Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on April 13, 2011 at 5:37 am

The perfect loveliness of Elizabeth Taylor’s astonishing face remains unquestioned, of course. But did she really receive a lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 1998 for her fashion sense? In the days following her death, there has been heated, interesting debate about her merits as an actress but, honestly, when it came to being well-dressed, she was rarely a winner. Even Liz herself admitted and revelled in her own unquenchable, glorious life-loving vulgarity, which she said, like Dolly Parton, was what people loved about her.

She was fabulous living proof that neither fabulous beauty or wealth could buy good taste.

with Demi Moore at the 1998 CFDA Awards

We must not forget, however, that she did have some influential style moments onscreen, when certain of her costumes were avidly copied all over the world by women of all ages.

her 1950 wedding gown designed by Helen Rose for FATHER OF THE BRIDE

her very similar 1950 real-life wedding gown for her wedding to Nicky Hilton

her A PLACE IN THE SUN evening gown with its white velvet violet-trimmed bodice, designed by Edith Head, that was THE prom dress of 1951. White really was her go-to color onscreen. Almost her entire, beautiful wardrobe for ELEPHANT WALK (1954), in which she replaced an ailing Vivien Leigh was in that virginal shade.

Helen Rose design for Elephant Walk

her Helen Rose-designed gown in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1958) which inspired 100s of rip-offs, and was so similar to Marilyn Monroe’s most famous movie gown from THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH the year before, designed by William Travilla

and, when it came to working a simple white slip, Liz reigned supreme



then there was that infamous Jean Louis white bathing suit in SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER

and, of course, for better or worse, there was CLEOPATRA, with its BHBC (Beverly Hills Before Christ) “Ancient Egyptian” garb by Irene Sharaff, which also had every woman (and drag queen) in the world making with fishtail eye pencil effects

But oh! when left to her own devices, in private life, la Taylor rarely seemed to get it elegantly right. She was fond of satorial sore spots like ponchos which hideously foreshortened her, caftans which made her look heavier, feathers and spangled effects over which she would layer her mythic jewelry collection. And then there was the HAIR, which devolved from the butch pixie cut of 1950s, which only she, Ava Gardner and Audrey Hepburn could really pull off, to the sculpted and beehive architecture of the 1960s, and ending in those insane rat’s nest confections of her final decades which made you really wonder how (or if) she actually paid top dollar for them.

For pure, enduring vulgarity Taylor’s only real rival was Ginger Rogers, who looked so divine on screen mainly because costume designers used to keep her under locky and key, practically, to avoid her adding beads, fringe or corsages to their confections before going before the camera.

Rogers’ wedding dress, for her marriage to Lew Ayres, was self-designed, and GREEN

with Grace Kelly and Laraine Day at NY International Airport in 1955. Grace and Laraine are simply if somewhat boringly attired for travel, but there She is, sporting the Dior New Look she so favored, which never really favored her short legs and, by the mid-1950s, already burgeoning, once wasp waist

with third husband Mike Todd and soon-to-be romantic rival Debbie Reynolds in a Mafia Widow look

with Mike Todd at 1957 Golden Globe Awards, Coconut Grove. When in doubt, wear ALL your jewelry with a PRINT gown (and this was well before the Richard Burton spending spree days)

working me love you long time Chinoiserie with Todd and Eddie Fisher

with Eddie Fisher in Moscow

accompanied by her children and Mr. Cameltoe

the look that launched a thousand bar mitzvahs

1960, staging her own Golden Globes show

and God, how she loved a big hair helmet! Oscar night, 1961, wearing Dior

her wedding dress for Richard Burton nuptials, 1964. That face helps her carry this off, barely…

I much prefer what she wore, perhaps inspired by the gravity of the occasion, when she converted to Judaism and married Eddie Fisher a few years before. She looks like an ancient sculpture of a Roman matron.

