The History of Fashion

The history of fashion through the decades is a rich and interesting story. From Charles Fredrick Worth’s genius to the grunge style of the nineties it has been a fantastic history. I’m going to begin at the beginning.  

 

Charles Fredrick Worth was born on the 13th of February 1825 in Bourne, Lincolnshire in England . He is thought of by many people as the Father of Haute Couture. His works were created in Paris. He was employed in numerous successful drapery shops in London before he left for Paris in 1846. He was employed by Gagelin and Opigez who were famous Parisian drapers. Worth created a few uncomplicated dresses for Marie Vernet who was his wife and one of the company’s models and consequently customers began to ask for copies of the dresses for themselves. In 1858 with the financial help of an affluent Swede Otto Bobergh Worth opened the dressmaking shop of Worth and Bobergh. He designed outfits for numerous women who were titled, affluent, or notable in some aspect like the French Empress Eugenie, actress Sarah Bernhardt or other notable women like Catherine Walters and Cora Pearl. A lot of his work is to do with the movement to redefine the female shape in fashion and eliminating excessive ruffles and frills and using luxury fabrics in uncomplicated but flattering outlines. He is the first designer to put labels onto the clothes he created. Instead of letting the customer decide on the design, as had previously been what was done, four times in each year he presented dresses on models at fashion shows. His patronesses decided on a model, who would then be sewn in fabrics of the customer’s choice and tailored to fit their figure. He revolutionised fashion. His business was called The House of Worth.

 

Paul Poiret was a French designer. He founded his fashion house in 1903. He made his mark with the controversial kimono coat. He is mostly famous for allowing women more freedom with their clothes by eliminating corsets and for his creations like hobble skirts,”lampshade” tunics and “harem” pantaloons. He used draping in his creations which was a huge change from the usual methods up to then of tailoring or pattern-making. 

 

 

The twenties was the decade of the flapper dress. The social and political trouble and growing cultural exchange which was after the end of World War I and also American jazz coming to Europe were where the origins of the flapper dress came from. Actress Louise Brooks was one woman who wore the flapper look with pride. However the first time that both the word and look was noticed in the United States came from the well-liked 1920 film by Frances Marion called The Flapper which starred Olive Thomas. She also appeared in a similar role in 1917 but it was not until this film that the word was used. In her last films, she was seen as the flapper image. Writers in the United States like F. Scott Fitzgerald and illustrators like Ethel Hays made the flapper look popular as well as the lifestyle in their work. The flapper lifestyle and look went out of fashion in America following the Wall Street Crash and after the Great Depression.

 

The 1920s is the decade in which women first left behind the more restricting fashions of previous years and started to wear clothes in which they felt more comfortable. And men also left behind their usual formal clothing. Some started to wear athletic clothing for the first time. The suits men wear today are still based, to a large extent, on the suits worn in the late 1920s. The 1920s had two distinct periods of fashion. In the earlier end of the 1920s, change was slow because lots of people were scared to adapt to new fashions. The public began to wear the fashions connected with World War I from 1925 onwards. The United States of America came into an affluent period and because of its part in the war came onto the world stage.  

 

The thirties was a fantastic decade for fashion in film. There was starlets like Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo. The former was known from the beginning of her career to incorporate masculine clothes into her look.

 

 

In 1937, Wallis Simpson married Prince Edward at the Château de Candé in a creation by American designer Mainbocher. Wallis wore a dress which was nipped-at-the-waist. She wore a blue straw hat created by Caroline Reboux which had a halo effect and also blue tulle and gloves which were made from the same blue silk crepe as her gown.  Both were incredibly influential to style. She wore many designs by the top couturiers of the day and he wore classic Savile Row tailoring as well as sportswear.

 

Successful designers were Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeleine Vionnet. The only male designer to have made a huge impact in this decade was Jean Patou. There was a lot of rivalry between Chanel and Schiaparelli.   

 

Gabrielle “Coco” Bonheur Chanel was born in 1883 in Saumur in France. She was the only fashion designer to make Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. As well as Paul Poiret, she was a driving force in freeing women from the constraints of the silhouette which had a corset. Her designs were in jewelry, perfumes and handbags as well as clothes. Her signature scent was Chanel No. 5. She became a licensed modiste in 1910 and opened a boutique at 21 rue Cambon, Paris called Chanel Modes. Chanel’s modiste career blossomed when theatre actress Gabrielle Dorziat wore her creations in 1912 in the play by F Noziere called Bel Ami. She also wore her hats in Les Modes. This was the start of her career. Her signature pieces were monochome and tweed. The re-establishment of her couture house was in 1954. Her new line was not liked by Parisians who thought her reputation had been destroyed by associating with the Nazis. Nevertheless, Chanel’s comeback was liked by both the British and Americans.   

Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer who was born in 1890 at the Palazzo Corsini in Rome. She had a great rivalry with Chanel. Her work was inspired by Surrealists like people who collaborated with her such as Salvador Dali and Alberto Giacometti. One of her clients was the actress Mae West. In Paris, Schiaparelli whose nickname to her friends was “Schiap” started creating her own clothes. She presented a collection of knitwear in the early part of 1927 using a double layered stitch pioneered by Armenian refugees and including jumpers which had surrealist trompe l’oeil images. Her company really started to get successful due to a pattern that gave the impression of a scarf wrapped around the wearer’s neck. The “pour le Sport” collection got bigger the year after to feature bathing suits, ski-wear, and linen dresses. The divided skirt which was a forerunner of shorts was worn by Lilo de Avarez at Wimbledon in 1931.  

