Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor in Giant (1956)

In honor of Dame Elizabeth's recent passing, I decided to watch all of her movies that I either owned or could find on Netflix's Watch Instantly feature. This is where I found Giant. For some strange reason, I has this film confused with Raintree County and thought it was an antebellum drama.

Giant, however, is sort of a Western, but it is more accuratly described as a family epic and a love story. The two main characters played by Taylor and Rock Hudson have a tempestuous but truly loving marriage. She is feisty and pushes against every effort of her husband to hem her in and make her behave. She refuses to hide her opinions and pushes this traditional Texas ranch family to be more tolerant and compassionate.

The phrase that comes to mind is from Arrested Development (the music group not the TV show). "I ask you Lord why you enlighten me without the enlightenment of all my folk." That is the story of this film -- how a family moves from an insular, traditional mindset to one of open-mindedness and enlightenment. Who knew Westerns could be so high-minded?

The look I have chosen to re-create this time is one that Taylor wears once her character has really settled into life in Texas. She has had all her children and is beginning to consider this her home. The way she is dressed reflects this. She has on a fringe green skirt, with a black belt (complete with big silver buckle) and cowboy boots. Amazingly, Taylor seems to make this still look feminine and classic, not like a rodeo caricature.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger, more detailed view.)

Shirt: Macy’s Charter Club Blouse Button Front Textured Bib in Bright White, on sale for $14.99
Skirt: Talbot’s, PoplinFull Skirt in Chartreuse, $79.50
Belt: Forever 21, Braided Leatherette Buckle Belt for $7.80
Boots: Aldo, Pompa Cowboy Boot in Cognac, on sale for $99.98
Total: $202.27

The elements that stood out to me as important in this re-doing this look were the mixing of black and brown, and the line of green skirt. The boots were easy to find and these from Aldo have the right amount of detail and look much more expensive than they are -- for less than $100. I love the rich, slightly orange colored brown too. They call it cognac.

The skirt was the hardest piece to find. I finally arrived at this comfortable poplin one from Talbot's. It is a beautiful grass green, which is a bit different from Taylor's pine green one but I think this makes the look a bit less serious.

Once I picked out those two pieces, I was running out of money in my "virtual" outfit budget of $200! Luckily though, I found a great top (on sale at Macy's) that will look nice tucked into the skirt and a black braided buckle belt from Forever 21 for only $7.80. So, the whole thing came in at only $2 over budget.

Do you incorporate any Western elements into your look? Would you wear this look to work? Maybe on a casual Friday? I would definitely wear this look on a weekend or to a family event. I love the defined waist in this look and the mix of neutrals with the pop of the green. Perhaps I would be brave enough to try this in a business casual environment. What do you think?

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