When motion pictures puts Russian hats on. Something borrowed, something old and something new. Wait, this is not another wedding scenario, no one’s getting married, just movies merges with Russian hat fashion. Once again I am talking about fur. This time I’m taking furry hats somewhere safe. The safest illusion is cinema. How costume designers recreated that arctic Russian spirit? Lets take a walk through the sets filming sites of Anna Karenina, Salt, Dr. Zhivago, Rushmore and etc. How did Hollywood pull off this steppe’ish look?
Angelina Jolie fits perfectly the list of actresses and actors who wore Russian hats on a big screen. In 2010 she took upon the role of a Russian sleeper spy. She looked stunning in a furry Russian hat and gray fur coat Outside the filming site Angelina rarely wears fur, but what you can or can’t do for the sake of films? She is actually thought to be fur-free, for that PETA might love her. Animal saving topic is too controversial in such case. For PETA members fur fashion, cannot be named. However, we will not get into details and animal saving policies. We’re just gazing upon the screen and trying to find the best Russian look in the old and new Hollywood.
Bill Murray is the man who knew to little. In this 1997 criminal comedy he plays a man who was terribly mistaken for a spy. “Ritchie is mistaken for a spy and must stop a plot to assassinate international leaders at a banquet.” While Angelina played the role of a real undercover spy, Bill (or his character) ended up here by mistake. He also had to try some Russians hats. By knowing to little he somehow managed to pull off this image. We’ve seen him in the weirdest costumes, appearances and outfits. From Zombie-looking-self, to Liberace. Even a nest of fur looks funny on his head.
This years Oscar winner, Cate Blanchet, reminded us that the world is round and females roles can be as powerful as males. In 2008 she tried Russian hats and one of them fitted her perfectly. It was a snow white fur. She walked these fictional streets all covered in fur and snow. Her red lips and shinny red her gave a stunning contrast. She took a walk with a young companion, who also wore a Russian hat. Besides playing in the story of Benjamin Button, one of her best roles in the Aviator also gave her a chance to rock that furry look and gained her another Oscar for the supporting role. She played a well known Hollywood actress, Katherine Hepburn. It seems that fur in the industry of motion pictures is the perfect choice.
Jason is the regular casting choice of Wes Anderson, so as Bill Murray. Anderson’s films are perfect to the detail, that is why outfits of his cast seems to be perfectly assembled. Just look at Jason in Rushmore, his role of Max Fischer, a boy with various talents, rocked that Russian look. With such look he fits the description of heroes who wore Russian hats on the set. If you want to make sure that Max Fischer is an extraordinary teenager, just look at this infinite list of Extracurricular Activities. It seems that Max is interested in every possible activity there is. As the president of “Model United Nations Russia”, he is obligated to wear a Russian fur hat.
“When Elaine gives George an $8,000 Russian ushanka (Russian ‘rat hat’), he totally rocks it”. Who’s George? He is one of the slowest and depressed characters in Seinfeld series. This goofy looking man played by Jason Alexander definitely rocks that Russian hats look. Even if this hat was lost in one of the episodes, they somehow manage to find a man who sells such head wear in Battery Park. The Lord Of Idiots, George Costanza is ussualy described as “short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man”. At least that fur hat covered his bald and slow attitude. A poor Manhattan neurotic, who is still dominated by his parents, tries to find some dignity in this big city.
In 1965 Doctor Zhivago hit the big screens. Julie Christie got the role of Lara, the secret lover of Dr. Zhivago. No wonder that in this Russian themed film, all character wore Russian hats. They all had to be prepared for the harsh times and even harsher winter. During the years, there were more Dr. Zhivago adaptations. Of course Russians knows their stories and background best, while in the Western world there might be some misrepresentations. However, Christie played her role perfectly.This talented woman sure was an inspiration for other actresses that took upon the role of Lara.
The same story just a different cast and different time. In 2002 Keira Knightley took the role of Lara in a new adaptation of Dr. Zhivago. She rock the same “Russian hats look” as Julie Christie in 1965 adaptation. Her story goes like this: “Larissa Guishar Antipova, a young woman from Moscow who has a profound effect on three men who become enamored with her”. Ten years have passed and Keira played another epic character from Russian literature, Anna Karenina. Who else could portray this tragic heroine. Once again actress is thrown to 19th century Russian background. Somehow she pulls off this eastern look. It’s not the first time she gets to play a Russian lady.
The Scarlet Empress and the Empress of Hollywood, Marlene Dietrich deserved an award for her stunning outfits. Of course in the industry of motion pictures someone else took care of her appearance. However, no-one else, but Marlene could pull off this “Russian hats” look in a royal and magical manner. German Princess Sofia is sent to marry Russian Grand Duke Peter, shortly she becomes the Empress Catherine II. This royally looking lady captured our gaze and hearts. Marlene always looked elegant in any type and model of fur. Her cold but sophisticated style had several variations. She looked stunning both in masculine suits and royal dresses. Golden Hollywood icon till today remains to be the Empress of Cinema.
You may recall the iconic image of Marilyn Monroe in a white fur coat, but have you ever seen her in Russian fur hats. This is the shot of Monroe, from her infamous “Last Sitting” portrait session with photographer Bert Stern. Why this photo shoot is so important and popular? “The photo shoot was commissioned by Vogue magazine in late June 1962, taking place over three daily sessions, just six weeks before she died.” Till this day this photo shoot remains to be her last one. Marilyn always loved luxurious fur. For Stern she posed barely naked, in this specific shot she covered herself with a fur hat and coat, but her bare shoulders are still showing. This is a rare shot of her. We might not have seen her wearing Russian hats in public, however, she had another infamous furry accessory: white fox fur muff with white satin lining. She worn it to the world premieres of “How To Marry A Millionaire,” “Some Like It Hot,” and other various events.
Another cinema goddess is Italian actress Sophia Loren. She absolutely adores fur. However, there were some contraventions in 2009 between Sofia and Brigitte Bardo. Brigitte is anti-fur and pro-PETA activist, while Sophia still prefers that luxurious look. But it’s impossible for this Italian actress to give up her passion for high fashion. In her young days this so-called Russian hats look, suited her. Till today she wears fur coats, muffs and hats. Even her “twin” Bardo couldn’t change her mind. Everyone has their fashion code so as morals.
Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy
The infamous comic duo, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Their short and silent skits reminds us of Hollywood’s Golden Era. Just like Charlie Chaplin they were the creators of classic comedy. Buffonic actors rocked the Russian hats look in The Rogue Song(1930). Stan and Laurel were billed last in the cast of 1930′s musical film. They didn’t even get a “guest star” status. Somehow they manage to gain a critical appreciation. It’s a shame that no prints of the film are known to have survived, however, these talented comedians surely created a stunning spectacle.
And last but not least, the silent cinema actress, Thelma Todd in Russian hats. In 1932 film ” Speak easily” she played the role of Eleanor Espere, who is a spoiled actress, with a plot to win over the professor ( played by Buster Keaton). This would help her take total control over the show and the money. Her acting partner, Buster Keaton is know for his Porkie Pie hat, while Thelma definitely pulled off the eastern winter look. Fur defiantly adds a little bit of arrogance to her role. But despite her heroins characteristics and evil plots, white fur hat is a luxurious head accessory.