 

The forties was the decade of Film Noir. Numerous actresses were wearing red as their lip colour. Actresses who were admired for both their talent and style in the forties were Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

 

While the Second World War was going on, Vera Maxwell displayed outfits created of plain and simply cut details and brought in innovations in men’s work wear. Bonnie Cashin innovated boots into a huge fashion accessory. In 1944 she started the manufacture of new and innovative sportswear. Claire McCardell, Anne Klein, and Bonnie Cashin were a successful trio of women who put down the foundations of American sportswear, making sure that ready-to-wear was not playing second fiddle.

 

 

The fifties was the decade when Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld along with fellow winner Colette Bracchi won the International Wool Secretariat. The year was 1954. Saint Laurent won first and third place in the dress category. Their sketches had been chosen from six thousand sketches which were anonymous. The competition was in it’s second year and the first-prize designer in each category had their sketch made up into an outfit which was wore at the awards by a model who accompanied the winners onto the stage. Lagerfeld won the coat category and his coat was manufactured of daffodil-yellow with straight lines. It ended on the calf and was cut low also across the collarbone and dipped in a V at the back. Saint Laurent’s cocktail dress was a black sheath dress
that wrapped around one of the shoulders. There was a black veil over the model’s face. At this time Lagerfeld was twenty-one and Saint Laurent was eighteen.  

 

 

 

Christian Dior was a major designer in the 1950s. Dior founded his fashion house on December 16, 1946 with the backing of Marcel Boussac who was a cotton-fabric magnate. His first collection was   presented in early 1947 and was called Corolle but the name New Look was given to it by Carmel Snow who was the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar and was also Irish. Dior’s creations throughout the 1950s were more sensual than the boxy shapes of the World War II looks, inspired by the rations imposed on fabric. He was inspiring at creating silhouettes. His style consisted of fabrics which were lined mostly with boned, percale bodices which were like bustiers in style with hip padding and dresses which flared out from the waist which in consequence gave his models a curvaceous look. Sadly he died in 1957 at the very young age of 52 of a heart attack while on holiday in Italy.

 

A Streetcar Named Desire was a huge film in 1951. The style in this movie by Lucinda Ballard was amazing.

 

Another actor in the 1950s whose style is still copied by men today is the incredibly handsome James Dean who tragically died in 1955 at the very young age of 24. His casual style of jeans and shirts was simple but perfect. He starred in three huge films Rebel Without A Cause, East of Eden and Giant which was released in 1956 after his death. 

 

Grace Kelly was a huge fashion icon in this decade. She acted in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Dial M For Murder. She married Prince Rainer III of Monaco on the 19th of April 1956. Her wedding dress was designed by designer Helen Rose who worked for MGM. The dress had a bodice and also another bodice which was an attached under-bodice and skirt. There was also two petticoats. One was an attached foundation. She also wore shoes, a headdress and a veil to match and carried a prayer book which was encrusted with pearl and lace. The dress is still inspiring today. Kate Middleton’s wedding dress when she married Prince William on April 29th 2011 at St. Nicholas Cathedral was reportedly influenced by Kelly’s dress. Due to the fact that Kelly was friends with designer Edith Head, Head thought she was going to be the designer asked to create the much-anticipated gown but it was Helen Rose who got the go-ahead. The gown was a present to Kelly from the MGM studio. It had a high-neck as well as long sleeves gown. The torso was fitted and the skirt was billowing. The dress consisted of silk net, silk taffeta, tulle, peau de soie and Brussels rose point lace which was 125 -years-old. She also wore a Juliet cap which had jewels of orange blossoms and seed pearls. The veil was created from tulle. She also had a bouquet of Lilies of the Valley. The material price and manufacturing price of the gown was US$7266.68, with the fee of the Rose.      The sixties was an incredible era for so much historic fashion and is one of the most referenced decades on the catwalk even now. It is easy to see why. This was the decade which gave us Twiggy. Twiggy was born Lesley Hornby. She was a model from 1965 until 1970.   Her biggest inspiration was Jean Shrimpton who she seen as the world’s first supermodel. She has also been seen as the successor to her idol.  In January 1966, her hair was coloured and cut short in Mayfair at The House of Leonard which was owned by celebrity hairdresser Leonard. A professional photographer called Barry Lategan took many photographs for Leonard, which the hairdresser hung up in his hair salon. Deirdre McSharry who was a fashion journalist for the Daily Express saw the photographs and asked to meet her. McSharry had further photographs taken. A couple of weeks later there was an article published with the photographs describing her as “The Face of ’66.” This was her breakthrough and after this her modeling career took off. A month later she was in   her first shoot for Vogue. And just a year later, she had featured in 13 fashion shoots in international Vogue magazines. She went to New York in 1967 and it garnered interest from the media. The New Yorker amongst others featured the Twiggy “phenomenon”. In 1967 she became a sensation internationally. She modeled in America, Japan and France. She was on the cover of Paris Vogue in May 1967 while she made the cover of US Vogue in April, July and November and also the cover of British Vogue in October. In her career she was photographed by numerous incredible photographers including Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon.    Fashion inspirations in this decade included The Beetles who were at the height of their “Beetlemania” and The Rolling Stones who offered a more alternative style of music to the Beetles. Other musical and style influences were Jimmy Hendrix, The Who and The Doors with their charismatic and controversial frontman Jim Morrison. 

