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Annie - San Francisco, CA

I don't live-blog from the tents.

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Entries in fashion (46)

Thursday
Apr122012

It's Back: J.Crew Catalog Theater

Now that the FashFilmFest is over (but will return in 2013!) I'm back to blogging! What better way to get back into the routine than with a favorite? By request and popular demand, I've got a new edition of J.Crew Catalog Theater, from the April catalog... The models are sad, sassy, confused, and wearing things we've seen before. But don't hold that against them! They're models, they can't do any better...

Friday
Mar092012

Get Your Tickets Now!!!

 

That's right...we're live! (And now that we are live I promise to be a better blogger.) The San Francisco Fashion Film Festival is off to a running start and our tickets are now available for purchase over on Eventbrite! Individual showings are on sale for $10 and $15 each, while full festival passes are going for just $75 each!

We are also very happy to announce our lineup of films which we think includes something for everyone:

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

1:00 PM - Ziegfeld Girl - $15 (Costumes by Adrian)

3:30 PM - How I Get Dressed/The Way I Dress - $10

4:15 PM - Jack Taylor of Beverly Hills - $15

6:30 PM – Fashion Shorts - $10

7:15 PM – Barbarella - $15 (Costumes by Jacques Fonteray & Paco Rabanne)

 

9:45 PM - The Matrix - $15 (Costumes by Kym Barrett)

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

2:00 PM - City of Lost Children - $15 (Costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier)

4:45 PM - Miss Representation - $15

6:45 PM – Fashion Shorts - $10

7:30 PM - God Save My Shoes - $15

9:00 PM - Marie Antoinette - $15 (Costumes by Milena Canonero)

Please visit the "Films" section of our website to read more about these titles, why we chose them, and how we grouped them.

Also...we're offering two events to lead-up to the festival!

On Sunday, March 25th we are partnering with the Disposable Film Festival in their latest class of "Disposable Film 101". This class will have a fashion focus, and we'll talk about ways to make engaging and fun fashion shorts.

On Friday, April 6th, yours truly will be introducing a rare French film from Jacques Becker entitled Falbalas at the de Young Museum as part of its Friday Nights at the de Young. The de Young's highly anticipated exhibition Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk opens on March 23rd, and the San Francisco Fashion Film Festival is pleased to be partnering with the museum to support this exhibition.

Falbalas was made in 1945 in Paris just after the end of World War II. It tells the fictional story of a couturier, and shows the most realistic view of a Parisian couture house of the era on film. When Jean Paul Gaultier saw this film as a young man, it was what prompted him to become a designer...

For more details and information, please visit the "Schedule" page of our website...in fact, just visit our website - it will tell you absoltuely everything you want to know! http://fashfilmfest.org

Looking forward to seeing everyone in April - please say introduce yourself and say hello!

SF Fashion Film Festival poster by Alice Lam.

Thursday
Feb022012

Follow Peripatetic on Tumblr!

I've finally done it...I have a Tumblr up and running as a place to showcase all of those OTHER random images and moments that I love that may not be entirely appropriate or timely for Poetic & Chic. The name, is "Peripatetic", in keeping with the original lyrics of the song "One" from A Chorus Line, where I derived the name "Poetic & Chic".

"She walks into a room and you know she's uncommonly rare, very unique, peripatetic, poetic and chic..."

The word "peripatetic" is an adjective meaning "traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods." Noun synonyms include "wayfarer" or "traveler".

How very appropriate...n'est ce pas?

The content of Peripatetic will be just that: one thing today, another thing tomorrow. Thus far it's pretty vintage and elegant and wistful, but a few playful things are up there too. It's a lot of simple imagery with no text - I can say all I want to say over here. This is where words don't need to happen.

Please follow Peripatetic on Tumblr & enjoy!

Sunday
Jan292012

J.Crew Spring Catalog Theatre!

It's been a very long time since the last episode of J.Crew catalog theatre and the only reason I can give you is that the stylists at J.Crew have seriously upped their game of late. I'm not going to lie - they've done a great job at making their pages both appealing and shoppable. That is, until now... (I hope my sister and her New York crew enjoy... I hear they love it when I get sacriligious.)

I was so happy to find this issue in my mailbox full of odd, ackward poses, models who are both pale and hungry, and very very strange styling choices.

