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Charlize Theron Is a Broken Hobo Who Seeks Protection in Young Adult (2011)

A costume design review and the story behind Charlize Theron’s black leather shoulder bag.

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is the arrogant beauty who visits her childhood home town where she has to face old wounds of an unanswered love to her ex-high school love Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson).

On the surface she is the successful book author and good looking business woman from the big city who is easy going and likes to party.

Under the surface, she is a broken girl in the midlife-crisis with an alcohol problem who observes in the mirror how her beauty fades. Her tough and weak sides are subtly visualized in her fashion outfits like in her black oversized leather bag.

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Picture Source: Collider                          Copyrights by Paramount Pictures


It’s a so-called Hobo model, a name derived from the term ‘Hobos’, the homeless vagabonds who work part-time and travel through America by jumping illegally on trains. This lifestyle of freedom started in the beginning of 1890 until it became really popular in the late 60s. A lot of famous US authors like Jack Kerouac, Jack London or George Orwell used to live and travel as Hobos as a catharsis before they wrote their most popular works.
Hence, the bag model visualizes perfectly her painful but purifying travel home where she finalizes in the end her Young Adult novel. 


After an even closer look, I’ve found out that Mavis black leather hobo bag from luxury designer Jimmy Choo is covered with silver rivets and is called ‘Sky’.

The steel studded leather and the big size function like an armor or shield that Mavis uses unconsciously to protect her inner weakness from the ‘normal‘ people and sad reality she had to face. Therefore she wears the bag in situations when she is sober or feels awkward and insecure, like when she enters the low budget hotel and the pub alone as the only woman or visits the grocery- and bookstore in her casual sweatpants and hoodie outfit.

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Picture Source: Indiewire                        Copyrights by Paramount Pictures


Therefore, the bag is a perfect symbol of her two sides: While the costly prize of $1.000 for the designer brand accessory visualize her former success, symbolizes the Hobo model her clarifying travel home, and the rivets signal that she needs protection for her inner weakness.

I don’t know if Jason Reitman and his costume designer David Robinson had all this in mind when choosing this specific bag but I think it’s a nice little detail and interesting assumption.

Don Draper’s Liaison with Tiffany in Mad Men

The story behind Don Draper’s silver money clip in Mad Men:

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is the elegant alpha male in the Mad Men SCDP office. He is always perfectly dressed in a suit, cares sensitively about the brands he works for, and knows what consumers want.
On the other hand, he is often rude and stubborn if he doesn’t get what he wants—and he wants only the best, like the sterling silver money clip that he uses for his dollar notes.


It’s from the legendary New York jewelry brand, Tiffany & Co. The clip is simple and elegant but expensive due to its high quality, and it therefore corresponds perfectly with Don’s character.

Another trivia is, according to an interview with Mad Men’s property master Gay Perello, that he “…let Jon Hamm pick. I’ll show him three different options. He definitely has an opinion.” (Adam B. Vary, Entertainment Weekly)

I don’t know for sure if the Mad Men creators or in this case actor Jon Hamm had all this in mind when choosing this accessory and brand, but I think it’s an interesting little trivia that worships the detailed work of costume designer Janie Bryant and her team.

Picture Source: Entertainment Weekly

Damn 2.0 or How Sheldon’s Missy Messes in The Big Bang Theory

The story behind Sheldon Cooper’s black Tron t-shirt that he wears while his sister pays him an uncomfortable visit.

In The Big Bang Theory episode ‘The Pork Chop Indeterminacy' (S01E15), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) gets a surprise visit from his 'little' twin sister Missy (Courtney Henggeler). She literally breaks into Sheldon's ordered world and creates very quick a mess with her beauty among the nerds.

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Picture Source: BigBangTheory.Wikia                            Copyrights by CBS


Her name is a diminutive of a Misses and is probably a subtle hint to the mess she wreaks. The situation in Sheldon’s apartment escalates when he tries to arrange a ‘sexual relationship’ between Missy and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) whereupon she hits him in his balls.

