FashionFeed: The Best ‘Best-Of’ Lists of 2011

● Fashionista’s roundup of top fashion editorials features that memorable Vogue spread with the ageless Natalia Vodianova cuddling with stylish wunderkinds Elle Fanning, Chloe Moretz, and Hailee Steinfeld. [Fashionista]

● Here’s a roundup of the 10 best pop-up stores of the year, which includes Nicola Formichetti’s spectacular concept store. [Racked NY]

● Derek Blasberg’s best-dress of 2011 features a mix of obvious choices (Alexa Chung, Kate Moss), but also includes some surprises, like breakout star Elizabeth Olsen. [Harper’s Bazaar]

● Cathy Horyn’s picks for notable moments in fashion range from the John Galliano debacle to Giovanna Battaglia’s gravity-defying Stephen Sprouse gown at the Cannes Film Festival. [NYT]

● Fashion Gone Rogue’s best beauty editorials include Anais Pouilot‘s striking braid game and Joudan Dunn’s intricate headwear in Vogue Paris.  [FGR]

● Some of this year’s top fashion magazine covers include a crying Hailee Steinfeld for LOVE and a provocatively positioned butterfly for Garage.  [Styleite]


Fashion Rebel Alice Dellal Fronts New Marc by Marc Jacobs Campaign

Could 2012 be the year that Alice Dellal trades in her signature sartorial rebellion for a more lady like look? We sure hope not, as her badass personal style never fails to inspire the streets of fashion month, similar to Abbey Lee Kershaw. But now that she’s fronting major fashion campaigns for the likes of Chanel and Marc Jacobs, it looks like our punk rock girl is interested in testing the more commercial waters.

Just a month after signing a deal to be the face of Chanel’s Boy handbag line, Grazia captured a first look of Dellal’s new stint as the face of the Marc by Marc Jacobs’ spring/summer 2012 campaign. Shot by Jacobs’ longtime collaborator Juergen Teller, the images feature the British-Brazilian model in feminine dresses, sporting her trademark half-shaved ‘do. Dellal picks up where former Marc by Marc Jacobs campaign model Elle Fanning left off. 

Rachel Shukert’s Blissful ‘Starstruck’ Brings Back the Golden Age of Hollywood

I don’t read a lot of young adult fiction, but when I found out my friend Rachel Shukert was penning a trilogy of novels about young Hollywood starlets in the 1930s, I knew it was right up my alley. Known for her two hilarious memoirs, Have You No Shame and Everything Is Going to Be Great, as well as the fantastic recaps of the ill-fated Smash on Vulture, Shukert brings an astounding voice to her writing, one that is both irreverently raucous and sweetly endearing. Starstruck, Shukert’s first foray into fiction, embodies all of her traits, and it’s a fantastic look at the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Focusing on a trio of young women (Margo Sterling, Amanda Farraday, and Gabby Preston), Starstruck brings alive those now-mythical years of movie-making with a campy behind-the-scenes look at the stars that caught the attention of the average American as well as the studio heads who capitalized on them. Think of it as Valley of the Dolls starring Shirley Temple—it mixes the seediness of showbiz drama with the melodiousness chase of stardom.

This week, Rachel Shukert and I corresponded via email to talk about her obsession with old Hollywood, her ideal audience, and how the nature of celebrity has changed over the last century.

What about this time period inspired you to write about it?
Well, look, since I was a startlingly small child, I’ve been moderately to massively obsessed with old movies and the idea of Golden Age Hollywood, the stars, all of that stuff–the glamor of it, the secrets, and the incredible confluence of insanely talented people working in Hollywood at the time. I love stories about show biz back when it was show biz, you know, and people lived out these huge larger than life stories, and all this seamy stuff happened behind the scenes. It was something I always wanted to be a part of. 

