November 6, 2012
Russian Revolution! The Film Anna Karenina Sparks a Czarist Craze for Velvets, Lace and Luxe Furs
The romance of the Russian aristocracy circa the 1800s ruled the runways this fall
By Nancy Staab
Take your fashion inspiration from fall’s runways and the current film adaptation of Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley, and pile on the velvets, lace, furs and gems this holiday season.
Romanticism, the opulence of the Baroque period and the luxe looks of 19th century Russian aristocracy created a lavish mood on the runways this fall. Forget a slavish dedication to the past, and instead take a loose inspiration for these periods like designers Dolce & Gabbana, Temperley London, Ralph Lauren, Balmain, Gucci and Lanvin did. Think: plush velvets, dripping jewels, yards of lace, furs, pearls, baroque gold pattern blazoned on everything from cocktail clutches to velvet jeans, touches of military styling, romantic capes and cloaks, Cossack hats, elbow-length gloves and gem encrusted dresses, coats and even boots. Layering is key to the effect so go bold when styling your look.
And you can look to no better fashion template than the latest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s epic love story, Anna Karenina, out Nov. 16. The movie reunites the trifecta of director Joe Wright, actress Keira Knightley, and Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline Durran, who previously collaborated on Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. With an adapted screenplay by playwright Tom Stoppard and a decidedly theatrical approach to the story that included painted backdrops, Durran was also free to be more theatrical and less historically faithful in the costuming. The result is a wardrobe inspired by 1870’s Russia, but with pared down shapes borrowed from the 1950s. For the latter look, Durran says she looked to the iconic, French haute couture designers of the 40’s and early 50’s such as Dior, Balenciaga, Jacques Fath, and Lanvin.
The movie’s jewels are also bewitching but anachronistic: all of the main pieces borrowed from Chanel’s Haute Jewelry collection such as a magnificent multi-strand necklace of diamond camellias worn by Knightley in a key ball scene where she first dances with the man destined to be her lover, Count Vronsky (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and outshines Kitty at Kitty’s social debut. (Jude Law plays Anna’s military-bound husband, with whom she’s trapped in a loveless marriage.) In another key scene, Knightley’s Anna wears a multi-strand necklace of pearls, also provided by house of Chanel. The men in the film are often clad in military uniforms that take inspiration from Tsarist Russia. Indeed, the meticulous attention to fashion in this movie is certainly in keeping with Tolstoy’s novel, which devotes lavish descriptions to what his characters are wearing, particularly his beautiful, vain and tragic heroine Anna.
In addition to the movie, Durran also helped create and style an Anna Karenina-inspired capsule collection for Banana Republic this fall. The collection represent very modern, wearable clothes, like little black dresses, but with style notes borrowed from the opulent world of Tolstoy’s novel, so there’s fur accessories and collars, statement jewels, and other adornments. In short, this Russian Revolution in fashion is simply epic.
SEE SLIDESHOWS BELOW OF FASHION MOMENTS FROM THE MOVIE ANNA KARENINA, RUSSIAN ROMANCE-INSPIRED FALL RUNWAY COLLECTIONS, AND BANANA REPUBLIC’S ANNA KARENINA CAPSULE COLLECTION