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How Walt Disney’s women have grown up – Features – Films – The Independent

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

There are a number of things that, until recently, no Disney heroine could be without: a handsome prince, a tiny waist, a pearly white smile and an urgent need to be rescued.

This Friday marks 75 years since Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – the first feature-length animated film. Since the simpering Snow White, to whose beauty even birds were not immune, a lot has changed.

Disney’s latest heroine, Princess Merida, the wild-haired Scottish princess from Brave, marks something of a watershed for cartoon films. Helen Nabarro, head of animation at the National Film and Television School, said: “I think Brave is a departure for the Disney heroine. There is a genuine hardship that Merida has to get out of, and she’s a proper heroine rather than a foil for some bloke. Girls have been shown in cartoons as the weaker sex, but she sorts things out for herself. The film shows the cartoon heroine catching up with real-life women.”

Jim Korkis, a columnist for the online fanzine Mouse Planet and a Disney historian, said: “Disney animated heroines have always reflected their times. Snow White was the model of the women at that time who felt that their life would only be complete with a prince and waited for him to come along.

“After the Second World War, women had experienced the workplace and were more proactive. Cinderella did not just sit around waiting for the prince to come, she went right out to the palace to get him. With the Eighties, Disney heroines became more headstrong. Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, never needed a prince. She was independent and self-sufficient and rather than a prince rescuing her, she was the one who rescued the prince.”

To celebrate 75 years of the Disney heroine, The Independent on Sunday revisits 20 of the animator’s leading ladies.

via How Walt Disney’s women have grown up – Features – Films – The Independent.

Royal Baby: Hysteria, humor and Kate Expectations | Reuters

December 6, 2012 Leave a comment

The British royal family on Buckingham Palace ...

(Reuters) – At least Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine have fewer things to worry about now they have announced they are expecting their first child.

A day after breaking the news, the couple popularly known as “Wills and Kate” received advice from the world’s media and public on what to call the offspring, what he/she/they will look like, what to wear during pregnancy and even what the child was thinking inside the womb.

In an instant reminder of the goldfish bowl of attention the next generation of royals is destined to live in, newspapers splashed the story across their front pages on Tuesday and filled column after column with news, views and speculation.

“Extinguish all rational thought,” the Independent newspaper‘s commentator John Walsh wrote.

In his article entitled “A feelgood foetus?” he praised the royal family’s “impeccable” timing, temporarily diverting attention as it has from Britain’s battle with debt and economic stagnation and a blazing row over press regulation.

Tabloid newspapers will relish the chance to cover every twist and turn of the pregnancy and birth, and they have not held back in their opening salvoes.

The Sun, Britain’s biggest selling daily newspaper, gave a lengthy account of the announcement concluding with a bizarre photo-montage of what a royal heir might look like created by the Sun’s “graphic experts”.

via Royal Baby: Hysteria, humor and Kate Expectations | Reuters.

Does my bum look big in my catalytic converter? – Climate Change – Environment – The Independent

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Some people wear their heart on their sleeve. Now a few may take to wearing their eco-credentials too, in the form of jeans that work the same way as catalytic converters in cars.

The catalytic jeans are the brainchild of the chemist Professor Tony Ryan and the fashion designer Professor Helen Storey, who discovered that when denim is covered with tiny particles of a mineral called titanium dioxide, it reacts with air and light to break down harmful emissions in the air.

Nitrogen oxide (NO2) pollutants – produced mainly by traffic and factories – are then neutralised and simply washed away when the garment is laundered.

So in theory, jeans wearers of the future could help to clean the dirty air around them simply by walking about in their favourite pair of Wranglers or Levis.

With toxic emissions killing an estimated 1.3 million people a year worldwide, the resulting improvement in air quality could significantly reduce deaths and respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

Professor Storey, of the London College of Fashion, was the enfant terrible of fashion 20 years ago, renowned for dressing stars such as Madonna and Cher. Her designs bore shock images, including one of a foetus, and in 1995 she caused a furore by sending bare-bottomed models down the catwalk.

But in 2004 her life changed when, through her biologist sister, she “re-discovered science” and had a meeting of minds with Professor Ryan, from Sheffield University. The pair started working on a green science and fashion collaboration called Wonderland, which developed into Catalytic Clothing. Their eureka moment came when they realised that microscopic particles of titanium oxide, which is contained in glass, paving stones and sun cream, worked as a pollution-buster when sprayed on clothes.

via Does my bum look big in my catalytic converter? – Climate Change – Environment – The Independent.

Pierre Cardin – from the catwalk to the warpath – Europe – World – The Independent

November 21, 2011 1 comment

the "Grand" (tall) Luberon (84), Fra...

He may have fashioned a career out of creating beautiful things, but when it comes to spats with his neighbours the clothes designer Pierre Cardin is not afraid to turn ugly.

It is a decade since the Parisian master of haute couture bought the Provençal castle that once belonged to the Marquis de Sade, and delighted in the chateau’s views over the Luberon valley.

For some of the villagers living beneath the castle in the hillside cottages of Lacoste, however, his residence has been less pleasurable.

They have been busy telling anyone who will listen that his campaign to turn their small scattering of buildings into a “cultural St Tropez” may have opened cafés and brought in tourists, but has also turned their community into an empty, gentrified shell.

Now Cardin has taken a bitter swipe at what he sees as their ungrateful complaints.

“Personally I pay no attention to what the people say. They are just jealous,” he said in a television interview this weekend. “After all, what have they ever done for Lacoste? Absolutely nothing.”

via Pierre Cardin – from the catwalk to the warpath – Europe – World – The Independent.

Strange Random Fashion Quote:

“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it’s an open mind” – Gail Rubin Bereny

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