The year of badass women in films

I’m tired of watching timid women in films, in whichever language they may be. I’m tired of them playing second fiddle to male protagonists, and I’m especially irritated with the stereotyped, hollow and misguided projections of “modern” women in Indian films (Alia Bhatt in Dear Zindagi, Sonakshi Sinha in Noor).

But 2017 has given me some hope. I’ve seen women kick bigtime ass in films, I’ve seen women who won’t take no for an answer, and I’ve seen women who won’t let others decide their destiny.

Like this one:

Gal Gadot playing Diana in Wonder Woman

And these:

Ramya Krishna playing Sivagami in Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali: The Conclusion

Anushka Shetty playing Devasena in Baahubali: The Conclusion

Taapsee Pannu playing Shabana in Naam Shabana

*Cue applause.*

And here is why I love them:

They fight. And how.

They fight, and not just physically. Not just by kicking or punching a villain, or by cutting off a perverted man’s hand. They fight society’s expectations, and they fight to save other’s lives. And, even better, they fight for themselves.

Naam Shabana fighting

I loved watching Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman taking down the bad guys, and Taapsee Pannu as Shabana extracting revenge. The immense satisfaction I got from seeing their toughness just blew me.

They are self-centred, but selfless and loving too.

Hurray for multidimensional women. They exist around the world, but very rarely on screen.

Whether it’s Diana (aka Wonder Woman) or Devasena from Baahubali: The Conclusion, they are clear about what they want- learn to fight, be a better archer, hunt down a kiiller. And they will do whatever they can to reach those goals.

Wonder Woman

But that doesn’t make them bitches.

Because they still care about people. They fight to protect their kingdom, to protect their country and to save humanity.

They have men in their lives.   

How many times have we girls heard the line, “Men don’t like women who are too ambitious or career-focused, so don’t be so driven”?

Sorry folks, but just because we like to do “unconventional” things doesn’t mean we can’t fall in love or have a man interested in us.

Thankfully, the men in these films are more in touch with their masculinity and like to see women fight. They cheer them on during a fighting match, and share their own skills with them (remember the three-arrow hold in Bahubali: The Conclusion?). And thank god for that.

Baahubali 2 archery

Because yes, there are such men in real life too and the world needs to see them. Not all men want their wives or girlfriends to be damsels in distress or be totally dependent on them.

But…

All these films have their flaws in their treatment of women characters, especially in their relationship with male protagonists (and that’s a blog post for another time).

Nevertheless it’s refreshing to see such wonderful roles for women in popular cinema in Bollywood and Hollywood. It’s even more awesome that audiences are watching and accepting these films.

Maybe the time will soon come when film makers won’t have to rely on big-ticket male actors to attract audiences, and have women do some REAL stuff on screen. Stuff that is mostly confined to men.

It’s too early to celebrate path-breaking female characters on the big screen. But there is some hope…

 

Fashion Recall: Back to the Future

Back to the Future was all the rage last week, as the date of Marty McFly’s arrival from Back to the Future II came and flew by on October 21, 2015. The wonderful Spanish website Fashionisima posted a great piece on fashion from Back to the Future. Since it’s in Spanish, I’ve translated the important bits here (used only my Spanish skills for this, no Google Translate :-D).

Back to the Future jeans

And what look was he [Marty McFly] wearing in the year 2015? Jeans (they never get old!), an auto-dry and auto-adjustable jacket, a cap—in the words of the Doctor, what all kids wear, and the jewel of the crown: the Nike [shoes] without laces that adjust to your feet. Important detail to note: the pockets in Back to the Future are worn externally.

I don’t think jeans will ever fade from human history—they will be continuously reimagined with different fabrics, cuts and washes.

Nike didn’t want to waste this product placement and announced much later that the shoes from Back to the Future would go on sale… In 2011 they made a first attempt. Attempt, I say, because it didn’t get great reception despite its great promotion. The complaint of the fans? That the shoes don’t auto-adjust to your feet like in the Zemeckis film. Nike backed down, and has promised that in 2015 it will release definitive Nikes with superior technology in a limited edition. Dear Nike managers, that time is upon us, and it’s October 21, 2015.

Great idea for brand promotion, Nike. But please be realistic and honest with fans. Are such shoes technically possible in the forseeable future? Do tell.

The women from Back to the Future II paint their eyes in geometric shapes and silver tones, which doesn’t deviate much from the looks in these images:

Back to the Future makeup

Something that they couldn’t have depicted better is humans’ obsession with technology… In Back to the Future [they make it with their] futuristic glasses—see the attempt by Google Glasses below – but the Apple Watch could also be adapted.

back-to-the-future-fashion-02

Oh yeah, a watch that can check email, glasses that can capture images or search for a keyword… who knows what’s next in wearables?

Image sources: Fashionisma.es

The excerpts have been translated from the Spanish.

