Tag Archives: Town and Country

Damsels in Distress and “A Song of Preppy”

Hello-Hello, welcome to a post on something generating a bit of chatter, Whit Stillman’s new film.

First, some background for those saying “Whit who?”.  Many will recognize Mr. Stillman’s work, he wrote and directed the 1990 film Metropolitan.

Criterion Collection via IMDB

A refresher on that movie from Alessandra Stanley’s Times review, it also offers some insight into the indie filmmaker’s oeuvre:

Gauzily set in Park Avenue apartments and debutante balls sometime in the recent past, the movie follows a tightly-knit group of young men and women who assemble, in black tie and evening dress, at ”afterparties,” usually to contemplate their fate as a caste.

”The common image of divorce and decadent behavior being prevalent among New York social types is not really accurate,” Charles, the group’s moralist, played by Taylor Nichols, says. He adds, thoughtfully, ”That’s more Southampton.”

That was the first of a ‘preppy trilogy,’ it was followed with Barcelona in 1994 and The Last Days of Disco with Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale in 1998.

Via IMDB

Mr. Stillman now returns with a new film, Damsels in Distress.

Sony Pictures

The Times recently profiled the writer/director and his new film in “Whit Stillman and the Song of Preppy,” the story shares this about the plot:

Damsels in Distress” follows four college girls, Heather, Lily, Rose and Violet, as they grapple with problems ranging from love troubles to toxic frat-house odors and suicide attempts by education majors who insist on throwing themselves off two-story buildings. (“If they can’t even destroy themselves, how are they going to teach America’s youth?” Rose asks.)

Last Monday there was a screening of the movie in Tribeca, this story in The Times has more:

…screening at the Tribeca Grand felt as much like a boarding school graduation as a play for publicity by the Cinema Society, the evening’s host. But then, when the creator of a film credits his godfather, an Ivy League professor, for coining the term WASP, what else to expect?

At the screening we see (left to right) Megalyn Echikunwoke, Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipton and Billy Magnussen.

Erin Baiano for The New York Times

Back to Bob Morris’s story about the screening:

Even the corporate sponsors were old-school: Town & Country magazine and Brooks Brothers. And the very young and adorable cast seemed to be on their very best behavior as they arrived, walking stiffly as if in charm school or the Easter Parade.

Below, we see Patrick Fugit and Megalyn Echikunwoke at the party following the screening.

Nicholas Hunt / PatrickMcMullan.com via Interview Magazine

Also in attendance, actors Billy Magnussen and Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford.

Nicholas Hunt / PatrickMcMullan.com via Interview Magazine

Others from the Gossip Girl cast included Kelly Rutherford and Matthew Settle, on the right we see Ryan Metcalf and Adam Brody.

Nicholas Hunt/Patrick McMullan.com via Interview

Here we see Mr. Stillman at work on the set.

Sony Pictures via Indie Wire

Chip Brown’s Song of Preppy article is an excellent read, nicely synthesizing the filmmaker’s background and its impact on his work.

Stillman remains as adept at confounding expectations as he was in 1969, when, a Harvard freshman, he escorted a debutante to the Junior Assemblies ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York with a Students for a Democratic Society button tucked under the lapel of his white-tie-and-tails.

… wry self-deprecation is one of the hallmarks of the well-bred WASP, and Stillman is a museum-quality specimen. Even in unbuttoned Los Angeles, Stillman adheres to the preppy uniform of loafers, jacket and tie.

To read Mr. Brown’s entire profile on Mr. Stillman, click here.  We’ll also have more tomorrow or Monday, including a Preppie Style Guide from the Harvard grad.

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Filed under Gossip Girl, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, preppy lifestyle

“Prep” Author’s Book About to Hit, Gossip Girls Have Fashion Week Plans!

h Happy Monday…! What an absolutely luscious Labor Day weekend it has been! But of course, that is only in the Great Midwest; naturally our thoughts and prayers and donations go south to those experiencing a far different weekend.

It wouldn’t be a complete summer if people weren’t getting all worked up about a new book. This year it seems “American Wife: A Novel” by preppy author Curtis Sittenfeld seems to be the target of increasingly heated discussions.

The high-pitched chatter is understandable. The book’s initial release is tomorrow (Tuesday, 9/2), timed perfectly to coincide with the Republican Convention. Focused on a ‘fictitious’ First Lady, the primary character’s background is strikingly similar to First Lady Laura Bush. Jan Hoffman at the NY Times condenses the pertinent details far better than TP ever could in her story about the book from:

“Set in Wisconsin rather than Texas, the novel is about Alice Blackwell, a quiet, perceptive woman who is marred and marked by extraordinary circumstance. When Alice was 17, she ran a stop sign, killing a popular high school boy. As a 31-year-old school librarian, she married the coarse, rakish, heavy-drinking son of a rich Republican family. He buys a baseball team, sobers up, is elected governor and even, for heaven’s sakes, president of the United States.”