One of my biggest fashion inspirations and a fashion inspiration to many other women through the decades since the sixties has been actress and Humanitarian Aubrey Hepburn. She starred in numerous films including her breakthrough Sabrina which was the film she met the designer Hubert de Givenchy on which began a lifelong fashion partnership between the pair. She also starred in Breakfast at Tiffany’s which was the film which was based on the incredible writer Truman Capote’s novella. She also appeared alongside Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. Her little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of the most iconic fashion images in history and was of course designed by Givenchy.   

Arguably the best designer to have ever been invented was Yves Saint Laurent. From 1960 to 1970 he made famous numerous styles with the help of his partner in life and in business Pierre Berge. They made the beatnik look successful as well as safari jackets for both men and women. Other successes included tight pants and boots which were thigh-high in height. In 1966 they released the Le Smoking which is considered the most popular classic Tuxedo suit for women. He and Berge split romantically in 1974 but continued to be friends and partners in work.

 

 

The sixties was a time of political evolution. Sadly, people fighting for human rights were killed. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jack Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy were murdered.

Technology in photography was also major in this decade. There was four main photographers who were around at this time photographing fashion and giving extraordinary life to the clothes the designers of the day designed. These four photographers were David Bailey, Terence Donavan, Brian Duffy and Eric Swayne. 

The seventies was the disco era. Platform boots and flared trousers were the order of the day and the film Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta and with music by The Bee Gees was released. Disco music reigned with the likes of Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor and Kool & the Gang. 

A huge designer was Vivienne Westwood. Her style was very rebellious and anti-establishment. She met Malcolm McLauren who was a member of the rock group The Sex Pistols. They moved into a council flat in Clapham together.  In 1971, McLaren decided to open a boutique on King’s Road by the name “Let It Rock”. This boutique later became known   as “Sex” then “Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die”, and also “Seditionaries”. It is now called Worlds Ends. She had a huge interest in the punk clothing which was huge in the seventies. The “punk style” included bondage gear, safety pins and spiked dog collars for jewellery and razor blades. There was eccentric make-up and hair. Tartan was a huge factor in the style of punk. In the unique facets of her style is the employment of historical 17th and 18th century cloth cutting techniques. She reinvented these in, for example, radical cutting lines to men’s trousers.

 

Glam rock was huge in the seventies with people like David Bowie and Elton John and bands like T- Rex, Wizard and Queen. 

 

 

Sadly this was also the decade that Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone were killed. The two men were incredible ambassadors for the rights of gay people, environmental issues, labor rights and neighborhood issues. The man who killed them Dan White only served a little bit more than five years in jail for their murders which was a disgraceful verdict. He should have got life. 

 

The eighties was the decade of leg warmers, padded shoulders and heavy, colorful and eccentric make-up and hair. Fame and Flashdance were released in this decade and the styles were a huge indication of the style back in this decade shown through characters like Doris Finsecker played by Maureen Teefy, Coco Hernandez played by Irene Cara, Montgomery MacNeil played by Paul McCrane and Leroy Johnson played by Gene Anthony Ray in Fame. In Flashdance style came from characters like Alex Owens played by Jennifer Beals and Nick Hurley played by Michael Nouri.   

 

Bernard Arnault is French and is hugely successful in the business side of the fashion industry. In 1987, not long after the founding of LVMH which is the luxury group which came from the merger between the two companies Louis Vuitton and Moët-Hennessy. In 1988, the group was searching for   investors. Henri Racamier who was the CEO then asked Bernard Arnault if he would invest in LVMH. With over 25% of shares, Arnault became one of the major shareholders of the group. In 2005, he became the richest man in France. On the Forbes list of Billionaires in 2006, he stood at  $30 billion.

 

American soap operas such as Dallas and Dynsty were popular for both their storylines and their fashion. The latter had style from Joan Collins and Linda Evans while the former had style from Linda Grey and Pamela Bellwood. 

Elizabeth Emmanuel designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress when she married Prince Charles in 1981. The wedding dress when she married Charles, Prince of Wales. The wedding took place on the 29th of July 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral. It was made of ivory silk taffeta and antique lace and had a 25-foot train. It cost £9000. At the time it was and was one of the most guarded secrets in the fashion industry.   

 

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was a major film for fashion. Even to this day, fans of the film wear their copies of the outfits that Rachael played by Sean Young, Pris played by Daryl Hannah and Rutger played by Roy Batty wore.   

Power dressing was big in the eighties. It is a style of clothes and hair that helps to make people wearing the style seem authoritative, specifically in work situations in business. The clothes have   matching trousers or a long skirt and jacket with colorful accents, like cravats or brooches. Thierry Mugler and Giorgi Armani were masters of the power dressing style.

In 1983 Karl Lagerfeld became chief designer for Chanel. As Chanel herself did, he used the past as an influence for his creations. He made sure to include the signature fabrics of Chanel fabrics and features such as tweed, chain and gold accents. He kept the signature Chanel look but also made the brand more contemporary. In future collections he decided to come away from the ladylike style of Chanel and started to experiment with various fabrics and looks.    

