When film and fashion meet:

Grease (1978)

 

When Frankie Valli first time sang the rhyme “Grease is time, is the place, is the motion” nobody could probably guess what echo this part of the starting number of one of the most famous musicals of all times would have on pop culture, leading to resurrection of this slightly forgotten film genre.

 

    

     Musicals, which were gaining their fame mostly on theatre stages in those years, on the big screen were suppressed by the films of new Hollywood wave that replaced sweet melodies by more real and brutal human stories. However, the end of 70s of the last century would bring a new conception of film – musical accomplishments dealing with, unlike those from Hollywood “golden times”, social and current themes as political or even war ones. A sweet, though not banal work, wrapped into jumble of 50s and a handful of pop hits (as it turned out later), sneaked among brutally real musicals like “Saturday Night Fever” and “Hair”.

 

 

Greasers and pregnant teenage girls

 

It is obvious that “Grease” director Randal Kleiser knew the recipe for success. Out of already famous star in above mentioned “Fever”, Olivia Newton John, better known by her musical than acting achievements, and unofficial “it” boy of 70s, John Travolta, Kleiser made one of the most recognizable film – music duets , which would leave inerasable record on generations of that time and the coming ones by immortalizing the love story of Danny  Zuko, a school loafer, and sweet , innocent Sandy, The film script was milder than the original, written for theatre seven years earlier and signed by Jim Jacobs and  Warren Casey. The original text was about aggressive and vulgar American youth from 50s of the last century, known as “greasers” and also about taboo topics like teenage pregnancy and violence at the young. For making a film the script, understandably, should be adapted to cinematography expression as well as cinema audience, so some delicate and sticky matters were pulled through film packed in colourful paper and softened by merry notes.

 

However, it didn’t lessen the importance of the moral, explaining through the veil of past and, analogically, “better” times, to the generations of that time their present and warning of its dangers. Therefore, it is not unusual that film was followed not only by positive critic word but also by high earning. The success of “Grease” was most noticeable in popularity of hits “Summer Nights”, “You’re The One That I Want”, Hopelessly Devoted to You”, highly placed as on less relevant lists, like one of most popular karaoke songs, as on those more prestigious, like the best soundtracks of all times list.

 

The costumes that passed the spirit of 50s directly into 1978 in the most accurate and convincing way, were not less striking. The 50s of the 20th century were marked, as far as woman’s fashion is concerned, by the poodle skirts and low waist with tightened belt, shirts pulled into them and short cardigans slung over the shoulders. It was the time of dangerous, slick – haired boys wearing tight jeans and leather jackets, ever – present white socks and black moccasins, accompanied by the girls dressed in capri trousers or tight pencil under – knee skirts, with small scarves round their necks and wooden slippers on their feet. And, yes, it was the period of fashion innocence and femininity and rock and roll hints with “rebellion with no reason” gave it a specific touch, making it (the period) fashionably recognizable and , most essentially, inspiringly inexhaustible.

 

 

Leather as a mean of seduction

 

Louis Vuitton, Prada, Oscar de la Renta – these are some of  the great fashion names whose collections showed homage to the fashion of 50s. Thus, we are under the impression that the pieces worn in the mentioned epoch and in “Grease’ are still topic today. Probably the most striking fashion moment in the film Sandy’s makeover from an innocent girl into a seductive woman, by little help of leather tights and leather jacket which have been real “must have” among all relevant trendsetters during previous seasons. It seems, though, that distinctiveness and everlasting strikingness of “Grease” are the result of linking two so different fashion epochs like 50s and late 70s of  the last century were. Gucci led one of his collections just on that path, as it was claimed at Milan Fashion Week in 2008, where models that Rizzo, one of the supporting but very striking characters from “Grease” would have worn at present if she had lived there.

 

To resume. Return into styled 50s would never lead you on the wrong fashion path, whether you were in your soul sweet and tender Sandy in poodle skirt with short cardigan and little belt tightening your waist, or determined and energetic Rizzo in alluring pencil skirt, biker’s jacket and cat-like glasses on the nose. If you were  naturally nostalgic and melancholic, longing for one more day at high school and light-heartedness you had had, if you were  musical and sweet pop rock fan, and at the same time you would like to see pre aerobic Olivia and John Travolta with 20 kilos of weight less, flying together in red old – timer towards  the  status  of stars and the most striking pairs in film history – then, this is a true film for you, your high school company and for one pleasant afternoon when the words “Grease is the way we are feeling” got their real meaning.

 

 

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Kad se sretnu film i moda:

Brilijantin (1978)

 

 

Kada je Frenki Veli prvi put otpevao stih „Grease is time, is the place, is the motion“ verovatno niko nije mogao ni da nasluti kako će ovaj deo početne numere jednog od naslavnijih mjuzikla svih vremena odjeknuti u pop kulturi, utičući na vaskrsnuće pomalo zaboravljenog filmskog žanra.

 

 

    Mjuzikle, koji su tih godina slavu uglavnom sticali na „daskama koje život znače“, na velikom platnu potisnuli su filmovi novog holivudskog talasa koji je sladunjave melodije zamenio realnijim i surovijm ljudskim pričama. Ipak, kraj 70-ih godina prošlog veka doneće novu koncepciju filmsko-muzičkih ostvarenja koja će se, za razliku od onih iz "zlatnog doba" Holivuda, pozabaviti socijalnim i aktuelnim temama poput političkih ili, čak, ratnih. Među surovo realne mjuzikle kao što su „Groznica subotnje večeri“ i „Kosa“ ušunjalo se jedno sladunjavo, mada ne i banalno ostvarenje, uvijeno u šareniš 50-ih godina, s pregršt pop hitova, kako će se kasnije ispostaviti.