There's a lot of ground to cover here, so indulge me. And yes, I edited out a few pages too - there was just too much good stuff...

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Jan192012

Influences: Last Year at Marienbad

 Two posters for Last Year at Marienbad, 1961

As we approach the final list of films for the FashFilmFest, I’ve been screening and re-screening a number of different films to hopefully narrow some selections. One film I’ve always had in mind is Alain Resnais’ 1961 film, Last Year at Marienbad. It’s under consideration, but I’m hesitant. Certain films you love without question; this is a film I’m always forced to question. What is happening here? Do I understand anything that’s happening? What is this place? Why am I so uncomfortable? Do I even like it? When it comes to Last Year at Marienbad, at any given time the answer could be either yes or no. Even when considering writing about this film (which I have many times in the past) I've also hesitated. Is there anything new to say that hasn't already been said? Perhaps not, but I can still state the facts of this film as a significant influencer of style, film, and fashion.

Delphine Seyrig in Chanel in Last Year at Marienbad

One of the more obscure French New Wave films of the early 1960s, Last Year at Marienbad has none of the color or humor of a Godard film, nor the youthful angst of a Truffaut, but it’s a film that designers and cinemaphiles come back to again and again for its style and unconventional narrative. It’s lengthy hallway shots, endless interiors, strange landscapes, and languorous story line have influenced everyone from Stanly Kubrick (especially in The Shining) to David Lynch (especially in Inland Empire). Peter Greenaway cites Marienbad as the film that had the most important influence on his body of work. In the fashion world, everyone from Marc Jacobs to Diane von Furstenberg have expressed their love of film, and as recently as Spring 2011, Karl Lagerfeld used the film as the theme for his collection for Chanel.

For his Spring 2011 show, Karl Lagerfeld re-created the black & white gardens of Last Year at Marienbad in the Grand Palais, Paris.

Stella Tennant in Chanel, Spring 2011. Inspired by Last Year at Marienbad. (Image from Style.com)

Of course this is fitting because it was Mademoiselle Chanel who dressed Delphine Seyrig in the character of the woman, apart from two feathered gowns by production designer Bernard Evein. The clothing is impeccable. Alternating between light and dark, the dresses are either ephemeral or funereal. Resnais looked to the style of Louise Brooks in G.W. Pabst’s 1929 film Pandora’s Box for the woman, and even sought a special “silent film” film stock from Kodak in order to enchance the look of 1920s silent cinema. The look of the 1920s mixes well with the contemporary 1960s (both heydays of Chanel), or the 1960s looks are suited to the 1920s – either way, the seamless transition between eras creates some of the disorientation.

The famous mirror shot from Last Year at Marienbad.

Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box.

When re-watching this film, I gave myself over to the uneasiness that begins almost immediately. The whining organ music, empty hallways, sonorous voice-overs that fade in and out – the effect is like being drawn into someone nightmare from moment one, and in moment two you’re already looking for a way to wake up. The setting is elaborate and labyrinthine and the people posed here and there make them seem like bas relief figures on the side of a temple. People are silent or intensely focused, gossiping or watching. There seems to be a love triangle, but no one's actually very loving. There has always been a lot of discussion about a "rape" scene, and possibly a murder, but it's still difficult to tell what's really happening between the three main characters. Everyone else is socializing but no one’s really interacting. Drinks are imbibed, games are played, but it all has a menacing quality to it. There seems to be a lot of money around, but no one is happy and everyone is bored. Indeed, Last Year at Marienbad has been called one of the “most boring films ever made”, even as others hail it as a masterpiece for those very same reasons.

Seyrig in the white feather gown by Bernard Evein.

Carmen Kass in a blush-colored feathered dress from Chanel, Spring 2011. (Image from Style.com)

Beyond the time-warp-surrealist narrative and down-the-rabbit-hole-and-into-Hotel-California feel, this is a beautiful film to simply look at. Every frame is considered and composed, almost like paintings in their stillness and precision. A recent editorial spread by Outumuro in Spanish Marie Claire magazine capitalized on the look of Last Year at Marienbad in a gorgeous homage to the film. It's no stretch to see how the famous "broken shoe" scene translates to our modern love of footwear...

 

The famous "broken shoe" scene from Last Year at Marienbad, and...

...recreated in Spanish Marie Claire by Outumuro.

