Sunday, July 5, 2009

Retro Active Inspirations: Blondie & Birkin

Video stylings and thought patterns - revealed! I'd intended on dressing up as Blondie, aka Debbie Harry, last Halloween and perused many photos of her to guide me. I bought the wig and had the makeup and dress, but ended up being Mary Richards (MTM) at the last minute instead, with my own hair flipped.

Having spent some time looking at photos of Blondie is what led me to realize, when I saw The Ting Ting's video for "That's Not My Name", that Katie White's look in said video was directly inspired by one specific photo of Ms. Harry that impressed me. Knee pads, dark-bottom rooted hair and all. I quickly understood. And although emulation can occasionally be annoying, hers is so specific and she seems to have so much fun stomping around in this Blondie outfit it makes it fun to watch. Few people will have made the connection, and I can see why she'd choose this look - it's energetic and cool.

Here's another video that has an inspiration I found familiar.
Jane Birkin, back in 1969 in the film "Slogan": stunning and carefree, with a childlike manner. Her breakout film was Antonioni's "Blow Up" and she had her own, very distinctive style at the time. With her breathy voice, beauty and awkward movements or dancing she charmed the Brits and the French alike. I own that rare film in which she first met Gainsbourg, and have seen it countless times - so when I happened to see the video for "Somebody Somewhere" by The Cazals featuring Lou Douillon, I could tell the origin of its concept in the way Douillon is prancing around. Very Birkin in "Slogan". If anyone can legitimately summon the incomparable Jane Birkin in her prime, it would have to be her daughter Lou. Here, Lou does her best impression of her mum. Still, I think I prefer Jane B.'s utter randomness, from back in the day.

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