What? This lil ole thing of 33.19 carats?? (1968)

when it came to costume balls, she didn’t fool around!

with Burton at 1967 BAFTA Awards, as if she’d shopped the MOVIE STAR 101 CATALOGUE

fighting the crowds to see Burton in HAMLET on Broadway

dog walking ensemble

at the Rothschild Proust Ball, Paris. Although Cecil Beaton took this portrait, in his diary he wrote the most vicious eyeball-scalding description of her ever penned, proving that when it came to bitchiness he simply had no peer

with Ringo Starr

even her attempts at going “classic” had a certain blowsiness

1970 -clueless when it came to accessorizing

of course you wear hot pants at Heathrow Airport in 1970

with Burton at her 40th birthday party

at Grace Kelly’s 40th birthday party, 1969. Grace was a Scorpio, so…

at the Celtic Fans party

her version of the counter-culture look

with post-Burton escort, car dealer Victor Luna

with Burton and his last wife, Susan

her politico period, with senator husband John Warner

with Liza Minnelli in the 1970s, when Halston did manage to drape her, as he did all the prominent women of the day. As long as he was around, Taylor, even at her heaviest, was never better garbed

well, sometimes even Halston faltered

She and the over-the-top 1980s got along just fine, thank you! Dressed by Arnold Scaasi for her 1986 Film Society of Lincoln Center tribute and looking like she just stepped off the set of DYNASTY

Her final marriage to Larry Fortensky was her final apotheosis of youth-clinging glamour girl which found its taste-challenged match in Fortensky, whose mullet rivalled his spouse’s legendary gallery of hair-don’ts

It’s sad when divas have no one around brave enough to say “That’s way too young on you!” (But I’m sure she wouldn’t have listened, anyway.)

at Malcolm Forbes legendary, lavish 70th birthday party

at Cannes

She and good friend Michael Jackson rarely brought out the best in each other

at Liza Minnelli’s wedding to David Gest. And the marriage was indeed a horror show!

But let’s end this orgy of bad taste on a nice note. In all my memory, I recall her getting it perfectly right at one 1970s Oscar show.

And here she is, on the set of GIANT in 1955, in an ensemble thrown together to obviously beat the heat, which, ironically, has almost become everyday streetwear for women the world over.

COPYRIGHT: davidnoh2011


In Uncategorized on April 13, 2011 at 4:32 am

CEREMONY is an amusing trifle, a winsome wannabe F. Scott Fitzgerald update, most notable for a very appealing performance by 23-year-old Michael Angarano, who blithely dominates the film which also features Uma Thurman, Lee Pace and Reece Thompson. One-time boyfriend to TWILIGHT’s Kristen Stewart, his family owns the REFLECTIONS IN DANCE dance studios in New York and L.A.

To read my review of it in FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL



In Uncategorized on April 6, 2011 at 6:41 am

Nathan Gunn

All these hot topics and more, starting with my exclusive interview with Renee Fleming, currently illuminating the stage of the Met Opera in Richard Strauss’ CAPRICCIO are in the latest GAY CITY NEWS

Spring is afoot and with it the warm weather, so why not celebrate it with a Nathan Gunn Gallery? After all, he is that rare opera singer who looks every bit as good as he sounds.




In Uncategorized on April 6, 2011 at 5:44 am



Read my exclusive interviews with these two bright young seriously divas striving to make this crazy, scary world a better place

McKay’s show at Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency, I WANT TO LIVE, in which she impersonates ultimate B-girl Barbara Graham who ended up in the gas chamber and was earlier immortalized by Susan Hayward in a memorably trashy Oscar winning performance, is one wild, quirky ride. McKay is both fearless and joyously off-the-wall, prowling through the audience, strumming a ukelele, pounding the piano and simulating Graham’s final, odiferous earthly moments in which she truly discovers the sweet mystery of life. For pure genius gone totally wrong (in the right way), I doubt that any onstage moment will match her sweetly warbling Irving Berlin’s ISN’T THIS A LOVELY DAY, while remaining blithely oblivious to her drummer shooting up on the stage (surely the first time THAT’S been done in this particular, posh venue!).

I can think of no better way to pay tribute to the brainy, committed and utterly winning Kebede than lettiing you feast your eyes on her. With her exquisitely perfect features and seemingly endless, elegant lank of a body you could throw any bolt of cloth at and come up sartorially triumphant, she is gloriously in the great tradition of stunning black models which have beneficently blessed runways and editorial pages for decades: Naomi Sims, Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison, Grace Jones, Alva Chin, Iman, Gloria Burgess, Peggy Dillard, Mounia, Ramona Saunders, Billie Blair, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Chanel Iman, and those two sadly tragic muses, the sculptural Donyale Luna

and the blindingly exotic Katoucha.

But here’s Liya!