But in a more general sense, I think the ’30s are my favorite era. You can kind of see most of the 20th century as series of reactions to various disasters. The frivolity and the decadence of the ’20s was a direct reaction to World War I and the Spanish flu and all this death and destruction; it was like, honey badgers no longer gave a shit. And then you can also look at the kind of proscribed suburbanism and conformity of the ’50s and early ’60s as this direct response to the horrors of World War II, where the world looked straight into the heart of darkness and responded by regressing into this weird, repressed, idealized kind of childhood where nothing bad could ever happen again as long as you had the right vacuum cleaner and Mother didn’t work and everybody forgot that sexual intercourse of any sort existed (or at least never acknowledged so verbally.) But in the ’30s, everyone was dealing with the Depression, and just didn’t have the time for self-delusion, so everything was very self-consciously sophisticated and witty and cynical and hard-boiled. There was a frankness in the culture that appeals to me. Unless, of course, you were one of the increasing number of people seeking refuge in one of the ascendant ‘isms’—you know, like fascism. Which is also one of my favorite things about this period, as you know, and as I’ve written about. I never get tired of Nazi stuff. Hollywood and Hitler were my two favorite things to read about/think about when I was a kid. They remain so to this day. I don’t think the fact that they were both ascendant at the same time is exactly incidental to my interest in either. 

Who were some of the real-life starlets you used as inspiration for your cast of characters? 
Well, the obvious one is Judy Garland, who is almost entirely the basis for Gabby Preston, and who is my favorite actress of all time. Margo Sterling has a little bit of Lana Turner in her, particularly in the way she is discovered [at Schwab’s Pharmacy in Hollywood], but she also has some of that classic society girl thing, like a Gene Tierney or a Dina Merrill. Amanda Farraday is a little bit Rita Hayworth, a little Hedy Lamarr, mixed with a lot of shadowy rumors that there were about a lot of stars at this time, that they had these kind of scandalous pasts the studios would try to cover up. But except for Gabby, none of them are really based on any one person, it’s sort of lots of little bits of things. And no matter how you try to base a character on someone, they take on a life of their own, and that life is almost always reflective of you in some way. So they’re all loosely based on the real-life starlet Rachel Shukert. 

I know you started acting in Omaha as a girl—did any of those experiences make their way into the novel? Did you base any of your characters on your young adult self?
Ha, see above! I mean, yes, of course they did. Not in a hugely literal way, but that feeling of desperately wanting more, of being sure you’re destined for great things, that has a lot to do with me as a young (or younger!) adult. And Margo’s fantasy life, the way she is constantly referencing these movies in her head, and how they inform her behavior, that has a lot to do with me as well. And obviously, I know the feeling of auditioning, of that incredible anxiety that I think actors—especially younger actors—have that they’re falling behind, that it’s not happening for them, that it’s never going to happen, that everybody else has what they want (and should rightfully be theirs): that’s all very personal. But for me, the most painful realization in my acting was getting out of drama school and realizing that I had zero interest in being an actual actress in New York in the 2000s, that all I had ever really wanted was to be a movie star in Hollywood in the 1930s. So the book was therapeutic in that way.  

Starstruck is the first part of a series—how far have you written, and can you give us any details for where these characters are headed?
I’ve finished the second book, and am working on the third now. I don’t know how much I can tell you without totally giving away the ending of Starstruck, but I will say, the overarching theme of the whole series is really about finding yourself as an artist. So all of the characters are going to go through a kind of a period of refining, of figuring out that what they’re good at isn’t necessarily what they thought they wanted—and that goes for love as well. Margo has had this dizzying rise—now what? Can she sustain it? And more importantly, does she want to? Gabby is going to push more boundaries, trying to prove to everyone that she’s a grown-up, and we’ll see how that conflicts with her talent and potential. Amanda is trying to pick up the pieces of her life and move forward with some dignity, but it’s not working that well. I’ll tell you this, it’s all very juicy. We’ve only peeled back the first few layers of the onion–there are still a lot of secrets to be revealed. There’s more sex, more drugs, more jazz. Things are about to get very "Hollywood Babylon" up in this shit. Minus the Black Dahlia murders and speculation about lesbian incest between the Gish sisters. You know what I mean. 

