Two Jolie thrillers – One a thrill for Pantyhose lovers


Robin Maryland, president, ActSensuous

This month, I’ve watched two very different Angelina Jolie thrillers on DirecTV, both of which I had missed at the theater.  One was a Hitchcock-inspired thriller set against the beautiful backdrops of Paris, France and Venice, Italy, “The Tourist,” complete with classic film noir glamour in its costumes.  The other was a better action-oriented, spy movie that wasn’t worth its “Salt” when it came to the costumes.

Oh, the difference a movie’s costume designer can make. 

Responding to one of my earlier posts, “A treat when pantyhose show up unexpectedly,” Julio commented about Jolie wearing pantyhose throughout “The Tourist.” 

“The Tourist,” tells the story of an American tourist, Frank, (played by Depp) who meets a mysterious beauty, Elise, (Jolie) on a train, while traveling through Europe.  While the flirtatious encounter appears innocent, we soon learn that Elise deliberately crosses Frank’s path as part of a much more sinister plot, leading to a whirlwind romance and dangerous pursuits, as both dodge deadly criminals through historic streets of Paris, and the winding canals inVenice.

Angelina Jolie looks stunning in 'The Tourist.'

While “The Tourist” is a pretty good thriller on its own merits, the movie is helped by the beautiful scenery, which includes Jolie herself. 

Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood dressed the characters in classic, contemporary clothes “to complement but not overwhelm the breathtaking settings of Paris andVenice.”   

Atwood, who won Oscars for costume design for “Chicago” and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” told People Magazine, “My inspiration for Elise’s costumes were the Hitchcock movies – minimal elegance.  In a Hitchcock movie, everyone looked great, even if (he or she) was not a particularly chic or fashionable character.”

Jolie dressed in classic film noir glamour in "The Tourist.'
Mission accomplished in “The Tourist.” 
 
From the outset, one cannot take one’s eyes off Jolie.  In the opening sequences of the movie, Jolie wears a cream silk dress, a mocha wrap, elbow-length leather gloves, towering stilettos, and very sheer nude pantyhose, which in some lighting seem to have a cream tone themselves. 

It was so nice seeing Jolie in those very sheer and soft-textured pantyhose, especially because of the shoes she wore with that outfit, supplied by legendary designer Salvatore Ferragamo. 

Those suede, rose-colored stilettos with gold metal heels quickly earned their own identity (the Elise), named after Jolie’s character in “The Tourist,” and available at retail for $750 a pair.

Knowing Atwood’s work on such films as “Chicago” and “Nine,” as well as her devotion to classic film glamour, it’s no surprise that Jolie wore pantyhose throughout the entire film.

What is a surprise, however, is that wonderful scene our reader, Julio, described earlier.

Said Julio:

Another lovely surpise happened in “The Tourist” starring the always sexy Angelina Jolie.  About halfway through the movie, both she and Johnny Depp start to undress, each in their own rooms, and there it was – a very short glimpse of Angelina stepping out of her shoes, revealing the most lovely pantyhosed feet.  Too bad the surprise only lasted a second, but the image lasts forever.

Right then, I made a mental note to see “The Tourist,” and I got that opportunity, as it was on one of the Starz channels last night. 

That scene is exactly what’s been missing in film for decades.  When Elise slips out of her heels, the camera doesn’t cut away or pull back, or come at an inconvenient (for us) angle.  Rather, the scene is shot close up, and we get a close, clear look at Jolie’s very pretty nylon-covered toes, albeit, for only a couple of seconds.  It’s the sexiest such scene I’ve seen in about a hundred years.  

It makes me wonder why a scene like this is never shot today, and why it was shot in “The Tourist.”  For the past, well, ever really, a scene like this – if it were done at all – would be shot far away, the angle would be wrong, and the actress would have curled her toes in a way that the audience wouldn’t have gotten a good look.  And, if she were actually in pantyhose, they would have had a reinforced toe, or would have been so dark or so thick, you wouldn’t have been able to see anything. 

But in “The Tourist,” this scene is delicious.  The pantyhose is so sheer and delicate that they do what they’re supposed to do – enhance the beauty of what they cover.  This is what so many women today don’t get.  

