Back in October, I wrote a post as a rebuttal of sorts to yahoo.com and their list of “the most iconic dresses of all time”. To this day, it is still one of my more popular posts. As spring is just around the corner, and soon it will be bathing suit weather, I thought I would do a follow-up to my Truly iconic dresses post and explore what I consider to be the most iconic swimsuits of all time. To be on this list, each swimsuit must be recognizable and spark a memory to be considered iconic.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here they are.
Ursula Andress in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No
This was a bikini so iconic that it spawned a sequel.
Halle Berry in Die Another Day
Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC. Need I say more?
Betty Grable’s famous Pin Up kept more than just the morale up during WWII
Hair, teeth and nipples made Farrah Fawcett a triple threat in the 70s
Not to be outdone, Cheryl Tiegs gave us this other decade defining moment of the 1970s
Fans of the Mickey Mouse club had their dreams come true when Annette sported this two piece number.
Marilyn Monroe proved that you don’t have to put on a bikini if you want to know How to Marry a Millionaire
Goldie Hawn before she went Overboard in this high cut, thong backed, one piece.
Famous Pin Up, Bettie Page goes wild on the beach.
I found it to be rather eye-opening as I was collecting the images above that the majority of these women are curvy to say the least. Perhaps we should be re-thinking our definition what is sexy when it comes to the female form.
As a feminist and therefore equal opportunity exploiter, I would be remiss if I didn’t include some famous moments in male swimwear too.
Burt Lancaster had all the girls swooning in From Here to Eternity.
Miles O’Keefe may not have been the most famous Tarzan, but he sure did that loincloth justice.
Speaking of loincloths, who can forget Christopher Atkins splashing around in the Blue Lagoon?
And then there’s this…
Sacha Baron Cohen, as Borat in possibly the most iconic swimsuit of them all!
Last night I watched the Academy Awards for the first time in years. My usual routine for Oscar night is to watch a good movie or two) in the time that it takes Hollywood to pat itself on the back, front and anywhere else their hands will reach, then check out who won online saving myself 3 to 4 hours of complete and utter boredom.
This year was different, however because, this year it was to be hosted by Seth MacFarlane with his dazzling smile, mellifluous voice and irreverent sense of humour… not to mention he is an out and proud atheist. Yes, I am a Seth MacFarlane fan. The opening monologue started off as a bit of a disappointment, with jokes that were marginally funny at best, that is until William Shatner (or should I say, Captain James Tiberius Kirk) showed up. It was at that point that the show really got going and MacFarlane got to do what he does best… sing. As a true lover of old Hollywood musicals MacFarlane was the perfect choice for host on a night where the theme was music in the movies. Seth sang silly songs like “We saw your boobs” and old standards like The Way You Look Tonight and High Hopes
Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum dancing to The Way You Look Tonight
MacFarlane with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliff singing High Hopes
*I am sure you’ve noticed by now that I am not posting video of the night. There are video clips out there, but they are being taken down as fast as they are being put up, so I decided not to risk it.*
All in all, MacFarlane as host was a throwback to the days when Bob Hope hosted the show. The jokes were tame (for the most part), but he was an affable, dapper and welcoming host. If the Academy brought him in to wrangle a younger demographic, however, they failed miserably. Seth MacFarlane is an old soul in a young body and a real fan of old Hollywood that, I’m sure us over 45 viewers appreciated, but the under 30 crowd must have been left scratching their collective heads, wondering why he didn’t do Stewie’s voice or tell any poop jokes.