Outumuro images from Spanish Marie Claire from The Terrier and Lobster

I think it is this visual appeal that keeps drawing designers, photographers, art directors, and yes, film directors, back to Last Year at Marienbad. Strange and misunderstood, it’s confusing mix of narratives keep generations of people conjuring their own opinions, while its eternal Gothic style provides its own frisson that’s difficult to ignore…no matter how much you may want to.

So will it be showing at the San Francisco Fashion Film Festival? I'm still unsure. As much as it's influential and intriguing, my vote is still undecided.

Monday
Jan022012

Last Day to Support the SF Fashion Film Festival!

Marlene Dietrich in The Devil is a Woman, Paramount Pictures, 1935

If you were thinking of supporting the San Francisco Fashion Film Festival with a Kickstarter donation, now is the time to do it!!! There's about 40 hours left on our Kickstarter, which ends on January 4th!

Here's the link to the Kickstarter: San Francisco Fashion Film Festival

We have reached our initial goal of $6000, but we would like to make a little bit more so we can expand our festival and bring in some truly fabulous events, panels, lectures, and surprises!

ALSO, be sure to follow the Film Festival here:

Twitter: @fashfilmfest

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FashFilmFest

Tumblr: http://fashfilmfest.tumblr.com/

We're really working hard to find some amazing images and anecdotes for the Tumblr, appropriately entitled P.O.V., so please be sure to follow us!

Norma Shearer in a fitting with designer Adrian and an assistant, 1930s.

Friday
Dec302011

Goodbye Eleven, Hello Twelve!

Just like everyone else, this week has been about looking back at the past year and giving it some thought. In my case, I was reminded once again of what a banner year 2011 has been for me and Poetic & Chic. I am still amazed at all of the wonderful opportunities and people that came my way this year, and which have developed into more good things to come in the next year! I'm filled with gratitude for all of it.

In 2011, I continued my intermittent series of Bang Envy posts, P&C Questionnaires, and of course the Postcard of the Week. Of all of them, I was surprised to learn that the postcards mean the most to my readers. At a recent gathering, I was told time and again about how much people look forward to the postcards and the little stories I dig up about them. Nothing could have been more enlightening! The postcards rarely seem to get comments, but I was told this was because they go "too deep" and bring up so many things that it's difficult to put together a response. To me, they are a little bit of ephemera - a little journey to take at mid-week. It's always interesting where they lead me, which I suppose makes them equally interesting to all of you. I'm so happy to learn that they are appreciated.

The year began with a bang for me, as I interviewed two very famous people on THE SAME DAY. What are the chances? The first was Vogue Magazine's European Editor at Large, Hamish Bowles, about his exhibit, Balenciaga & Spain at the de Young Museum. This was a privilege that I will cherish and remember forever. I sincerely hope our paths cross again some day.

My second interview that day was with the very talented Darren Criss, who plays Blaine on Glee. Darren and I are alumni of the same high school, so the interview was ostensibly for our alumni magazine but premiered on my blog. All I can say is this: if you ever want an explosion of blog traffic, write about a teen idol. Suddenly my interview was copied and posted all over the internet (without permission), and now I'm even one of the links on Darren Criss' Wikipedia page. Oh my.

Riding the momentum form these two wonderful interviews, I ended up getting nominated, and even reaching the top 3 fashion blogs on the SF Weekly Web Awards. This honor was totally unexpected and I still feel undeserving, but it was so nice to be recognized in this way! Because of this, I was invited to host a little Fashion's Night Out gathering at Jonathan Adler, which was such fun for the gang of bloggers and stylists I have come to know and love this year. Likewise, I was equally honored to have my first feature story in Matchbook Magazine this December, as a lead-in for the San Francisco Fashion Film Festival which will happen next Spring. All of these things were more than I ever expected this year.

Of course, the main even of the year for me was the 5th anniversary of Poetic & Chic. When I launched this site in 2006 I had no idea I'd still be here this many years later. I cannot even believe it myself! So, when some friends suggested that I throw a party for this milestone, I could only agree. What a wonderful night! I'm so happy so many people came out to celebrate, and honored that so many of my creative friends sent me their "fives" for the blog... The whole occasion is something I will treasure.

Here are some of my other favorite posts of the year...

The Best of 2011:

Coachella Style: Does Anyone Care?