If those stilettos Elise was wearing were open-toe or even peep-toe shoes, all the “fashion experts” would have said that the character shouldn’t have been wearing pantyhose with them.  Yet, this scene in “The Tourist” clearly shows why that thinking is just ridiculous.  The pantyhose Jolie wore were completely sheer.  One couldn’t even see a seam (not that it would matter to me because I think it’s sexy anyway), and the nylon made Jolie’s feet absolutely beautiful. 

It makes me wonder how this scene even made it into the final cut.  It wasn’t essential to the story in any way, but it was done so beautifully and tastefully.  Could this mean that someone with influence over the script – a writer or director – “gets it?”   Is this a case of someone giving the millions of people out there with a foot fetish or a pantyhose fetish (or both if we’re truly tortured souls) what they so long for – a closeup of pretty toes in pantyhose? 

Or, could it be that this scene was shot to focus our attention on those fabulous shoes, and Jolie’s pantyhosed feet were just a freebie for us?  I guess if you’re the sexiest shoes on the planet, you deserve a closeup, and ….. wait for it ….. the lovely lady wearing you had better be in pantyhose to honor your true beauty and sexiness. 

More often than not, I am disappointed in movies because the costume designer ruins the look of its female lead by dressing her in fabulous costumes, but bare legs.  

Jolie flees CIA headquarters in Washington, D.C. during a scene from the movie, 'Salt.'

A case in point is the other thriller starring Jolie, “Salt.”  Jolie plays a CIA agent named Evelyn Salt, who, while interrogating a Russian defector, is told (as her superiors listen) that she is actually a Russian sleeper agent who will assassinate the president of Russia during his upcoming visit to New York City. 

The movie then goes into practically nonstop action, as Salt employs all her spy skills to elude capture.  She runs, climbs buildings, jumps on moving trucks, and pretty much just kicks everyone’s rear end who tries to stop her, while she tries to learn the truth about her identity and clear her name. 

 In this movie, Jolie is at first dressed in what would seem to be the usual “spy wear” for a female agent, a skirt suit, pumps and ….. wait, no pantyhose?  That can’t be.  I can’t believe a CIA agent based in Washington, D.C. would be bare-legged.  

This is all the more disturbing because it follows the same thinking as another disappointing spy show, starring Piper Perabo, who is almost always bare-legged in the TV drama, “Covert Affairs.”  

While I have no way of knowing whether real-life female spys routinely wear pantyhose as part of their usual dress, I know this: costume designer Sarah Edwards didn’t do Jolie any favors in calling for bare legs with her suit.  

I hate missed opportunities, and so when Salt tries to extricate herself from CIA headquarters, there’s a scene where she kicks off her pumps, exposing some Casper-like white tootsies with bright red toenail polish.  I thought then (before I saw “The Tourist”) that this scene would have been really sexy if she had been wearing pantyhose. 

Now that I’ve seen just how gorgeous Jolie’s feet were in pantyhose in “The Tourist,” I feel even stronger that costume designer Edwards blew it in “Salt.”

For those who think it doesn’t make much difference, consider these movie stills from “Salt” and “The Tourist.”  

When seen in their expanded state, who could honestly say that Jolie’s character in “Salt” looks equally as lovely as her character in “The Touist?”

I have to wonder how much credit the costume designer in movies gets, versus how much influence the actress has over what she wears.   I would have to think that someone of Angelina Jolie’s status would insist on her character wearing pantyhose if she felt strongly about it, but maybe it doesn’t work that way.

But how can Jolie watch herself in “Salt” after seeing how much more beautiful she looked in “The Tourist?”

Maybe next time, she’ll demand more say over her wardrobe and choose pantyhose.

Pantyhose on the brink of global acceptance?


Robin Maryland, president, ActSensuous

I started ActSensuous in 2001 fully realizing that pantyhose were on their last legs, having barely survived the 1990s and Sarah Jessica Parker’s TV and movie series, Sex and the City, universally recognized as the origin of the bare legs movement.

Honestly, I thought that was a fad that wouldn’t last.   I couldn’t believe then that so many women throughout the world would jump on that bandwagon and ditch their pantyhose. 

It’s been a sad decade for pantyhose indeed, but I have never been more optimistic about a comeback than this year.   Even last year, I was seeing signs of wider pantyhose acceptance, as more and more TV shows and movies featured actresses wearing.   Then there were more women wearing in TV commercials. 

Katy Perry performs

And when some big-time entertainers, such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Beyonce’ starting attracting attention for their wearing, things were looking good. 

