Friday, June 10, 2011

Le Divorce: Love is in the Bag


Please do visit Clothes on Film to read my article “Kate Hudson in Le Divorce: Love is in the Bag.” It focuses on the transformation made by Isabel Walker (Kate Hudson) as she travels from Santa Barbara to Paris to help her pregnant sister Roxeanne (Naomi Watts), and then goes from casual California girl to glamorous soignée French mistress to the very foxy Edgar Cosset (Thierry Lhermitte). I had the pleasure of speaking with the film’s costume designer, Carol Ramsey, who gave me a fantastic and fun interview, with wonderful details about designing for Le Divorce and insights about how a Hollywood costume designer really works. Just talking to her made me want to move back to California and apprentice myself to her for a year. What an education that would be.

Kate Hudson as Isabel Walker in Le Divorce wearing a knockout Chloé blouse featuring cutwork lace, sequins and pearls. Photo © Twentieth Century Fox.

Be still my heart. More than one Purse Forum member identified this bag as an Hermès Kelly 28 rigide in Braise crocodile porosus with gold hardware. Such attention to detail is one of the many reasons why I love that site. This bag had a stunt double, an identical knockoff which was used any time the original, on loan from Hermès, had to get banged up. Photo © Twentieth Century Fox.

Isabel buying lingerie at La Perla. This scene always cracks me up since Isabel's French is not so good. The trench is by Chloé (note the arm patch with lions and a champagne glass!) and Ms. Ramsey says the bag, which I deeply love and which she still has in her office, was bought on the streets in Paris. She admits they had a lot of great bags for Le Divorce. Photo © Twentieth Century Fox.

Roxy (Naomi Watts), Chester (Sam Waterston), Isabel (Kate Hudson), and Roger (Thomas Lennon) walk along the Seine in Le Divorce. Photo © Twentieth Century Fox.

I know it wasn’t the best-received movie, but I actually like Le Divorce, partly because I’ve read the novel by Diane Johnson three times, partly because I think Kate Hudson was so good in it (as were the others), but also because the clothes on all the characters are gorgeous and the places where James Ivory shot the film in Paris make it feel like a little French vacation whenever I watch it.

Kate is carrying an Hermès Birkin, not a Kelly, in this poster.

Clothes on Film creator Chris Laverty has put together a fantastic source for fans of film costume design. It’s impossible for me not to love a site that will narrow in on, say, the Edith Head-designed coral and white driving ensemble worn by Grace Kelly in the movie To Catch a Thief, parsing its historical references as well as what it says about her character, Frances. That kind of laser-like focus always gets my admiration so not only am I a big fan of Clothes on Film, I am very excited to contribute an article to it.

www.clothesonfilm.com

19 comments:

sacramento said...

To me it is enough that you recomend the film to me.I definitly will watch it.
Besos.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Adrienne said...

I have never seen this movie but now I will. I don't mind watching mediocre movies if the scenery and/or costumes are great. I rented "La Piscine" a couple of months ago and thought the acting wasn't so great and the story line a bit dull and predictable, but the clothes and the St. Tropez in the '60's backdrop were enough to keep me glued. And who wouldn't want to see Alain Delon, Jane Birkin and Romy Schneider run around tanned in little bikinis and swim trunks?

Congratulations on your article. That is quite impressive!

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I really enjoyed this post! Not only do I want to see the movie, but I also want to read the book. You did a great job with your review!!

Terri said...

I may have to add this film to my Netflix queue. It amuses me that a purse has a "stand-in"

Glimpse Creations said...

Now I am going to have to watch this! Looks like the clothes in this movie are going to make me want to go out shopping!... and it is filmed in Paris! I wonder if I will see myself walking around in the background!!... lol

GRIT AND GLAMOUR said...

I loved that movie! In fact, I think I need to watch it again.

Being a costume designer would be so fascinating. I'm going over to read your article right now.

GRIT AND GLAMOUR said...

Had to come back...LOVED your write-up on Clothes on Film, Jill! Wish you had a Twitter account so I could tweet your handle with the link!

JTWisdom said...

This is awesome. I have got to see this movie and read the book. That's wonderful to be a contributing writer for Clothes on Film.

Thank you for adding me to your blog roll, I really appreciate that so much.


JTwisdom

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between a Kelly and a Birkin? That German poster looks like a Kelly to me, so obviously I'm getting it wrong...

jill815 said...