What was it like to write a novel, since your first two books were memoirs? Was it a challenge to write for a younger audience? 
Honestly, the biggest thing was having to continually remind myself that I could make stuff up. That sounds stupid, but when you’re writing a memoir, the challenge is that all the pieces are there, and it’s your job to figure out the most pleasing, most effective way to arrange them. If something doesn’t fit, you can leave it out, but you can’t change it, you know? And with this, sometimes I would get to a point in the story where I’d be like, this isn’t working, and I would actually have to say out loud: "Fine, so make them do something else!" The other thing, which I didn’t expect, is how protective I would become of these characters, in a way that I never was about myself when I was the main character. It’s weird, it’s very maternal, sort of helicopter-mom like. Are they getting enough attention? Do people love them enough? DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MY BABIES! If someone doesn’t like the book—and this, thankfully, hasn’t really happened much—I am furious on their behalf, not mine. It’s insane. 

As for a young audience, I mean yes. There are many fewer dick jokes in this book than there have been in my past works. There are, however, a lot more super-queeny Joan Crawford jokes, which I know are VERY relevant to this generation. Let’s just be honest: I wrote this book for members of the drama club and middle-aged gay men. Fin. 

Back to the Old Hollywood setting of Starstruck: do you see a lot of similarities in the way stars were manufactured in the past as they are now?
I think it’s totally different, actually, which is part of what I like about the old studio system. You would go into this sparkle-factory, and come out an entirely different person—new name, new look, whatever they needed you to be, that’s what they’d make you. There’s this inherent unreality to that culture, with these larger-than-life stars, that feels so foreign now to what the fame-industrial complex has become. Now, it’s all about "authenticity." We want stars to be "just like us." They have to be relatable, and if they’re not, they have to be punished. In a certain way (and a very tacky way) I actually think reality stars have become more like what old Hollywood stars were—these personalities that people gossip about, who are basically actors playing some bigger, more dramatic version of themselves. The whole Bravolebrity concept, where we obsess about these characters like they’re real, their relationships with each other–that has really replaced the daytime soap world, which I think was the closest corollary to the old Hollywood star system. But each iteration becomes somehow less than—it’s like Xeroxing a Xerox. You go from real stars to soap opera characters to like, Kyle Richards, and it’s all because of our obsession with the "real," which I think is really a kind of cultural sickness. We’ve become so unimaginative. 

If you were to cast actors to play these roles in a movie version of Starstruck, who would you pick?
Oooh, my favorite question!!! Who would you pick? 

Clever, lady! I could see a Taylor Swift-type (begrudgingly) as Margo, and part of me wanted to imagine Kirsten Dunst as Amanda Farraday (and a little bit with Diana Chesterfield). I could totally see Chloe Grace-Moretz as Gabby, too. 
I LOVE Chloe Grace Moretz for Gabby! She’s adorable and just very slightly evil, which is perfect. Can she sing? I demand to know if she can sing. I also like the idea of Kirsten Dunst as Diana Chesterfield, because she needs to be a bit older, and a little bit like, I’ve seen it, oh the things that I have seen. That’s perfect. For Margo, you know, you want this kind of lovely ingénue who can have a little bit of an edge and not be boring. I think Elle Fanning looks really right, but she’s still a few years too young. But by the time anyone makes this, she’ll be perfect. Or Saoirse Ronan, who has a kind of gawkiness that I like, and always seems smart. For Amanda, you need someone who is tough, but also vulnerable, sort of hard and soft at the same time. I like Emilia Clarke, Mother of Dragons. She’d be good, if she dyed her hair red. Or Juno Temple, who actually has red hair already! Budget saver!

Angelina Jolie Gets Horny in ‘Maleficent’

Here’s your first look at Angelina Jolie in the role she was born to play: as Maleficent, the classic villainess from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. This time, however, the evil queen plays the titular character in an upcoming film, which focuses more on the dark nature of the queen rather than the sweet, beautiful Aurora. But, most importantly, Jolie dons the horns and the goth look for the role. Take a look after the jump!


In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jolie sheds some light on her dark character and how the film will portray her in an entirely new way:

I hope in the end you see a woman who is capable of being many things, and just because she protects herself and is aggressive, it doesn’t mean she can’t have other [warmer] qualities. You have to figure out the puzzle of what she is… It sounds really crazy to say that there will be something that’s good for young girls in this, because it sounds like you’re saying they should be a villain. [Maleficent] is actually a great person. But she’s not perfect. She’s far from perfect.