Picks of the week: Avengers Age of Ultron tees

Yay! The awesome supervillain-thrashing team (aka Marvel superheroes) is returning this weekend in The Avengers: Age of Ultron! Now if you’re a true fanboy or girl, of course you need a tshirt declaring your love when you go watch the film. VoxPop has more than 50 super cool Avengers Age of Ultron t-shirts:

Avengers Tee-shirt

Avengers Tee-shirt

Avengers Tee -Shrit

Inspired by the superheroes and moments from the film, there are enough choices to spoil the fans: colours, graphics and themes. I’ve been browsing for a while now and it’s difficult to pinpoint a favourite (liking too many of them!).

Iron man Tee-shirt

Hulk Tee-Shirt

Iron man Tee-shirt

Special note for fangirls:

Ladies, this t-shirt collection may be for the boys, but don’t let that stop you. Buy a size that will look like an oversized tee. Then throw it over a spaghetti or racer back top, and let it show. Or you could shorten the length to make it a crop top. Wear skinny pants or shorts with coloured sneakers, and voila! Here comes the fangirl. 🙂

Shop The Avengers: Age of Ultron tshirts at VoxPopClothing.com (Price: Rs 799)

Hollywood Fashion: Key looks and lessons from Skyfall

Hollywood Fashion: Key looks and lessons from Skyfall

James Bond (Daniel Craig) in The O’Connor suit

The two-buttoned, peak lapelled suit that you see Daniel Craig wearing in Skyfall is called The O’Connor and is designed by designer and film-maker Tom Ford. Yep, in the 23rd Bond film, James Bond has been dressed by an American designer, a surprising choice since the Brits are best known for their tailoring skills.

Danien Craig in Skyfall

The Tom Ford suits “move” with Daniel Craig, enabling him to fight on top of trains and run through the London underground unhindered. What they don’t help with is alcoholism and poor marksmanship (there’s only so much a suit can do, after all).

Nevertheless, James Bond never misses a fashion beat, wearing a classic timepiece (Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Skyfall Limited Edition watch) and adjusting his cufflinks in the midst of serious action. 🙂

Daniel Craig in Skyfall

Fashion Lesson:

Well-built man + smart suit = Handsome! The right fit and attention to detail are an added bonus.

Javier Bardem (Silva) in printed shirt

Javier Bardem in Skyfall

That printed shirt is a Prada– a first for a Bond villain! Silva’s OTT blondness and false teeth mask his battle scars (physical and emotional), and because he’s Latino, his style’s a bit more flamboyant than Bond. Hence he’s dressed in lighter colours and prints, and dyes his hair blond.

Fashion Lesson:

Men can wear prints without looking like they’re in Hawaii. Wear a printed shirt below a jacket, blazer or waistcoat, and you’re set to go.

Berenice Marlohe (Severine) in embellished cocktail gown

Berenice Marlohe’s Swarovski-studded gown for the casino scene reportedly took six months to create, and it’s GORGEOUS!

Berenice Marlohe in Skyfall

The glittering crystals on the sheer back, sleeves and along Berenice’s legs create a tattoo-like effect. Her dark berry lips and nails are an attempt to hide the sadness in her heavily-lined eyes. This scene is hands down the fashion high point in the movie.

According to costume designer Jany Temine, the embellished gown features 60,000 crystals– all applied by hand. If this wasn’t a Bond film, I’d say the gown was quite a dent on the film’s budget.

Fashion Lesson:

The charming, elegant, mysterious woman is still around in the 21st century, and you can be her. Flaunt your sexiest curves, play with sheer, wear black, opt for striking makeup, and watch heads turn.

Naomie Harris (Eve Moneypenny) in bright colours

Naomie Harris in Skyfall

Eve Moneypenny is a new recruit to the service, still learning the ropes of espionage. She doesn’t ooze sex appeal, but her grace and confidence makes her attractive. Further proof lies in her choice of colours- bright orange, fuschia, mustard– completely unheard-of colours in a staid working environment. Her unusual picks include accessories like a wide brown belt and black booties (my favourite!).

Naomie Harris in Skyfall

Fashion Lesson:

Go ahead, take some risks. Dress bold, but not provocative. Be smart, not sexy. And there- you’ve made an impression!

Judi Dench (M) in tweed jacket

Given the seniority and nature of her job, M power dresses with a difference. Shoulder pads and sharp blazers are not for her. Instead she chooses sensible skirt suits and almost-invisible jewellery for a commanding presence.

Judi Dench in  Skyfall

Fashion Lesson:

If you want to look like your boss’s boss, dress the part by focusing on key separates in black, navy blue and grey. Jackets, textured and subtly-detailed blazers make the right statement at work. And oh, do dress your age!

Kate Beckinsale wears corset in Underworld Awakening, so how about trying a bustier?

Kate Beckinsale wears corset in Underworld Awakening, so how about trying a bustier?

If you’ve watched Underworld Awakening over the weekend, you couldn’t have missed the super-fit Kate Beckinsale dressed in an all-leather outfit and, most importantly, her leather corset.

DF-04522_r

It seems that Kate Beckinsale was more concerned about fitting into the leather corset than the daredevil stunts and the heavy-duty action scenes. Not surprising, considering that the first Underworld movie was shot almost a decade ago.

