In the early 80s TV series from Japan became rather popular in Italy. "Versailles no Bara" - translated as "Lady Oscar", produced by TMS Tokyo Movie Shueisha and directed by Tadao Nagahama and Osamu Dezaki - was definitely among the most loved series.
"Lady Oscar" was actually taken from a historical anime entitled "Berusaiyu no Bara" (The Rose of Versailles) by Riyoko Ikeda that recounted the fictional life of Oscar François de Jarjayes, one of the daughters of the Captain of the Royal Guards François Augustin Regnier de Jarjayes, raised by her father as if she were a boy in order to take his place and assigned, once she grew up, to protect Marie Antoinette.
In the last pages of Ikeda’s anime the author chronicled Napoleon’s rise, a topic she went back to in "Eikō no Napoleon-Eroika", a sort of follow up to Lady Oscar’s story.
Duels, court intrigues and transvestism ensured the TV series was a complete success.
Unfortunately, thinking they were in front of a sort of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) for kids, censors rewrote, cut or shortened a few dialogues that were deemed at the time as inappropriate. Censorship caused rather annoying inconsistencies and incoherent situations, yet contributed to give the series its legendary cult status.
A few films were taken from Ikeda’s anime, among them also Jacques Demy’s Lady Oscar (1979), in which the main character was played by obnoxious Patsy Kensit (Oscar as a child) and Catriona MacColl (Oscar as an adult).
The film wasn’t certainly a work of art, but it featured quite beautiful costumes in bright pastel colours designed by Jacqueline Moreau and opulent sets designs that provided the inspiration for many films about Marie Antoinette’s life shot in more recent years, and also inspired a Shiseido TV advert.
It sounds rather funny, but Lady Oscar, in its anime and its film incarnations, was on my mind when I saw Mary Katrantzou’s A/W 2010-11 collection.
Having left behind her blown up prints of perfume bottles or futuristic hyper-coloured images inspired by glass, Katrantzou looked at history, mixing vivid images of medals and sashes with jewels, pearl necklaces, precious stones and lace printed on silk and chiffon dresses and worn with chandelier-like necklaces.
A few designs were rather excessive, resembling Pierre-Philippe Thomire’s ormolu pieces, but there were interesting dresses with prints of trompe l’oeil Napoleonic uniforms complete with epaulettes, golden crowns of laurel leaves and jabots, worn with deep black or electric blue Napoleonic coats.
As the catwalk progressed the militaristic inspiration relaxed a bit.
Dresses in floral patterns characterised by asymmetric ruffled skirts and lace inserts appeared on the runway, revealing more idyllically romantic and gentle inspirations that included François Boucher’s portraits of Madame de Pompadour, Honoré Fragonard late Rococo and exuberantly hedonistic paintings such as "The Swing" and Jean-Marc Nattier’s graceful portraits of court ladies.
There is one problem though that plagues many London-based young designers (and that I will hopefully investigate in a further post), a clear lack of tailoring skills, caused by the fact that many fashion design courses focus on art rather than technical and practical abilities.
While with this collection Katrantzou showed she may have more up her sleeve apart from a series of shift dresses with striking prints, it would be interesting to see what she could come up with if she strengthened her tailoring skills or if she worked with a talented and inventive pattern cutter.
Katrantzou should maybe take note that fashion is an extremely fast industry today and, while a print that was considered extremely beautiful and original yesterday may suddenly reek of déjà vu tomorrow, genuinely well-cut garments have a timeless quality and are therefore (potentially) more fashionable for a longer period of time.
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Add to Technorati Favorites Lijit Search