The film, which co-stars Elle Fanning as Aurora, will be released in 3D (of course) next March. Let’s hope it’s a step up from this year’s dueling Snow White features, both of which opened to lukewarm critical response. 

Morning Links: One Direction Sued, Rooney Mara Gets A New Look

● One Direction, an American band formed in 2009, has taken up legal action against the baby-faced British boy band which has been topping charts and selling out arenas using the same name. [TMZ]

● Doh! Turns out, the Simpson‘s Springfield is not just any Springfield — it is modeled on Springfield, Oregon, a town nearby to Portland, where the show’s creator, Matt Groenig, grew up. [MSNBC]

● Little Elle Fanning is in talks to join God Help the Girl, the Kickstart-ed film musical of Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch. [Variety]

● The guests are not so sure about Kim Kardashian’s decision to donate her wedding gifts to charity. "What is a charity going to do with a Tiffany picture frame or an onyx vase?" they ask, seemingly unaware of how many kids in America go to bed each night without an onyx vase to call their own. [PageSix]

● Oops! Demi Lovato nearly ran over former Beatle Paul McCartney in a parking lot. [NYDN]

● The weight of Lisbeth Salander lifted, Rooney Mara was caught on the set of her upcoming film, The Bitter Pill, with long ombre hair and an almost smile. [Us]

Morning Links: Paris Hilton Caught With Suspicious Powder, Justin Bieber’s Most Influential Hair

● Paris Hilton swears that suspicious white powder in her SUV is foundation meant to go on her nose, not up it. [TMZ]

● Still barely a teenager, Elle Fanning tells Teen Vogue that she should "much rather look like a two-year-old than a 21-year-old." [Us]

● Justin Bieber and Emma Watson’s respective coifs have not surprisingly been deemed most influential of 2011. [E!]

● Part of Taylor Swift’s new year’s resolution is to "make departures in little ways" and to "make collaborations in different directions that aren’t exactly expected." T.I., T-Pain, we see you! [Huff Post]

● Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill and Lily Aldridge are expecting their first child together. [E!]

● For what it’s worth, Ron Paul’s got Kelly Clarkson’s vote, and maybe Michelle Branch’s, too. [Vice]

● American Airlines lost Rachel Zoe’s luggage, the “Tom Ford for Gucci vintage leather jacket and Missoni caftans" included. We die for her! [Page Six]

Chloë Moretz Considers Elle Fanning & Hailee Steinfeld Fashion Icons

Luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter launch an interactive magazine earlier this year, which raised the bar for e-commerce sites and their new focus on editorial integration. Their latest issue features creative collaborations with a slew of top names, including an NYC hotspot roundup with designer Eddie Borgo, and a style chat with 14-year-old starlet Chloë Moretz.

In the 5-question interview with the actress turned fashion phenom, we learn that her style profile is well beyond her years, noting that her wardrobe essentials include tees by Vivienne Westwood, and that meeting Miuccia Prada was one of her top fashion highlights. Regarding who she considers fashion icons in the making, she gives a sweet shout out to her fellow young actresses: “Elle Fanning looks so cool in Rodarte and Hailee Steinfeld wears some great stuff too,” she says. “They both stretch boundaries, showing what teen actors are made of. We’re the next generation so we’ve got to rev it up a little bit.”

It’s refreshing to see Moretz, Fanning, and Steinfeld so supportive of one another at a young age, considering that they’ve all pretty much become sartorial muses at the same time. From features in LOVE magazine and Vogue, they constantly look for new ways to work together, rather than knock each other down.

Download the free BlackBook Guides for iPhone

‘Super 8’s Riley Griffiths on Elle Fanning & Behind-the-Scenes Pranks

For most 14 year olds, a Friday night means getting to stay out an hour later at the mall, but for Riley Griffiths, tonight marks the premiere of his first feature-film debut, which just so happens to be one of the most anticipated films of the year. As one of the stars of JJ Abrams sci-fi thriller Super 8, Griffiths joins an ensemble of talented youngsters that are about to be catapulted into stardom. We caught up with the young actor to talk about auditioning for the highly-secretive film, packing on the pounds for his role, and what it’s like working with some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

So you’ve been doing a ton of press for the film. Is it at all overwhelming?