Speculation: Miss Middleton's Wedding Dress

Life Lessons From Working Girl

Picasso, The Steins, and Modern Art in San Francisco

Cheetah Chic

On the Make: Glitter Reduxed

Influences: The Winged Messenger

Fashion's Night Out at Jonathan Adler

Influences: Cleopatra

Here's to an equally fulfilling 2012 with more challenges and opportunities, new work, creativity, fun, and friendship! Once again, I feel that this quote bears repeating, especially at the top of a new year! Sending lots of love and best wishes to everyone for the New Year!

Thursday
Dec012011

Oh Hi Matchbook Mag!

I'm THRILLED to announce to everyone that I have a feature story in this month's Matchbook Magazine which went live this mornng! My piece entitled "Frocks on Film" talks about my favorite party dresses from the movies. By some sort of wonderful poeticism, the cover feature is on Janie Bryant - the incredible costume designer behind Mad Men. There are also beautiful articles on the unsinkable Molly Brown, Dick Avedon, and the Assoulines, as well as truly inspired gift wrap ideas, gift suggestions, and festive tidbits throughout. Every page is a beauty, and I'm so tickled pink to be a part of it! Wow!

Visit Matchbook Magazine online!

Special thanks to the wonderful Katie Armour for letting me ply her with Blue Bottle coffee & toast and letting me convince her that this story contribution would work! Huge gratitude.

Of course, this whole article leads to a big announcement about the upcoming San Francisco Fashion Film Festival which I'm working on with Adelle from FashionistaLab and Kim from J'Adore Couture. More details are coming on Monday, but in the meantime, you can check us out at fashfilmfest.org!

Sunday
Nov132011

Meet Lily Pons

Back when I worked for Louis Vuitton, I often heard the story about the famous French opera star, Lily Pons. While the name was unfamiliar to me, apparently Lily Pons was one of the biggest stars in France between the World Wars, singing in operas throughout Europe and the World. Pons was also an excellent Vuitton customer during her heyday, and one of her most famous creations was her custom shoe trunk.

Coming in at just 5 feet tall, Pons had incredibly tiny, slender feet. Therefore, in a trunk that would usually hold 30 pairs of standard-sized shoes, the expert craftsmen at Vuitton were easily able to fit 36 pairs of Lily Pons' shoes.

While the Louis Vuitton book by Paul-Gerard Pasols from 2005 omitted this legend of the Vuitton lexicon, the latest tome, Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks, remedies this with a few spreads devoted to Pons and her trunk. I came back to it this week after finally seeing Lily Pons in one of her few Hollywood films that played on Turner Classic Movies this week.

That Girl from Paris was one of only three star vehicles given to Pons in the 1930s, when she was at her peak of talent, beauty, and style. (Pons was frequently interviewed by fashion and ladies' magazines to provide her take on Parisian chic, home decor, clothing, and beauty regimens. In fact, it is said that Pons was so media-savvy that she even served as the celebrity face for a number of consumer products, including Knox Gelatine, Libby tomato juice, and Lockheed Aircraft.) It isn't an amazing film, but it is rather funny. Pons plays an opera star (surprise surprise), who stows away on a ship to New York City in order to get away from her controlling impresario. Even though she's the one in trouble, she's plucky, charming, and even maintains her diva status in order to come out ahead.

Original French poster for "Adieu Paris, Bonjour New York" or That Girl from Paris. From Intemporel-Paris.

The leading man is the handsome Gene Raymond, who plays Windy McLean - the head of a hot jazz quartet which also features the dancing talents of one Clair Williams, played by Lucille Ball. Clair and Windy had a thing until that girl from Paris came along...but I'm sure you saw that coming.

Lucille Ball, Gene Raymond (left) and Lily Pons (far right), flank Jack Oakie, Herman Bing, & Mischa Auer in That Girl from Paris, RKO Pictures, 1936.

At any rate, I was so happy to finally get to see Pons in action. Her vocal talent (Pons was one of the finest coloratura sopranos of her era) was a great mix against the jazz theme, but it did feel a bit like Irene Dunne singing those oddly-placed big arias in Roberta. But I was entertained.

