Bonnie and Clyde, the Musical

Manolo says, two years ago, the Manolo did the little comparison of the real outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde, with the fake movie star outlaws, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, in which the Manolo came to the conclusion that the real Bonnie and Clyde were more stylish and elegant than the movie stars, using photos such as they for the examples….

Bonnie Parker and Faye Dunaway

Allow the Manolo to stipulate that you would have to be as tiny as Bonnie to pull off that fascinating blouse with the faux cropped-jacket detailing. It is far more original and impressive than anything cooked up by the talented Theadora Van Runkle, who was nominated for the Oscar for Best Costume Design for the movie.

These photos are also striking because the take us beyond the differences in clothing and physical beauty, (Faye Dunaway is indisputably beautiful, and dressed by the famous professional, and yet Bonnie outshines her) into the realm of attitude and posture and pose.

The pose is superficially the same, but while Bonnie is all sinuous s-curves (hips, bosom, arms, legs), Dunaway is angular and erect. Faye leans away from us, Bonnie leans in. Dunaway is imperious and haughty; Bonnie frank, direct, and exceedingly dangerous.

It is one of the most fascinating feminine comparisons the Manolo has ever seen.

And now, today, in the New York Times there is the not so favorable review of the new Broadway musical version of the Bonnie and Clyde, accompanied with these photos..

Bonnie and Clyde the Musical

Bonnie and Clyde, the Musical

That dress! The Manolo loves it all over again and gives special accolades to the costume designer, Tobin Ost, for including this striking example of the pre-war American design.

Unfortunately, as the NY Times reviewer notes, even with the right outfits, it is not the clothes that makes the scrappy, outlaw woman…

Ms. Osnes is a lovely young woman of fashion-model proportions and an instinctive, accessible elegance that reads Ingénue. (She was perfect as the romantic lead in the current revival of “Anything Goes.”)

I don’t think ingénue was what Bonnie Parker was about. Ms. Osnes brings to mind a Bennington girl slumming with rough trade on her semester off.

And this was also the biggest problem with Faye Dunaway, that she was essentially unconvincing as the Depression-Era, Texas outlaw. But, then again, this is the problem with most modern actors, that they lack the breadth of life experience to convincingly portray the historic figures. (For the example, generally likeable, pretty boy actors of moderate shallowness should not be allowed to play Achilles.)

Likewise, the Manolo has the difficult time even imagining the actress who could do credible justice to the Bonnie Parker. Perhaps the young Holly Hunter?

And now, as the special bonus, here is the Tobin Ost talking about some of the costumes for the Bonnie and Clyde musical…


Manolo the Columnist: Cate the Great from Sorel

Manolo says, here is the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo,

For Christmas, I’d like to buy my little sister, who’s a first year student at a university in the upper Midwest, a new pair of winter boots. Can you recommend something warm and stylish that won’t break my bank?


Manolo says, each year when the weather turns chilly, the Mediterranean Manolo begins to look for the handsome fur coat. Sadly, the two most readily available styles for the men are best described as the “Yukon Prospector” and the “Euro-Pimp Ski Trash”, neither of which suits nor excites the Manolo.

And thus you now understand why the Manolo prefers to live in the place where the temperatures rarely drop below the 60 degrees of Fahrenheit, because he is allergic to the way Gore-tex looks.

But there are many other peoples who love the frosty mornings, when the skin on their faces freezes to zippers of their puffy, down-filled plastic coats. Still, winter is not without its pleasures, chiefly among which are the joys of wearing furry boots while imagining that you are Julie Christie waiting for Dr. Omar Zhivago to arrive at your secret winter dacha.

Here is the Cate the Great from the Sorel. Not exactly Dr. Zhivago-ish, but still cute, fun, and extremely practical for dealing with the frigid Midwestern winters.

Cate the Great from Sorel