Fashion Homework.

I got this crazy assignment from my english teacher to take Shakespeare's As You Like It and stage it AND highlight 2 major themes. SoOoOo It took me a week or two and it's finally done! I make it my goal to take any school assignment and make it translate into fashion. Like 2 weeks ago when they were giving out projects about vikings. Some people took "games vikings played" and "viking government" to study. I chose "the role of viking women", so that I could look up what they wore and attempt to make replica's.
So go. Read. Enjoy. (and I KNOW that I keep making references to images throughout the paper, I couldn't get blogger to upload them)

How I would stage Shakespeare's As You Like It.
By Justine Guy.
            As You Like It, Or What You Will.  That is the title of one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays.  It's filled with designer purses, male models, Twiggy, a chic hotel and a lazy fat guy. That's because This is MY personal spin on As You Like It.  I have staged it with who, where, and how I want it. I didn't want it set in France.  I wanted it set in New York City.  I didn't want to use just actors, I wanted to use some of the world's best models.  I think As You Like It would be a lot more fun as a production if it was set in The New York Fashion District.
      In the play "As you like it" written by William Shakespeare, one of the many themes in the story is the theme of self-expression.  Each character in "As You Like It" has a very different personality.  To showcase this in my production, I would have my play set in the modern-day Fashion District in New York City.  Fashion is the first thing I think of when I think of self-expression.  I would have each character played by a model who fit the part.  I would also want each character in clothing and makeup that didn't really portray the who the character was TRYING to be, but who they are.
      Orlando is a young man who thinks he can't do anything because he's uneducated.  His attitude is pretty whiny.  Later in the story he meets Rosalind and falls for her pretty hard.  I like this outfit because it's edgy, but the draping helps you see that he's a romantic kind of guy on the inside.  Orlando is still royalty, even if he lives in the country, so I would want his clothes to be nice, but not exactly high fashion all the time.  The outfit in the image (Burberry Prorsom S/S 2010) is exactly what I want Orlando to look like right down to the models' attitude.  He's trying be be tough, but on the inside he's a sweet guy having a hard time getting his act together.  The model I would want to play Orlando would defiantly be Danny Schwarz, with VNY ("Danny Schwarz", 2010).  He's such a nice guy, and I really think he would do a good job.  I would want Orlando to have an English accent, but very cockney because in the story we learn that he has not been educated (Shakespeare, 2004, p.4).
        Rosalind is the hero of the story.  Her father was banished and she stayed with her cousin Celia. The two cousins love each other very much and are like sisters.  I would make Rosalind's character very pretty, but partially fake.  She has to go undercover as a man for a while after she and Celia leave home with Touchstone, the court jester.  Rosalind's character would need two different outfits.  I would want Rosalind's personal style to be very fancy, bright, draping, and whimsical.  I chose a dress from Jason Wu's Fall 2010 collection for Rosalind because it fits all of those characteristics.  I feel like she tries too hard to impress Orlando, so she would definitely be a bit over-done.  I would want her to be a pretty girl, who is just overshadowed by too much make up.  I think the make up from this Valentino 2007 show( all photos are at the end of the paper) fits her perfectly.  Later in the story, she goes undercover as a man.  When she is a man, I would still want some of her personality shine through.  I would stay with the same color palette of cremes and camels.  I want Rosalind to be very conscious and very incognito as a man, because she would be worrying about someone finding out who she really was.  She would always have sunglasses and a newsboy hat on.  I would want her to be wearing skinny jeans and a trench coat, both of which she would have already had, with a man's shirt.  The coat would be a bit large so no one would see her 'womanly curves'.  Rosalind is not stupid by any means.  She is the one who arranges everyone's marriages in the end, and helps everyone be more or less happy.  I would want Coco Rocha, with Elite, to play Rosalind ("Coco Rocha", 2010). Coco Rocha was always kind of a role model for me.  I always had an amazing respect for models who respected their body and didn't do nude or semi-nude shots.  To me, that makes Coco the only person I would want to play Rosalind.  I would want Rosalind to have an American accent, but with  perfect word diction. 
        Celia is Rosalind's cousin.  To me, she is one of the only people in the story who is very true to themselves.  She isn't trying to impress anyone.  I would want Celia's outfit to be simple yet very, very elegant because she is royalty.  I chose a black dress because it fits Celia perfectly.  I want her make up to be very simple, and her hair to be natural and flowing.  I would want Celia to be played by Chanel Iman, with Ford ("Chanel Iman" 2010").  Chanel is another one of those models I always loved, who has had great longevity in the modeling world because her look is so original.  Celia's word diction would be typical American, nothing too fancy.  I wouldn't want her to be incredibly graceful like Rosalind.  I would want her be kind of like your best friend, only a little whiny at times.