 

The nineties was when the style of grunge took off. Grunge was a subgenre of alternative rock and started in the middle of the eighties in Washington in America but mainly in Seattle. It’s influences came from indie rock, punk and heavy metal. The earliest grunge movement surrounded Seattle independent record label Sub Pop in the late part of the eighties but it became mainstream in the first part of the nineties because of mostly albums by incredible rock bands Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Nirvana released Nevermind and Pearl Jam released Ten.    The nineties had three incredible designers in Tom Ford, Gianni Versace and Marc Jacobs. In 1990, Tom Ford who was almost an unknown in the fashion industry from Texas was employed as Gucci’s chief women’s ready-to-wear designer while Versace dazzled with the “Safety-pin” dress which Liz Hurley wore to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994 making both her and Versace more known. In 1997, Jacobs was appointed Louis Vuitton’s creative director. Here he designed their first ready-to-wear line. He has collaborated with many people from different creative worlds for his Louis Vuitton collections, such as Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami, American artist Richard Prince and rapper Kanye West

 

In 1991, Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis was a major inspiration in fashion and still is today. 

 

Hip hop style, also called urban fashion is a style which comes from African American young people on the scene of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Virginia, St. Louis, the San Francisco Bay Area, Memphis and Atlanta and many others. Each city added different parts to its complete look which is displayed universally now. Hip hop fashion ties together the personality and outlooks of hip hop culture. Nike and Adidas were popular brands in hip hop style. 

 

Fashion is still major today. There is numerous sections in gossip magazines dedicated to fashion and many magazines like Grazia, Vogue, Elle and Look Magazine are completely dedicated to fashion. Films like Twilight and The Artist are huge style influences while shows like Glee have a website dedicated to just the style of the show alone. Artists in music such as Rihanna give a hip hop edge to their style while artists such as Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert sport eccentric styles which slightly give a nod to the Glam rock era. Meanwhile stars like Cheryl Cole, Victoria and David Beckham and Olivia Palermo are known for their style. Designers such as Matthew Williamson and Erdem as well as new breakthrough designers J W Anderson and Simone Rocha are keeping the fashion world entranced. I think it is safe to say that fashion will be popular for many decades to come. 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blade Runner Fashion

                       

 

Blade Runner is a film directed by English director Ridley Scott. The film was released in 1982 with costumes by American costume designer Michael Kaplan and Charles Knode who also worked on Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Make-up was by Hollywood make-up artist Marvin Westmore. In 1983, Knode and Kaplan won a BAFTA for Best Costume Design for their work on Blade Runner while Westmore was nominated for his work on the film. This film is a very iconic film for style and incorporates fashion from the 1920’s, 1940’s and the 1980’s.

The story follows Rick Deckard played by Harrison Ford as he goes on a journey to track down and kill four replicants. These replicants are bioengineered and have come to earth illegally. They have only a duration of life that lasts four years and might have come to prolong their lives.

Ford’s character falls in love with one of the replicants Rachael played by Sean Young. In the course of their romance she sports many iconic costumes mainly with 1940’s influences. In her first scene she wears a silk and gold threaded two-piece couture suit which is grey and beige. Her hair in victory rolls. Racheal’s make-up while she answers the questions in the voight-Kampff test is red lipstick and black eyeliner. Red lipstick was the lip colour of the 1940’s with stars like Ingrid Bergman giving it their seal of approval. She was sporting a black silk and snake skin two-piece suit. Sharp tailoring, red lips and rolled hair were parts of Rachael’s look and are reminiscent of Joan Crawford’s look when she starred in the 1941 movie Mildred Pierce. Another example of Rachael’s clothing includes the coat she sports when she goes to Deckard’s apartment following her realisation that she is a replicant. It is a stunning coat which is created from blue silk brocade and has a fur trimmed stand up collar and huge bat wing style fur sleeves.

The movie inspired the “Power Suit” of the 1980’s and also shoulder pads. The character who was most inspirational for the style of the eighties was Pris played by Daryl Hannah. She is another replicant. She wore legwarmers which were like the style of Fame and Flashdance but infused with a cyber punk twist. She also wore a dog collar, a long fur coat and ripped tights. Her hair was bleached blonde and she wore blue make-up that went completely across her eyes. This make-up image is one of the most iconic make-up looks in film. She also sports a very pale complexion.

The 1920’s is represented by orientalism in the movie.  In the film, the theme of Asian culture is hugely present at all times.On the billboard there is an Asian woman in traditional oriental dress which has a huge resemblance to a Japanese Geisha while many of the Asian people working or shopping in the market during the market scene when Deckard is trying to find Zhora played by Joanna Cassidy who is another replicant are wearing oriental clothes.

 

 

Hairspray In Ireland

 

Two weeks ago on the 3rd of August I went to see the matinee of the musical Hairspray in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin with my sister Sharon. The setting of the musical is in Baltimore in Maryland in 1962 and our protagonist is Tracy Turnblad who represents all plus size teenage girls or plus size women like myself. She is an ordinary girl with ambitions to have it all: the career on The Corny Collins Show and the man of her dreams in the form of Link Larkin who performs on the said show. But there is so much more to Tracy than all this. She is a very compassionate and good person who thinks of other people. She uses her eventual success on the show as a way to fight against racial segregation. The year the musical was set in was a time when the fight for equality for African Americans and also other disadvantaged groups of people was in the middle of its important fight for justice.  