Going back to the history of the shoe trunk, I found the following particularly interesting:

"In her private life she was a delightful person with a reputation for having very sure taste in matters of elegance. Hats, jewels, furs, clothes, accessories, makeup: her whole wardrobe was closely examined in women's magazines as well as movie magazines. Lily Pons was a star on a grand footing. Yet nature had endowed her with some of the tiniest feet in Paris. In 1949 Gaston-Louis Vuitton recalled: "Lily Pons ordered a desk trunk for shoes in 1925..." It has thirty-six drawers, padded and lebeled just like the original model for thirty pairs. There were also two compartments for silk stockings... Each drawer was like a regular shoebox, with trees and silky bags intended to safely carry pumps with straps, mules, plain pumps, flat shoes, or sandals... Every fashion and luxury magazine from Vogue to Harper's Bazaar, from Fémina to Town & Country, feature the shoe trunk as the absolute symbol of Parisian chic and the requisite travel accessory of every Parisian woman."

Pages from Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks. The bottom features an advertisement from Vogue in 1923, saying "Even when traveling, Parisian women like to stay chic."

And Lily Pons? Although she continued to tour the world, she became a naturalized American citizen in 1940. She drew over 300,000 fans to Chicago's Grant Park for a performance in 1939, and during World War II she toured with the USO to entertain troops. She continued to guest-star at New York's Metropolitan Opera until 1960. In 1962, she gave her final opera performance in Ft. Worth, Texas in her quintessential role: Lucia from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. Her co-star? A 21-year old Pacido Domingo. She continued to sing until 1973, and died in Dallas, Texas in 1976.

Monday
Nov072011

Influences: Cleopatra

Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Condemed Prisoners by Alexandre Cabanel, 1887.

Over the past few weeks I've been deeply immersed in Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. Having finished its detailed, dense, and scholarly 300 pages, I'm intrigued by this powerful Egyptian queen, who wasn't really Egyptian but Greek. Not merely a seductress, as Schiff demonstrates beautifully, Cleopatra was a politician, a living goddess, a mother, a diplomat, a generous patron, a scholar, a strategist, a lady, and yes, a passionate lover. What is even more intriguing is her lasting influence over the millenia. From Plutarch to Shakespeare to Cecil B. DeMille, this woman's political savvy, allure, and style have inspired art, film, music, dance, and fashion.

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in 1964. Massive sets, location changes, budget overruns, a solid gold dress, and Le Scandale - did anyone actually think this movie would turn out okay?

Claudette Colbert at Cleopatra in 1934. I don't care for Colbert's Cleopatra - she's entirely too smiling and too saucy to really be right for the role. Indeed, as one of the last pre-code films, Colbert plays up the "Cleopatra as sex vixen" aspect. However, her costumes are spectacular.

As Chip Brown mentions in his National Geographic article "The Search for Cleopatra" from July, 2011: "When not serving as a Rorschach test of male fixations, Cleopatra is an inexhaustible muse. To a recent best-selling biography add—from 1540 to 1905—five ballets, 45 operas, and 77 plays. She starred in at least seven films; an upcoming version will feature Angelina Jolie." Along with all of this are the many paintings and drawings of the queen, many of which date from the academic period of the late 19th Century, when all things ancient came back into vogue. The most famous film depictions of Cleopatra are of course the Elizabeth Taylor version from 1964, but also the Claudette Colbert version from 1934. Before filming, DeMille reportedly asked Colbert "How would you like to be wickedest woman in history?" It is this myth of wickedness that Schiff's book helps to dispel. Rather than relying on her feminine wiles, one can see that Cleopatra had true intelligence and an inherent diplomacy needed to calculate political risk, assert herself as a world leader, and protect her kingdom. The long-lauded affairs with Julis Caesar and Mark Antony are in truth, merely sidenotes to the real political intrigues.

The coveted Pegasus Necklace from Stella & Dot. $198

Cleopatra was also a calculated image-maker. She knew how to orchestrate opulence in order to woo a crowd, or even a Roman general. She knew what to wear, how to speak, and she spoke multiple languages. Her image as a wealthy queen, and as the living embodiment of the Goddess Isis, was part of her power, and one that was carefully maintained. Even the city of Alexandria maintained the standard with its libraries, technological advances, golden statuary, marble walkways, perfumes, and lavish meals. Schiff describes her dress as being bedecked with "plenty of pearls, the diamonds of the day."