     Phoebe is a shepherdess in the story, who is loved by Silvius and doesn't care for him.  She later falls in love with Ganymede, who is really Rosalind in disguise.  I want Phoebe to be a bit of a drama queen/airhead.  Think of a stereotypical stupid American cheerleader with a valley girl accent.  She's always saying "like" too much and she's always chewing gum really loud and obnoxiously.  When Silvius is talking to her I want her to be so disgusted and barely pay any attention to him.  When  Ganymede speaks to her I want her to be giving Ganymede her full attention and bat her lashes alot.  Later in the story she will marry Silvius.  The dress I have chosen for her is very dramatic and a bit over-the-top because she is so prideful.  I want her makeup to be even more overdone then Rosalind because she wants to be the center of attention.  I would also want Phoebe to by played by model Eniko Mihalik, with Marilyn ("Eniko Mihalik", 2010).
     Silvius is a shepherd who is desperately in love with Phoebe.  He is a country boy, so I would want him played by Ashton Kutcher ( a young Ashton Kutcher).  I want his look to be country, but not flat out "I am a hick!".  I want him to always be wearing light blue jeans with a plaid shirt.  I also want him never to be quite perfect.  I would want his jeans or sneakers to be muddy, and his hair to always be a bit out of place.  I would want him to be a nice country boy in the big city, who is just getting used to everything.  I would want him to have a Tennessee accent when Phoebe is not present, but I want him to try to cover it up when he speaks to her, due to the fact that he likes her and is trying to impress her.
     Adam is a very old servant of Orlando's family.  In the book, he is a very kind man who gives Orlando his hard earned money when he needs help and travels with him.  Adam is very old, and I would want someone who was very experienced.  Someone who knew the ins and outs of the industry, but who wasn't ruined by fame.  I know that Adam is a man in Shakespeare's version, but I would want the Adam in my play to be a woman.  Twiggy seemed the best qualified for the roll.  She's amazingly iconic.  She was considered the face of 1966 ("Twiggy", 2010).  She had an amazing career and has now authored several books ("Twiggy lands a book deal", 2007).  I would want Adam to have a bit of a Grandma look, but a chic grandma.  I would want Adam to have well groomed white short hair.  For her outfit, I would want a pale blue dress with a creme-colored cardigan with a flower and brown loafers.  I would want her to have a very proper word diction and a walk like a 70 year old would, but with a hint of nobleness. 
     Oliver is Orlando's brother.  The brothers completely loathe each other in the beginning of the story.  I would want Oliver to have a very dark, bad boy wardrobe with lots of leather and zippers.  I want him to be one of those characters who you see and you know right off the bat that you don't like them.  I want the way he walks and the way he carries himself to be very angry all the time.  He's not the kind of guy you want to upset.  He says that he hates his brother Orlando more then anything. Later in the story, he and his brother meet and become closer through a dangerous experience.  I think after he falls in love with Celia he starts lightening up his wardrobe and smiling more.  Because of this I want him to be very dark in the beginning of the story.  I want him to be wearing a dark Burberry coat that would act like a cape.  I would want him in black dress pants and black dress shoes. Throughout the story, I want his trench coat to be a different color each time he is on stage.  The colors would range from black to white, based on a timeframe in the story, and how his attitude is changing.  I would want Oliver to be played by model Taylor Fuchs, with VNY("Taylor Fuchs", 2010). Taylor's got this great face. He can easily do a fantastic mean face, but when he smiles it makes you feel all melty inside.  I would want him to be scowling most of the time, he's not a happy guy for much of the story.  I would want him to have a very classic refined British accent because he had good schooling.
    Touchstone is the court jester who accompanies Rosalind and Celia when they runaway, and he later falls in love with Audrey.  I would want Touchstone's character to be like one of your goofy best friends.  I would want him to have a Brooklyn accent and talk very fast (like me).  I would want his style to be nothing but boldly colored stripes: striped jeans, striped shoes, striped shirt.  I would also have him always listening to his headphones which makes him a bit absentminded.  I would want Touchstone played by model Ryan Taylor, with DNA ("Ryan Taylor 2008").  He's got this boyish face that just screams the character I want.  Touchstone marries Aubrey who is supposed to be a bit ugly.  I would defiantly want Aubrey to be pretty (she is a model after all).  I would want Kate Sommers to be Audrey.  She is a gorgeous model, and she has done lots of charity work in Kenya (Keltner, 2009, p.98).  I would want Audrey's look to be very simple.  I want her to stand out from the flashy styles of the other models.  I would want her to be wearing a white tee shirt with a comfy grey cardigan and pale skinny jeans with blue ballet flats.  I would want her attitude to be very shy, and I want her to speak in a quiet soft voice.