Dame Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger
Seeing that the theme was music in the movies, the night (as one would expect) was littered with some really wonderful musical performances. From Catherine Zeta Jones’s recreation of her Oscar-winning role in Chicago (I can’t believe that was 10 years ago already) and Jennifer Hudson singing her Oscar-winning song And I Am Telling You (Nice standing ovation. Even Jack Nicholson was impressed), to Adele and Norah Jones singing their nominated songs from Skyfall and Ted respectively, there was no shortage of talent on the stage. There were two spectacular surprises, however, that took my breath away. The first came at the end of the tribute to the 50th Anniversary of James Bond films, when Dame Shirley Bassey belted out Goldfinger, her voice just as strong as it was 49 years ago when she first sang the song. Then it was time for the in memoriam segment of the show. The last slide was a black and white photo of Marvin Hamlish, there was a pause and then… Barbra Streisand (looking younger more “well rested” than she has in decades. It’s sad to me that she was not vain enough to get her nose ‘fixed’ yet her forehead is as frozen as a glacier. Why Babs, why?) took the stage and honoured her friend and collaborator with a beautiful rendition of The Way We Were that actually brought tears to my eyes.
Barbra Streisand singing The Way We Were
The awards themselves were predictable, as usual. They gave the Best Actress award to the pretty young starlet with the lovely dress and not the most deserving nominee… as usual. Though if they absolutely had to get a pretty young starlet in a pretty dress on stage, they should have given the award to this young beauty who actually deserved the award.
Quvenzahne Wallis and her puppy purse
Even the Best Supporting Actress award, which is traditionally given to the actress who actually deserves it, went to the pretty young star in the dress that showed side boob, instead of Sally Field. On that note, I don’t understand why Field was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for a role that was clearly a lead, but I digress.
Even Hollywood royalty, Sally Field was reduced to a desperate sex object
Over all the show was entertaining. My one complaint (cause it wouldn’t be a windupmyskirt blog with out one) was all of the sexist ‘jokes’. There was the aforementioned musical number “We saw your boobs” which comes across as a teenaged boy giggling that he saw boobies (even the Gay Men’s Chorus couldn’t class that up) and the comedy sketch wherein Seth MacFarlane, dressed as the Flying Nun, successfully hits on and goes home with Sally Field because apparently, she has nothing better to do than go home with someone just because they are a fan who makes her feel bad about herself by telling her that she won’t win her category anyway. Even though the women seemed like they were “in on” the joke they also seemed like they did so rather grudgingly. Now if either of those examples were actually funny, I wouldn’t take such issue with them, because I believe that nowhere is off-limits for a joke that is truly funny. Unfortunately for Seth MacFarlane (and his team of hackneyed writers), while he was harkening back to the Bob Hope days of hosting, he forgot to update the jokes to reflect a little thing that happened in the interim called the women’s movement. Then there was Dustin Hoffman creepily coming on to Charlize Theron as they presented an award together. You could feel her discomfort. The whole show seemed hell bent on making sure that women were praised for how good they look rather than the fact that they are accomplished actors in their own right. But maybe that’s just me, as I mentioned earlier, I haven’t watched the show in years. Is this something that happens every year or was it more glaring this year?
**Edited to add-
My DVR stopped recording before the show was over, so I didn’t get to see the final musical number or Michelle Obama present the award for Best Picture. (WTF??? Doesn’t she have better things to do with her time?)
It’s the carrot that is dangled to the masses. You too, can be rich and happy if your work hard enough, are talented enough, or lucky enough. But rich and happy do not always go hand in hand. Just look at those who are born into wealth. Why is it that they never seem to become people who give anything of worth to society? Oh, I’m sure there are a few exceptions to this rule, but, in general, most people who were born with platinum spoons in their mouths end up becoming complete and utter douchebags.
King Douchebag, himself, Donald Trump
I have a theory as to why this occurs. Life is supposed to be full of obstacles to overcome and accomplishments to achieve (achievements to accomplish?). The obstacles are there in order to keep a person grounded, humble and grateful for everything he or she attains in life. If a person has no obstacles and is handed every opportunity on a silver platter, they think they are entitled to the good life and begin to act out and exhibit an unwarranted, puffed up sense of self. They start by testing their parents, if there are no consequences to their actions, they move on to testing society, by breaking the law. Sadly, because of their wealth, society goes easy on them and now they think that they are above the law and that they are better than everyone else. These young adults are crying out for boundaries, obstacles and consequences that are not forthcoming. For example, Paris Hilton and her multiple DUI and drug possession arrests has spent less than 6 months in jail… total. It’s no wonder she continues to break the law.
