The legend of St. Mark, and the lion that represents him, is one of the defining traits of the city of Venice. The winged beast watches over the township from the famous square named after the saint, and St. Mark’s effigy can be found all over the churches, homes, and tourist shops of the Italian city.
The legend states that the evangelist once found himself caught in the midst of a storm in the Venice lagoon, and upon landing in a small island an angel appeared to him and announced he would find rest there.
For film fans, hungry for the couture and red carpets the pandemic stole from them, Venice Film Festival Jury President, Cate Blanchett arrived in very much St. Mark- style to let them know “be at ease children, your patron saint of fashion is here.”
To claim her throne, Blanchett appeared in nautical Armani, wide slacks, a navy jacket and of course a mask. The Blanchett does not toy around with Covid.
The effortless ensemble recalls one of Cate’s most iconic characters, her take on Kate the Great in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator.
“Do your worst, Ms. Blanchett!”
Like most decent people, Cate doesn’t understand what’s the big deal with wearing a mask. If she can sport one while looking unfazed in the striped Armani jumpsuit she wore to the jury photocall, how can you complain about putting one on to wear to the grocery store, where you won’t be photographed by all of Europe’s paparazzi?
Before arriving in Venice, Cate promised she would make this a “green” red carpet by wearing some of her most beloved looks from premieres past.
Allow me for a second to fantasize and get lost in the dream of visiting Cate’s closet. It must look like the one from the first Sex and the City movie, where Big proposes to Carrie, right? Yes, I will marry thee, canary yellow Valentino from the 2004 Oscars. I shall love thee forever, pink Balenciaga from 2013! Yes, I take you as my beloved husband, Galliano gown from the 1998 awards.
Yes, you too hummingbird!
Never one to disappoint, Cate’s first recycled look came from 2015, for the opening night film at Venice, she wore the same caped Esteban Cortázar she donned to the BFI Festival premiere of Carol. Notice how the mask with the winged sleeves makes her look positively superehero-esque.
Speaking of Carol, look at this pair:
I demand a Freaky Friday or a Persona where the two trade places or merge as one supreme being of fashion and rule over our humdrum lives.
Cate’s couture reconfiguration continued with Alexander McQueen. In 2016 she wore this exquisite beaded McQueen top to the BAFTAS with a feathered skirt that would’ve made the late Lee swoon. For Venice 2020, a pair of pants and a 1940s style up-do got the job done.
Venetians have a reputation for being tall-tale-tellers, some accuse them of being liars! But what they know how to do is tease and reveal just about enough to leave one wanting more. The 16th century Venetian scholar and historian Paolo Sarpi once exclaimed “I never, never tell a lie, but the truth not to everyone,” and so fashioning herself a Venetian, not by birth but by spirit, Cate didn’t stick to couture compost, and debuted two new Armani suits.
After all, a girl has to fulfill her spokeswoman contract duties.
With the festival wrapping up this weekend, we wrap up this ode to la divina Blanchett, with some lines from Emma Lazarus’ appropriately titled “A Masque of Venice,”
We shall mark
All the pageant from this ivory porch of ours,
Masques and jesters, mimes and minstrels, while we hark
To their music as they fare.
Scent their flowers
Flung from boat to boat in rainbow radiant showers
Through the laughter-ringing air.
Addio, for now.
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