      Jacques is a character who doesn't fall in love and is a bit of a loser.  He doesn't progress at all in his heroic cycle.  I would want him to look a bit lazy and always depressed.  I want him to be a bit over weight and have a constant five o'clock shadow.  He would always be wearing a black or grey short sleeve T shirt and dark denim jeans.  I would want his swagger to be slow and he would sigh a lot. He would always look bored and mopey.  He's not the kind of guy you would want to hang out with. His attitude would bring you down.  I would want Baptiste Giabiconi to play Jacques ( no offense to Baptiste, he's just very good at acting different parts). 
      One of the themes I am choosing to highlight in my production would be the theme of love.  It feels like pretty much everyone falls in love with someone.  Rosalind and Orlando fall in love, Celia and Oliver fall in love, Touchstone and Audrey fall in love, etc,.  I noticed in the book there was a very large amount of love triangles.  To portray this, I have decided to use purses and briefcases.  Since the setting in the New York Fashion Industry, having a notebook, a copy of WWD, and your phone with you at all times is crucial, I want each character to carry nothing in the beginning of the story. 
     Throughout the story, as each character falls in love, they would obtain a purse.  I would want them to start out with a small clutch when the characters just meet, then a regular sized purse when they acknowledge that they are in love, then a very large bag when they are very much in love.  The bag that each character carried would resemble the person they love's personal style.  Rosalind and Orlando fall in love, so they each would need a bag representing each other.  Rosalind's bag would be covered in studs and grommets, but it would be a creamy color.  She would start out with a small clutch, then that clutch would grow into a purse, then a carry-all throughout the story.  Orlando (and all the men) would carry a lunch box sized briefcase when he first meets Rosalind, which will eventually become a very large briefcase.  The briefcase that Orlando would carry would be a creamy/beige color, with a handle wrapped in a very light blue tulle, representing Rosalind. Celia's purse would be grey, because Orlando changes so much throughout the story.  Everyone's purse/briefcase would follow this pattern.  Phoebe would be in an interesting situation though.  She is the only character who switches the person she loves.  She would carry the exact  same suitcase that Orlando would carry, until the very end of the play, when she would have one that resembles Silvius.  Touchstones suitcase would be a blueish gray with lace around it.  Audrey's would be bold blue and white stripes.  I would want each character to always have their bag with them at all times.
     As I stated earlier, I want this production to be set in The Fashion District in Manhattan.  Since each character is a model, I would want the "court" to be their apartments.  The "courtroom" would be The Wellington Hotel on 7th Ave. where Cecelia's father and his court stay.  "The Country" or "The Forest" where Celia and Rosalind run away to would be Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.  It's not as nice and as shinny as Manhattan, but it's not at all considered the Country.  As this is my production, I can't think of a better place then Bensonhurst.  It's where my dad grew up, where my mom lived in her 20's, and where I grew up.  It's a gorgeous little neighborhood with a great mix of people.  I honestly wish I could move back sometimes.  Everything in the story that would happen in "The Forest" would happen in Bensonhurst.
    Since all of the characters double as models, I would want the girls to be signed with IMG Model Management, and the boys to be signed with DNA Model Management.  The plus-sized characters would be signed with Wilhemina Model Management.
    I think it's very hard to capture the spirit of New York with props and fake buildings, so I would want this production filmed in the city and turned into a film. 
     I realize also that there are many monologues in the story.  I want all of them sung.  If Orlando has a monologue, I want him to rap.  If Celia or Rosalind have a monologue, I want them sung very classically.  If Jacques has a monologue, I would want him not to sing it.  He's such a downbeat person.  That way you can see his personality better.  I would want Touchstone to try to rap his, but it would sound awkward.
     Because they are models, some of Celia and Rosalind's conversations would happen while they were in the middle of different photo shoots.  In the very beginning of the play, when Orlando and Oliver argue, I would also want them to be doing a photo shoot.  The same goes for Phoebe and Silvius's conversations.
     I want the lighting to be very bright the entire play.  No spotlights, just very well lit.  When it is night, I want the lights to be from street lamps only. 
     Who would of thought that a bunch of models, some cool coats and Bensonhurst could be turned into As You Like It? I really loved writing this because it was incredibly creative and I got allot out of it. I still think that As You Like It would be a lot more fun as a production if it was set in The New York Fashion District, and after reading this, I hope you would too. 

You all know I don't like posts without pics...
Enjoy the weather.


Lady Peach said...

I nominated you for a blog award :) Check it out on my blog!

Rochelle said...

I remember this assignment! I really love the twist that you put on it. It's an awesome paper!

MarchMusings said...

I've added you as a friend on Independent Fashion Bloggers.

London Teenage Fashionista said...

I have nominated you for a blog award!!!!!!☺

Check it out @