Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kate Winslet in Titanic (1997)

Some things are cliche because they earn that status. Like Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night on a dorm-room wall or young girls obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany's, Titantic is now trite and passe because it actually was such a good movie. It's sort of like that song that you really like but the radio station plays it way too much. That's Titanic.

The film actually re-watches well and visually it is very lovely and interesting to watch. Kate Winslet's character follows a predictable emotional trajectory for a seventeen year old spoiled but repressed little rich girl. But -- spoiler alert -- before the ship goes down, Rose DeWitt Bukater has great style!

This outfit was selected because I am wrapping up a week of posts on Mildred Pierce, which is a 1945 movie with Joan Crawford that has now been made into a new mini-series on HBO starring Kate Winslet and Evan Rachel Wood. Also I am easing into a new week of nautical or sailor inspired outfits!!

So, this is what we see Rose in for the first time as she is boarding the Titanic. This is a gorgeous Edwardian number with a dynamite hat, delicate earrings and gloves. Modernizing such a strong period look would be tough but I came up with a really unique look for a special occasion.

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

Jacket: Spiegel, Signature Stretch Seersucker Collection, Fitted Jacket in Black Multi, $69
Skirt: Spiegel, Signature Stretch Seersucker Collection, Button Front Fit and Flare Skirt in Black Multi, $69
Earrings: Fossil, Boyfriend Rose Double Drop Earrings, $24
Hat: White House Black Market, Wide Brim Derby Hat, $68
Gloves: Gloves Online, Classic Crochet Lace Gloves in White, $12
Shoes: Anthropologie, Miniver Lace Ups, $39.99
Total: $281.99

Spiegel does it again with an interesting suiting collection. Reasonably priced, this skirt and jacket match-up looks like blue seersucker from a distance but it is actually black and white. The seersucker mimics the stripes in Kate's outfit and the black and white matches the hat I found.

Let's talk about this hat. Bold and glamorous, this hat has exactly the same bend and tilt that Kate's hat does in this scene. It also has a great big bow that adds drama. I love how the camera pans over Kate's head and the edge of her hat rises to reveal her face. Just lovely.

After the basic pieces were in place, it was important to add some antique details. These crochet gloves are so ladylike and aristocratic. (I used them soon after I began this blog in a Leslie Caron outfit.) The shoes from Anthropologie are so early twentieth century and distinctive and only $40. I also think mixing in some neutral tones with the black and white makes the outfit feel more period.

Lastly, these rose earrings have an antique patina and echo the character's name -- Rose. I love little "secret" details like that when putting together and outfit. This is the final touch that makes this outfit special.

Over $280 is uncharateriscally high for this blog, but I felt it was justified given the likely occasions that one might wear a look like this to. I could imagine this outfit at a fancy afternoon wedding or a regional horse race or a charity reception or tea. Given these special occasion scenarios, I felt the extra expense was warranted. This look also has many elements necessary to complete the look. But the prices on each individual item are not exorbitant.

Period pieces before about 1930 become increasingly difficult to re-create as valid outfits for today. It's hard to make Edwardian mainstream and do it justice. Do you think I succeeded? Do you have some examples from your own wardrobe experiments?

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