A curious fact is, that Sheldon wears in all these chaotic scenes with Messy the same black t-shirt with a front logo. This graphic scenery is inspired by the SciFi movie TRON (1983) which became later in the 80s also a popular arcade console game. The cult film from the pre-internet era is about a digital virtual world where real gamers drive light cycles in races against each other until only one survives.

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Picture Source: BrianWelk                                         Copyright by Disney


The clue is that Sheldon’s T-shirt graphic shows one of these light cycles with a broken pane and a rider who is terrified and helpless about the break in and the mess.
Therefore, the scenery on his shirt describes perfectly the miserable situation Sheldon has to face with his sister Missy in this episode.

Furthermore the t-shirt is created by fashion brand AmesBros and named “Damn 2.0” which is another nice subtle hint, that this is going to be a bad situation for Sheldon.

I don’t know if you’ve already spotted this media reference but I think it’s a nice little fact, that shows again, the deeper meaning of Sheldon’s t-shirt.

Sally Draper’s White Boots Are Not Only Made for Walkin’ in Mad Men

The media references and story behind Sally’s white boots:

In Mad Men season 5, Sally (Kiernan Shipka) - Don (Jon Hamm) and Betty Draper’s (January Jones) daughter - is not only growing up but growing slowly from a girl into a young woman. Her slow transformation can be observed in her maturing body but also in the tightly fitting clothes that she starts to wear and her sexy white knee high boots.

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Picture Source: Paste Magazine                                Copyrights by AMC TV


She wants to wear these sexy shoes for the first time in the episode “At the Codfish Ball” (S05E07), when she has a ‘date’ with Roger Sterling (John Slattery) for the American Cancer Society dinner.

These shoes have been created in the mid-1960s in France and are called “Go-go” boots, derived from the French expression a gogo, which means “in abundance,” or from the ancient word la gogue, which means “joy or happiness.” Disco girls or Go-go dancers in the 60s used to wear them on stage during their adult-only performances, for example in the first American discothèque, Whisky a Go-Go, which opened 1958.

With this historical background in mind, Don is not very happy when his little girl, Sally, wants to go out styled like this and therefore forces her to remove her extravagant eye makeup and to get out of the boots.

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Picture Source: Stylebistro                                        Copyrights by AMC TV


While Sally is the episode “At the Codfish Ball” (S05E07) not allowed to wear these boots due to her immaturity, 5 episodes later, in “Commissions and Fees" (S05E12), she wears them again during her first secret real date with the older boy Glen Bishop (Marten Holden Weiner). During this date in a museum, she experience painfully her first menstruation. It’s obvious, that the Go-go boots and her period are signs that she now turns from a child to a woman.

Nevertheless and back to the scene “At the Codfish Ball”, Sally is allowed to wear the glamorous dress that references the kid film star, Shirley Temple. Later on, Roger serves Sally her first non alcoholic cocktail, which is also named Shirley Temple. In addition, the episode title is a reference to a Shirley Temple song and dance number featured in her 1936’s movie, Captain January.

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Picture Source: Psychotronic16    Copyright by 20th Century Fox TV / CBS


Sally’s white boots, however, are references to the iconic ’60s star, Angela Cartwright, who wore similar white knee high boots in the sci-fi cult TV series, Lost in Space. Finally, they are also an homage to Nancy Sinatra and her legendary song “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” and the white boots that Nancy wears on the single cover.

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Picture Source: Fashion Beauty Trends                    Copyright by the Owner


To sum it up: Sally’s boots are not only references to some of the most iconic US show stars, but are also a subtle fashion code for her maturity and precursor to the wild and sex-conscious style of the roaring ’60s.