Paris and her pink Bentley before it was crashed into by her own SUV
It’s not just those born into money that suffer from douche-it is, either. It seems that when one is handed fame and fortune at a young age, it can lead to douchery as well. Lindsay Lohan is a prime example of this. The girl spends more time in court rooms and rehab than she does on movie sets. It could be argued that her horrible, leaching parents had a lot to do with her behavior, but all they are really guilty of is the same lack of boundaries and discipline as their wealthy counterparts. Well, that and forcing her to be the breadwinner for the family by the age of 11. Let’s hope, for her sake, that she ends up a success story like Drew Barrymore and not dead, like Dana Plato.
Lindsay Lohan’s 5 arrests by the age of 26
Another young star who is beginning to exhibit douche-like behavior is Justin Bieber. Recently he has been photographed with Mike Tyson, punching a paparazzi, showing his butt crack, smoking a blunt and groping a female fan. My own opinion is that all of these incidents are publicity stunts that are trying to show that Bieber is really a badass. His mentor, Usher, used to be in the same boat… cute little boy that no one thought would go beyond teen idol status and now he is his own brand. The branding of Bieber as a tough guy, however, is only serving to make him more of a joke and that can only add fuel to the douche fire.
Bieber (the badass), awkwardly gropes a female fan
The next time you wish someone nothing but the best that life has to offer, stop and think what you are really wishing upon that person. If they never have to actually earn anything, how are they ever going to see a world beyond themselves? I prefer to wish someone enough strength of character to earn health, happiness, prosperity and just enough crap to make them appreciate those things.
I have worn glasses every moment of my waking life ever since the eye doctor first strapped them to my head when I was 14 months old. I have what is referred to by optometrists as ‘special care eyes’, which basically means that I have blind as a bat-itis. I have multiple astigmatisms, my right eye has a tendency toward laziness, my lenses have a prism in them and I am far-sighted over all. I am grateful for my glasses. More specifically, I am grateful for the advancements made in the field of eyewear since that first pair was strapped to my head. No longer must I endure lenses made of glass that were so thick and heavy that they caused indentations on the bridge of my nose and on my cheeks. Frames have evolved from being a choice between horn rims or cat eyes to a veritable cornucopia of colours and styles with designer names like Chanel, Dior and Burberry. I still remember when the only famous name in eyewear was Sophia Loren. Ms. Loren was a trailblazer, taking the drab out of having to wear glasses.
Sophia made wearing glasses glamorous.
When I was growing up there was a saying, “Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”. On it’s face, this saying tells girls that you will never get a boy to be attracted to you because glasses are ugly and therefor make you ugly while wearing them. Remember the clichéd image of the plain Jane who takes down her hair and takes off her glasses and suddenly becomes gorgeous? I used to hate my glasses when I was younger, even going so far as to forego wearing them in social situations, even though I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face, just because I wanted to be more attractive to men. When I look back at photos of myself at that age, I can now see clearly what I never could then, I was attractive with or without my glasses. If only I had the confidence to value my eyesight over my need for male attention. There’s a movie from 1953, starring Marilyn Monroe called How To Marry a Millionaire in which Marilyn’s character, Paula, who wears glasses, meanders around without them stumbling into things and even getting on the wrong plane just because she feels ugly with her glasses on. So ugly, in fact that she falls in love with the first man who tells her he likes her in her glasses. She even references the saying in a “cleaned up” 1950’s version, “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses”.
It nice to see how times have changed since then. Now celebrities are sporting their specs in public proudly. Some women like Tina Fey and Lisa Loeb have become known for their eyewear, not in spite of it.
Tina Fey is smart, funny and sexy.
Lisa Loeb looking sultry in her specs.
Last night I was watching an episode of the Big Bang Theory in which Penny puts on a pair of glasses and completely shatters the implication that glasses aren’t sexy (and proves that glasses might make you look smarter, but they don’t actually add IQ points).