Yeah, definitely. I’ve been trying to get as much sleep as I can.

Did they give you part of the script to read from for the audition?

They had a little scene to read, but it wasn’t from Super 8. It was a fake scene. Then they just asked us to tell them what we were doing this summer. I didn’t hear anything back for about three months, and then one day I get a call and they want me to come down for a call back. There was obviously acting at the call back, but a lot of it was us just hanging out and playing games. It was one of the most fun auditions I’ve ever been to.

Did you realize it was a JJ Abrams film?

I didn’t until JJ showed up. I had no idea he was going to be there, but after I saw him I knew it was going to be something big.

Have you always been interested in acting?

I started acting in first grade, and ever since then, I have loved it. I’ve done plays, but this was my first big thing. I had never done anything on camera before. So it was really fun, and now I know that acting is the thing I want to do for the rest of my life.

You had to put on a good amount of weight for the role.

I had to put on 20 or 30 pounds.

Was that just a character preference for JJ?

Yeah. I ate a lot of pasta.

Well that doesn’t sound so bad.

Yeah, but the funny thing was about two weeks before school started, I moved to Seattle. My first day at my new school I was 20 pounds overweight and my hair was super long, so I felt like a total loser. But then the fourth day of school JJ called me and told me I got the part and I pretty much just left the next day. Did you do anything fun with your cast members to get close before you shot?

Well we were doing auditioning for three months with each other before shooting, so we really went into this movie being best friends. It’s impossible not to bond with people you’re with for three and a half months. We’re all best friends, even if we’ve been away from each other for three days there’s always a big family reunion. I love these guys like they’re my brothers.

Tell me about your character, Charles.

He’s the director of the zombie movie within the movie. He’s kind of bossy, he’s production-value crazed. He’s got a hard shell around him — he’s soft on the inside but he puts up this tough front.

There’s so much action in Super 8. Did you guys get to do all your own stunts?

They let us pretty much do everything. It’s like every teenager’s dream to run through explosions, right? I mean, it was so fun. Tanks were really chasing you, explosions were really going off around you…they would tell us to act scared, but we didn’t have to. We were really scared sometimes. I hated my days off.

How was it working with Elle Fanning?

She’s great! She’s so much fun to hang out with and an amazing actress. We all love her like a sister.

Do you have any funny memories from set?

One night we saw Kyle go into him room so we decided to ding dong ditch him. It was a late night, and then I hear the door open and it’s Kyle — he chased us through the whole hotel for like fifteen minutes and we finally just had to find a hiding spot.

Oh I’m a big fan of his. Have things started to change for you now that the film’s coming out and everyone knows you’re in it? Are people treating you differently?

Someone recognized me on the plane today from the trailer. Things are definitely starting to change but I guess that comes with the job but that’s not why I’m in acting, I’m in it because I love acting and it’s very different from what I’m used to. I grew up in a really small town, so this is kind of all new.

Photographed by Brian Higbee

With ‘Super 8,’ Elle Fanning Graduates Straight to the A-List

Blue-eyed and blonde-haired, 13-year-old Elle Fanning has just finished seventh grade. She loves to draw, dance, and act. She lives with her family in a house in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, where her parents—Southern Baptists, her mother a former tennis player, her father an ex-minor–league baseball pro—moved from Conyers, Georgia, when Fanning was a toddler. This summer, a full year before she enrolls in high school, Fanning plans to go to Paris, already her favorite city in the world despite her never having visited. (“I want to go there so bad,” she says.) She also has three Hollywood movies premiering before Christmas, which she filmed under the supervision of mega-directors J.J. Abrams, Cameron Crowe, and Francis Ford Coppola.

