Mischa Barton has been famous for so long it’s quite a surprise that she’s only 26. She was starring on stage aged 8 and on screen by 11. And ever since winning her role as a bronzed beach babe in the TV teen drama The OC a decade ago, she’s been an almost permanent fixture in the glossy and the gossipy magazines.
We are meeting in Mischa’s Place, her boutique in Spitalfields, East London, which opened in August and is easily spotted because of the paparazzi outside. Inside there are rails of Barton’s own range of boho-glam clothes, handbags and make-up as well as the iPhone covers she designed for Uunique London. At their launch last month she posed with a £189,000 phone cover made from rose gold, pink and white diamonds and handmade Italian leather. Her own designs are a more affordable £34.99 and feature hippyish appliqué florals or a cartoon avatar of Barton herself, all swirly hair and pout.
In the flesh, Barton is just as Bambi-eyed and swishy-haired, but she’s also slightly haunted-looking in the manner of Kristen Stewart.
She teeters out of her taxi in battered leather jacket, skinny jeans and towering diamanté Jimmy Choos and takes me on a guided tour of the shop, proudly showing off the items that she designed herself. “I tend to be quite opinionated about what I do and don’t like. It’s important for me that girls actually want to wear it and enjoy it,” she says earnestly. “I get a kick out of that, I really do.”
Published at 12:01AM, January 5 2013
Writer/Director of Ben Banks, Bryce Clark, was kind enough to send through a screener of the movie ahead of its home video release due sometime over the coming months. The movie stars Ben Banks (as Ben Banks) and essentially explores a few odd scenarios that end up re-igniting a sense of ambition in this stoner guy who had spent many years coasting along. Mischa plays Amy, a coffee shop employee with a sordid past.
Ben Banks has some great qualities and some not so great qualities. If you’re used to general Hollywood movies, then like me, you’ll probably find the movie a little disconnected. There are a few storylines and several characters going on that don’t really merge together. There is also a religious undertone to the film which is a bit of a head scratcher. Having said that, in some ways it works because the movie is being told through the eyes of Ben Banks so we’re supposed to experience his life the way he’s living through it.
Moving on to the highlight of the movie, which, no surprises, is Mischa’s chemistry with Ben Banks. I did see one review that called them “uncomfortable” which I guess is true, but it’s precisely that awkwardness that makes their on screen relationship all the more charming. Their scenes together are warm and endearing. And Mischa as an actress has always had that girl-next-door vibe about her, which works a treat especially in the context of this movie as you see why Ben Banks would be protective of her despite the revelations of her past. Plus, there are a few cute little details like Amy writing Ben’s name on his coffee cup accompanied by a little smiley face.
The other highlight of the movie is how beautifully it’s shot. I don’t know anything about technical film-making jargon, but there is something in the colour saturation and the sharpness of the image that is stunning. Some of the shots are truly breathtaking, especially the outdoor work. If this weren’t a movie, it could easily have been a tourist commercial for Utah.
One of the other highlights of the movie is seeing Melora Hardin pop up – who you might know from The Office. Her presence gives a little extra kick of life into the movie and it would have been great if she had a few extra scenes.
Movies work best when you have your lead actors with all the other supporting actors and their scenes working to service and enhance the leads. In this instance, I found myself struggling to understand if the movie was an indie rom-com, a stoner comedy or a small town conspiracy theory expose because I wasn’t sure who the leads were. It then becomes apparent that there is only one lead – Ben Banks – so it makes you realize that Amy is also just a supporting character. That, however, leads me to question the ‘why?’ of it all. Why Ben Banks? A song has a chorus to hook you into listening, a character needs to hook you too and I don’t know that a set of unusual circumstances is catchy enough. I think Ben the regular guy colliding with Amy the not-so-regular girl is a much more effective hook – the story of them, not just the story of him – but that could just be my Mischa bias showing. I’m not saying we don’t get the story of them in the movie, I think it just would have benefited from re-focusing the tone to Ben and Amy as equal leads so that she’s involved with the stoner friends and the small town conspiracy too.