I now wear my glasses confidently, with pride. I wear them like a fashionable accessory with different pairs for different looks or moods. I have come to the point where I not only need my glasses, but I love my glasses.
Women might not have evolved past our intrinsic insecurities surrounding our looks yet, but it’s nice to know that at least glasses aren’t as looked down upon as they once were.
When author Thomas Dixon decided he wanted to cash in on the immense success of director, D.W Griffith’s filming of his novel the Clansmen which became the movie Birth of a Nation by writing and filming a follow-up called Fall of a Nation in 1916, he gave us perhaps the most prolific of film genres, the sequel. Even then, the sequel was far less successful than the original and was panned by critics and audiences alike. In fact, no prints of Fall of a Nation have survived and it is considered to be a lost film.
To me, the motive for filming a sequel has always been an obvious one… greed. After all we are talking about show BUSINESS and all too often the business part has far too big a say in what gets produced. There have been some very good movie franchises, like Star Wars (the first three), Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and The Godfather. With the exception of the Star Wars trilogy (which were written by George Lucas expressly for film), the others were all based on a series of bestselling novels and each of the films were painstakingly made over a long period of time by filmmakers who genuinely loved the original texts.
Then there have been the sequels that have been but a disappointing follow-up to a successful movie, which, sadly is the case with the vast majority of sequels. But love them or hate them, sequels are here to stay as long as movie makers still need investors to create their films. So, in the spirit of if you can’t beat them, join them, I am going to suggest a couple of movies that could use a sequel, if for no other reason than I would like to know what happens next.
Written and directed by George Lucas, American Graffiti is a classic film from my childhood. Set in 1962, in Modesto California, it takes place over the course of one night in the lives of a group of teenagers who have just graduated high school and are about to embark on the next phase in their lives. It remains one of my all time favourite movies. George Lucas did make a sequel to American Graffiti six years later in 1979 called More American Graffiti, which I have yet to see and therefore cannot comment on. The sequel I would like to see is one where all of the original characters now have children who are the same age as they were in the first film (perhaps even played by some of the original stars’ actual kids… Bryce Dallas Howard for example) on their last night of freedom. It would be a nice way to come full circle on the story and perhaps give Ron Howard a vehicle in which he could direct his daughter.
Ron and Bryce Dallas Howard
The next movie I would like to suggest a sequel to is the Breakfast Club. John Hughes 1980’s teen classic about a group of highschoolers from different cliques who spend a Saturday in detention together and find out that they are all so much more than the sterotypes they represent.
The stars of the Breakfast Club (minus Emilio Estevez) then and now
I don’t know about you, but I would definitely go see a sequel to this movie (as long as it starred the original cast). Perhaps a highschool reunion brings them together for the first time since graduation and one by one they all end up in the library. It’s just too bad that John Hughes is no longer around to direct a sequel.
Those are my suggestions. I’m sure they’re not great, but they are a damned sight better than some of the sequels Hollywood has forced down our collective throat.
Poster for Stayin’ Alive, the crappy sequel to Saturday Night Fever
The movie remake is a time-honoured Hollywood tradition, making Hollywood the only place on earth where people get paid to plagiarise. Like the biopic, the remake is a hit and miss genre of film. Movies get made from plays, books, comic books, video games and even other movies (remember Gus Van Sant’s shot for shot remake of Psycho?) . It seems the screen writer can steal ideas from anywhere as long as the studio pays enough for the rights to the story and characters. It’s not enough to remake an idea once, either. Just look at Shakespeare, who, along with Dickens, is one of the most stolen from writers on the planet. The story of Romeo and Juliet has been told 13 times since 1900 is various movies, and that’s not including movies that don’t use the title Romeo and Juliet, but still “borrow” the storyline.
One of the latest incarnations of the Romeo and Juliet story
I mentioned Dickens as well because A Christmas Carol has been filmed 14 times (again, not including the times that it has been told under a different name) starring a wide variety of Scrooges from Jim Carrey and Bill Murray to George C. Scott and even Susan Lucci.
