HTSI editor’s letter: the mystery of Cate Blanchett... and the magic of the moustache
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Style news every morning.
It’s been 24 years since Cate Blanchett first rose to international recognition as the ethereal Virgin Queen in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth. In one of her earliest film roles, Blanchett’s transformation from unfettered princess to embittered monarch was bewitching, a feat of metamorphosis that we have since seen her perform in countless roles. Throughout her career she has bounded from evil stepmother to faerie queen, and from ballsy businesswoman to simpering ingénue. I’ve always admired Blanchett for her enthusiasm for taking the unexpected route – and the fact she doesn’t seem to care how “likeable” the role is. As Lydia Tár in Todd Field’s latest production, she plays a conductor at the zenith of a luminous career whose reputation is quickly unspooling. Louis Wise met Blanchett as she limbers up for a season of promotion to discuss the much-anticipated Oscar hopeful, family life and her new relationship with Louis Vuitton.
Tár, and in many ways Blanchett, represents traditional Hollywood: the film is an indie art-house number that is opening in cinemas, not on a streamer, and Blanchett has yet to subscribe to social media in order to share the minutiae of her life. She keeps her private life completely private and is one of the few people left in showbiz, or so it seems, who hasn’t launched a namesake brand of “wellness”. In a world in which true silver-screen stars are now a rare species, Blanchett is still one of the stalwarts. She’s a cool combination of mystery and mischief, but I think Louis gets the true measure of her.
Another cool combination of mystery and mischief is Charlotte Rampling, who discusses her new career as a singer in this week’s Double Act with her collaborator, the composer Léonard Lasry. Actually, she denies being a singer at all, preferring to describe herself as a “spoken-word” artist who has lent her vocals to a new album. And what vocals they are. As anyone who has thrilled to the gravelly “lived-in” intonation Rampling brought to such films as 45 Years or The Night Porter will know, hers is not a voice to be messed with. Harriet Quick meets up with the duo in Paris and gets an early preview of their unusual, magnificent recording.
Just as the entertainment world has changed immeasurably in the past decade, so too has the fashion industry been transformed by social media. Instagram and TikTok have revolutionised the way brands communicate with clients, but while both platforms have made the business more accessible and global, they have also contributed to our voracious consumer appetites. Despite this breakneck pace, it’s good to see brands still thinking about growth with some degree of measure. Last month, Bottega Veneta launched a Certificate of Craft, a warranty that will come with purchases and offer a lifetime’s guarantee of in-house service. It’s also interesting to read about the new collection from Balenciaga, revealed in this issue, offering classic clothes and accessories that will sit between its prêt-à-porter and couture lines. The brand’s artistic director Demna talks about his motivation: the line is aimed squarely at the higher end of the market and will come with the accompanying price tag. But the fact that Demna is talking about creating things designed to be cherished and repaired makes for a refreshing narrative in what can seem a throwaway culture.
From the couture room to the kitchen: I’m intrigued by Taschen’s latest compendium about the egg. The first in a series of books about a single ingredient, The Gourmand’s Egg is a compilation of recipes, images and observations that places it at the very centre of our lives. It takes in Jeeves and Wooster, breakfast television, Ghostbusters and Brancusi and, as Ajesh Patalay discovers, makes for highly entertaining reading. And I’m happy to share with you our study of the moustache, an adornment that appears to be growing ever more fashionable. Simon Chilvers has written all about it, as well as offering his mother’s unkindly verdict. I would argue she’s wrong – I find a moustache strangely attractive. Either way, they’re wildly divisive. Send us your verdict via the piece online, or better still send us a picture…
For the best of HTSI straight into your inbox, sign up to our newsletter at ft.com/newsletters