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Grey Gardens Fashions And Turbans

The March 2009 issue of Interview included a fabulous feature about the upcoming HBO film, Grey Gardens, set to premiere in April.

The focus of the article written brilliantly by Tara Subkoff is on the incredible recreation of the original Grey Gardens fashions.

History Of Grey Gardens

If you're not familiar with the history of Grey Gardens, it was a phenomenal 94 minute documentary film created in 1973 by Albert and David Maysle along with Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer.

(Image of Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange on HBO Grey Gardens- - All Rights Reserved).

The documentary was an inside look at Big and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, a reclusive mother and daughter team who lived an eccentric lifestyle in a decaying mansion known as Grey Gardens because of the appearance of the once fabulous gardens.

The existence of Big and Little Edie and the abject poverty was initially revealed to the public via a tabloid.  Once the original Grey Gardens was filmed, Big and Little Edie Bouvier Beale because instant celebrities.

Part of the fascination with the mother and daughter team was that they were directly related to the fabulous famous and wealthy Bouvier sisters - Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwell.

What may have started with a tabloid wanting to exploit some of Jackie Kennedy's dirty laundry became a cult classic event.  As the public was allowed to peek into the lives of the Beale ladies, they cared about them and delighted in their eccentricities.

HBO Film Grey Gardens

The new HBO film co-stars two of my favorite actresses - Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.  Can you get two more fabulous actresses?  Jessica took on Big Edie and Drew was little Edie.  HBO did an amazing job of honoring the original Grey Gardens documentary while also put their own amazing spin on the lives of the women who feed raccoons in the attic and ate cat food.

A primary concern with the HBO film was remaining true to the outrageous fashions favored by the two Edies.  To remain true to the iconic fashions so loved by fans, fashion designer Catherine Thomas was hired to dress both Drew and Jessica for the film.

Tara Subkoff Interview With Catherine Thomas Regarding HBO Grey Gardens Film

Writer Tara Subkoff interviewed Catherine for Interview Magazine and it was a wonderful piece.

As Catherine explained "there is some degree of fantasy" to Big and Little Edies wardrobe.  She also explained that the clothing for the film was directly tied to the way the two women flip flopped in their roles towards each other and it could be seen in their fashions.  I found this comment to be fascinating but so true.

Little Edie's Progressive, Positive Way For Dealing With Her Hair Loss

Catherine also explained that Little Edie was initially "so ashamed and panicked" about her hair falling out, which is shown in the film, that she "handles her hair loss in a progressive, positive way" by wearing a wide range of turbans and head scarves, which are also highlighted in the HBO work.

Catherine even points out the significance of "the gorgeous white satin hooded gown that Little Edie  wears to a bohemian party is a beautiful metaphor for what's going to happen to her later, covering up her head."

Constructing The Turbans

When it came to the famous little Edie Turbans Catherine explained that constructing them "involving playing with fabric and seeing how it draped.  I truly think that's what Edie, you know?  She would wear something as a sweater vest and then the next day she would put it on her head."

What did Catherine think about dealing with the turbans for Little Edie?  She said "I have to tell you, the woman was a genius.  After playing with those head wraps and realizing how many safety pins we needed to make them stay its incredible how she managed it.  That's why in the documentary, you always see her adjusting her turban."

Modern Day Turbans

Little Edie passed away in 2002 but I wonder if she had discovered the latest turban tricks of wearing scarves with hidden elastic embedded along one side to help keep the turbans in place without a large number of safety pins.  In some cases the new generation of turbans don't even require pins of any kind.  However, Little Edie probably didn't know about the latest and great elasticized scarf headwraps as they are often called.

I'm curious if Edie could have covered up her hair loss issues with the 3" silk headbands that were so popular back before she died?  I guess we'll never know.

Grey Gardens On HBO on April 18, 2009

I am so psyched about the new HBO Grey Gardens film and can't wait to see if.  Not only are Drew and Jessica rumored to be phenomenal in the film, I can't wait to see the different fashions which morph from the 1930s when the two Edie's are first covered until the time of Little Edie's end.  Can you imagine anything more exciting to watch if you're a fashion and hair freak like me?  I didn't think so.

More Information

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