The Lady Vanishes but Strikes Back in This Means War (2012)

Film director McG is famous for fun loving action filled Hollywood blockbusters like Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation and for the romantic action comedy This Means War (2012). These are all movies that probably doesn’t attract many film connoisseurs immediatly.

Nevertheless, McG shows in This Means War his cinematic expertise in various scenes, e.g. when he shows on the tv screen in the background of Lauren’s (Reese Witherspoon) apartment sequences of the western classic Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid.
This movie is about the two outlaws Robert Redford and Paul Newman and the beauty Katherine Ross and a reference to the menage a trois between Lauren, F.D.R (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) - see this article.

Another movie references can be spotted when Lauren and F.D.R are arguing about the legendary movie director Alfred Hitchcock.

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Picture Source: Film.com                            Copyrights by 20th Century Fox


This disput takes place in the video store, where Lauren wants to rent a film and F.D.R tries to flirt and chat up Lauren, with his expertise about the best Hitchcock movie. She tests his taste in films by picking the The Lady Vanishes DVD, a Hitchcock classic from the ‘Criterion Collection’. And what a surprise, this classic movie from 1939 is a British comic thriller about a woman and spy and mirrors somehow the constellation in This Means War too.

Another reminiscene to the film director Hitchcock is the film DVD the Rope from 1948 that stands on the shelf of the video store. It can be spotted between Lauren and F.D.R during their vivid discussion. And again, this is also a thriller about two young men who feel superior and try to commit the ideal murder.

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Picture Source: DVD Screengrab                 Copyrights by 20th Century Fox


The final of the scene is, that the smart and eloquent Lauren wins over the little arguing with ther film expertise and rebuffs the intruder F.D.R, while she grasp cheekily the DVD “Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back”!
This movie about a little group of rebels who fight and win against Darth Vader’s big army of the dark side is a nice and subtle punchline against the black dressed and superior behaving F.D.R. Nevertheless, these are just little spots which only movie geeks, like Jason Cangialos or Laura from Miscellaneous Musings, can fully appreciate.

Therefore, I’m pretty sure that the whole scene was an hommage to some of McG’s cinema heroes and it’s sad, that only few cinema lover will worship these little details, media references and easter eggs.

Mad Men Bob Benson Loves The Greek Style or The Deeper Meaning Behind The Mysterious Blue Coffee Cup!

In the first episode “The Doorway” of the 6th season, the creators of Mad Men introduce a new character: the always smiling and good looking accountant Bob Benson (James Wolk).

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Picture Source & Copyrights by: AMC


And when Bob meets Don Draper (Jon Hamm) accidently in the elevator of the SCDP office, he offers him one of his two paper coffee cups he just bought in a coffee shop around the corner. This blue and white cup with the golden letters on the label is not just some kind of cup, but the legendary ‘Anthora’ paper cup, created in 1963 by Czech coffeshop manager Lesli Buck in New York. It’s one of the most iconic products in the New York history and is already sold over 1 Billion times in the last 50 years.

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Picture Source: Amazon

The cup is designed in a Greek themed style because many coffee bars in the 1960s had been owned by Greek immigrants. It shows an ancient Greek urn or Amphora, which is the reason why the icon is later called Anthora, due to a mispronunciation of the Euopean accent of the Czech inventor.


And now back to Bob Benson and his hot coffee.

Later in the season, we’ll find out that Bob is gay or bi-sexual and that he worked as a ‘manservant' to his former boss and vice president. SLATE Senior editor David Haglund already assumed that the ambiguous faux Greek font inscription on the cup:  “We are Happy to serve you.“ is a hint to Bob’s past as a callboy.

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Picture Source: GQ Magazine                                      Copyrights by AMC


While this is already a bold assumption you can even analyze the cup on a deeper level because “Greek Style" means also a homosexual practice. The term is a reference to an sexual practice in the classic Greece (2000 B.C), where high status and honored men used young boys for their sexual pleasures.

