This past weekend, the Northwest Film Forum held a four-film series entitled Screen Style. The Film Forum partnered with Seattle Met’s style editor Laura Cassidy, who chose Seattle “tastemakers” Robin Held, Anna Telcs, Strath Shepard and Jill Wenger for the panel. Each panel member was asked to select and speak of a film that showed a sense of style. The films that were chosen were not the typical, iconic fashion flicks, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bonnie and Clyde or anything Hitchcock. Anna Telcs, local artist and designer, chose the 1978 Jamaican film Rockers, which was originally conceived as a documentary, but became a feature-length ode to reggae culture. The languid and suspenseful 1960 classic Purple Noon—an early adaptation of the novel that inspired The Talented Mr. Ripley—was chosen by Strath Shepard, creative director for Nordstrom, Land Management and Pacific Standard. Robin Held, director of Reel Grrls, selected Beau Travail (2000)—a story that was adapted from Melville’s Billy Budd and that shows the importance and nuances of uniforms and the primal, violent urges that they can contain, but never extinguish. Lastly, Jill Wenger of Totokaelo chose Ingmar Bergman’s award winning Passion of Anna (1969) for its “subtlety”—a trademark style of the auteur who created it.
The series kicked off with a ’60s themed party on the first Thursday of the month in Kaleidoscope Vision—a stylish vintage clothing boutique on Capitol Hill. There were themed cocktails and wood-fired pizza for the guests, a DJ and go-go dancer, and many fabulous sixties-inspired outfits. The evening’s host, Laura Cassidy, sported a spot-on black and white number along with her impeccable bob. The whole Vanguard Seattle team, came out to support the event, and although I may be biased, our coiffed hair and ’60s silhouettes—save our two male contributors—looked fabulous. Other women kept the night fun in retro hats and big jewelry. That being said, the fashion felt fresh as people kept away from a costume approach to the evening.
Each night following the event, one of the selected films was introduced by its chooser and screened. On Saturday, the Film Forum held a pre-screening discussion that included all four panel members with Laura Cassidy moderating. The talk was a creative Q&A with Cassidy asking questions and contributing her own ideas on style in film and in Seattle.
As the hour went on, the conversation became deeper and more personal to each individual, exploring ideas of clothing being re-appropriated into our lives and how certain items become a type of uniform. Anna Telcs spoke of her awe at a Prima Ballerina’s costume—how it is made specifically for them and worn over again, until that girl moves on and the next ballerina inherits her role and thus her costume. The emotions, sweat, and blood infuse the garment with mysticism. This same idea, may well be why there is such a market for vintage clothing—not just because the cuts are classic but because they exude a persona as well.
The end of the discussion led to Seattle fashion—where it’s been, and where it’s going. Telcs was truthful in her acknowledgment that weather and terrain really don’t inspire a girl to wear something like high heels. Strath Shepard added with a laugh that each day he watches the employees at Nordstrom show up in rain boots and change into their fashionable work shoes. Although this may seem a dreary thought, Cassidy ended the conversation with the idea that people “don’t need to be dressing up; [they] just need to be dressing interesting.” It is true, people wore combat boots during the Grunge era because it was practical for the rain, but they were and continue to be, heavy with style.