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March 23 2012

The Measure

What's hot… and what's not

Going up

Kitsch light-up bunnies and china dogs Ornaments, having skipped our parents generation, are back. In the age of the iPod, the Nigella app and the Kindle, how else can we fill our bookshelves?

Mondrian/Nicholson at the Courtauld Want a Celine AW12 sweater? Get your fix of the look for free, until the exhibition closes on 20 May

The iPad case as day clutch Nicked this idea from Paris fashion week audience, and we like it

Cropped trousers with Mary Jane shoes The perfect ankle exposure for March, and on-trend for next season

Oasis floral-print collection In store this week, and you will love, trust us

Going down

Asking, 'Is this decaf?'… When you asked the barista for decaf. Yes, of course it is. No one is trying to spike your latte. Chill

The reign of Brangelina The ex-sexiest couple in the world, now that we've got Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes to perv

Liv Tyler's L'Oréal advert Way to make split ends sound like severe emotional trauma, Liv

Chandelier earrings Ooooouch. Our ears need a break


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February 29 2012

What Angelina Jolie's leg and Renaissance art have in common

I can't help but wonder if Versace got the idea for the revealing dress Angelina Jolie wore to the Oscars from the 1504 Giorgione painting of the Biblical hero Judith

Angelina Jolie's right leg was the star of the Oscars, I hear, and apparently quite a subject of conversation on Twitter as well. Of course, I am above all that, but I can't help pointing out that centuries before Versace clad Jolie in her eye-catching slit dress, the Venetian Renaissance painter Giorgione had the same idea.

In about 1504, Giorgione painted the Biblical hero Judith standing over the severed head of Holofernes. In the Old Testament, Judith goes to the tent of this enemy of the Israelites, gets him drunk and chops off his head. She has been portrayed many times in art, but rarely with such striking dress sense as she shows in Giorgione's painting.

He pictures her resting her foot on the gruesome head, nuzzling her bare sole in its tangled locks – hair against skin. That's an oddly sensual touch in a religious painting. Giorgione adapted it from Donatello's bronze statue of David, whose pose his Judith imitates. This kind of visual allusion to one another was what Renaissance artists loved to do. But what really takes your breath away is Judith's exposed leg. From her bare foot it rises magnificently, revealed by a slit in her pink dress, to the thigh.

Usually Judith wore a long dress to be modest – being a Bible character and all. What Giorgione has therefore done is to turn a polite, conservative dress convention into something sexy: the long dress that ought to hide Judith's body becomes a way of revealing it. The game is quite similar to Jolie's show-off leg performance at the Oscars.

Giorgione has given a lot of thought to Judith's dress. As so often in these Renaissance paintings you have to wonder – did such a garment actually exist? Was it worn by a model? Or did he imagine it? The top of the slit is extravagantly ornamented, with beautiful gold thread creating an effect like the gothic windows of Venetian palaces. It is all a frame for Judith's leg – a leg Giorgione has painted with consummate sensuality.

I can't help wondering if Versace got the idea for that Oscar dress from Giorgione's painting. After all, its head designer must be interested in Renaissance art with a name like Donatella. Perhaps fashion, like the human body, changes less than we think.


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April 30 2011

April 02 2010

The Measure: Angelina Jolie, Prada torch, backcombing, Amy Winehouse, fake fur | Fashion

On the up: The Angelina look, Prada's torch and backcombing. Heading down: Amy Winehouse, gingham bows and porridge

Going up

The Tourist wardrobe Angelina looking gorge during filming in ladylike neutrals with "done" glossy hair

Tucker Gaby Basora's gorgeous blouses are this spring's style crush. We want the watercolour print georgette (£230, from netaporter.com) to wear with silk harem pants now and with denim shorts in summer

The Prada torch Yes, such a thing exists. And it pips Gucci's magnifying glass as the week's most ludicrously lust-worthy objet

Weekend breaks in your home town Less time in airports, more time with the room service menu. Start saving for the new Diane Von Furstenberg suites at Claridge's and the Savoy reopening in June

Backcombing Mulberry's AW10/11 show has spurred us on to new heights. Get three inches taller, while in flats: what's not to love?

Going down

Amy Winehouse Stop faffing around pretending to design clothes for Fred Perry and make some tunes

Gingham with bows As seen in the new Benetton ad. Ghastly

Saying "fake fur" According to Karl, it's a "fantasy fur". Preferably by Chanel, obv

Porridge and berries for breakfast Duh – it's boiled eggs and Marmite soldiers this weekend


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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