Susan Lucci as a female Scrooge
It’s not just classics that are remade either. Lately Hollywood has been dipping into the 1980’s to remake movies that can still be seen on cable, like Fame, Footloose and Red Dawn in an attempt to lure the nostalgic movie-goer back into the theaters. Nevermind that most people of my generation (okay… younger than me by 5 to 10 years) are too busy with work and kids to bother going to a theater to see a movie and would prefer to send their kids off to one so they can have some quiet time at home.
The “new” Footloose
I am not a fan of the movie remake in general, but as it is a practice that has been going on forever and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, I would like to offer up a movie that is ripe for a remake. Building on the success of movies that star people from my parents generation (and older) like Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Dame Judi Dench and Robert DeNiro because Baby Boomers are going to the movies in droves, I say why not do a remake of Arsenic and Old Lace?
Carey Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace
Originally a hit Broadway play, this movie has only been remade once in 1969 as an ABC movie of the week, so it has not been done to death. I have even taken the liberty of putting together a fantasy cast for the project. Below is the original cast of the main characters for the Frank Capra 1944 version.
The obvious choice here would be Robin Williams as he has already played Teddy Roosevelt in the Night at the Museum movies, but I would like to offer up Anthony Hopkins as an alternative casting choice (he doesn’t do much comedy, but I think this is an untapped talent that he possesses) as “Teddy Roosevelt” Brewster
If Hollywood MUST churn out remake after remake, I say maybe movie-goers should help them along with some creative suggestions of our own.
What would be a movie you would like to see remade and who would star?
I have long been a fan of biographies of famous and infamous people. I read biographical and autobiographical books, love to watch the biography channel and usually enjoy watching biographical movies.The Hollywood biopic is a hit and miss genre. When it’s done well, there’s nothing better, when it’s done poorly there’s nothing worse. While casting is important in all film genres, it is perhaps most important in the case of the biopic. The actor or actress must, not only look quite similar to the original subject, but they must walk alike, talk alike and have their mannerisms down to the smallest detail, so that even the most discerning of fans can be transported for the length of the film into that person’s life. It’s a genre that can make or break an actor’s career. This past weekend I watched two movie biographies, one that was critically lauded and one that was critically panned. In my opinion, they had more similarities than differences. Let’s start with the, made for Lifetime TV movie, Liz and Dick.
Lindsay Lohan and Elizabeth Taylor
I went into this movie expecting it to be a glorious train wreck and I was somewhat disappointed. Oh, it was an awful movie, don’t get me wrong, but I was expecting it to be bad in a much more campy and funny way. While this movie failed on many levels there were things in it that should be praised, like the hair, make up and costumes, the sets, the classic cars. The whole look of the movie was very well done. Theresa Russell, (an actress who, in my opinion never got her due) as Taylor’s mother gave a solid performance. Grant Bowler (of Ugly Betty fame) was fairly good as Richard Burton, although he could have worked a bit harder on the Welsh accent as his natural New Zealand accent won out more often than not. The entire supporting cast really did their best to rise above a terrible script and a truly horrid performance by the lead actress. The script sounded as if it were written by a 10-year-old with lines like “I don’t loathe you, I hate you!”. Now I am not against the telling of the unvarnished truth, warts and all, but this seemed to have been written for the express purpose of sullying the memory of Taylor and Burton. It was all warts… no all. Speaking of the lead actress, Lindsay Lohan didn’t even seem to be trying to portray Elizabeth Taylor as much as she seemed to be trying to connect some of the events in Taylor’s life to her own. Elizabeth Taylor had a high-pitched, almost childlike, feminine voice, Lohan sounded like a ninety year old Jewish woman sending back soup in a deli. To be fair, that is Lindsay’s natural voice, but when you are portraying someone else, you MUST, at least try to, sound like them… especially when you are using the part as a comeback vehicle. Lohan was too skinny, too freckled and too immature for the part. I suspect that the only reason her name was brought up for the role was that she had previously done a pictorial for Interview Magazine where she was done up as Taylor. There is a vast difference between posing like an icon while in the right styling, make up and lighting for a still camera and actually portraying that person for a motion picture camera and Lindsay does not look enough like Elizabeth Taylor to suspend the viewer’s disbelief. I understand that Lifetime is a small budget network known for schlocky movies of the week, and casting Lohan in this role was, in itself, quite the marketing stroke of genius. They knew there would be millions of people (like myself) tuning in just to see her fail and that was something they could sell to advertisers. After all, there’s nothing the public likes better than to see an actress who is already on the decline, make a fool of herself. To Lohan’s credit there was actually one believable moment in the movie. There is a part where Richard Burton is trying to comfort Elizabeth Taylor who is crying after storming out of her 40th birthday party because a couple of the catty guests said she was no longer a movie star. Lohan as Taylor utters the line, “I’m not a star, I’m a joke.” In this moment Lohan actually connected with the truth, perhaps ironically, but it was a moment of truth in an otherwise hopeless performance.