Turnblad is played by 22 year old Freya Sutton who graduated from the prestigious Italia Conti theatre school in London in July last year where previous alumni also include. She plays the part incredibly well and reminds me of how played Turnblad in the film version of Hairspray in.  Her parents are played by Mark Benton (Edna Turnblad) and Paul Rider (Wilbur Turnblad). The two actors are incredible in displaying their love for each other which has not grown stale over the many years they’ve been together and also in displaying the love they have for their only child Tracy.  Tracy’s love interest is the irrepressibly handsome Link Larkin whose heart is in the right place but he is also overly ambitious. Larkin is played in this production by New Yorker Luke Striffler who has previously been in the UK Tour of Avenue Q as . Striffler plays the part to perfection and does a really good Southern American accent which is really rather sexy.  Her best friend and easily my favourite character in Hairspray is Penny Pingleton. She is played by Lauren Hood who previously appeared as Laura in the UK Tour of the musical Dreamboats and Petticoats. I identify more with Pingleton than any of the characters. I’m quite dippy too and her reaction to meeting her love interest Seaweed J Stubbs makes me think of my own reaction to a hot man! I also find her very funny and Hood times Pingleton’s one-liners to perfection.  Pingleton’s boyfriend Seaweed J Stubbs is played by former The X Factor runner up Marcus Collins but he wasn’t performing in this particular show. Instead Stubbs was played by the amazingly talented Nathaniel Morrison who has previously been in Sister Act alongside Whoopi Goldberg at the Palladium. His chemistry with Hood was brilliant and he gave incredible swagger to a character who is all about the swagger.  His mother, Motormouth Maybelle is played by Sandra Marvin who as has previously performed in Cole Porters’ The New Yorkers’ at the Sadlers Wells Theatre. The range that that woman can hit is unreal and she had many high notes to hit that showed off her amazing vocal ability on the day.  Her daughter and Seaweed’s sister Inez is played by Gabrielle Brooks. She previously starred in BBC’s Coming Down the Mountain alongside Nicholas Hoult and in. She plays the role to perfection and brings a lot of youthful energy to the performance.  Former Eastenders actress Lucy Bengamin played Velma Von Tussle, t at The Corny Collins Show who is against Turnblad been on the show because of her weight and is also a racial bigot who doesn’t want to see Tracy’s vision of racial integration on the show realised. Near the end of the musical when she is told that she has a top position in an organisation for women of colour, her reaction is done with such fantastic acting and timing on Benjamin’s part.  Her daughter is played by Gemma Sutton who previously starred as alongside Marti Webb and Mark Evans in the UK tour of Oklahoma! She starred as Laurey and it was in 2010. She gives an incredible performance as Tracy’s nemesis.  Corny Collins is a character that always makes me laugh and I loved James Marsden playing him in the film. Australian actor Josh Piterman played him here and he didn’t disappoint. He had the cheesy smile and false charm of Collins to a tee and gave a great performance. Though there was many other fantastic performances in the musical, other standouts included David Ribi as Sketch who was recently in the West End and also the UK and European performances of Dremboats and Petticoats. Though this was a small part he really shone through. He’s incredibly natural actor who seems to act from his heart. You wouldn’t even know he was acting. It seems like second nature to him. And that’s the kind of acting I really love. My three favourite actors Al Pacino, Ben Whishaw and Chris Colfer all seem to possess that natural acting style.   Also I really enjoyed the girls from Dynamite who were clearly very talented. Jocasta Almgill as Peaches, Lori Baker as Cindy and Sophia Brown as Pearl. Their vocal ability was effortless and their harmonies together were fantastic. That blend of voices is such a hard thing to do but they done it to perfection. And I loved their clothes.  The entire cast was really good though and managed to put on a fantastic show as a team.

