Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Style of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Santa Barbara, like many Southern California beach cities, offers a sunny climate and casual and comfortable atmosphere that rubs off on the styles and attitudes of residents and visitors. Although I’m a new Manhattanite, who loves New York City, I’m also an Angeleno at heart and I love the vastly different styles of both areas. So when Muse invited me to go to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to cover the fashion side of the event, I welcomed the change of style and pace.

I kicked off my weekend in Santa Barbara by watching the documentary Diane Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. The film, which was released with a book of the same title, is based on the life of famous fashion editor Diane Vreeland. It was an excellent way to start my trip covering the fashion and culture of Santa Barbara. Although Vreeland was a European American who worked in New York, she was a big advocate of the bikini and blue jeans so I think she would’ve appreciated how the women attending the festival incorporated the city’s casual beachy style into their wardrobes.

Female attendees and honorees of the festival found simple but clever ways to accessorize their casual apparel for the Virtuosos and Vanguards award ceremonies. Whether they were wearing an evening top with jeans, a t-shirt dress with leggings, or basic cocktail dresses, audience members dressed up their outfits with heels, blazers, and jewelry. Obviously the honored actresses Bérénice Bejo, Rooney Mara, and Shailene Woodley stood out with their red carpet outfits (Melissa McCarthy was also honored but sadly could not attend). At the Virtuosos Award ceremony, Rooney Mara looked chic in am emerald green Louis Vuitton dress. Although the stiff construction of the dress paired well with her sleek pulled-back jet black hair and porcelain-like skin, Mara’s dress unfortunately also matched her energy. She was incredibly uncomfortable and awkward during the whole ceremony! Shailene Woodley, who also opted for stiffer material, wore a navy leather 3.1 Phillip Lim dress. Woodley, a Southern California native, best exemplified the casual chic west coast aesthetic—she
dressed down and softened her edgy leather dress with a basic black blazer and by wearing her her flowy, long, and slightly highlighted brown hair down. The following night was the Vanguard Awards presentation, sponsored by Ugg Australia. I learned that Ugg is actually a Santa Barbara based company, which isn’t that shocking since their footwear epitomizes the comfortable, laidback attitude of the city. At the event, actress Bérénice Bejo surprised me by showing up in a white Dolce & Gabbana pantsuit. At first, I was really disappointed in her outfit choice; it was something only Diane Keaton could truly pull off. It did however pair well with her The Artist costar Jean Dujardin’s black suit. Throughout the ceremony Bejo proved to be such a well-spoken, poised, and charming woman that, by the end of the evening, I was less bothered by her outfit and insanely impressed by her radiating beauty and confidence. She proved the often ignored but incredibly important fashion point that the woman makes the clothes and that the clothes don’t make her.

Overall, the 27th Santa Barbara International Film Festival was a fun, sunny, and chill affair where attendees were able to enjoy great films while dressed in comfortable and cute apparel.


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