The other biopic I finally got around to watching this weekend was My Week With Marilyn, a film that received two Oscar nominations and a host of other accolades
Michelle Williams and Marilyn Monroe
As a fan of Marilyn Monroe, I went into this film with mixed emotions. I have read almost everything there is to read about her life. I have seen literally all of her films multiple times. I have watched interviews with her, talking about her life and her work. It was going to be difficult for me to be able to suspend my disbelief enough to give Michelle Williams a fair shake. The movie, as a whole, was not terrible. Like Liz and Dick, the attention to detail was very good and the supporting cast rose above a bad script. Dame Judy Dench was perfection as Dame Sybil Thorndike. Julia Ormond absolutely became Vivian Leigh. Dougray Scott was wonderful as Arthur Miller (although his part was small and poorly written). Kenneth Branagh as Sir Lawrence Olivier was transcendent. The script was an amateurish, mean-spirited and one-dimensional portrayal of every character, especially Monroe, but most of the actors were able to bring more to their portrayals than what was on the page. The story could have easily been written by someone who had never even met Marilyn and had just heard the gossip and rumours of her behavior on set (another case of all warts and no all). It came across as the deluded bragging of a young man who thought himself the only person who could understand Marilyn Monroe. That being said, Michelle Williams’ portrayal did nothing to give any real depth to the part, focusing solely on her insecurities, fear of abandonment and need for approval. Another case of bad casting. Now I am not saying that Williams is a bad actress, quite the contrary, I have enjoyed her in many other movies. It is simply that this role was too big for her, both figuratively and literally. Williams, (like Lohan) was too thin for the part… and the opening scene with her dancing in a sheer gown was distracting if only because of the OBVIOUS padding of her hips and bottom. I couldn’t help but think, several times while watching this movie, that HBO would have done a far better job with it. In fact, I would have given this film much more slack if it had been made for TV, but as it was not and as it was so acclaimed, I was more critical of every little detail. Unlike, Lindsay Lohan in Liz and Dick, Michelle Williams did not ever seem to connect with Monroe (even ironically). The whole performance was a pale imitation and a let down.
Tippi Hedren and Sienna Miller
There have been biopic movies that I have thought were well done. Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren in The Girl, Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady, Don Cheadle as Sammy Davis Jr. and Joe Mantegna as Dean Martin in The Rat Pack, Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar and Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in Game Change. With the possible exception of Sienna Miller (it was almost creepy how much she looked like Tippi Hedren), none of these actors looked exactly like the person they were portraying, but they were able to get past the persona to the person inside and transform themselves into those iconic roles.
Today the folks at Yahoo posted their list of the 25 most iconic dresses of all time Like most lists, I agreed with some of the choices and disagreed with others. Many of the dresses they featured don’t meet the criteria that I would use to define iconic. For me, an iconic dress is one that you could see on a mannequin and immediately recognize not only the dress, but know who wore it.
