What to Wear: 10th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

By: Emily Y.
Did the lack of female nominees (other than lead and supporting actress, of course) at the Oscars get you down? Never fear–the 10th annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival is running March 4-8th 2015, supporting female filmmakers in all sorts of roles. 
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Above: Melissa Bergland stars as Lexi Ivy in Relative Happiness. Image found here.


The past couple years I have had the pleasure of volunteering as a judge for the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, a local event which is put on by Women in Film and Television Vancouver. I’m really proud of this year’s lineup, and for those of you here in Vancouver, I personally invite you to attend this fantastic event.


The festival runs March 4-8th downtown at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre, and already the screenings for opening night film Margarita with a Straw, and the Highway of Tears documentary block have sold out! Given that the festival runs during March 8th, International Women’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate women’s achievements.


For a film to be eligible for our festival, a woman must fill three key creative roles (director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, music, etc).


Filmmaking for women in Canada has been particularly difficult this past year—in our festival committee, we noticed a distinct lack of feature-length narrative films compared to our 2014 festival. This means in that in an industry dominated by men, women had a harder time than ever getting their films made and on screen at festivals. As such, I really encourage you all to show your support for female filmmakers by spreading the word about the festival, and showing up to watch some really excellent films.


Personally, I would recommend a few films in particular.


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Image above found here.


Relative Happiness showing on Friday, March 6th starting at 9:30 pm has my recommendation for a few reasons. It’s a feature-length dramedy from back East, and it’s actually funny—I watched it twice when I was judging just for fun and laughed out loud all the while. I love the film’s protagonist Lexi Ivy (played by Melissa Bergland), who is a fiery 30-something who runs a bed and breakfast, wears dresses even when she goes camping, and makes jams and preserves for local craft fairs in her spare time. I also love that the film has some body diversity—Lexi Ivy is a ‘plus’ size gal and totally steals the show. Bonus for Closet Feminists–you can read an interview with the costume designer for Relative Happiness, Sarah Dunsworth, here.


Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz showing Friday, March 6th at 6:30 is a great, fun doc. Yes, the music is amazing, and the subject matter fascinating. Even if you don’t like jazz, I can guarantee you’ll get into the ‘swing’ of things. Thoroughly researched, the film covers musicians from the 1920s-1970s, and has tons of interviews with women who were in these bands back in the day. This film also stands out to me as it features the perspectives of many women of colour—a must-see, for sure. In the spirit of things, the festival will also have a jazz reception featuring performer Jillian Lebeck!


Lastly, I want to suggest A 5-Star, an Iranian film showing Saturday, March 7th at 9:30 pm. I didn’t get a chance to see this film while I was judging, but the other judges said its quite funny and unexpected—it’s about a mother and daughter working at a fancy hotel, and all hell breaks loose when a major guest’s watch gets stolen. They didn’t tell me much more than that, but I’m quite intrigued, and we don’t see many films from Iran coming through our festival usually.


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Both images above found here.


Wondering what to wear to a film festival? I personally would take cues from the character of Lexi Ivy in Relative Happiness--her wardrobe was adorbs. I love how super-femme it is, and they totally discuss it throughout the movie, too–her friends make fun of her for wearing a dress and tights when they go camping.


inspired by Lexi Ivy of Relative Happiness

Milly purple dress, 1,075 CAD / Petit Bateau pea coat / Black tight, 21 CAD / Evening shoes, 56 CAD / Red purse, 75 CAD / Henri Bendel black bracelet, 145 CAD / Freshwater pearl earrings, 86 CAD / Deepa Gurnani hair accessory, 85 CAD


You can check out the whole schedule online here. 
You can purchase tickets online in advance here OR you can get them at the box office. All movies are shown at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre downtown.
Be sure to check out the festival Facebook group, and if you attend any screenings or events for the festival, tweet about it using #VIWIFF2015.

Princess Bubblegum x Fall 2015 Runways: Best Pink Outfits


As you might know by now, Princess Bubblegum of Adventure Time is a CF favourite. She’s not your average princess; she’s actually a complex character. She’s a leader, a scientist, queer, has pretty questionable ethics when it comes to genetics, and really does care about her people. She rules alone, and doesn’t apologize for it.


Unsurprisingly, she comes to mind often when we’re looking at fashion month runways–anything ridiculous, nerdy, and pink, reminds us of this ruling royal.


Below are some of PB-worthy looks from the New York and London  Fall 2015 runways–all by female designers of course (Princess Bubblegum seems to appreciate other boss ladies).


Above: Roksanda Fall 2015, image found here.


Above: Orla Kiely Fall 2015, image found here.


Above: Marissa Webb, Fall 2015. Image found here.


