EST. 2009

September 24, 2014

That Voyage dans la Lune

ON THIS MONTH, 112 YEARS AGO, what is considered to be the world's first science fiction film was released in Paris. Le voyage dans la lune, French for "Trip to the Moon" was a silent film that ran 16 minutes long, costing 10,000 francs and taking three months to complete. Created by Georges Méliès, who wrote, produced, directed, starred in, designed, publicized and even worked on building the set for the film, Le Voyage dans la Lune is regarded as one of history's most influential films, not only for generating its iconic moon image but ultimately for exploring the capabilities of the film medium.

Anyone who considers themselves a fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, The Matrix, or any science fiction film at that, has Méliès to thank for pioneering the genre. Though Le Voyage is fundamentally more fantastic than scientific, the film was one of the first to incorporate themes of scientific ambition and exploration. Imagery, scientific elements and alien life forms, not to mention scantily-clad females, are elements in Méliès's film that can be found across multitudes of sci-fi films that have been released since. Bringing these elements to life was a combination of set design, costume and special effects, particularly the "stop trick" or substitution splicing that utilized editing to make film elements transform or disappear. Le Voyage was one of the first films in history to employ such techniques.

Poof! With a whack of an umbrella and a puff of smoke did a moon-inhabiting Selenite disappear. Just like its magically vanishing creatures, Le Voyage dans la Lune itself has undergone its own disappearing act, embarking on a century-long adventure of piracy, oblivion, rediscovery and restoration. Proving a blockbuster after its release, the film was pirated so rampantly in France and the United States that Méliès opened an American branch of his company to combat the illegal distribution. Between 1917 and 1923, the film's reel, along with other Méliès films, was destroyed both by the French military and Méliès himself, in an act of fury over the demolishing of the Théâtre Robert-Houdin, and Pathé's takeover of his company.

In 1993 however, 91 years after Le Voyage's first release, a copy of its hand-colored reel was discovered in Barcelona and donated anonymously to the Filmoteca de Catalunya. Though the film was in very poor condition, the discovery led to a restoration of the cinematic gem, completed in 2011 by Lobster Films, the Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema, and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage.

With music by Air's Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, the restored Le Voyage dans la lune Premiered on May 11 at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Feeling much more like a music video than a science fiction movie, the film offers magic onscreen and off, demonstrating that wonderful advancements and discoveries are only ever coming our way.

Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1902. Directed by Georges Méliès. Film excerpts from Fondation Gan pour le Cinéma

September 18, 2014

That Reboot

RADDER AND BADDER THAN EVER, Flutterby toughens up for cooler nights to come, while maintaining its inherent poise on a winged heel. Metamorphosing for the first time into an ankle boot, the shoe balances elegance with a futuristic vibe, as reflected by Alberto Guardiani's Fall-Winter 2014-2015 collection.

The season takes inspiration from the space missions of Eileen Collins, a retired NASA astronaut and United States Air Force colonel who pioneered space shuttle piloting for all womankind. Fall-Winter 2014-2015 presents a "lunar" elegance of sharp, modern shapes and industrial iridescence, made for "a decisive and energetic woman, a globetrotter who ventures beyond the limits of planet Earth."

Platinum-hued python, ombré patent and dot-textured laminated calfskin evoke the sleek hardware of magnificently-engineered spacecraft, while also alluding to the galaxies they set off to explore. Flutterby is no exception to the theme, incorporating galactical touches into its original pump, sandal, and now boot versions.

The ankle boot above is, to me, the most stellar of the set. Not only is it striking in its shape and finish, but it also hallmarks the innovation of an idea, without losing the idea's essence. From its beginnings as a delicate red pump, to its current incarnation as a tough silver boot, the Flutterby could not be any more perfect as a symbol of metamorphosis and transformation.

Having been a part of this experience still leaves me over the moon.

Flutterby Ankle Boot by Alberto Guardiani. Shop at
Recap the Flutterby story on

September 9, 2014

That Starlight Starbright

SET AGAINST A GLOWING SKY AND A DAZZLING PANORAMA of Barcelona city lights, creative courses ushered in the nightfall. It was around 9pm on a Saturday and we appreciated the drop in temperature on the Collserolla hills, where the Fabra Observatory hosts Sopars amb Estrelles through the summer months.

The dinners begin on the terrace, offering astronomy-inspired gastronomy through a selection of degustation menus. What follows is a tour of the observatory, inaugurated in 1904, and ever since been home to the 1904 Mailhat telescope: the oldest and largest telescope still in use in Europe. With clear skies, we had a chance to peer through the 1904 Mailhat and observe the distant heavens. We did not look at any stars but we did see Jupiter, aglow and afloat in pitch-black infinity.

It was a quick, wonderful, spectacular blur, trying to make out surface details and then being conscious not to keep everyone else waiting their turn. Unlike celestial bodies, we earthlings share a much smaller space, with a much larger group of others to share with. We are never really without company. So while it is at once empowering and belittling to see something that is millions of miles away, it is ultimately comforting to recognize that great distances exist, and that a void exists, but that neither of them in fact exist among us unless we create them.

Looking down at our screens so much nowadays, it may be a good idea to look up sometimes and observe something inspiring. "Astronomy," as it is argued in book seven of Plato's The Republic, "compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another." Yeah that, plus a good dinner. We are still earthlings after all.

Sopars amb Estrelles, Barcelona Photos by Lady San Pedro and Jaime Sese.


LadyLikes is a culture blog by Lady San Pedro, a design and communications professional based in Barcelona. Text and images on this site are property of the author or of respective proprietors noted at the end of each post.

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