The entire crew did a fantastic job too but I must give special mention to a few elements that I felt were really amazing. I’m a fashion student so I was bound to be critical of costume but William Ivey Long who has previously worked on Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway didn’t disappoint. The clothes remained true to the era in which the musical was set and the unveiling of Tracy’s and her mother’s dresses in Mister Pinky’s store was perfect because the outfits worked. This needed to be right as it’s such a big moment in the piece because Edna hasn’t been out of the house in years and suddenly she’s enjoying herself in this new, beautiful outfit. I absolutely loved the dresses Dynamite wore as I previously mentioned and also the blue, sparkly dress Penny wore near the end was lovely. How the costume designer used the storyline as a basis for the clothes to show how the characters like Tracy, Penny and Edna progressed is what good costume designing is all about. I thought the male members of cast looked incredibly dapper in their outfits.  Wig and Hair designer Paul Huntley also did an incredible job. Tracy’s and Edna’s hair are so hard to do so that was an achievement in itself. Other notable hairstyles were Velma’s and Link’s.  Music and Lyrics/Arrangements was composed by Marc Shaiman who works as a executive producer, co-lyricist and music composer for TV show Smash with partner Scott Wittman who provided us with Lyrics. They have previously been nominated for both Grammy and Emmy Awards for a song they wrote for Smash called Let Me Be Your Star. They were also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Musical/Comedy TV series. It’s easy to see why because the music is such a crucial part to any musical and their work on the music really brings Hairspray alive for the audience.  Jack O’ Brien had the very responsible job of Director. He has previously worked on The Full Monty on Broadway for which he received one of his four Tony Awards. He done a great job in making sure the production went brilliantly.  The dancing is a major part of Hairspray and each member of cast was so slick. I honestly think if I tried some of them moves I’d break my neck! So Choreographer Jerry Mitchell who also worked on The Full Monty did an outstanding job. He made sure the moves were down to a tee and that everyone was in perfect time and in sync with each other. It was a masterclass in how routines should be done by groups of people.  Set designer David Rockwell who previously worked on Kinky Boots and Hairspray which he earned Tony, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations. There is so much going on with the Hairspray set that he did so incredibly well. A notable scene is when Tracy along with Edna and Penny is watching The Corny Collins in Tracy’s, Edna’s and Wilbur’s house and the show is on in the studio over the other side of the stage. It is hard enough to do a set for one scene but to do two scenes in one is outstanding and shows a wealth of talent.  Nicholas Skilbeck who was musical director for Sweeney Todd’s revival last year was musical supervisor here and done amazingly well.  Peter White was Musical Director. He previously worked as Assistant Musical Director for the West End’s version of Avenue Q. He also did really, really well.  David Grindrod Associates who previously cast Once for Dublin and the West End were charged with finding the cast and as everyone was amazing in their roles it is clear they did a great job.  Special mention must go out to the original writers of the book Mark O’ Donnell and Thomas Meehan. The most important people in the process in my opinion because without their vision Hairspray simply wouldn’t exist so I thank them both for writing a story I love with ambition, depth, fun, lots of lovable characters that you care about and for having such an amazing message of equality, hope and compassion. Both have deservedly won Tony Awards in 2003 for Hairspray. O’ Donnell also wrote Getting Over Homer while Meehan wrote books for musicals including Annie Warbucks.   

Standout songs on the night for me were Good Morning Baltimore, I Can Hear The Bells, It Takes Two, Welcome to the ’60s’, Run and Tell That, Big Blonde and Beautiful, Timeless to Me, I Know Where I’ve Been and You Can’t Stop the Beat while standout scenes were Good Morning Baltimore, TV Station WZZT and Turnblad Home, Turnblad Home and Streets of Baltimore, Patterson Park Playground, Motormouth Maybelle’s Record Shop both times, The Har-De-Har Hut, Tracy’s Jail Cell and Penny’s Bedroom and The Baltimore Eventorium.   

I completely the day out with my sister. She completely enjoyed it too. We got our photograph taken for a Bord Gais promotion. We also took our own photographs and had a drink and a few cigarettes inbetween and before the performance. When we left we got a bit soaked with the rain that came but thankfully got shelter before we got too wet. My sister had a wonderful night too. Thank you to the staff at the Bord Gais Theatre for all their help and fantastic customer service on the day and also thank you to the cast and crew of Hairspray for a fun day out. But most of all, thank you to my sister Sharon who made the day perfect for me. We had the most fun, immature time and that’s what it’s all about. Thank you sis. Love you.  

 

 

The Music and Life So Far of Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert burst onto the musical radar in 2009 in the eighth season of the American reality TV show American Idol. From his audition in front of judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi combining theatrical vocals with edge on the classic Queen track “Bohemian Rhapsody” we all knew what to expect in his career. And he hasn’t disappointed his legion of fans dubbed “Glamberts” since becoming the runner-up of that year’s contest and signing with 19  Entertainment in a joint deal with RCA Records. But of course his story started long before. 

On January 29th 1982, Lambert was born to parents Leila and Eber Lambert in Indianapolis in the state of Indiana. His mother was an interior designer. She spent numerous years in her interior design business as well as been a sales leader with William Sonoma Home before going into real estate. His father worked as a program manager for Novatel Wireless. Novatel Wireless Inc. is a business offering wireless broadband for computers, mobiles and handheld computing. He has a younger brother Neil who is three years younger and likes to read Science Fiction books. Lambert was brought up Jewish as his mother is Jewish. He has sang songs in Hebrew, like “Shir LaShalom” and “The Prayer” at a tribute concert in 2005 to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated. He also sang at the San Diego Temple of the Arts. His father was mainly from Scandinavian descent. Norway to be precise. Not long after Adam was born, the family set off to live in San Diego in California. They ended up setting up home in Rancho Peñasquitos. When he was nine, Lambert started to take part in shows for the Metropolitan Educational Theatre network. The theatre network is now known as MET2. The MET2 teaches “improvisation, pantomime, voice projection, stage movement, acting, singing, dancing, and audition techniques.” He was in productions which were performed locally of Fiddler on the Roof and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown as well as other loved theatre shows. A couple of years later he started further singing training and acting. He kept performing with MET2 and also what was later going to become known as the Broadway Bound Youth Theatre Foundation while he attended Mesa Verde Middle School followed by Mount Carmel High School (MCHS). He always loved theatre and singing and did choir singing as well as taking part in the Air Bands competitions that were held locally. Now he made the transition from amateur productions to their professional alternative and starred in local pieces such as Grease, Chess and Peter Pan in places such as The Lyceum.   

