A Designer's Eye on Blue Jasmine
Blue Jasmine has been getting a lot of plaudits as of late, and deservedly so, with comparisons to “A Streetcar Named Desire”. I’d also compare her performance to Judy Davis’s wonderfully confused character in Husbands and Wives. As a designer, I have to admit I winced every time I heard the phrase “interior decorator” used (and was relieved when it morphed into the more acceptable “interior designer”) but was also taken at how well thought through the design was, from the moment Cate Blanchett’s Jasmine walks through Ginger’s house and looks in horror at the lowly clutter including … a Samsung big screen TV.[^1]
Some other careful points that I noted:
- Clothing, obviously. Of course, clothing has become an even more recognised art form in the era of Mad Men, but it’s still spot on: Jasmine is demurely beautiful in nude designer gear, while Ginger is joyous and sexy (and not far off Sally Hawkin’s character in Happy Go Lucky) in high street prints, tshirts and short-shorts. I particularly remembered the Tiger top. The newly svelte Alec Baldwin is as smartly dressed as he was as the similarly suave but morally dubious Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock. Louis CK’s costuming is a little harder to read: he’s in a semi-decent brown suit at the party but layered up in casual gear that’s hard to read the price of in the following one. Something of a Gandolfini look?
- Technology. Phones and computers are increasingly becoming the signs of status as cars become less of a necessity (though Ginger and her partner are briefly shown with an old classic-style one, possibly both a nod to Streetcar as well as a nice tie in to the man’s job). While Jasmine nervously prods at an iPhone 4 (probably the newest model as of filming), Ginger uses what looks like a Motorola or Nokia flip phone: something probably a couple of years old but that she could afford and have chosen as it would reflect her personality. Similarly, it looks as if Jasmine has a Macbook Pro hidden under the casing (though this doesn’t make a lot of sense if she said she was terrible with computers).
- Earrings. I have a thing for earrings. I thought that one of the crowning glories of Bones was Temperance Brennan’s beautiful earrings that are constantly on display, that proclaimed ‘look, I’m a brilliant scientist but I am also a woman who has at least half an eye to style’. Similarly, Ginger’s wonderfully loud bling earrings say a lot about her personality (and provide a nice means of interaction as she talks to Chilli while taking them off).
[^1]: I’m the first to admit there could be product placement, but what was done was damn fantastic.