Some of the choices I take issue with are Catherine Deneuve in Belle De Jour (too plain), Barbra Streisand at the 1969 Oscars (it’s not a dress), Olivia Newton-John’s dress from Grease (wouldn’t recognize it outside of the movie), Jennifer Grey’s Dirty Dancing dress (wouldn’t recognize it outside of the movie), Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct dress (too plain) and Michelle Williams’ Oscar dress (even after seeing it on the list, I didn’t remember it).
I thought I would post my own list of what I think are the 20 most iconic dresses. In no particular order…
Vivien Leigh in a dress made from the curtains in Gone With the Wind
This dress was so iconic that even a spoof of it became iconic.
Carol Burnett in a dress made from the curtains (complete with curtain rod)
Judy Garland as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz
Jackie Kennedy’s pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat
Marilyn Monroe singing Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Dorothy Lamour in her sarong dress, prompting men everywhere to say her sarong was so right.
Cher in her Bob Mackie designed Half Breed dress. The perfect marriage of designer and muse.
Jean Harlow in a white, silk halter, making the slip dress famous.
Julie Andrews from the opening scene of The Sound of Music.
Rita Hayworth in Gilda.
Twiggy in a Mary Quant A-line mini dress, defining the Mod fashions of the 1960’s.
Elizabeth Hurley in her career launching Versace safety-pin dress.
Cyndi Lauper having fun in the dress that helped make her famous.
Sara Jessica Parker in this stunning Vivienne Westwood wedding gown from the first Sex and the City movie
Julia Roberts winning the Oscar in style.
Perhaps the most iconic dress of all time, Marilyn Monroe’s white, pleated halter dress from the Seven Year Itch.
Tina Turner’s gold fringed Proud Mary mini dress.
Love it or hate it, you will never forget Lady Gaga’s meat dress.
Although she wore more glamorous dresses in the film, this blue satin number from Gypsy on Natalie Wood stood out and defined the character. “Mama, I’m a pretty girl.”
Proving that even men can wear iconic dresses, Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie.
The colour was the only thing close to being Like a Virgin in this dress on Madonna.
And last, but most certainly not least…
Mary Tyler Moore in a green cut-out dress designed by a hooker in, perhaps, one of the funniest episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Every single one of these dresses are dresses I would instantly recognize without anyone in them. They were moment defining, which is what makes them iconic to me.
The songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller is responsible for launching the careers of some of the most iconic acts in Rock & Roll history. They wrote songs for the Coasters, the Drifters, Ben E. King, the Shangri-La’s and perhaps most famously, Elvis Presley.
Elvis with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
With songs like Is That All There Is?, There Goes My Baby, Yakity Yak, Charlie Brown, Stand By Me, Love Potion Number 9, Poison Ivy, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog, Leiber and Stoller cemented their place in the Song Writers Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in music history.
In 1958, Leiber and Stoller took a chance on a young session guitarist and former member of the Teddy Bears (of, To Know Him is to Love Him, fame) by the name of Phil Spector.
a very young Phil Spector
It was while working as an apprentice with Leiber and Stoller, that Phil Spector learned the art of producing music. Spector was already a song writer and performer, but it wasn’t until his time with Leiber and Stoller, taught him the production end of the business that Spector really began to shine.
A scant three years later, Spector formed a new record company along with his partner Lester Sill called Phillies Records and it was during that time that his infamous Wall Of Sound technique was born. It was also during that time that Spector employed Sonny Bono as part of his production team. Spector, himself launched more careers than those of his mentors. He gave the world, Sonny and Cher, The Righteous Brothers, The Ronettes, The Crystals and Ike and Tina Turner. Spector also wrote and/or produced music for Dion, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles (Let It Be), John Lennon (Imagine) and The Ramones. Phil Spector earned himself a place in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
Spector’s personal life was not as successful. Married three times, he fathered five children (three of whom he adopted with his then wife Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes). Spector was getting increasingly reclusive over the years and began to exhibit some dangerous behavior, like brandishing a gun and stealing unreleased tapes while working with John Lennon in 1973 and threatening Leonard Cohen with a crossbow in 1977, to pulling a gun on the Ramones in 1980, during a meeting at his home when they wanted to leave.