Furthermore, if we analyze the scene more broad before we see Bob and Don in the elevator, we can spot Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) watching an magazine ad. It’s an ad for KOSS headphones  created by SCDP. It shows a classic Roman or Greek-like dressed man with a naked shoulder who is happily smiling in the viewers eyes.

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Screencast, Copyrights by AMC


The Greek costumed testimonial is the last still before we see the elevator where Bob makes Don’s a couple of compliments. Bob talks about Don’s nice tan, he introduces himself, offers him his precious second cup of coffee, opens the door for him like a servant and leaves Don in the creative department with the words: “I love it down here”, wich can be labeled as another very ambigious line and hint.

Nevertheless, the coffee cup can also be spotted in other scenes without Bob. Therefore, I don’t know for sure if the creators and set decorator Claudette Didul had all this in mind by giving Bob’s character exactly this cup of coffee in this scene, but I think it’s a nice assumption to worship the deeper meanings of the little details in the prop and set design.

Zoey Deutch - The False Bee is not a Beautiful Creature!

Emily Asher (Zoey Deutch) is the arrogant classroom beauty and Ethan Wate’s (Alden Ehrenreich) ex-girlfriend. She is the leader of the cheerleader club, The Guardian Angels, and always nicely dressed in expensive clothes, like her beige bee-print jacket.

This jacket comes from US fashion brand Anthropologie, and she wears it in several scenes, e.g. in the school and classroom with Ethan and Lena (Alice Englert).

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Picture Source: Collider                                      Copyrights by Warner Bros.


Emily, smug about her good looks, is still angry about the rejected love of her ex-boyfriend and intellectual free-thinker Ethan. He is no longer interested in her because she represents the conservative and religious side of the old-fashioned little town and advises him not to read all those intellectual books which are supposedly bad for his mind.

Her bee-print jacket is called “Daughters of the Liberation” and perfectly depicts Zoey Deutch’s character. Emily is very religious and the jacket model name might be a subtle hint to Liberation Theology, a community of activists in Roman Catholic theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in an open-minded and humanistic manner. Maybe she just thinks that she is liberal in her own narrow-minded world or maybe this is an ironic comment by the filmmakers.

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Picture Source: Collider                                      Copyrights by Warner Bros.

Nevertheless if you take a closer look at the jacket print, you see tiny little honeybees, which have a symbolism of their own. They are well known for being diligent, living in a group, and having a queen bee.
Therefore, the print is an appropriate symbol for Emily’s queen bee leader role and the fact that she always appears with her gang of girls or “bee colony.”

Another characteristic of hers is that she is always attempting to please the teacher and her family by dressing nicely, smiling, and being an eager worker in school. Finally, bees can sting very painfully, like Emily with her verbal bullying of outsiders like Lena Duchannes.

In summation, Emily is a bright attention-grabber and therefore the exact opposite of lone wolf Ethan and mysterious maverick Lena, and this is perfectly symbolized in her jacket.

Ryan Gosling’s Innocent White T-shirt of Death and Sorrow

Ryan Gosling is the anonymos driver in Nicolas Winding Refn’s drama Drive (2011). The movie director and his costume designer Erin Benach put a lot of love in the outfit of the Driver to create an cult character.

They used remarkable itmes like his custom made silver scorpio jacket, his sunglasses or his customized denim outfit to create an role character, that is iconic as the classic role models James DeenMarlon Brando or Steve McQueen.

Picture Source: Amazon                                                Copyright by Owner


As a proof, fashion designer Erin Benach reveiled in an interview for GQ, that they tested over 300 different shirts for Ryan Gosling until they found 17 of these vintage Henley shirts from 1930s as the best fit for his role character. They spotted these shirts by fashion maker WILLIAMS in the second hand store Mister Freedom in Los Angeles, California.

These original US Henley underwear t-shirts have been used for soldiers who wanted to have something protective under their woolen tops and combat jackets.

