My girlfriend, Joan, sent me a text one night last week. She said, “OMG. Just finished watching The Bodyguard for the 1000 time. I’m crying my eyes out. See you tomorrow. To friendship, to us! Cuz…I will always love youuuuuuu.” She followed up with microphone and music page emojis.
It got me thinking about that movie. What a classic chick flick. And the music, amazing! It had it all: Whitney, Kevin, glamour, intrigue, romance but most importantly, the most memorable scene with a zebra print scarf that I’ve ever witnessed in a movie.
Let me refresh your memory: It’s the final scene on the tarmac. Everyone is out of imminent danger. Whitney is heading out to her next gig in a helicopter or was it a small plane? It must have been a small plane. The propellors were making it super windy. Kevin has his tan trench coat on and he’s wearing the earpiece that he’s had on nearly all of the two hours he’s been on screen. He’s all official and she’s back to being all over the place. The music swells. She comes out of the plane and down the stairs and her zebra print scarf loosely wrapped around her whole head starts billowing fiercely in the propeller-induced wind. It’s SO SEXY!
Wait, wait, wait. I’ll stop right there. I just pulled out a story I wrote twenty-five years ago, the same year this film was being considered for the Oscars in various categories including best original song. I wrote it in a weekend writing class at UC Santa Cruz. On day two of the workshop, I had to read my story to the rest of the class. This was 1993 long before my first book was published or the idea even conceived. The teacher and I ended up in a campus restroom at the same time during a break and she took me aside. “Brenda, you have talent. You must keep writing.” Her name was Mel Walsh and I’m forever grateful for her encouragement.
She liked this story so much so in light of Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, I will share with you why I think there should be a category in the Oscar’s for Best Accessory.
So, put yourself back in 1993 in the week prior to Academy Awards night. And I’ll take it from there.
The Academy Awards will be announced March 29th. Once again, despite all my campaigning, there is still no award for Best Accessory. Come on! There are awards for best makeup, best caterer, best comma in a screenplay…where’s that category for accessories?
Don’t try to appease me with the Best Costume category. That’s about cavemen outfits or nineteenth-century garden dresses or leather flaps for Mohicans. I demand a category for the true star of a film, that accessory that says it all. Like Mercedes Ruehl, winner of best supporting actress last year for her role in The Fisher King. I close my eyes and I can still see those big, shiny gold hoop earrings she wore.
We’ve needed this category for a long time. Consider the great accessories from movies past: Grace Kelly’s chiffon scarf in To Catch a Thief, Marilyn Monroe’s long, black sparkly gloves in The Seven Year Itch, Audrey Hepburn’s black oversized sunglasses in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. They’re standouts!
I bet the French award accessories in movies.They study accessories in grammar school. They teach basic urban survival skills from birth: how to have three pieces of clothing, five pieces of jewelry and make a different outfit for every day of the year. They can take an Hermes scarf and turn it into a halter top, a sarong skirt, or an arm sling. Tres chic!
I bet the French would approve of my choice for this year’s Best Accessory. Here it is on Oscar night: All eyes are on Billy Crystal who says, “And now to present the Oscar for this year’s Best Accessory, please welcome Sharon Stone from last year’s thriller, Basic Instinct, and Jeremy Irons whose latest movie Damage is hotter than mustard on a Polish dog.”
Sharon and Jeremy appear hand in hand and descend a golden spiral staircase to the podium. Jeremy looks at the cue cards and reads, “Well, Sharon, that was some belt you wore in Instinct…the scene at the beach house? That buckle was in the shape of, what…fish?”
“Alligators, Jer,” she purrs. “B…I…G alligators…on a big alligator strap.” She leans toward him. Her chin tilts up and she snaps her teeth together twice, real fast. He winches.
She continues, “This accessory isn’t too shabby either.” She strokes his silk paisley scarf from the nape of his neck, down the front of his tux and fusses with the black fringe dangling at the end.
Jeremy says, “Would you like to read this year’s nominees?”
Sharon reads them one by one. Then he hands her the envelope and asks her if she’d like to read the winner.
She slips her clear, polished fingernails under the gummed red sticker, flips it open, and smooths out the envelope against the lucite podium. She takes a short breath and says, “Oh my gosh, it’s the black and white zebra print scarf worn by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard!”
Whitney Houston’s voice comes over the speakers singing the chorus of the movie’s hit song. “And eye-eye-eye will all-wayzzz love you…oo…oo…00. Yes, I will always love you.”
Alma Thoren*, the Accessories Director for Bodyguard pops out of the audience. She’s in a short red cocktail dress with seven strands of pearls around her neck. While she scrunches past everyone in her row to get to the Oscar, the cameras go to the big screen on stage and show a clip from the movie.
It’s near the end where Miss Houston’s character-a young, headstrong superstar-demands her pilot stop her plane. The door swings open. She’s down the metal steps. There’s Keven Costner as her bodyguard waiting on the airstrip. She races to Kevin in her men’s drapey black trousers and crisp white shirt. Her black gabardine trench coat flaps in the propellor wind. Covering her head is the winning accessory: the large square zebra print silk scarf.
The camera moves in close and follows Whitney as Keven twirls her around in his arms. While she’s hugging and kissing him for a million years we see the scarf in great close-ups, from every angle, as the camera spins over the tops of their heads.
Oh, to have a scarf like that.
I try to imagine kissing Kevin Costner without that scarf on. It just doesn’t work.
*Alma Thoren, the costume designer which I made up is a combination of my mother’s first name and her father’s first name. Just had to bring in the relatives!
Would you agree that accessories deserve their own category? Do you have any nominations for this year’s films?
Just a little note, you can use the Oscar Night for your personal fashion undercover work. Check out this past post, What Can the Oscars Teach Us and see how.
So my friends, are you using scarves for impact, pleasure, sensuality, exclamation points, delight, enticement? Do share your experience with scarves and if they involve a little romance, we can all take it!
Enjoy the Oscars!