Cameron Crowe’s cinematic love letter to one of the greatest eras in rock n’ roll, “Almost Famous”, was released in 2000. I was 14 at the time, and although I grew up with much of the music that comprised the film’s outstanding soundtrack- I didn’t actually see the movie until my early twenties. As endearing as William Miller, the main protagonist played by Patrick Fugit was, and as seductive and sincere as Billy Crudup’s portrayal of Russell Hammond- the lead guitarist in the film’s fictional band, Stillwater, turned out to be- it was Kate Hudson’s character, Penny Lane, who really stole the show.
With a 1970s backdrop (and the fashion to match) Penny is the leader of the “Band Aids,” a group of women who travel with various bands and their crews and in Penny Lane’s own words, “inspire the music.” Although they vehemently deny being groupies- there’s plenty of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll debauchery going on behind the scenes. Penny and Russell are in love with each other, although neither one will admit it to the other- but Russell’s growing ego and on/off again girlfriend back home complicates things. William is a witness to the shows, the fights, the antics, and even some of the tender moments as he grows and matures while on tour with Stillwater- and writes it all for Rolling Stone’s cover story about the band.
In my early twenties, I could relate to Penny. Not just because she had curly hair like me or because she lived in the city I can’t wait to make my home- San Diego- but because she had fallen madly in love with an up and coming musician who was too proud (and maybe a little bit too selfish) to admit that he cared for her as deeply as she cared for him until it was too late and she had jet-set off to Morocco to start a new life on her own. As someone who once got mixed up with my own up and coming musician for a few years- seeing Penny’s struggles, with the highs and the lows of the rocker and touring lifestyle- resonated with me. She was a mix of strength and vulnerability, charm and compassion- and I will always and forever covet her shearling coat.
Wearing this peasant-style top reminds me of a scene in the movie where Penny is dancing to music no one else can hear in an empty auditorium following a Stillwater show. She’s twirling and gliding across the floor barefoot, and it’s the most serene and peaceful we see her. I paired the top with a comfortable pair of denim capris and sneakers- also inspired by another scene in the movie where Penny is sporting a similar ensemble as she listens to William accidentally confess that Russell (after a moment of hesitation) has traded Penny and the other Band Aids to the band Humble Pie in exchange for $50 and a case of beer. It’s a sharp contrast to the auditorium scene- and it’s also the first time we see Penny’s confident front crack- if only for a moment.
Some of you may remember my sunglasses from my Practical Festival Wear post a couple of months ago, and although they’re a bit rounder than Penny’s were in the movie, they make me feel like shouting “it’s all happening!” whenever I put them on, anyway.
My makeup was easy. Penny is effortlessly beautiful. She doesn’t need a sharp cat eye or a bold lip to be alluring. She looks natural and radiant in her simplicity. Although the Polaroid effects make it hard to tell- I wore nothing more than a matte-finish foundation, a light pink shimmer blush on the apples of my cheeks, a bit of highlighter around my brow bone, mascara, and a clear lip balm. Quick and easy!
And finally, to complete my ensemble(s)- I’ve owned this replica Stillwater t-shirt- complete with out-of-focus goodness ($14.99 HERE)– for quite some time, and occasionally like to wear it out and about on my more casual days. I love when other “Almost Famous” fans recognize it. Although I don’t recall ever seeing Penny sporting the t-shirt of her most beloved band- I’d like to think she owned a couple.
I’d also like to think that Penny and Russell eventually had their happy ending. It didn’t happen for me and my own musician all those years ago- but I want to believe true love exists!
Side note: I’m aware my little white Kia isn’t as fabulous as a tour bus named Doris, but it’s how I get around and “tour” the country!