Picture Source: Amazon                                             Copyright by Owner


Ryan Gosling wears them in various romantic and violent scenes, while he turns from a silent nice guy - e.g. when he first meets Irene (Carey Mulligan) - to a brutal avenger, who plans his revenge like a military assault. The blood on his white shirt visualizes his trace of force and death.


Therefore the heritage and purpose of his vintage t-shirt and the military anology makes perfect sense and gives his alleged casual denim and t-shirt outfit a much deeper meaning as it first looked.

Emmy Rossum - The Dark Beautiful Creature with the Night Glitter Cat Eyes

Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) is Lena’s cousin who turned to the dark side and became a seductive siren who can easily manipulate human minds—especially that of Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) and his best friend, Link (Thomas Mann).

She seduces him on the school‘s athletic field with her red BMW sports cabriolet and her sheer black lace dress while she approaches him.

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Picture Source: Collider                                      Copyrights by Warner Bros.


Another accessory of her persuasiveness are her black Night Glitter Cat Eye sunglasses designed by US eyewear brand L.A. Eyeworks. The model is called “Magpie,” and named after the black bird from the crow family that is well known for cleverly stealing the glittering objects that attract it. And the cat eye frame fits Ridley’s black outfit and sexy, cat-like walk which is part of her strategy to seduce men.

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Picture Source: Collider                                      Copyrights by Warner Bros.


Hence the model name and the glasses shape fits with her larcenous and feline character who literally “steals” the free will of men by manipulating their minds. I don’t know if movie director Richard LaGravenese or costume designer Jeffrey Kurland chose this costume accessory with this message in mind, but I think it’s an intriguing assumption.

Steve McQueen Drives Ryan Gosling Insane in DRIVE

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Picture Source: CityBeat                               Copyrights by Filmdistrict


Ryan Gosling is the anonymous driver in Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie, Drive (2011). He is the cryptic cool guy who works during the day as a stunt driver and car mechanic and is a getaway driver for criminals by night. Besides these dirty and dangerous jobs, his unspoken dream is to become a Nascar race driver.

Fim director Refyn wanted to establish the driver as an iconic character, lone wolf, and tragic hero, like Paul Newman, James Dean, or Steve McQueen.

Therefore, he created some remarkable visuals, such as Ryan’s silver Scorpio jacket, his sunglasses, the tooth stick, and his brown leather gloves, which he wears during his risky night jobs.

His brown leather knuckle bone racing gloves in particular can be prominently spotted in the hammer scene and car chases.

Picture Source: Beyond Hollywood                     Copyrights by Filmdistrict

They are—according to an interview with costume designer Erin Benach—inspired by the gloves that Steve McQueen wore in movies like The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) and on some private car pictures.  

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Picture Source: KCET                    Copyrights by the Production Company 

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Picture Source: SooItalien        Copyrights by Matt Stone & Chad McQueen

Steve is the perfect role model for the costume designer, due to his iconic but often tragic hero characters in films like Hell Is for Heroes (1962); Love with the Proper Stranger (1963); or his car cult movies, Bullit (1968), The Getaway (1972) and racing driver drama Le Mans (1971).


The three latter movies are full of car chase scenes, which played an important role in establishing Steve as an iconic male role model—in cinema history as well in private. They even called him “obsessed with speed” which fits also to the characer of the Driver.

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Picture Source: Motor Authority                            Copyrights by Filmdistrict

 
The movie Bullit especially might be a reference for Drive, because Steve McQueen drives a black Ford Mustang 390 GT (1968), a so called muscle car,  which is a precursor to the black Ford Mustang GT 5.0 (2011) that Ryan Gosling drives.

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Picture Source:  Mustang Monthly                  Copyrights by Warner Bros.


To sum it up: Ryan’s racer gloves are just a detail but fit perfectly with the antihero role Nicolas Winding Refn wanted to create in the driver. It’s just a little tidbit, but it gives the movie an even deeper meaning.