Then, there’s Julianna Margulies wearing in every episode of the best drama on TV, The Good Wife, and Morena Baccarin wearing in every episode as the beautiful and glamorous queen alien in V.

But perhaps the real measure of any product’s return to favor in the market is how often it becomes the topic of widespread media coverage.   And that’s what is happening right now. 

While so-called fashion experts, fashion magazine editors, and the legion of hose-hating women out there want you to think pantyhose have been run out of town for good, the delicate and dainty little accessory is flexing some muscles no one knew it had.

That’s because pantyhose have a new ambassador whose credibility appears to be beyond reproach and whose beauty, class, grace, elegance and charm are irresistable.  And that ambassador is Kate Middleton.

No matter the occasion or venue, Kate Middleton has the class and elegance to appear in dresses, heels and pantyhose.

Seemingly every day, stories appear in Internet fashion magazines commenting on Kate’s becoming a global fashion icon.  And recently, the subject of those stories has been Kate’s wearing pantyhose.   (Note: while pantyhose are referred to in the UK as sheer tights, and many of the writers switch between calling them tights, pantyhose and stockings, let’s just stick with pantyhose throughout.)

Funny how the main enemies of pantyhose, the “fashion experts” and fashion magazine editors, now are scrambling to try and outdo one another in covering what’s covering Kate’s lovely legs.   And while the coverage has been predominantly positive, it’s no surprise that a few of the online mags criticized Kate for wearing.   Some called her look “hopelessly old fashioned,” while others called her wearing pantyhose the “ultimate sin.”

That’s unfortunate, but not unexpected.  But what I like is that lately, the majority of the stories I’ve read (all by female writers), disagreed with those who criticize Kate, and actually defended her choice of wearing.  And many of the writers said they hope Kate’s influence ushers a return of pantyhose popularity because seeing bare legs everywhere is getting old.

Last week in a posting on CelebrityFix, staff writers delivered a piece in which Kate was photographed in a cable knit Alexander McQueen dress during a recent visit to Canada.   The writers realized it was a version of the sailor-style outfit that Sarah Jessica Parker wore in 2006.

 
 
 
The story in CelebrityFix posted this side-by-side photo composition showing Kate wearing conservative blue Prada high heels (and pantyhose, which wasn’t mentioned but is very obvious), while SJP wore red stilettos (and bare legs, again not mentioned, however it was pointed out that there was “no contest for which one has the nicer feet.”)

If anyone ever needed a visual depicting the merits of pantyhose versus bare legs, this picture ought to do the trick.   The bare legs movement has always baffled me.   I don’t get how any reasonable person could look at the image and not admit that the one on the left is far and away more attractive than the one on the right.  Why women continue to try so hard to look like the one on the right when they could look like the one on the left is beyond me.

A royal example

On Tuesday July 12, in the online Fashion and Beauty magazine Shine, staff writer Piper Weiss wrote a story with the headline: ‘Kate Middleton brings back Pantyhose.’  And the subhead read: ‘Bare legs are so 2010.’

Weiss wrote a positive piece, crediting Kate for bringing back pantyhose for a new generation, and praising her look.   Referring to bare legs, Weiss wrote that “egg-crate color is out, and clear, almost fairy-dusted iridescence is in.”

Also in her story, Weiss referred to a recent royal visit by Tom Hank’s wife, Rita Wilson, who complained that she was required to wear hosiery for an event at Buckingham Palace.  Apparently, Wilson told Harper’s Bazaar: “Women must wear closed-toe shoes — and get this — stockings!  Sheer disbelief — I don’t even own a pair of sheer hose.”

I feel sorry for Tom Hanks, first because his wife supports the bare legs look, and second, because she showed no class in complaining about what is considered elegant by the Royal Family and all it stands for.  

Another graphic example

Like the side-by-side picture showing Kate in pantyhose next to bare-legged SJP, in Weiss’ piece she notes that our own First Lady, Michelle Obama, a confirmed pantyhose hater, greeted Kate at Buckingham Palace recently, and the accompanying photo shows Kate in pantyhose and Obama doing the “ugly American” thing in not respecting another country’s culture, tradition and protocol, in this case, by showing up bare-legged.  

It goes to show that we’ve still got a long way to go, as long as women choose a look that is less professional, less classy and less attractive.  

But with Kate, and her sister, Pippa, constantly being at the center of global attention for having the class and grace to always wear pantyhose, there is plenty of reason for optimism.