Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1930's inspiration: Cracks

I have signed up for a free trial of a well-known dvd rental service, where you draw up a list of films you want to see and they send them to you by post, one at a time, in this case up to three times a month.

The first to arrive was "Cracks" (2009) and I watched it alone on Saturday (while cutting out patterns) and then again with my daughter on Sunday (while knitting!). It is set in 1934 in an isolated boarding school for girls.

I hired the film specifically to see the costumes, by Allison Byrne, which are absolutely stunning.
Did you know that clothes can be utterly beautiful? You did? Why did nobody tell me?!?!
I have a terrible tendency towards utilitarian dress. My recent post on "dressing like a teacher" seems laughable now, as the most glorious fashions in this film are worn by "Miss G.", a charismatic "Miss Jean Brodie" type. I spotted a Singer sewing machine in her room - so the suggestion is that she makes her own clothes. I wish I knew where she bought her fabric!

This is probably her most "practical" look.
I could wear that!

Silks, velvets, wools, embroidery, beadwork, fabulous tailoring - it's all here in abundance!
And the make-up is pretty inspirational too!

If I were to pick out my favourite looks, they would have to include: a pair of sublime cream wide-legged, high-waisted trousers which made Miss G.'s legs go on forever; the bias cut silk nightgowns; a pieced-stripe velvet jacket with wide lapels in berry hues; the use of printed silk scarves as headbands / belts. I can't seem to find images of these to show you, though. Typical.

The pupils' "mufti" outfits are equally absorbing: from the youngest girls in their fair-isle-yoked sweaters and smocked ginghams, to the older ones who ached to copy their idol, Miss G., and layered up short-sleeved cardis over blouses and baggy shorts - fab!

And let's not forget the exquisite Fiamma with her flame-coloured silk velvet coat and matching beret - wow!
There are loads of stills and a costume-based review over here. And another here.
And an interview with the designer here.
Oh - and it is actually a ripping yarn too. My daughter and I have a new catchphrase, to be uttered in a cut-glass English accent while thrusting a school- or shopping-bag into the other's hand: "Food, money and a map ... and don't come back!" Maybe you have to watch the film!

Now... 1930's patterns...


christinelaennec said...

Sounds great, thanks for that! Isn't it nice to think that someone, somewhere, feels it's worth putting all that time and effort into creating these beautiful clothes? I like the catch-phrase too. Some dear friends of mine grew up in a house where their mother's parting phrase was always: "Write when you find work!"

Debi said...

I must see this movie! The costumes look amazing! David and I are big fans of the movie by post companies--so nice! Though I am a bit bummed that they don't have better classics section (though I think you can 'suggest' movies).

Scruffybadger said...

I must admit I am hankering for some period costume inspiration (even watched the Christmas "Upstairs Downstairs" for a fix & some Miss Marples/ Poirot's!!!

Sandy said...

Right now I am more into the 'country ' look with a white linen blouse and worn jeans with sandals, but I do appreciate a good film and will add this one to my list. And I do like seeing good costuming efforts... thanks for the tips!

Lizzi said...

Ah now, I am right with you. The clothes in those days had such style. And they were made to last so they were beautifully made and the attention to detail was amazing - such effort put into every piece of clothing. I yearn for a return to that way of dressing when an item of clothing had cut and fit and would last for years and always look good. Even when I was small - I grew up in the 50/60's - there was stuff around that my mum had which had such class! and we weren't well-off, it was just the way things were. We didn't have much either - but what we had was good and serviceable......... now I am sounding like Rose from Upstairs Doonstairs which I also watched over Christmas and droooled over the clothes.

Katherine said...

Right, adding that to my list, sounds great!

daisydonut said...

OOohhh, I shall have to beg, steal or borrow this DVD. I love the 30's.

I spend hours drooling over the Eva dress patterns but haven't purchased yet as I can't make my mind up which one to start with.

Thank you for an inspirational post.

Roobeedoo said...

I hope you all get a chance to see Cracks - I maybe should have warned you it has a dark side, but you are all grown-ups! ;)

Steph said...

Thank you so much for drawing my attention to this movie. I just made cream trousers like you describe... It's really a shame everyone can't get together to knit and watch this movie...