Tag Archives: Scarlett Johansson

Oscar Beauties

I, like many, watch the Oscars for the clothes. If everyone was wearing jeans and sneakers it just wouldn’t be such a big deal. It’s the gowns, the hair, and the insanely expensive jewelry that make it worth watching. Those displays of glamour that most of us will never get to touch in our lifetimes so we live them vicariously through celebrities instead.

The whole idea of the Oscars is way overblown, it’s great that celebrities have awards ceremonies just like many other professions do, but the seriousness with which the show is presented makes the event seem a touch too self-congratulatory. For a show that is celebrating entertainment it never comes off as light and fun, it’s aggrandized and phony, plus there’s something incredibly dated about it. Obviously the Academy knows this and therefore chose “young and hip” actors Anne Hathaway and James Franco to host this year. Unfortunately it didn’t really work so well.

The result was Hathaway and Franco appearing uncomfortable with the grandness of the show—Anne Hathaway literally seemed like she was playing dress up and trying a bit too hard (though who could blame her?), and Franco’s way of dealing with the pressure was to act totally bored. The set, the overly dramatic music, and the cheesy writing all seem to stay the same year after year. You would think this time around with the push to appeal to younger viewers they would have changed things up aside from just the hosts. It’s weird because if the Oscars are really just an award show to celebrate achievements in the field of cinema, why do they need to appeal to anyone?

Anyway, like I said, I tune in for the clothes. The show itself drags on forever and always seems disappointing because nothing all that interesting happens. As awards shows go, it’s the biggest, but it’s also the most stuck-up which means all the stars are nervous and on their best behavior, which makes things boring. Pretty dresses however, are always fun to look at. This year my favorite by far was Mila Kunis in Elie Saab, I’m a sucker for purple. I like it when people take risks so I might be in the minority of people who loved Cate Balnchett’s Givenchy gown as well. Here are some other things I liked:

Michelle Williams and her simple but pretty hair, makeup, and earrings. She always gets it right, but also manages to keep things interesting at the same time.

Hailee Steinfeld’s youthful makeup, and her eyebrows which were thankfully left alone rather than plucked into oblivion leaving her looking as beautiful and happy as any 14-year-old at the Oscars should be.

I think it’s so funny when people on E! or other red carpet fashion round-ups make fun of Helena Bonham Carter because obviously she doesn’t give two shits what any of them think and she just wears what she wants. How can you not love that? I love her hair, her fan, her husband, and the way she sticks to her personal style no matter what.

I didn’t love Nicole Kidman’s dress, but I did love her big diamond necklace from Fred Leighton.
Also wasn’t a fan of Reese Witherspoon’s 90s prom looking black-and-white dress, but I did quite like her big sixties hair.
Anne Hathaway showed once again that she is at heart a (sometimes awkward) musical theater geek, but her Lanvin tuxedo was cute, and I especially like her custom Swarovski crystal covered heels.
Let’s hear it, who wore your favorite gowns, hair, or accessories?
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Beauty in the Movies: Ghost World

This week for Beauty in the Movies we take a trip to the bizarre limbo that occurs between high school graduation and the rest of your life in the film adaptation of the cult comic Ghost World.

Based on the comic by Daniel Clowes, the film Ghost World follows the adventures of Enid (Thora Birch) and her friend Becca (Scarlett Johansson) in any-town USA. After graduating from high school the girls plan to get jobs and an apartment together. While Becca sets out to find a job straight-off, Enid isn’t as sure of what she wants. The two of them act pretty much like most teenage girls, especially of the indie persuasion, they’re jam-packed full of sarcasm and lacking in empathy, they love to tease their dopey friend Josh (the sadly deceased Brad Renfro), who they both probably have secret crushes on, and Enid in particular has a fascination with the weird and feels alienated from the rest of her generation.

In an act of both teenage stupidity and immature cruelty, they answer what they deem as a “pathetic” personal ad in the newspaper, and then watch as their victim, Seymour (Steve Buscemi), waits for his date who never shows up. They then force Josh to follow Seymour home, and continue to stalk him in that crazy obsessive way teenage girls do to entertain themselves. Later, they stumble upon Seymour at a garage sale in his apartment complex and Enid buys an old blues album from him, which she subsequently falls in love with. After visiting him again, the two enter into an unlikely friendship which ends up having a profound effect on both their lives.

I was exactly the same age as these girls when the film came out, and in some ways found the characters so relatable that watching it again makes me feel like I’m looking back at my teenage self. The way the girls behave in this film reminds me more of the way I acted at 14 than 18, by that age I had developed more empathy and understood people better. Ghost World lets us watch as these characters mature and realize there is a world outside themselves.

The best parts of this movie are the strange characters, the wheelchair coffee-guy with his piano scarf, the couple at the diner Enid deems “Satanists”, even Melora the girl’s incredibly annoying, endlessly chipper high school classmate—and there are so many more. All the oddball individuals will totally crack you up, there is something for everyone in this movie.

Enid is a likable character because of her humor and creativity, but she’s also pretty vile at times. She is selfish, mean, and she obliviously screws up not only her own life, but the lives of nearly everyone around her. It’s interesting that a girl who so deeply observes her surroundings, constantly watching and commenting, could be so completely ignorant of how her actions affect other people living in her world. That’s part of her charm though, the audience sees her doing these stupid things and wants to grab and shake her. We see how unconsciously naive she is, while she acts as if she has it all figured out—until she realizes she doesn’t, and I think most of us have been there in our youth.