She coiled long ropes of pearls around her neck and braided more into her hair. She wore others sewn into the fabric of her tunics. Those were ankle-length and lavishly colored, of fine Chinese silk or gauzy linen, traditionally worn belted, or with a brooch or ribbon. Over the tunic went an often transparent mantle, through which the bright folds of fabric were clearly visible. On her feet Cleopatra wore jeweled sandals with patterned soles.

But other than this, what Cleopatra looked like remains a mystery. The cover of Schiff's book shows a woman with her face turned away - perfectly appropriate considering there are no frontal views of Cleopatra's likeness. All of her portraits are in profile, showing a somewhat large nose and prominent features. It is understood that while Cleopatra was not beautiful, her allure, charisma, and intelligence developed enough attraction to hold many in her thrall.

Louis Vuitton's "Desert Goddesses" ad campaign from 2004, featuring Naomi Campbell and shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

Perhaps it is this alluring mystery that has inspired so many for so long. That, and the luxury of ancient Alexandria whose gold, silver, and pearls seemed to flow through the streets. Indeed, luxury fashion designers often return to Cleopatra and Egyptian iconography for inspiration. In 2004, Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton developed his "Desert Goddesses" collection, with an array of black, gold, and turquoise looking like warm sands meeting the Meditterranean. In more recent seasons, Gareth Pugh sent gold and black striped looks down his runway for Fall 2011, offering a tough, almost robotic take on Egyptian motifs and headdresses.

Gareth Pugh, Fall 2011 collection.

Even more than mere fashion, the history of the age of Cleopatra lives on. HBO's series Rome offered a lush take on the relationships between the Egyptian queen and both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, while also showing a vivid portrayal of Octavian - the man destined to end the Ptolemaic Empire forever. Through many marriages and inter-marriages, both Octavian and Mark Antony's descendants were future Roman emperors including Tiberius, Claudius, Caligula, and Nero. The histories of these emperors are celebrated in all their gory machinations in I, Claudius from 1976. Mark Antony's Roman wife, Octavia - sister to Octavian, comes out as the kindest and most generous of all, taking guardianship of not only her own children (3 by a first marriage), and her two children with Mark Antony, but also of the three children Mark Antony and Cleopatra had together.

At the end of Schiff's account of Cleopatra, she dispels the notion that the queen committed suicide by being bitten by an asp. Instead, she suggests that it was poisoned figs that did the job, killing Cleopatra and her two attendants almost immediately. Poisoned figs serve as a leitmotif for Octavian, who, 40 years later, after securing his empire and launching the Pax Romana, was rumored to be killed by his own wife Livia Drusilla with poisoned figs. (Peter Greenaway picked up on the poisoned figs in the 1980s in one of my favorite films, The Belly of an Architect. Apart from the main character Storley Kracklite's obsession with Octavian Augustus' tomb, he shows his growing insanity by accusing his wife of poisoning some figs.)

The famous Cleopatra Earrings by Wendy Brandes. 18K gold with 1.36 carats of diamonds. $9,000

So what can we expect as a trend response from Schiff's wonderful biography and the upcoming film with Angelina Jolie? Probably a lot of gold, pearls, and Grecian sandals, but perhaps with even more regal jewels. As with all bio-pics, there is usually a strong fascination that results in the general public. It was the same with Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, and it will likely be the same here, with designers adapting classic Grecian draping to modern tastes. One of the best parts of the Cecil B. DeMille-Claudette Colbert version of Cleopatra was the way the film's designers adapted the look for the sleek shapes of the Art Deco period of the 1930s. Not exactly historically accurate, but really great style.

Cleopatra on the Terraces of Philae by Frederick Arthur Bridgman, 1896

One thing that will certainly change with upcoming depictions of Cleopatra is the charge that she was merely a seductress, not a leader. As Schiff concludes: "It has always been preferable to attribute a woman's success to her beauty rather than to her brains, to reduce her to the sum of her sex life...Cleopatra unsettles more as sage than as seductress; it is less threatening to believe her fatally attractive than fatally intelligent."

Images: 1) Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp 2) Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, 1963 by 20th Century Fox 3) Claudette Colber in Cleopatra, 1934 by Paramount Pictures - from Doctor Macro 4) Stella & Dot 5) 6) Fashion Gone Rogue 7) Wendy Brandes Jewelry 8) Public Domain