Hi Sacramento, I know a lot of people did NOT like the movie, I've read the terrible reviews on Netflix! I found it slightly confusing on first watch but knew it had been adapted from the novel by Diane Johnson. I read the book, which I really enjoyed, it's so layered, so nuanced, and liked the movie much better upon reviewing. At this point I can actually pick out where the screenwriter took things one character said in the novel and put them in the mouth of a different character in the movie. And 'Le Divorce' reminds me, in a way, of 'Howards End,' another Merchant Ivory movie I love, showing one family coming up against another family of completely different values and mores. And then of course, there is Paris, the clothes, and the Kelly, the glorious Kelly!

jill815 said...

Hi Adrienne, I have to see 'La Piscine' now! Based on your description I know it's right up my alley. I'm with you, even if the movie isn't perfect I can find little bits I enjoy and in the case of 'Le Divorce,' I thought Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts paired well as sisters and I thought all the other actors did very well with a script involving a somewhat confusing plot. I love all the family lunch scenes and Isabel shopping in La Perla was so great, trying to get her American bra size across to French saleswomen.

jill815 said...

Hi Pam, how's the wedding countdown? If you get time, I recommend reading the book before seeing the movie!

jill815 said...

Hi Terri, I'd read that in the 'Sex and the City' movie, the first one, the tiny sage green Birkin that Sarah Jessica Parker carries for about 5 minutes of the movie came equipped with a bodyguard! The filmmakers could use the bag for one day and then it had to go back with the Hermes representative who accompanied it to the set. Isn't that wild? That got me thinking about the Kelly in 'Le Divorce,' which I figured had one too, especially since it was made out of crocodile, making it even more valuable. When I asked the film's costume designer, Carol Ramsey, if the Kelly had a bodyguard she laughed at me, but then did concede that they had to lock it up every night once filming was finished for the day! And I'm not at all surprised they had a stand-in for it when they took it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, where it was definitely going to get roughed up.

jill815 said...

Hi Sarah, I love all the little Parisian scenes in 'Le Divorce' and all the great shops the characters go to, like La Perla and Chanel! Yes please! There are gorgeous restaurants featured too. The director, James Ivory, has such a great eye. You have me wanting to see 'Midnight in Paris' based on your review. I hope to go this weekend.

jill815 said...

Hi Vahni! Thank you SO MUCH for all your kind words and for Tweeting about my article AND leaving a comment on the Clothes on Film site. You are the best! You have also, as a good mentor does, reminded me that it's (way past) time for me to step up my game. I just started a Twitter account tonight. I'm @jillburgess815. I hope to put up a picture and a profile in the next few days. In the meantime, I have to thank you, once again, for your generosity. You are such a great leader in the fashion blogging community and I'm grateful for all you've taught me.

jill815 said...

Hi JTWisdom! Thank you for leaving such a nice comment about my article on the Clothes on Film site! And I was happy to add you to my blog roll, I didn't realize for a long time that I was on yours.

jill815 said...

Hi Anon, thanks for stopping by! Kellys and Birkins have similarities, such as the lock and the clochettes that hold the key (which hang off the purse handles), but a Kelly has only one handle and an optional shoulder strap and the Birkins have two handles, with much shorter handles, about a 4-inch drop, and no shoulder strap. Also, the shapes are different, the Kelly has a more trapezoid shape and the Birkin looks more rectangular (to my eye anyway). I love them both and would be so excited to add either one to my bag collection, but if I could only have one, make mine a Kelly 28 in black boxcalf with gold hardware. If you head over to the Purse Forum, go to the Hermes thread, then to the reference section, and you can see tons of pictures of both bags, as well as the types of leathers and colors they come in.

Back on topic, the bag Kate is holding in the German poster is definitely a Birkin and not a Kelly and since I'm betting these promotional pictures are taken after a movie has wrapped, the producers would've given the red crocodile Kelly they borrowed back to Hermes. Maybe Hermes couldn't loan it to them again because it was already sold!

Anonymous said...

My absolute favorite movie purse of all time would have to be the Mark Cross that Grace Kelly pulls the negligee out of in Hitchcock's, "Rear Window". It now carries her name and comes in a large and small size. Clean lines, excellent quality and a timeless classic purse all rolled into one.

Jill said...

Hello Anon! Oh yes, that IS a great bag Grace was carrying in the film. I know just the one you mean! I haven't seen "Rear Window" in awhile. Time to watch it again so I can see the beautiful Edith Head costumes on Grace and have another look at that bag! XO, Jill