Daniel Clowes went to Pratt Institute, where I graduated from as well, so one of my favorite parts of this movie is the summer art class Enid is forced to take after flunking art in high school. The kooky, pretentious teacher (expertly played by Illeana Douglas) puts an emphasis on “art with meaning” rather than the “amusing”, “lightly entertaining” sketchbook Enid submits—a perfect example of the frustrations of fine art. And who could forget the tampon in a teacup presented by the teacher’s pet as a “shocking” commentary on womanhood? It’s so flawlessly art school bull-crap that it’s delightful.

I never read the comic, I know I should have and I still plan to one day, but from what I’ve read about it (and what my fiancé tells me) the story in the comic revolves more closely around the relationship of the two friends. I’m not sure why they made the choice to focus on Enid’s relationship with Seymour, but I think it would have been interesting if the friendship between Becca and Enid, and how it changes and falls apart after high school, was a bigger part of the story. Everyone has that person you were friends with in high school who you grew apart from after graduation, it’s a strange and sometimes painful thing, and very much a part of growing up.

Ghost World captures perfectly that time in life when you simply don’t know what to do with yourself, and you haven’t really figured out who you are yet either. In some ways it’s one of the closest examples of a female coming of age story on film, which is something we don’t see too often, and I hope we’ll see more of in the future.

Have a great weekend everyone, see you back here next week!!

ghost world

ghost world by justinez featuring topshop skirts

Grand Prize Winner Dress
$113 – modcloth.com
Wrap around dress »

Ad-sheer to the Rules Top
$38 – modcloth.com
Sheer tops »

A.L.C Top with peter pan collar
220 GBP – brownsfashion.com
Brown tops »

Woven Mini Mini Skirt
$50 – topshop.com
Topshop skirts »

Leopard Bow Mini Skirt
25 GBP – missselfridge.com
Leopard print skirt »

MADRAS MINI SKIRT
396 GBP – mytheresa.com
Miu Miu skirts »

Purple and White Polka Dot Bow Tie
60 GBP – start-london.com
Silk belt »

Zebra Print Jeans Belt
$60 – topshop.com
TopShop belts »

OPI YODEL ME ON MY CELL NAIL LACQUER (15ML)
12 GBP – lookfantastic.com


Sketchbook Pocket Size Notebook
9.95 GBP – coggles.com


ghost world
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Unconventional Beauties

I’ve been seeing the term “unconventional beauty” thrown around a lot lately, in magazines, blogs, and on television. Which has got me thinking, what is it? Who has it? Who doesn’t? Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Why have we been hearing it so much lately? Do men inform the standard, or is it women, or both? Whoa, that’s a lot of questions, so let’s try to figure them out.

When you enter the term into a Google image search you get everyone from Grace Jones to Sandra Bullock. It seems that unless you’re Kate Bosworth you’re considered unconventional, wait scratch that, she has two different colored eyes, so she can’t be conventional either. So then who? Who is the conventional beauty? I’m really not sure.

The definition of unconventional (according to my handy Oxford American Dictionary widget) is as follows:

Unconventional: Not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed

For me this only brings up another question, does unconventional beauty rest more in how you physically look, or how you present yourself to the world? Can you be unconventionally beautiful if not meeting conventions is something you do by choice rather than something you are born into? I’m thinking the whole thing is just ridiculous, and I think we use “unconventional” as a way of saying flawed, but aren’t flaws what makes things beautiful to begin with? I’m getting very linear here and I can’t explain it.

I honestly have more trouble trying to come up with someone who is generally believed to be conventionally beautiful than people who are not. I’ve been asking people what they think. Is conventional beauty blond hair and blue eyes? Can a person of mixed race be conventionally beautiful, or will they always be unconventional? In the interest of experimentation, I’ve been trying to compile a list of women who might fall in to either of the two categories. Of course, I think every person has their own idea of what is conventional and what is not, based on how they feel about themselves, what they are exposed to, and what preference they have, also how they perceive the opinion of the general public, or what we each view as the “standard” of beauty.

Below is my attempt to come up with women who are conventionally beautiful. I want to point out that this list is made up of women I believe society has deemed as standardly beautiful.

Halle Berry

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Jessica Alba

Scarlett Johansson

Heather Graham

Salma Hayek

 

And now my list of unconventional beauties. Which is made up of women I think are really pretty, but who would probably be considered unconventional by some.

Dichen Lachman

Tilda Swinton

Chloe Sevigny

Jill Scott

Beth Ditto

Anjelica Huston

So, after doing way too many photo collages I came to the hypothesis that all these women are beautiful, duh, or course! I think it’s wonderful to celebrate women with every combination of features, at every size, every age, and with every shade of skin, so why do we have to break them into categories, can’t we all just be beautiful? Do we have to make a big deal out of it when someone falls outside the mythological standard of what someone else may hold to be conventionally beautiful? And is there any control in this experiment, who is the standard after all? One persons idea of perfection certainly isn’t another’s.

By constantly making the distinction between different kinds of beauty, we manage to insult everyone instead of celebrating them. If someone were to say to me “Justine, you’re so conventionally beautiful”, I’d be insulted, likewise if someone were to say I were “unconventionally beautiful” I’d be insulted again, because making the distinction at all is unnecessary, and it only ever seems to end up a backhanded compliment.

I think the fashion magazines, and everyone else who has been using this term a lot lately, are well-intentioned, but they’re trying too hard. It’s great to feature a wide array of women as representations of beauty, but when we have to go out of our way to say “psst, we know she isn’t the “normal” idea of beauty, but she is still pretty, right?” it just ruins the whole thing. Can’t we all just promise to see ourselves and other women as beautiful without all the labels?

I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this more, and I would love to hear other people’s opinions on what they think of beauty conventions. For now though, let’s imagine a world without labels, where all these gorgeous women exist together in blissful harmony, conventional or not, they’re all knockouts!

(click to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

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Filed under acceptance