Above: Milly Fall 2015, image found here.


Above: Holly Fulton Fall 2015, image found here.


Above: Emilia Wickstead, Fall 2015. Image found here.


Above: Emilia Wickstead, Fall 2015. Image found here.


Gender Norms and Costume Design: Sandy Powell on Cinderella


In the March issue of Fashion, Sandy Powell, the Oscar-winning costume designer who is behind the looks for Disney’s live action Cinderella discusses how her designs might be one glass slipper step back–not forward- for the film’s protagonist. Read for yourself below.

Disney’s millennial Cinderella is supposed to be a ore progressive take on the tale. How did you express that? 

“They didn’t want her to be the good little Cinderella who wanted only to get married and live happily ever after. She’s given a a strong character. She’s not simepring all the time. I’m not sure how I’ve reflected her [liberation] in the costume because I’ve still given her a 21-inch waist, which completely restricted her! She wears five-inch glass heels no one else can walk in.”

– from “Behind the Seams” by Elio Iannacci in Fashion March 2015

CINDERELLANote that since the trailer was released, many have questioned whether or not Disney digitally altered actress Lily James’ waist. Disney says no; it seems that it was just Powell’s design…

Bibliostyle: Gender-bending & Patricia Highsmith


Above: DKNY Fall 2015, image found here.

Three years before her death , Pat [Patricia Highsmith] was still thinking about clothes. IN an article about Venice written for The Oldie in July of 1992, she lingered lovingly over the wares of her favourite Venetian “haberdashery,” where she liked to buy shirts of unusual colors that were still hanging in her wardrobe: a yellow shirt (yellow, the color of warning signs, was Pat’s favourite hue) and a porter’s yellow and black striped jacket with yellow metal buttons which, Pat reported with satisfaction of someone who has spent her money wisely, “has worn like iron.”

Pat’s own clothing always had a ritually gendered aspect–and left open the question of gender, too. But her most consistent gift to the women she cared about (including her mother and her editor at Henemann in London, Janice Robertson) couldn’t have been more feminine: she liked to present them with handbags. Pat gave Janice Robertson a Hermès bag when Robertson left Heinemann in 1972–and, says Janice Robertson, Pat was the only author to remember her with a going-away gift […]

During different periods in her life, Pat’s costumes really were costumes: composed expressions of the gender wards she waged within herself and represented in her dress. Her boy’s shirts, men’s trousers, collegiate loafers, tailored jackets, smart vests00as well as the little beaded necklaces and bracelets, the jaunty ascots, the occasional skirt, and the light lipsticks she sometimes applied–kept her suspended between the possibilities she’d acknowledged so “brilliantly” at the age of twelve: “I am a walking perpetual example of….a boy in a girl’s body.” At twenty-seven, she was phrasing her dilemma a little  more philosophically: “The most beautiful word is ‘transcend.’ By all the laws that are Platonic, I am a man and love women.”

– from The Talented Miss Highsmith by Joan Schenkar


Above: Karen Walker Fall 2015, image found here.


Above: Sally LaPointe Fall 2015. Image found here.sallylapointefall2015_2

Above: Sally LaPointe Fall 2015, image found here.


Above: Marissa Webb Fall 2015, image found here. marissawebbfall2015_2


Above: Marissa Webb Fall 2015, image found here.

Covers & Content: Bazaar US March 2015

Normally we do our Covers & Content column on Canadian fashion magazines only, but this year we’ll be focusing on Bazaar US as well. That being said, how diverse was the March issue of Bazaar? Read on for details below.


Above: the newsstand cover of the March 2015 issue

The issue: March 2015

The Cover Star: Rihanna. It should be noted that Rihanna’s cover story consisted of a very brief, one-page interview.  This is unique compared to the 3 previous issues of Bazaar we have reviewed–Anne Hathaway (November), Jennifer Aniston (December/January), and Miranda Kerr (February), all got full cover stories. Is it a coincidence that Rihanna is the first woman of colour to grace the cover of Bazaar in 2015 and she barely got an interview compared to the previous 3 cover stars? Hmm…..

Perceived Appearance of Cover Star: Black/mixed race

Does the magazine appear to feature any models of colour in the editorials?: This issue had six fashion editorials. Editorials 2, 3, 5, and 6 starred one thin, white model each. Editorial 4 was the only one in this issue to star a woman of colour exclusively. The first editorial, styled by Carine Roitfeld, starred an ensemble of 6 models, but only 1 of the models (Liu Wen) was a visible minority. It should also be noted that editorial 4 was shot by alleged sexual offender Terry Richardson.

Does the magazine appear to feature any plus-size models in the editorials?: No


Above: the subscriber cover of the March 2015 issue


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