When Lambert finished his studies in High School, he went to the California State University in Fullerton very briefly. Five weeks to be precise. He has said that he left because he wanted to work in “the real entertainment world” and this gives us an insight into how fearless and driven he was at such a young age. He was only nineteen when he landed his very first job. He worked with Anita Mann Productions showing his skills on cruise ships and he did this for ten months. Following this he did some opera in Orange County. When he twenty-one, he signed a management contract. He was also given a part in a tour of Hair which was a European tour for half a year. He has said of this time, “That was a huge turning point for me personally, because I finally got comfortable in my own skin. I was discovering a lot about myself. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, a lot of it”. 

He was picked to star with Val Kilmer as Joshua in The Ten Commandments: The Musical which took place in the Kodak Theatre. Through this role he was noticed by the casting director of Wicked. Consequently he was took on as the understudy for the part of Fiyero as well as an ensemble member from 2005 in the very first national touring version of Wicked from 2007 in the Los Angeles version. In the book version by Gregory Maguire, Fiyero is married to Sarima and they have three children called Irji, Manek, and Nor. He is unhappy in his marriage and starts an affair with Elphaba. However in the musical version he says he will marry Glinda but he doesn’t and he leaves Oz with Elphaba. He continued his parts with Wicked until 2008. Music was also always a major factor in his life. For a short amount of time he was the frontman in underground rock band The Citizen Vein alongside Steve Sidelnyk, Monte Pittman and Tommy Victor. The band did gigs and some “rough recordings” but alas, it didn’t work out and the band disbanded. He worked as well as a session player and did demo vocals.  

“I had a psychedelic experience where I looked up at the clouds and went, ‘Oh!’ I realized that we all have our own power, and that whatever I wanted to do, I had to make happen”. This was how he described his reason for trying out for American Idol. During the show he was consistently amazing with his performances such as his slowed down version of Cher’s “Believe” at boot camp, his unique take on Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” , his stripped back version of Smoky Robinson’s “Tracks of my Tears” and his truly spellbinding performance of the Michael Andrews feat. Gary Jules version of “Mad World”. In the end he came second to his best friend on the show who he shared a room with during the competition, country singer Kris Allen, a singer-songwriter and musician from Conway, Arkansas. Photographs of Adam smooching another man became public while he was in the competition. Lambert said that the photographs were of him, saying he had never been secretive about his life. In a Rolling Stone interview which he was on the cover of he told that he was gay two days after the announcement that he was the runner-up. “I don’t think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear that I’m gay. I’ve been living in Los Angeles for eight years as a gay man.”, he said. He also said in the interview “I’m proud of my sexuality. I embrace it. It’s just another part of me.” In the same interview, creator of American Idol Simon Fuller, said: “He’s like Marc Bolan meets Bowie, with a touch of Freddie Mercury and the sexiness of Prince”. With each of these artists been incredibly talented in their own right it gave an indication of how highly people in the music industry thought of his talent. But now it was up to the public to decide if they thought as highly of Mr. Lambert’s talents. 

Lambert’s first album was called For Your Entertainment after his debut single taken from the album. It was put in shops on November 23rd in 2009. Lambert worked with producers like Dr. Luke. Writers which came onboard included Ryan Tedder, Justin Hawkins, P!nk, and Lady Gaga. It went in at at number three in the Billboard 200. It also sold 198,000 copies in the US its first week.  The album has sold almost 2 million copies around the world and in the US it was certified gold. This was in June 2010. Lambert was given the honour of been the very first ex-contestant to be a guest mentor on American Idol in 2010. His mentoring skills were commended favourably. For someone who had considerably less experience of the music industry than many of the other guest mentors he managed to hold his own with aplomb. He also sang on the results show that week with lasers as a graphic in the background. 

In early June 2010, Lambert started his first tour entitled “Glam Nation”. He performed all around America before going onto Europe and Asia. The support acts were fellow American Idol contestant Allison Iraheta who finished fourth the year Adam was in the contest and who did a duet with him in the semi-finals of the competition and Australian artist Orianthi.  

Lambert came together with the surviving members of Queen in 2011 as the lead singer for the MTV Europe Music Awards which took place in Belfast. Queen was given the Global Icon Award. They ended the awards with a medley of “The Show Must Go On”, “We Will Rock You”, and “We Are the Champions”.  Roger Taylor said soon after they were trying to get Lambert to front further live shows for Queen, saying he was “a really great performer with an astonishing voice”. The first time he performed with Queen was on the American Idol final with Kris Allen. He performed with Queen as headline act for the UK’s Sonisphere Festival. The place where the performance was due to happen  was very moving because it was at Knebworth Park which was where Freddie Mercury last performed in 1986. Talking about the collaboration, Brian May said that he thought Adam was a “great interpreter” of Freddie Mercury’s songs. However, the gig was cancelled. Lambert later performed with Queen in Moscow, London and Wroclaw.  

He transferred from 19 Entertainment to Direct Management Group in 2011. He said of his second album, Trespassing, that he was going to be executive producer on the record. The song Trespassing that the album was called after was co-written with Pharrell Williams. Trespassing was put in shops on May 15, 2012. It reached the top of the U.S. iTunes album chart and on May 23rd, the album went in at number one in the Billboard 200 chart. It sold close to 78,000 copies. Lambert went on twitter to say that it was first time in history that an openly gay artist reached this amount of sales, and thanked his fans. The album was in the iTunes’s list of the “Best Pop Albums of 2012”. It was number nine in the chart. 

