An Ode to La Divina Cate’s Couture in Venezia

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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Fashion Moments We Hope to See at Venice

Cate Blanchett will start her jury president duties at the Venice International Film Festival this Wednesday September 2. The festival will be the first major international film event since the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled all events around the world. Fashion lovers  are cautiously excited since there will be some sort of red carpet.

Blanchett has indicated in an interview with WWD magazine that she plans to exclusively re-wear looks from her closet throughout the festival. Yes, no new couture for Cate this year. It fits a socially distant event to be more responsible and promote sustainability. So we applaud the decision and suggest six looks we hope to see on Cate in the next 10 days.

Arriving at this list was arbitrary. Balnchett has wowed so many times that it’s futile to try to come with any rhyme or reason for my choices. It’s just a few that I love. There is one I did not choose whilst being my favorite because I’d like it to remain exclusive to that moment, the Carol premiere at Cannes. 

Where / When : The Oscars, February 2011

Designer: Givenchy 

Divisive at the time but now universally acknowledged as one of Cate’s most audacious red carpet moments. Everything about it is unusual. The pale lavender color spiked with yellow, the intricate embroidery, the pleats and the architectural breast piece. So avant garde, so Cate!

Where / When: SK-II event in Shanghai, September 2010

Designer: Christian Lacroix 

This is more obscure yet remains one of my faves ever. A glowing burgundy gown embellished with shimmering gold sequins. We have previously waxed poetic about it on the pod.

Where / When: The Oscars, February 2007

Designer: Armani

She wore this column Armani couture silver sheath the year she was nominated for Notes on Scandal. That was also the year she witnessed a moment we love from the telecast. You can see her front row clapping and whooping when The Aviator director, Martin Scorsese won his first Oscar after many nominations and decades of a wonderful career. 

Where / When: Cannes Opening Night and premiere of Robin Hood, May 2011

Designer: Alexander McQueen 

What a way to pay tribute to the recently deceased McQueen at the time. Cate wore this gorgeous black and white gown with the striking eagle print just 3 months after McQueen had passed.

Where / When: The Good German, LA premiere, December 2006

Designer: Versace 

This cream and gold peekaboo dress is singular but rarely mentioned in any fashion retrospectives about Cate. Bring it back, let the people enjoy.

Where / When : The Oscars, February 2005

Designer : Valentino 

Go big and re-wear something from one of your biggest career moments. That would be the bespoke Valentino that was specially designed for her to collect her first Academy Award. Cate and Valentino wanted to create a unique fashion moment, so he dressed no one else that year at the Oscars. This Yellow taffeta with the mauve sash was certainly a big wow and my favorite Oscar fashion from Cate. 

I haven’t chosen anything from last year’s Venice or from her stint as jury president in Cannes 2018 because I wanted to go further back in time. However let us know in the comments what you want to see repeated from those festivals?

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