping me to answer my fan mail? 
Harry: Not really. 
Gilderoy Lockhart: Fame is a fickle friend Harry. Celebrity is as celebrity does. Remember that. ''

      This is how most people imagine a narcissistic. Ridiculous, self-loving, cowardly and fake attention seekers. This is true actually. J.K. Rowling created and awesome parody of a narc. Not that it is something to laugh about, but still…Anyway, the real disorder is rarely obvious in real life as much as it is obvious here. This is what you finally see only after you have made the exit from the narcissistic game. And one thing they really can't stand, except being publicly ashamed, it is not being taken seriously. These people can really look funny when you learn to overlook their game from a far. To have one in your life, that wouldn't be as funny. Once you get to know how narcissism functions, it get's much easier to recognize it instantly. It doesn't make you an expert, though. The humanity is still much more complicated than that.


 BLUE JASMINE (2013)




Jasmine: Feeling as being part of the human elite, uninterested in maintaining real human bonds, mentally unstable, social image obsessed, disillusioned and deceitful, self-oriented.

''But that's all history boys, I met someone, I'm a new person.''

Woman named Jasmine suffers a nervous breakdown when her wealthy life  and marriage fall apart. She strongly believes that the only life worth of living is the life of a higher class and that she deserves to be a part of it more than anyone. The ''higher class person'' is her artificially created identity. She cannot survive without this identity, so she confronts everyone and everything that doesn't fit into the ''world of a high class''. Even a charity work is merely something that makes a higher class even higher. 
Narcissists believe they have been born as a part of the elite, no matter the circumstances or what that word stands for. Material gain is a tool to make others admire their persona, their unique taste, ambition, achievements and superior behavior in general. They will condemn or eliminate from their circle everyone with a different point of view, if they fail to convince them otherwise, of course. 
Jasmine's sister, being convinced into her sister's intellectual delusions, started to loose control of her own settled life. Opposite of Jasmine, she seeks love and joy in her romantic relationship, is free from preoccupation with social trends. Since she lacks calculative thinking and lives a simple life, she has learned to admire her sister's false world, before and still after it has fallen apart. Like most people, she bought it for a short time.
Jasmine isn't a villain, even though she is manipulative. We feel sorry for this woman because she is a true victim of world's disillusionment. This is a great story on how to observe a narcissist. They really need help and a special treatment, but not the kind of help they'll search for.

The list could have been longer. We could talk about narcissism in relationships, families, workplace, and so on, you get the idea. We do all have some imperfect traits, crisis and mental moments that don't mean having a particular disorder.  It's dangerous to jump into such conclusions in real life and demonize our social surrounding. It is however important to educate ourselves on these things, to cultivate healthy relations, to recognize toxic ones, to learn how to cope with different types of behavior and take care of ourselves. I believe the information always gets there where it is needed. We hope that there will be more movies that can trigger us to become better, not just for ourselves, but for each other and a healthier culture.




A.B.

With all respect, ITI