I’m sure you guys will enjoy Amy – she’s a great character with a lot of heart, so for that alone, I hope you’re able to check out Ben Banks when it lands on DVD or VOD in the near future.
If you’ve already seen the movie, let me know what you think by hitting the comments.
She’s been a permanent fixture on the most coveted FROW’s around the globe for as long as we can remember so it comes as no surprise that 26-year-old Mischa has made the move from style spectator to fashion designer with ease.
Following on from her hugely successful handbag line, the actress has now expanded her design endeavours to include clothing and accessories and last year, opened her first boutique Mischa Barton in uber hip Spitalfields in London’s east end. Here we talk to Mischa about her brand, why she’s decided to embark on a career in fashion and why it’s important to always be in control…
You’ve lived in London, LA, New York (and more recently Dublin!). What city has played the biggest part in the evolution of your own personal style? Can you pinpoint it to one city, or do you think they’ve all had a part to play?
I did most of my growing up in New York, so that’s definitely where the bohemian, indie style quirky look is from. Work also plays a big part in my style; I can go from skinny jeans, no make-up, and a hoodie, when I’m in rehearsals, to the full 5 star red-carpet glam when I need to.
What made you decide to open up a boutique in London and why Spitalfields? Is the less commercial east end a better fit for your brand?
Spitalfields is cool and very up-and-coming! It’s one of the oldest areas in London and it’s got a really great history; really interesting and very beautiful.
Your style is quite eclectic, who or what inspires you?
I love fashion, I always have, I look at the new collections, but I don’t always follow trends. I just tend to wear what I like. I’d like to think I have developed my own sense of style, and as I’ve got older, it has become more defined and consistent.
Mum was a major style inspiration growing up; she always looked amazing, and did London 60s and 70s cool better than anyone. We collaborate on the MB fashion range, and a section of our first complete collection for MB Boutique is influenced by the original Biba style cool!
Do you design for yourself or do you have a Mischa girl in mind when you are designing your bags and clothing line?
The collection is definitely an extension of my personality, and what I like. I am very much involved in the design process, and whether I’m on a movie set or a photo-shoot, I seem to absorb inspiration. Travel inspires me, and I love collecting vintage pieces, but it could be movies, TV, or a book I’m reading that brings a certain style to mind.
Working with mum brings a wide appeal to the collection; we have casual chic to more stylish structured creations, and ultimately every piece is quality and highly functional. The people I design for love unique styling, but they also want their clothes to last, and to feel great.
How closely do you follow catwalk trends? Would you ever design something you didn’t personally like but knew would work commercially?
No, I’m not that influenced by trends, and those I design for are probably looking for something a bit different too. But, we are very commercial, and the amazing people who work on my collections and bring them to life are really good at pulling trends, and making sure my designs translate to fashion with market appeal.
Lots of actresses/models/former Spice Girls have turned their hand to designing their own line. How involved are you in the process? Would you be happy to appoint a team to look after your designs or are you very hands-on?
I am that person, sitting in a small office just off Oxford Street, talking to our design team about exactly what shape the handbags will be, and the look and feel we want. On the clothes, I do the mood board stuff, the colours, the fabrics, and the whole visual impact we want to create.
It’s my name and my brand. I’m not an ace designer yet, on the clothing front. This is our first season ever, and my first very own boutique, so it’s a big step up! We’ve always looked into having a clothing line, and I said no, because I didn’t want to licence to someone else, and I didn’t want their design team coming in and putting it in K-mart – not that there’s anything wrong with k-mart, it’s just not what I’m shooting for.
Having a London boutique, and having full control is really cool. As we expand the collection and the stores, I will probably be less hands-on, but what we design will always have my stamp on it.
How far do you want the Mischa Barton brand to go? Do you see the brand expanding in the next couple of years and would you ever give up acting to focus on designing full-time?
I am an actress, and always will be. I love designing though, and I want to expand my brand and boutiques. There has been a lot of interest in the Middle East and China, so who knows? I’ve got a good team, and I feel pretty comfortable in my ability to do my acting and a little bit of design. The business side of it is not my strength; – I’m the creative, but luckily I have a lot of good business people on my side too.