Precociously talented child actors aren’t a new phenomenon in Hollywood—Jodie Foster dropped jaws in 1976 as a teen prostitute in Taxi Driver, Anna Paquin won an Academy Award at 11 for her work in 1993’s The Piano—but Fanning’s career trajectory is remarkable for its range and continuity, and for the fact that her older sister, 17-year-old actor Dakota Fanning, is already earning comparisons to Meryl Streep. In fact, Fanning’s entrée into the acting world was as a younger version of a character played by her sister. By age 4, she was striking out on her own, delivering astoundingly nimble performances in films like The Door in the Floor, Babel, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. (Fanning’s growing collection of on-screen Dads scans like the male half of People’s Most Beautiful list.) Last year, she appeared in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, a tale of haute-bourgeois listlessness at the Chateau Marmont. It won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion, the awards ceremony’s highest honor.

Talking to Fanning, one begins to appreciate the beguiling blend of childhood and professionalism she represents. She squeals, giggles, sprinkles her speech with cusp-of-teen parlance (“like,” “oh my god,” “you know?”)—in short, she’s genuinely delightful. She also handles an interview like a seasoned vet, summoning equal parts deflection and flattery. (Fanning on the possibility of future career clashes with Dakota: “We haven’t gotten really competitive with movies yet. I don’t think we ever will.”) Like many children still on the lunch-pail side of puberty, Fanning is comfortable with herself. She’s comfortable with her age, her acting, and her unique traits, which are just beginning to come into focus: goofiness, intelligence, the discipline of a prima ballerina. image

On June 10, Abrams’ Super 8, a super-secret, super-big-budget adventure film about an Area 51 monster-alien unleashed on a sleepy Ohio town, will hit theaters. Like most of Abrams’ projects, Super 8 has been shrouded in a haze of secrecy so thick it seems yanked from one his screenplays for Lost. “We were sort of scared,” says Fanning about maintaining the strict code of silence. “We didn’t want to slip up and say anything.” Even during the auditioning process, the plot of Super 8 remained obscure. Then the script arrived. “It was just, like, the biggest thing ever,” Fanning trills in her helium-balloon falsetto. “J.J. was so good with us,” she recalls of filming Super 8. “When we were doing the big train-crash sequence, all these explosions were going on, and there were so many people everywhere—and then you have these six kids. He had to take care of us and make sure that we weren’t getting into trouble. There was fire.” When he wasn’t acting as a sort of paternal deus ex machina, issuing stage directions through his ever-present microphone, Abrams was “like one of the kids,” according to Fanning. “He’s obsessed with his iPhone, obsessed with Angry Birds. He’d just be sitting in his chair playing Angry Birds.”

As Abrams surely knows, being like one of the kids is the point. Super 8 is being backed by Amblin Entertainment, the production company co-founded by Steven Spielberg in 1981. For more than a generation of American high-schoolers, Amblin’s filmic aesthetic—E.T.’s flying bicycle, the Gremlins’ furry malevolence, the blazing tire treads Doc’s DeLorean leaves in the mall parking lot in Back to the Future—instantly conjures the terrible wonder of early adulthood. The chutes, traps, and treasure maps of The Goonies, were, of course, just metaphors for puberty, the most unknowable X mark of all.

In partnering with Spielberg for Super 8, Abrams meant to evoke the same giddy blend of science fiction and adolescence as early-’80s Amblin films. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting—or more telling—movie for Fanning to be starring in next. “[Super 8] is based in the ’70s [1979], around the same time Steven and J.J. were growing up,” she says. “J.J. told me that Steven did exactly the same thing the kids in Super 8 are doing—he made crazy monster movies with his super 8 camera. You could tell he was really excited because he saw us doing what he did.”

With two other releases expected to hit theaters later this year (Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo, adapted from the memoir by Benjamin Mee, and Francis Ford Coppola’s gothic, Dan Deacon-scored Twixt Now and Sunrise), red carpet appearances, and, most unnerving, eighth grade, Fanning might be the one struggling to stay free of adult cynicism. When Twixt wrapped production in Napa, California, earlier this year, Ford Coppola—“I feel like he’s my Italian grandfather now!”—gave Fanning a piece of advice: “He told me, ‘You always have to love it. You can never just act because someone else wants you to. You always have to feel it in your heart,’ which, well, I thought that was great.” Giggling, as if realizing it for the first time, she says, “And it’s so true!”

Photography by Yu Tsai. Styling by Britt Bardo.