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Second Act
Second Act
by Joan Collins
Edition: Hardcover

2.0 out of 5 stars Highly Edited Autobiography, 18 May 2011
This review is from: Second Act (Hardcover)
I can only agree with the other reviewer here; we see the ever youthful Joan Collins, film star, TV star and international celebrity updating her original and quite scandalous autobiography 'Past Imperfect' in this book 'Second Act'.

Joan hit Hollywood at the end of the 'golden age' and managed to meet many iconic stars along the way. This book although updated, is heavily edited from the original and presents a much more respectable Joan than the story she describes in 'Past Imperfect. Joan has certainly had quite a sex life, in many ways, she was one of the very first kiss and tell celebrities, something she seems to want to forget in this book.

Valentino: The Last Emperor [DVD]
Valentino: The Last Emperor [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt Tyrnauer
Price: £9.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight to the Senses, 18 May 2011
Valentino The Last Emperor is a 2008 documentary film about the life of the great Italian couturier Valentino. The film is an exploration of the singular world of one of Italys most famous fashion designers.

The film documents Valentinos final couture collection and the media frenzy surrounding it. You also get to see glimpses of his beautiful collections over the past 50 years. The film tells the story of his life, and explores the larger themes affecting the fashion business today.

At the heart of the film is the unique and touching relationship between Valentino and his business partner and companion of 50 years, Giancarlo Giametti.

The production team were given exclusive access to Valentino and his entourage; Valentino is surrounded by a tight knit family of friends and employees who eventually let their guard down and on the whole forget there is a camera crew in the room.

You see that Valentino is a born dreamer and along with Karl Lagerfeld is one of the last true couturiers. He lives as lavishly as his clients with several magnificent houses dotted around the world, in addition to a private plane and yacht, he shuts out all that is not beautiful in life.

A must for anyone interested in everything beautiful, but more importantly the high end fashion industry of today.

Marlene [DVD] [1983]
Marlene [DVD] [1983]
Dvd ~ Maximilian Schell

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Sadness, 18 May 2011
This review is from: Marlene [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Marlene is a 1984 documentary film made by Maximilian Schell about the legendary film star and icon Marlene Dietrich.

The story here is that Dietrich and Schell had worked together in 1961. By the late 1970s Dietrich had become a virtual recluse in her Paris apartment. Schell tried to persuade her for years to participate in a documentary about her life but she continuously refused.

In 1982, she eventually agreed to participate on condition that she did not appear in the film as she wanted to protect her image. The film consists of an audio commentary and the visuals illustrate her career by showing film clips and stills from her films, as well as newsreel footage.

The film consists of taped interviews between Schell and Dietrich where she is often difficult and cantankerous, she comments on some of the people she has worked with and some of the books written about her life and films. In the process, she touches on the subjects of life, reality and illusion and the nature of stardom, she becomes sad and describes herself as too sentimental.

Her very reluctance to reveal much about herself and be seen as an older person gives one a much deeper understanding of her character than if the film had followed a more conventional format.

She had an amazing life and was admired by millions around the world for her beauty and glamour which she managed to maintain an illusion of well into her seventies. Once she could no longer do this, she withdrew from public life.

Here you get the sadness of the inevitable ageing process we all have to come to terms with. However, it appears much more maginified for one who was known as a great iconic beauty and star. A very interesting and deeply moving film.

Balenciaga and Spain: Spanish Master
Balenciaga and Spain: Spanish Master
by Hamish Bowles
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £40.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 22 Mar. 2011
This is a wonderful book about the great master couturier Christobal Balenciaga and his Spanish roots and influnces. The text is informative and you are almost transported to the world of Balenciaga, particularly at his Paris Couture House, where you imagine the whispers and polite exchanges in the salon, that is, if you were deemed rich and sophisticated enough, and were allowed to buy your couture there, as he was very fussy about who should be allowed to wear his beautiful creations, as one had to have a certain deportment to carry them off effectively. You can also imagine the tantrums if things did not go to plan, as he was a perfectionist and master crafts man. The people who wore his creations were often told what they should wear by him.

The book also shows many outfits, from day wear through to elaborate evening gowns and hats, which is really wonderful. Many do look dated by todays standards, but you can see the beautiful attention to every tiny detail in the creation and construction of these works of art. You also see how he developed his creations, silhouttes and style over nearly four decades.

I collect books on couture and this is one of the best, but as always I'm greedy and just want to see more and more of the masters work.

Price: £9.87

10 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, 21 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Credo (Audio CD)
Its hard to believe that it is now thirty years ago since the Human Leagues masterpiece DARE a ground breaking album of brilliant originality, and although there have been some good songs along the way, for me they have never managed to recapture the magic of Dare. Could Credo be the answer and give us DARE2? Sadly on the whole no.

Having followed the band for over thirty years and listening to Credo I feel that from an innovation point musically the band said all they had to say some years ago now, but its good that they are still around. Unfortunately for me there is a real banality to a lot of the music and lyrics on this album, with the same lyric in some songs repeated over and over again, and some of the songs feel just too one dimensional and begin to blend into one another, and while I like their vocal style, that somehow adds to the problem of the songs sounding on one level.

Although there songs have been remixed by many artists; musically things really haven't developed a great deal since the 1980s, with a lot of fairly basic synth-work that reminds me of their early more raw sounding work from the late 1970s. But the analogue synthesisers do have some warmth and charm with good dance beats all with the strong familiarity of Phil Oakey's baritone and the wonderful distinctive school girl style vocals of Sulley and Catherall.

Credo is slightly nostalgic, but doesn't match up to past albums and for me it unfortunately does not move them forward in a positive manner either. The songs are at their best when the lyrics are powerful and I do like SKY, EGOMANIAC and their new single NEVER LET ME GO, but cannot warm to many of the other tracks like NIGHT PEOPLE the first single from the album and ELECTRIC SHOCK.

The songs manage to form a good line between dance and pop as you would expect, but its difficult to imagine who their new audience will be in 2011 other than true Human League fans like myself. And today there are modern bands like Hurts doing electro pop so very well. Credo does have some winning moments, but not enough to catapult them back to their great success thirty years ago. I really, really wanted to be able to say that this album is fantastic, but it's not. However, all that said, I am pleased they are still around doing their thing. Human League albums don't come along very often, and with that in mind, I expected so much more than they deliver here.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2011 5:36 PM BST

Yves Saint Laurent: 5, Avenue Marceau, 75116, Paris, France
Yves Saint Laurent: 5, Avenue Marceau, 75116, Paris, France
by David Teboul
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Visually Stunning, 18 Mar. 2011
A beautiful coffee table book, that has wonderful photographs that shows the creation of some of the couture from start to finish from the fabric selection, the beautiful embroidery and work of the master seamstresses. I would like to have seen more of the great masters work on display in this beautiful book.

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