Nevertheless, if you think Kate Beckinsale looks sexy in this (I certainly do), there’s an easy way to get the corseted look without time-travelling to the Victorian era or holding your breath.

Say hello to the bustier!

La Senza pink bustier

Ok, not this bustier (from La Senza), but the ones I’ve written about below. Read on…

Why a bustier?

Sure, bustiers are usually associated with lingerie (they give the woman a higher bust line and a shapely waist), but as innerwear transformed into outerwear over the past few seasons, bustiers had a coming out of sorts (pun intended).

Bustier v/s corset

So what’s the difference between a bustier and a corset? For one, a bustier lacks the lacing and “boning” of a typical corset (they give shape to the wearer). Secondly, a bustier usually ends at the ribs or waist, while a corset can be of varying lengths.

If you want to wear a bustier to get a more defined torso, take your pick from the options below.

Bustier as a dress

Bustier dresses can be fitted or A-line, long or short.

Below: Denim bustier dress, Sabrina bustier bandage dress both from Forever New; Winter Love strapless dress from French Connection, gown from Jatin Varma (LFW W/F 2011)

Forevernew Cannes Denim bustier dressForevernew Sabrina Bustier Bandage DressFrench Connection Winter Love Strapless dress Jatin Varma LFW WF 2011 bustier2

Bustier as a top

I spotted a number of bustier tops at Bebe recently, and they looked absolutely fab! They ranged from sporty to sexy, and the satin ones were especially attractive. 🙂

Below: Space dye bustier top, Embellished pleated bustier, heart-shaped satin bustier, all from Bebe.

Bebe space-dye bustier pink Bebe embellished pleated bustier

Bebe heart shaped satin bustier

Bustier as a camisole or Indian-style blouse

Wear a bustier as a camisole under a sheer blouse, shirt or jacket. Or wear a bustier as a blouse with your sari or lehenga this wedding season.

Below: Lace bustier camisole from Forever New, look from Satya Paul LFW S/R 2011

Forevernew bustier cami

Satya Paul SR 2011 bustier

 

Bustier warning!

Wearing a bustier as outerwear is not easy, especially in India- it takes guts and a good figure. 🙂 So here are a couple of tips when you’re buying or wearing one.

A garment can only enhance what you already have—being in shape really helps. And not all bustier garments give good support. So be careful what you choose.

Innerwear matters: A bustier top or dress may require additional support from within especially if you’re a curvy girl. So shop for the right lingerie to look shapely and smart in your bustier.

Cover up: Bare shoulders and plunging neckline are not exactly appropriate or acceptable street wear in India. So wear a matching shrug or jacket over your bustier when you’re out, which you could take off when you’re indoors at a party or dinner.

Accessorise right: There’s nothing cooler than a long necklace to go with a bustier top or dress. Very flattering if you got the right curves!

Below: Feather charm necklace from Toniq

Feather- Charm Necklace - Copy

Are you ready to wear a bustier?

Lookbook: Archie Panjabi

Everyone’s talking about Archie Panjabi, and Archie at the Emmys. This talented actor, born Archana Kaur Punjabi, is one of the few Indian-origin actors creating a stir in LA. Archie’s Emmy award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama series, has brought a ray of hope to thousands of minority actors hoping to make it big in Hollywood.

At Speaking Chic, Archie’s inspired us to take a look at her on and offscreen looks over the years.

In East is East, Archie played a Pakistan-origin, British-born girl in her troublesome teens (ponytails, uniform and all!). In Bend it Like Beckham, she played a delightful role as the desperate-to-get-married elder sis. And as a journalist in A Mighty Heart, Archie donned a no-makeup look (pic below right).

ArchiePanjabi_eastiseast  Archie Panjabi_mightyheart 

In The Good Wife (the award winning role), Archie’s character Kalinda makes for a classy private investigator and a no-nonsense woman. She’s got a strong preference for the semi-formal look, hair tied back, smart jackets, and proud of her origins (note the dark eyeliner accentuating her very Indian eyes).

Archie Panjabi in A Good Wife  Archie Panjabi A Good Wife

While Archie looks great on-screen, and her striking north Indian features are perfect for the red carpet in an unconventional sorta way, we’re not great fans of her red carpet choices. Take a look:

Archie Panjabi_mighty_heart  Archie_Panjabi_Emmy

Left: At the premiere of A Mighty Heart—not a great choice of blue, the gown looks crumpled, and suddenly transparent over her left leg make the gown seem like an unfinished job.

Right: At the 2010 Emmy Awards, in a Tadashi Shoji creation. Firstly, black chiffon is not a very contemporary choice, and the “bandages” on the top half minimise the shimmer on the bodice. The interesting drape around her waist could have been the saving grace though. Tadashi Shoji does have some good outfits in his collection, if only Archie had chosen better. And we would have liked to see a diamond on two sparkling on her as well.

What do you think of Archie Panjabi’s red carpet looks? Tell us!