 

 

Grisersi i trudne tinejdžerke

 

Očigledno je da je reditelj filma „Brilijantin“, Rendel Klejser, znao recept za uspeh. Od već proslavljene zvezde gorepomenute „Groznice“ Olivije Njutn Džon, poznatije po muzičkim nego po glumačkim dostignućima, i nezvaničnog „it“ momka 70-ih, Džona Travolte, Klejser stvara jedan od najprepoznatljivijih filmsko-muzičkih dueta koji će, ovekovečivši ljubavnu priču školskog mangupa Denija Zuka i slatke i nevine Sendi, ostaviti neizbrisiv trag na tadašnje i potonje generacije. Filmski scenario bio je daleko blaži od originalnog, napisanog za pozorište sedam godina ranije, iza kojeg su stajali Džim Džejkobs i Voren Kejsi. Originalni tekst bavio se agresivnom i vulgarno nastrojenom američkom omladinom 50-ih godina prošlog veka, poznatijom kao „grisersi“(greasers), ali i tabu temama, poput tinejdžerske trudnoće i nasilja među mladima. Za snimanje filmskog ostvarenja scenario je, razumljivo, trebalo prilagoditi kinematografskom izrazu, ali i bioskopskoj publici, pa su osetljive i pomalo škakljive teme provučene kroz film tako što su upakovane u šareni papir i ublažene veselim notama.

 

To ipak nije umanjilo značaj poruke filma koja je, kroz veo prošlih i, analogno tome, „lepših“ vremena, tadašnjim mladim generacijama tumačila njihovu sadašnjost upozoravajući ih na njene opasnosti. Stoga i ne čudi što je film pratila kako dobra kritička reč, tako i visoka novčana zarada. Uspeh „Brilijantina“ bio je najuočljiviji u popularnosti hitova „Summer Nights“, „You're The One That I Want“, „Hopelessly Devoted to You“ koji su se visoko kotirali kako na onim manje relevantnim listama, poput liste najpopularnijih karaoke pesama, tako i na onim prestižnijim, kao što je lista najboljih filmskih numera svih vremena.

 

Ništa manje upečatljivi nisu bili ni kostimi koji su najvernije i najubedljivije preneli duh 50-ih pravo u 1978. godinu. A 50-e godine 20. veka obeležile su, barem što se ženske mode tiče, suknje širokog oboda i dubokog struka naglašenog pojasom, u koje su bile uvučene košuljice s kratkim kardiganima prebačenim preko ramena. Bilo je to vreme opasnih, zalizanih momaka, obučenih u uske farmerke i kožne jakne uz nezaobilazne bele čarape i crne mokasine, koje su pratile devojke u kapri pantalonama ili uskim pencil suknjama do ispod kolena, s malim maramama oko vrata i nanulama na nogama. I da, bila je to epoha modne nevinosti i ženstvenosti, kojoj su primese rokenrola i "buntovništva bez razloga" davale šmek čineći je specifičnom, modno prepoznatljivom i, što je najbitnije, inspiracijski nepresušnom.

 

 

Koža kao sredstvo zavođenja

 

Luj Viton, Prada, Oskar de la Renta - samo su neke od modnih veličina koje su u svojim kolekcijama dale omaž modi 50-ih. Zbog toga ne možemo da se otmemo utisku da su odevni komadi, nošeni kako u pomenutoj epohi tako i u filmu „Brilijantin", i dan-danas podjednako aktuelni. Verovatno najupečatljiviji modni momenat u filmu predstavlja preobražaj Sendi iz nevine devojčice u zavodljivu ženu, i to uz pomoć kožnih helanki i kožne jakne koje su proteklih sezona pravi „must have“ među svim relevantnim trendseterkama. Čini se, ipak, da je specifičnost i trajna upečatljivost kostima iz „Brilijantina“ posledica povezivanja dveju tako različitih modnih epoha kakve su 50-e i kasne 70-e prošlog veka. Upravo je Guči jednu od svojih kolekcija vodio ovom putanjom i, kako je isticano te 2008. na Milanskoj nedelji mode, na njoj su prikazani modeli koje bi Riz, sporedni ali vrlo upečatljiv lik „Brilijantina“, nosila u sadašnjosti da je u njoj postojala.

 

Da rezimiramo. Povratak u stilizovane 50-e nikada vas neće navesti na pogrešan modni put, bilo da ste u duši slatka i nežna Sendi u suknji širokog oboda, s kratkim kardiganom i malim pojasom koji naglašava struk, bilo da ste odlučna i energična Riz u zavodljivoj pencil suknji, bajkerskoj jakni i s mačkastim naočarima na licu. Ukoliko ste nostalgičari i melanholici po prirodi, željni još jednog dana u srednjoj školi i bezbrižnosti koja ju je obeležila, ukoliko ste ljubitelji mjuzikla i sladunjavog pop-roka, a ujedno želite da vidite Oliviju pre „aerobik“ faze i Džona Travoltu s 20 kilograma manje kako zajedno odleću u crvenom oldtajmeru ka statusu zvezda i jednog od najupečatljivijih parova u filmskoj istoriji - onda je ovo pravi film za vas, vaše društvo iz srednje škole i jedno lepo popodne u kojem će reči „Grease is the way we are fealing“ dobiti pravo značenje.

Autor: Branislava Antović