Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Rachel From Blade runner

For anyone for whom clothes and make up have gone on to play a big part in their lives there is usually a second when a style switch is flicked. A eureka moment when you no longer want to look the same as everybody else and decide to carve out your own identity.




For me the sudden desire to look a very specific way started at the age of ten, the first time I saw the character Rachel in Ridley Scott's sci fi detective film Blade runner.
Rachel wearing an amazing fur coat as she saves Deckard from the replicant Leon

My parents (an artist and a fashion designer) were obsessed by this film and as soon as it was available to rent we owned a copy. I must have watched it hundreds of times, always with an eye on the amazing outfits worn by the tragic "more human than human" replicent Rachel.
From the moment I watched Rachel sashay into the Tyrell Corporations office to meet handsome rumpled detective Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford in probably his best role) wearing a beige and grey silk and gold threaded two-piece couture suit and with her hair in victory rolls I was transfixed.


The most perfect red lips 
Studying Rachels flawless make up as she undertakes the voight-Kampff test (wearing a black silk and snake skin two-piece suit) I vowed never to wear anything except red lipstick and black eyeliner again (a path I have rarely swerved from) 
Marvin Westmore who worked as the make up artist on the film said Sean Young's lips were the "best red lips he had ever worked on" who could disagree. And its not just the lips. From the subtle smudge of black under Rachels mournful eyes to the alabaster of her complextion-the make up is perfection.


1940's tailoring with a futuristic twist
What I didn't realise when I first encountered the amazing tailoring and structure of Rachel's outfits was that I was actually falling in love with the fashions of the 1940's. 
the queen of the shoulder pad Joan Crawford
It was a few years later when I stumbled on the 1941 film Mildred Pierce with Joan Crawford (who went on to become a huge influence on my look) that I discovered there had been a whole decade where women had worn clothes similar to Rachel's. Sharp tailoring, blood red lips, rolled hair. It was all there. My love of vintage was born.
Mildred Pierce-The silhouette

Blade Runners costume designers Micheal Kaplan and Charles Knode worked relentlessly to perfect Rachel's look and the pieces have deservedly become collectors items. The film influenced the "Power Suit" of the eighties and shoulder pads were big news for quite a while.
Charles Knodes sketches for the film
A few years ago some of the costumes were sold at auction by Bonhams for many thousands of pounds.Whilst I usually have very little interest in movie memorabilia if I could have laid my hands on the money I would have loved to have brought a piece.On reflection though whilst it would have been wonderful to display the inspiration for what has shaped so much of my life, like meeting your idols maybe its best that the clothes live on in cellulod only.
The costumes which went under the hammer at Bonhams
My favourite outfit in the film is a coat Rachel wears when she goes to Deckard's apartment after learning that she too is  a replicant. It is simply the most beautiful coat I have ever seen and I have spent much of my adult life searching for something similar. Made of blue silk brocade it features a fur trimmed stand up collar and huge bat wing style fur sleeves it is just wonderful.
The most beautiful coat in the world
    
It was recently sold at Christy's to a fan who even got a photo of himself and the actress Sean Young wearing it. I was delighted that someone else who loved it almost as much as me owned it but I wont lie I also wanted to rip it off his back.

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3 comments:

  1. God I love this film!!! Really interesting about what happened to the costumes!!

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  2. That coat is awesome! My husband LOVES this film! I've only seen it through his eyes really, but I can definitely see why you're inspired by the fashion and style! x

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  3. Thanks for the comments ladies-yes the coat is just awesome isnt it-perfect for the school run ha ha

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