I’ve always had a thing for movie fashion.
The other day, I watched The Year of Living Dangerously for the first time and was immediately drawn to Sigourney Weaver’s wardrobe. The actress plays a young British diplomat stationed in Jakarta who falls in love with an Australian journalist, played by then-gorgeous Mel Gibson. The film itself is wonderful to watch—it even features Bembol Roco and Kuh Ledesma in supporting roles. But half the time, I found myself searching for Sigourney—and anticipating what she was going to wear next.
It’s not that her clothes were anything extraordinary. In the movie, Sigourney was dressed mostly in the relaxed, utilitarian daywear many Europeans favor when in tropical countries. She wore a cream short-sleeved shirtdress with an orange bead necklace in one scene and a cobalt polo that ties at the waist with a matching calf-length skirt and a straw hat in another. You got a little more glamor from her character whenever she attended a party: one night, a sleek strapless gown; the next, a plaid sweetheart dress. These were pieces you might find in your own closet—but they exuded just the right amount of sophistication to make you emulate the woman wearing them. MORE >>
A few months ago, I conjectured via Facebook status message:
“Why are girls considered maarte if they like to dress up? Isn't dressing just another skill you can excel at like cooking or singing or dancing?”
After around 20 girls (and a few guys) had pressed the cathartic “like” button under my status, my ever hawk-eyed editor commented, “There’s an article in that.”
And here we are.
Take a girl in vertiginous heels, a complexly tailored top, or this year’s ubiquitous maxi skirt, and you’re likely to hear her labelled “high maintenance.”
In Filipino, we use the same term to describe prima donnas and drama queens--maarte. It’s a faceted word, seasoned by 21 flavors of fussy, haughty, and conceited, with a sprinkle of pretentious. Point is, it’s almost always affixed to portrayals of fashionista types, as in: “She’s dressed up every day--maarte kasi,” or “She’s used to wearing heels--alam mo naman, maarte.” MORE >>