By Elana Katz
Unable to finalize a Halloween costume for this year, I took my search to the Internet. All I could find were DIYs for Game Of Thrones’ Daenerys or Miley Cyrus at the VMAs.
Disheartened and exhausted, I finally stumbled upon a tenable option: Margot Tenenbaum from Wes Anderson’s 2001 dramedy, The Royal Tenenbaums. If you’ve seen The Royal Tenenbaums or any of Anderson’s films, you know that they are filled with aesthetically pleasing content. This extends to set, props and, most importantly, costumes. After all, where would Sam Shakusy from 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom be without his raccoon cap?
Margot Tenenbaum’s distinct style is no exception. Known for her idiosyncratic demeanor and chic ensembles, Margot is one of Anderson’s best creations.
For cinephiles and fashionistas alike, her look is most important. It consists of heavy eye make-up, a sleek straight bob parted on the side with a red hair clip, a striped tennis dress, an oversized fur coat, a Birkin bag and penny loafers. Margot embodies “Andersonian chic.”
During my recent Anderson binge, I discovered Editor-in-Chief of RogerEbert.com and New York Magazine television critic Matt Zoller Seitz’s latest book, The Wes Anderson Collection, which was released on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013.
Margot Tenenbaum and Sam Shakusy are just two of the many beloved Anderson characters explored in the book. This book is well within Seitz’s domain as a film historian and writer, as well as long time friend of Anderson. Seitz deems Anderson “one of the most influential voices from the past two decades of American cinema.”
This book is the first comprehensive filmography of Wes Anderson. It includes facts about Anderson’s life as well as his career, matching the director’s visual mastery in book form. Along with the release of the book came an interactive website that will make any Anderson fan’s heart melt.
The Wes Anderson Collection boasts 336 pages of illustrations, production stills, story- boards and tidbits from the most prominent Anderson films, including Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom.
The book also contains a series of chronological interviews between Seitz and Anderson, which reveal Seitz’s affinity for film history and Anderson’s filmmaking style when it comes to writing, producing and directing. The academic marriage between Seitz and Anderson renders the book a true delight.
Although it was unplanned, prominent American author of the 1988 novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh Michael Chabon was chosen to write the introduction for The Wes Anderson Collection. In an interview with Ross Scarano for Complex.com, Seitz offered an explanation for how Chabon’s introduction came to be.
“I made a list of filmmakers that included Martin Scorsese, James Ivory, Mike Nichols and others,” explained Seitz. He then forwarded them to Anderson and asked if a non-filmmaker could write the introduction.
“And so I thought of Michael Chabon. And it turns out not only is he a big Wes Anderson fan but he sort of knows Wes. They’re admirers of each other’s work,” explained Seitz. Who wouldn’t like to see Anderson and Chabon team up for a film adaption of The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay?
Over the past few weeks, the book has received high praise from literary and film critics. Eric Thurm of The Onion’s A.V. Club gave the book an “A” for its “rich insight into the work of a distinctive filmmaker.”
Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine states, “The Wes Anderson Collection elaborates on America’s most distinctive and misunderstood contemporary film- maker while preserving a sense of mystery about him that reflects an understanding of the existential mystery of everyone, which is yet another Anderson theme.”
Few have tried to crack the code that is Wes Anderson, but Matt Zoller Seitz comes close with The Wes Anderson Collection. Whether you decide to don a red beanie à la Steve Zissou this Halloween or give The Wes Anderson Collection a home on your coffee table, I say, “Yes, Wes!”