Spector’s mug shot
Phil Spector has been the inspiration for several movie characters including Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell in the 1970 Russ Meyer movie Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. This year, Al Pacino wrapped filming on a HBO movie, where he played Phil Spector. The movie is centered on the relationship between Phil Spector and defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden while the music business legend was on trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson.
Ironically, Al Pacino worked with Lana Clarkson, the actress that Phil Spector was convicted of murdering in 2003. They appeared together in the Brian De Palma/Oliver Stone classic Scarface. Clarkson also appeared in a few Roger Corman films, as well as the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
So, if songwriting legends, Leiber and Stoller hadn’t taken a young Phil Spector under their wing, the world would never have heard songs like, Be My Baby, Chapel Of Love, River Deep-Mountain High, Spanish Harlem, Take Me Home Tonight, Then He Kissed me and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’. But then, Lana Clarkson would likely still be alive.
There seems to be a trend of late where famous women are showing the world their bare… faces.
From Teri Hatcher and Tyra Banks to Oprah Winfrey and the hosts of The Talk, famous women are showing us what they look like without make up and the media is touting them for being so brave.
When I was growing up, I never saw my Mother wear make up. To this day, the most glam she gets is when she paints her nails for a fancy evening out to dinner. She never had any trouble finding or keeping a man. She married my Father when she was 22 and they never parted. As most girls who enter their teens, I rebelled against the kind of woman my Mother was. I was very into make up and fashion. Of course it didn’t help that throughout my entire childhood I was teased and criticized for being ugly. I hit my teen years with little to no self esteem. My Mother understood that make up was something that I desperately wanted to play with, so, since she couldn’t teach me about it herself, she took me to the local beauty salon and had one of the experts give me a lesson, then bought all the product that were used on me. I am still very grateful to her for encouraging me to follow my own path, even though it was not her path.
As I grew into my twenties and thirties, I never left the house without a full face of make up. Even just a trip to the corner store required, at the very least, concealer, mascara and lipstick. It wasn’t until I hit 40 that I realized that my face is beautiful without a stitch of make up. That’s the ironic thing about being a young woman. When you are at your most beautiful physically is when you are your most insecure. There are times when I have wished that I could have it to do over again with my newfound confidence and priorities along for the ride, but you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to my twenties without all of the wisdom I now have. Now, I maybe put on lipstick once a month. I haven’t worn a full make up application in over 4 years and I don’t see it as bravery, just as a shift in self perception and priorities. I am single and still get plenty of male attention. The attention I get now is different, though. It’s no longer whistles and hoots from afar (which I hated). The attention I get now, without make up is more of a real interest in who I am. I have heard from men, on more than a few occasions, how attractive and sexy my confidence is.
So, while I applaud these famous women for ditching their masks and showing the younger generation that you can be beautiful with your naked face, I resent the fact that they seem to be doing it for less that altruistic reasons. I also resent the media for making it seem like such a big deal. In the video below, the anchors of The Showbiz Countdown are reacting to the hosts of The Talk recently doing an entire episode of their show without make up.
It also bothers me that they all had to be wearing robes or towels during the episode, as if to say that the only appropriate time in which to be sans make up is before you are fully dressed.
In the wake of one of the world’s most powerful women, Hillary Clinton, being vilified for going without make up this just seemed like a stunt for ratings. When Hillary Clinton goes without make up, she does it because she has more important things to think about. She has also reached an age where she is more worried about who she is and what she is accomplishing than what she looks like, and for that I say Brava!
It’s sad that women, in general, have yet to reach a stage where we are no longer judged first and foremost by what we look like and second by our accomplishments. The fact that the media jumped down throat of the Secretary of State for going without make up speaks volumes about how far women have yet to go before we are truly equal.