4 FILMS AND A PAINTING LEAD BACK TO CLOTHES AS USUAL...

I've had all these sartorial threads of inspiration bubbling in my head for a while, trying to think how I could possibly ever get these into some semblance of order that would get past an editor. Then it occurred to me: That sounds like a blog post! Yes! I used to know those (see 2005 - 2014)! So here I am. Oh, journal, whatever.

I've been dreaming of summer by the coast somewhere very hot and dry, with the scent of rosemary and thyme carried by a stiff sea breeze. 

Not that I'm in the winter doldrums at all - there's an explosion of plum blossom and birdsong in my little corner of London at the moment. 

What probably set me off was watching La Piscine at Christmas - in my opinion the perfectly formed film, and not just because of Jane Birkin, who doesn't actually do or say a lot in it, but whose appearance in it launched a million Pinterest boards. The plot is so tightly drawn that whichever way you turn it, or however many times you watch it, there are no holes. The tiniest details have been thought of: in fact the crux of the film hinges on exactly that. The feeling of that intense dog-day afternoon heat permeates the film. This, coupled with the seclusion of the house in the hills of the South of France and the dynamics of the four characters, creates a pressure cooker effect. 

I saw A Bigger Splash not long after having watched La Piscine, and although it's essentially a remake of of the film, to me it's a totally different film which happens to share the same plot, this time set on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria. Where La Piscine is restrained, the acting extremely subtle and reserved, everything in A Bigger Splash is amplified, taken to an extreme of behaviour or expression. Both films feature extraordinary acting by extraordinary actors of course.

I actually love both films equally and I might just love A Bigger Splash a tiny bit more. That is due to the costumes of Tilda Swinton playing Marianne Lane, which constitute my ideal holiday, no, any day wardrobe and which made my heart skip a beat and wish I'd had a facility for screen-capping in the cinema throughout the film. (Which is of course named after the David Hockney painting of the same name. The other A Bigger Splash film - the 'reality' documentary by Jack Hazan on David Hockney in the '70s is another amazing treasure trove of visual inspiration, but I digress.)

Tilda wafts through the film in several outfits designed by Raf Simons when he was at Dior. I obviously didn't know this when I was watching the film and scanned the end credits for clues - why do credits move so fast?! The jig was up when I just managed to catch the special thanks for Tilda's wardrobe to Pieter Mulier - Raf's right hand man. (Tilda's costumes in Luca Guadagnino's previous film I Am Love had also been provided by Raf Simons when he was designing Jil Sander.)

 © Studiocanal

© Studiocanal

I was particularly obsessed with a blue and white striped shirtdress that Tilda wore. It looked simple, but it was complicated - it was almost a fifth character in the film. At first glance, it looked like a normal shirtdress made of striped shirting cotton. Then you notice how it buttons asymmetrically, the placket crossing the body, then how the back of the collar leads to a cut out upper back, leading to a twist at the waist. Cutting at its finest - a subverted shirtdress. You can see it on the spring/summer '14 catwalk here and here, where outside the context of the film and with different styling it looks so different. 

 Screencapped.org

Screencapped.org

 Screencapped.org

Screencapped.org

Which leads me to yet another inspiring shirting moment in film, this time in a short film by Albert Moya for Nowness from last summer. It seems I'm getting most of my inspiration from films these days, while the reverse used to be true. I can't seem to stop screen-capping moving images lately. 

 © Nowness / Albert Moya

© Nowness / Albert Moya

  © Nowness / Albert Moya

© Nowness / Albert Moya

  © Nowness / Albert Moya

© Nowness / Albert Moya

In this film, Marie-Louise Scio, the creative director of hotel Il Pellicano, is seen around the hotel and on her boat wearing a kind of kimono made of striped shirting: red and white, with a blue and white panel at the back. Is it Céline? Custom Charvet perhaps? I have no idea, [EDIT: I did some more sleuthing and it's SS15 Lisa Marie Fernandez, which is stocked in the Il Pellicano boutique] I just know I want to be on a hot and blustery Italian island or rocky promontory facing a clear blue sea wearing something very like either of these over my swimsuit this summer.