In the Times’ actual book review, writer Michiko Kakutani also describes the similarities :

“In writing this book Ms. Sittenfeld — who wrote a 2004 Salon.com essay in which she touted Mrs. Bush as “a true role model” who “takes her responsibilities seriously” while maintaining “a life separate from her husband” — has changed just enough details to avoid accusations that she has completely plagiarized the first lady’s curriculum vitae.”

Wondering about the author’s political leanings? The review includes a condensed version, quoting from that Salon.com essay, which was entitled ‘Why I Love Laura Bush‘:

“…a staunch enough liberal that I take would-be epithets such as ‘flaming,’ ‘knee-jerk’ and ‘bleeding heart’ as compliments,” and a registered Democrat who regards Why I love Laura Bush’s policies as misguided at best “and at worst evil….”

Indeed. At issue (among other things) are the ‘steamy’ sex scenes contained within the 514 pages of American Wife, which MSNBC.com said were “too graphic to reprint.” We won’t attempt to recount the book’s many sins or assets (or a combination of both) depending upon one’s perspective.

Some may remember Ms. Sittenfeld’s other novels, including “Prep,” published in 2005 to much critical acclaim, followed by “The Man of my Dreams.” (Full disclosure: TP struggled through Prep, encountering difficulty connecting to both the characters and the storyline. Clearly we need remedial assistance on some level.)

The writer attended Groton, and graduated from Stanford University.

 

Dilip Vishwanat for The New York Times

Photo: Dilip Vishwanat for The New York Times

Should one plan to be in or near our nation’s capital on September 9 and have a desire to see Ms. Sittenfeld in person, have your social secretary pencil in Politics and Prose (Georgetown, on Connecticut at Nebraska) for 7pmish.

In the midst of the feeding frenzy over the Gossip Girls script leak

PhotO Courtey Gawker.com

Photo Courtey Gawker.com

…and no, TP is not about to reveal the contents of the ‘leaked’ script, nor where the plot goes in the fifth episode because it just wouldn’t be proper.  However, if every semblance of self-control has evaporated and one simply *must* know, then this link to Gawker.com’s story may provide the answers you seek. In honor of the new season we thought we might mention one stop we know that Gossip Girl stars Blake Lively, Leighton Meester and Taylor Momsen plan to make during Fashion Week.

Word is they’ll be going to Abigail Lorick’s show this Thursday, September 4, which makes sense as it is the clothing used for the fictitious clothing line owned by Eleanor Waldorf on the show.

Getty Images for IMG

Phot: Getty Images

This will be the first time Ms. Lorick has shown a Collection at Fashion Week. The designer, a former Ford model herself, describes her customer in part this way:

“The Lorick Lady silently speaks stories of Classical and Contemporary Charm…”

There are some wonderful looks on the Lorick website; below we show two from the Fall 2008 Collection.

One could describe pieces in the Collection as having a ‘preppy aesthetic’ if so inclined. It will be fun to see the Lorick show and then see it repeated as part of an actual episode. It was quite amazing to watch this evening’s episode with its ‘White Party’ scenes (including Tinsley Mortimer’s appearance). The party is the scene that essentially no one showed up to be in when an open casting call was held somewhere in Southampton back in June. Remember?

“We were told to come “dressed upscale and camera ready,” which had us a little nervous as to whether we’d be up to the competition — but then … there wasn’t any. The massive line of Gucci-clad teenage girls never materialized. Instead, the line maxed out at just four people (including us) and none of us were teenagers. We were amazed. How could only four people want to be on the BEST SHOW EVER?”

That is from the delightful story by Lauren Le Vine in New York Magazine about the event…. or non-event as it turned out to be.

Oh, one more quick pic (which we’ll justify by saying the show *is* about a preppy school) from the weekend, Chace Crawford at the U.S. Open, an outstanding choice for weekend relaxation.

Things quieted down here at the Prepatorium and we were able to finish reading a few magazines from the absolutely immense stacks scattered about the place. It’s awful, and we know many of you are buried under the same towering piles of Fall Fashion reads, upcoming auction catalogs from Sotheby’s and Christies, other literature, and ephemera!

Speaking of auctions, there is a rather fabulous Jewelry Auction at Sotheby’s New York in September, and while we are not in any kind of acquisition mode, browsing the catalog is always loads of fun. We were particularly intrigued by a Pearl Necklace and Bracelet lot, above left, and thought we fancied a pair of black and white diamond rings, but upon closer inspection determined they are just not Princess. If you aren’t a subscriber to the catalogs, you can almost always view them online; really a marvelous and inexpensive way to entertain oneself for an hour or two.

BTW, if one of the things you were reading of late was the Town and Country sister publication, Town and Country Travel, well, ‘late’ would be the operative word, RIP. For those not familiar with T&C Travel, (or for for those like TP who tends to lose track of it occasionally), it was a quarterly that the Hearst folks once thought might become a stand-alone magazine. Word came late last week that the most recent issue is the last, Hearst Magazines has opted to close it permanently.

That is a shame, we rather enjoyed that particular view of the world. Sigh.

‘Night.

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion