Posted on December 02 2014
Going to the cinema is not just about entertainment.
Movies - and of course television - influence almost all aspects of our existence. They tell us how to dress, what to eat, where to vacation, how to celebrate. In short - how to live our lives.
My own favorite style-inspiring movie of all times is the beautifully made Out of Africa. I first watched it several years after it was released, when it had already achieved a cult like following. When I look back at the era in which the story – that of a Danish baroness who relocates to a farm in Kenya - was set, it is startling to see that it happened almost exactly a century ago!
The movie itself is close on thirty years old.
And yet the beautiful costumes it featured had such an impact on the so-called “safari” look that it created its own iconographic legacy. Designers like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, Thierry Mugler, Michael Kors and Yves St Laurent tipped their hats to the aesthetic artistry of the film by showing clear influences from Out of Africa in their own collections following the release of the movie.
Milena Canonero, the costume designer for this film, cleverly used just a few basic colours for Meryl Streep’s wardrobe. An ever-classic palette of natural tones, beige, ivory, khaki, navy and black. Long skirts, crisp white shirts worn with ties, knee-high lace-up paddock boots in camel leather and beige fabric, jodhpurs and belted safari jackets, pith helmets, wide brimmed hats and a memorable elephant brooch which appears as a leitmotif throughout the film. Her pieces are still fresh and relevant even today and can be spotted on teenagers and working women alike.
I’m not trying to do anything that affects fashion, says Canonero. If the clothes influence fashion, it is because fashion is already there
Out of Africa inspires me not just for its clothing but also for its sense of architecture and interiors. The movie has a timeless style about it. Since parts of my childhood holidays were spent in rambling, gracious “rest houses” belonging to the Indian Forest Service I attributed my reaction to the interiors shown in the film to nostalgia. But the simplicity and quiet elegance of the house has stood the test of time for others too. One day I would like to live in a home that mirrors the one shown here, with simple plastered walls, unlined cotton curtains, graceful furniture in restful colours, un-crowded yet intimate. Take a look at some of the interiors and tell me that you would not want to live in a house like this one.
What about you? Do you have a favorite movie or TV show which has given you cues on dressing and living? We would love to hear your comments..
Kavita Joshi Rai-Writer of the weekly column “Effortless Style” | Globetrotter | Style Seeker | Beauty Junkie | Favorite Quote- elegance is the only beauty that never fades | @msmstyletalk