Thursday, March 4, 2010

Inspiration: Aliena, As You Like It

This evening I watched the 2006 HBO/BBC production of As You Like It. I've just finished reading the play in my Shakespeare class, and am about to write a critical analysis of it (maybe - or should I choose A Midsummer Night's Dream?! Decisions, decisions - the cruel fate of the English major!) and my teacher recommended seeing a production or movie-adaptation of the play we choose first. The text mentioned the Kenneth Branagh version as taking place in post-feudal Japan, so of course, my interest was peaked. I really recommend this version - the costumes are so beautiful, a necessity as even in Shakespeare's original the plot is incredibly lacking as compared to the characters. There doesn't really seem to be any point in setting it in Japan, but it does make for some very pretty costumes and settings. One character in particular strikes me, and that is Aliena. Cousin to the main character Rosalind, she was rather cast-aside in the original; this film version gives her a role as pastoral shepherdess and outfits her in florals, sage green, and hip-length blond hair woven with flowers.

She starts out the movie as a courtier named Celia, all curled-updo and satin corsetry:

Celia, in blue, before the exile

Rosalind is exiled, and Celia sneaks away with her, calling herself Aliena ("the estranged one," according to my textbook) to Rosalind's new pseudonym "Ganymede." However, after entering the forest of Arden, she finds herself exhausted and distressed, not having realized what she got herself into. She becomes tousled and unkempt, her appearance mirroring her fatigue:

Disheveled Aliena with Touchstone the fool

All she wants is a place to rest and food to eat! Once she gets these and becomes comfortable in her surroundings, she accepts the pastoral life Fortune has temporarily provided her with:

Aliena, mori-style

I can't even begin to explain how much I love this look. If I could drses like this everyday I think I could die happy!

Get that look:
  • Use soft, dusty pastels like sage, rose, or cream
  • Use a ruffled bolero to allude to her ruffled overdress
  • Keep make-up and hair natural; a bit of just-kissed-pink gloss, cream shadow, and tousled hair
  • Don't overdo accessories - use rose corsages or make yourself a flower crown out of fake flowers, or even real if they're blooming for you!
  • In my mind, Aliena is barefoot, but as this isn't really too practical for her as a shepherdess or you in the modern world, break lolita convention and go for a pair of sturdy yet comfy gladiator sandals, as in my imagination all historical fashions favored.
For those of you who are into Shakespeare, I... don't recommend this movie or even the original play. However, for those of you who are interested in period drama and enjoy historical costume, beautiful imagery, and quotable characters, definitely check this version out. Anyone interested in boystyle? Check out Rosalind as Ganymede - hottie!
Bryce Dallas Howard as Ganymede/Rosalind, in brown

Though I must admit, Orlando is quite a looker himself. I... don't know who that other man is.

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