Lambert started the “We Are Glamily Tour”, in Seoul. His version of Rihanna’s “Stay” was a standout moment. It can viewed on YouTube and it is just stunning. The amount of emotion and depth he puts into the song is outstandingly beautiful. It’s a perfect version.  

As well as his music, Lambert does a lot for LGBT organisations and charities. He was given the “Equality Idol Award” by singer Sam Sparro at the Equality California Los Angeles Equality Awards in 2011. Lambert was honored with his mother the next month at the PFLAG National Los Angeles event for his “authentic” voice. They were both given awards which together combined to make the PFLAG logo to symbolize support both by and for families and friends of LGBT people. Lambert was given a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Music Artist in the year of 2010. Also in 2010, he spoke on a one-and-a-half minute video message for YouTube for the It Gets Better campaign which is a project by columnist Dan Savage in response to school bullying and the amount of suicides by young LGBT people. Other stars who spoke included Glee star Chris Colfer and former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. Lambert sang an acoustic version of a song from his first album called “Aftermath” on an American Idol results show in 2011. Following this, a dance remix twist was put on the song and it was put out, with money going to The Trevor Project which is the organisation at the forefront in America giving crisis intervention and prevention of suicide services to young LGBT people. He also got funds of $43,500 in aid of The Trevor Project when he worked with The Pennyroyal Studio to create his own Peace pendant. In 2011, donations from the Adam Lambert Glambert Fan Army for the MTV Dance Party Marathon made money to fight bullying in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month. The funding was split between the LGBT charities It Gets Better, The Trevor Project, GLAAD, GLSEN, GSA and HRC. Lambert also took part in Spirit Day which is a movement that started in 2010 to honor LGBT lives which have been cut short by suicide.  Lambert also was the headline artist at a fundraising benefit for Marylanders for Marriage Equality which was the organisation at the forefront of the campaign for a November 2012 ballot measure to uphold gay marriage. Lambert sees this issue as a non-partisan, human rights issue. Elton John and Queen + Adam Lambert joined with the Olena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation for a concert in aid of the fight against HIV/AIDS. The concert had the backing of UEFA and happened in Independence Square in Kiev on the eve of the Euro 2012 football final. The event was televised live. He was also one of many acts who took part in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012 in aid of the Rays Of Sunshine Children’s Charity. This charity ensures that wishes are given to children who are seriously ill. In 2009, he asked his fans to give to DonorsChoose.org which is a charity online that people give directly towards public school plans instead of sending him presents for his 28th birthday. Support centred on the music and arts programs. 2,435 fans gave $322,700. In 2010, Lambert joined with the charity once more for his “Glam A Classroom” campaign. This made funds of $208,590 via the support and generosity of 3,020 fans. In the same year, he worked on his second Signature Collection design alongside The Pennyroyal Studio. The collection all sold and a fund of $43,092 was raised for DonorsChoose. 

Lambert’s boyfriend for a long time was interior designer Drake LaBry who is now an artist. LaBry was born in Louisiana and was there until he was twelve when he and his family left for New Orleans. An example of his work is Blue Fish and his work is in the private art collections of many well known people. The pair split  Lambert was in a relationship with Sauli Koskinen from November 2010 when the pair met after one of Adam’s concerts at the Cable Factory in a bar in Helsinki, Finland where Sauli is originally from. He’s from Hyvinkää in Finland. “It was an instant connection.”, Adam said of their first meeting. He also said, “I approached him. There was physical attraction but also a great energy, like a glow. There was something very connected about the eye contact, the communication just flowed very easily.” Sauli likes travel, good food, sports, exercising by jogging around Töölö Bay, tattoos and film. Koskinen won the Finnish version of Big Brother when he was twenty-two back in 2007. It was the third season of the Finnish version. Since then he has craved out a career as a reporter in the entertainment realm. On their one year anniversary, Lambert tweeted Koskinen,  “Happy Anniversary Sauli!! One year ago tonight we met in Helsinki!!! I love you! http://pic.twitter.com/9q2esciR.” Sauli replied,“Happy Anniversary Adam!! I love u! :)”  Lambert and Koskinen started living together in L.A. But in April 2013, they announced that they had broke up but that the break-up had been on good terms and that they were still friends. “It’s been kind of on its way out in the last couple of months,” Lambert said. He also said, “Sauli and I remain really good friends, and I know it’s a cliché thing to say. But it’s totally true. I just gave him a coffee and bagel earlier today. He’s a great person and we’ve had an amazing couple of years together. Things have just run their course.” Sauli said of the split, “Adam is a wonderful person and he’s always going to be a big part of my life. We’ve experienced great things together. I’m not sad or disappointed. Everything has a purpose. I’m feeling great and I’m looking forward to the future. My life in Los Angeles continues.” 

I think it is safe to say that there will be plenty more fantastic music and interesting and honest interviews from Adam Mitchel Lambert in the foreseeable future which is good news for all his Glamberts out there. Including me.

Introducton

Hi! My name is Lisa and I am a self-confessed culture vulture/happy nerd so welcome to culturevultureexpress! On this blog I will bring you news on music, art, TV, film, fashion, beauty, hair, books, musicals, plays and also talk sometimes about the cuteness of some of the people in these veins. So ladies, gentlemen and the non binary pull up a chair (and a glass of wine!) and enjoy a blog post or two!