What’s your failsafe fashion must-have that you always rely on to transform an outfit – is it a structured tuxedo blazer/a really great pair of shoes/ornate costume jewellery?
All of the above; I collect beautiful things, and even though I’m drawn to slinky black and gold for evening wear at the moment, I’ll always accessorise with a touch of colour, and a cool clutch. I love accessories, which is why I got into handbag design in the first place, and earlier this year I launched my own line of mobile phone covers with Uunique London; glittery and cute, so you can totally change them to match your outfit.
What’s the best style advice you’ve ever been given?
Mum and I agree on the best style advice, (probably why we work so well together), which is to make clothes an extension of your personality, and go with what makes you feel good. Fit the trends to you, not the other way round. Find out what’s popular this season, and figure out how it will work for you, – or leave it if it’s just not your thing!
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year! I decided to take a break from all things Mischa while she was having some downtime herself which is why there have been no updates for a few weeks. But, it’s now the beginning of 2013 so I’ll start the year off with a photoshoots update.
First up, here’s the first publicity shot for 2013 courtesy The Times UK. There is a corresponding article but it’s unfortunately blocked for non-subscribers. If you happen to be a subscriber, click here.
Next is a shoot from December 2012 at Mischa’s boutique in Spitalfields, London. These photos are by Joe Alvarez for Ikon London magazine.
Now we head back to January 2008 for a couple of outtakes from Mischa’s Vogue India spread.
And finally, here are HQ versions of a very young Mischa with a very young Lindsay Lohan from 1994.
Special thanks once again to Mila Kunis Web for providing some of these photos!
Photos of Mischa participating in a shoot at her boutique in Spitalfields have been added. Mischa poses with her bags and the new range of iPhone 5 cases designed with Uunique London.
Thank you Mila Kunis Web
Mischa’s 3D horror movie Apartment 1303 3D had its world premiere in Russia last week and actually seems to have done pretty well at the box office.
The movie opened in 9th position which would seem pretty low, but it was shown on fewer screens than many other releases. Its total of $685,189 was for the weekend of December 6th-9th inclusive showing on 402 screens with a per screen average of $1,704. Beauty & the Beast 3D opened just above Apartment 1303 3D with $698,984 but that was shown on 502 screens bringing its per screen average down to $1,344. I guess it’s a bit unusual to compare a live action movie to an animated re-release, so let’s move up the list to #6 where Lawless (starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain) opened to $791,898 on 650 screens making its average $1,218. Among other English-language releases, Here Comes the Boom (starring Kevin James and Salma Hayek) opened in fifth with a total of $1,198,034 across 460 screens ($2,604 average per screen) and Playing for Keeps opened in 2nd with $2,022,740 across 554 screens ($3,651 per screen). Although, Here Comes the Boom and Playing for Keeps opened much higher, these titles are backed by large studios and have had international press consisting of premieres and worldwide publicity. Considering Apartment 1303 3D is more or less an indie, I think we can call this opening a success thanks to a respectable per screen average – especially when you consider that it quite comfortably out-paced Lawless per screen.
Making Apartment 1303 3D’s opening even better is if we go back to February 2011 when You and I also opened in Russia. That movie came in 7th but had a weekend total of $411,263 or just $827 per screen. You and I had the added benefit of being filmed in Russia, featuring a Russian band and was backed by a promotional visit including press and a premiere just before it was released. Apartment 1303 3D achieved over double the per screen average with just a trailer and TV spots as the main source (possibly only source?) of promotion.
It’s a shame we don’t have any box office
drugs without prescriptionquite because be viagra for performance anxiety not tasteful freak easier scrubbers.
forecasts to compare the actual result vs expectations. I hope the producers are satisfied with the result.
Box Office numbers courtesy Box Office Mojo.
I unfortunately missed the publication sales deadline when this issue of Grazia Australia was on sale back in November, so thankfully the spread and extra portrait photos have surfaced online. All photos via Network Agency and Wilk/Cargo Collective.