Skip to content

Fashion Inspiration: Auntie Mame

April 12, 2010

Good heavens, you won't need most of these words for months and months...

It’s difficult to avoid using trite phrases such as tour-de-force when referring Rosalind Russell’s performance in the 1958 classic film Auntie Mame, but there it is. Russell stars as a wealthy bohemian who find herself guardian of her only living relative – a wide eyed boy named Patrick – when her brother, a Chicago industrialist keels over at the gym hours after penning his will. While there have been other adaptations of the novel by Patrick Dennis I pretend they do not exist. Mostly because they shouldn’t. Everything that ever needed to say about Mame Dennis – on film anyway – has already been said by Russell, who shut it down.

who knew it was all done with rubber bands!

No Tilda, we don’t need your rockin’ update of Auntie Mame.

Guadagnino said he and Swinton aspire to remake “Auntie Mame” as a “rock-n-roll, super funny, super mainstream movie.”They would set their “Mame,” which is about a boy growing up as ward of his dead father’s eccentric sister, in the present-day. “This is an SOS for Warner Bros

Maybe I’m confusing Swinton with another cold, emotionless ice queen, but I’m pretty sure she lacks the warmth necessary to make Mame not come across as a vapid, irrelevant banshee. The role requires the kind of vulnerability/moxie I have not observed in any of Swinton’s work. In addition, although I admire Swinton’s ability to carve her own path, fashion wise, well, Mame is about fashion and style in a way that is light years beyond what I’ve seen of Ms. Swinton. Again she has the eccentricity aspect nailed, but Mame wasn’t merely about being weird for weird’s sake. Her style definitely worked the edges of weird without being inappropriate for the occasion, which is not exactly a quality Swinton possesses in any capacity.

Cate Blanchett or Angela Bassett or Julianne Moore or Cher would be wonderful as Auntie Mame Reloaded, but definitely not Swinton. And for fuck’s sake NO MUSICAL!

He's coming here? In the middle of the night?

Auntie Mame has long been a favorite film of mine. Since La Mommie introduced me to it one night when it came on AMC. I was hooked and there hasn’t been a month in recent history where I haven’t viewed the film at least once. And in the twenty or so years since it was originally introduced to me I swear I have probably watched that movie thousands of times.

Key elements cribbed from Auntie Mame:

  • Sequins as daywear
  • tonal outfits consisting of worker bee skirts and fitted sweaters
  • sweater coats
  • mary janes
  • coats with big fussy collars, faux fur
  • jangling statement jewelry

For me the fashion inspiration isn’t merely what she wears in the film – though the clothes are spectacular – but rather the attitude and self confidence she has has about her style. It’s so permissive and inclusive. It’s all very, of course you wear sequins around the house darling, good heavens if not here then where? and very affirming. You feel silly doubting yourself as you step into a pair of hot pink sequined platform maryjanes and a floral satin raincoat for a quick jaunt to the Jiffy Mart for a bag of Doritos.

If not here then where?

Advertisements
13 Comments leave one →
  1. badhedgehog permalink
    April 12, 2010 2:24 pm

    Tilda Swinton? Ooh, no no no. Cate Blanchett yes, HBC obvious but yes, Cher yes, or Glenn Close. I just can’t see Tilda Swinton doing the joie-de-vivre side of eccentric. I can’t imagine a spangly Tilda Swinton. She’s very demi-matte.

    I remember a natural history programme on the Galapagos which was ruined for me by the voiceover, which was Till Da Swinn Ton doing her Ac Tor voice.

  2. April 12, 2010 3:15 pm

    From Hildy to Mama Rose, Rosalind Russell’s long been one of my favorite fast-talking actresses.

    Oh and I just took a look at the IMDB entry for the costume designer of both Auntie Mame and Gypsy, Orry-Kelly. What a list of credits!

  3. April 12, 2010 7:04 pm

    Oh and I just took a look at the IMDB entry for the costume designer of both Auntie Mame and Gypsy, Orry-Kelly. What a list of credits!

    Truly. We’re talking about some great works here. My faves include:

    Irma La Douce
    Casablanca
    An American in Paris
    Gypsy
    Oklahoma!
    The Maltese Falcon

  4. April 12, 2010 7:05 pm

    Tilda Swinton? Ooh, no no no. Cate Blanchett yes, HBC obvious but yes, Cher yes, or Glenn Close. I just can’t see Tilda Swinton doing the joie-de-vivre side of eccentric. I can’t imagine a spangly Tilda Swinton. She’s very demi-matte.

    Ooh, Glenn Close was someone who hasn’t occurred to me. But I saw her in Sunset Blvd and she was great.

  5. hsofia permalink
    April 12, 2010 11:03 pm

    I have never seen Auntie Mame – not sure if I’ve ever even heard of it before. No clue what it’s about. But guess what?! It’s on Netflix streaming so YAY!

  6. April 13, 2010 1:39 am

    Sweet! They brought it back. It’s such a great film, filled with tons of clever dialog and gorgeous costumes.

  7. Regina permalink
    April 13, 2010 3:29 pm

    Hello hello. I started reading your blog shortly before you started posting the H:LOTS recaps (which are excelente), and I figure I may as well comment.

    Sweet! When I read this I totally thought, “Oh, I bet Snarky’d be all over the fashion statements in Irma La Douce, too!”

  8. April 13, 2010 7:27 pm

    Hello hello. I started reading your blog shortly before you started posting the H:LOTS recaps (which are excelente), and I figure I may as well comment.

    Thank you!!! Glad you’re here and liking the content. Look at me, working the spammer grammar.

    Sweet! When I read this I totally thought, “Oh, I bet Snarky’d be all over the fashion statements in Irma La Douce, too!”

    such great writing by Wilder and those costumes can’t be beat.

  9. April 14, 2010 12:14 am

    I’m sure she’s a nice lady and all, but I just can’t see Tilda Swinton doing this well. She looks scary.

  10. renniejoy permalink
    April 14, 2010 5:26 pm

    Why couldn’t Bea Arthur have been in this movie instead of the remake that shall not be named? That would have been a tour-de-force!!

  11. April 14, 2010 8:38 pm

    Why couldn’t Bea Arthur have been in this movie instead of the remake that shall not be named? That would have been a tour-de-force!!

    Bea would have been lovely and perfect for it. I am starting think that perhaps Mame might be one of those things we ought to leave along and instead encourage folks to discover the gem already in existence.

  12. Other Becky permalink
    May 5, 2010 9:43 am

    Late to the party here: Just wanted to give a big AMEN to the “don’t remake Auntie Mame!” I actually like the musical version too (love me some Robert Preston), but Rosalind Russell was a-fucking-mazing as Mame. Right now I can’t watch it — she reminds me so much of my grandmother and I miss her terribly — but thank you for reminding me about it.

  13. May 27, 2010 11:51 pm

    Does anybody know if this remake is really in the works? By the way it’s not by accident that my blog is http://www.Annie Mame.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: