Let ‘Orient Express’ set course for your holiday wardrobe
All aboard! What better way to solve the mystery of dressing for the holidays than to be inspired by the all-star fashionable cast of the new movie “Murder on the Orient Express.” Agatha Christie’s famous book, written in 1934, has captured our imagination in movies before, but this time around, Oscar-winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne brings even more of the glamour of the era to the silver screen.
So, if you’re looking for a way to add some elegance to holiday parties, here are a few clues to create some drama all on your own.
• Be biased. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll definitely remember Michelle Pfeiffer and her entrance into the swanky dining car in a clingy magenta gown. The dress du jour in the 1930s was all about the bias-cut, where fabric was cut at a diagonal angle producing curve-hugging silhouettes. Introduced by Parisian designer Madeleine Vionnet, the hourglass shape was embraced by Hollywood’s glamour queens like Mae West and Carole Lombard. Slinky stretch velvets in body-conscious dresses, long and short, will be the stars of this year’s holiday season.
• Suit up. The menswear plaids and tweeds were all the rage in the ’30s, styled with mid-calf skirts fitted at the hip with wedge-cut pleats at the hemline, complete with jabot blouses, pearls, hat and gloves. Remember, this was the decade when French designer Coco Chanel debuted her sporty suits. A Chanel-inspired tweed suit is still a classic. Today’s party girls will wear their jackets with skinny jeans, throw on their pearls and dance away the night.
• Get vested. For the men, sharp three-piece suits were mandatory. Agatha Christie’s Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot (played by director Kenneth Branagh) is the ultimate detective, and of course, the ultimate dandy. His sartorial style is as impeccable as his handle-bar mustache accessorized with pocket squares, collar pins and cuff links. Ditto for Johnny Depp’s evil character, Mr. Ratchett, who adds some swagger in the movie to his suits with an ankle-length distressed leather trench coat. Guys, if you want to really step out in style at your next holiday soiree, take a cue from these dapper dressers.
• Jewels, anyone? Judi Dench sure thought her jewels were special in “Murder on the Orient Express.” But after all, she was channeling a Russian princess. In Christie’s book, Princess Dragomiroff is described as wearing a “knuckleduster of rings.” And in the movie, she did just that. You couldn’t miss the huge sparkling rocks on each finger. Geometric art deco earrings, crystal brooches, lariat necklaces and enamel cuff bracelets also pop up in the movie. And sometimes, let’s face it, no matter how old you are, one incredible piece of statement jewelry is all it takes to turn an everyday outfit into a head-turner, whether you’re traveling on a snow-bound train in the 1930s or toasting a new year with champagne at midnight in 2017.
• Have fun with fur. The fur was flying in the 1930s — from ermine to fox to mink, Mongolian lamb and more. The allstar cast of the movie was clad in fox stoles, sable coats and mink toque hats. Even the men wore hats and coats trimmed with fur. Today, we thankfully have the luxury look of faux furs to add a touch of affordable glamour to holiday celebrations. Watch for chic shaggy fur vests, boas, neck scarves and more to make a dramatic entrance at a cocktail party near you.
And if a dramatic exit is more your style this holiday season, then you may want to take a final cue from the Agatha Christie classic and slither into a scarlet silk kimono embroidered with dragons ... and to solve that mystery, you’ll have to go see the movie ... or at least read the book!
To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.