Saturday, August 16, 2014

Maleficent and Fashion

Even if you are not an avid movie-goer, you probably have read about Maleficent, the big Disney film of the summer.

The movie featured Angelina Jolie, the glamor-puss movie star, as the bad fairy in a rethinking of the Sleeping Beauty, the Disney classic of 1959.

Maleficent has been a great success at the box office.  By mid August it had grossed $236.4 million in American theaters plus an estimated $500 million worldwide, according to IMDb.  More money will come in from Blu-Ray and on-demand sales.

Often when a famous actress takes on a distinctive role, there is a fashion followup. (Think Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce. Think Diane Keaton in Annie Hall or Baby Boom.)

So I went looking today for Maleficent-inspired looks.  I found lots of black, of course, but mostly cheap crud that suggests that this Halloween there will be many, many little girls and grown women in Maleficent costumes.  That was about it.

And as I thought about it later, I realized I was wrong.  Joan Crawford and Diane Keaton were wearing street clothes that influenced what women were wearing at the time.  (Working women of the 1980s owe a particular debt of gratitude to Diane Keaton's polished business wardrobe in Baby Boom, which led them out of the unfortunate cul de sac of shapeless business suits and little floppy ties.)

Maleficent is a fairy tale character, and no female over the age of five takes fashion cues from fairy tales.  Still, I wonder why there aren't even a few black collars setting off low necklines or more form-fitting black dresses.  Maybe later.

Two Exceptions

Vogue, the indispensable fashion magazine, did a perfectly wonderful spread called "11 Gowns Maleficent Would Love" this May.  It's just great, with many fine designers represented and appropriate accessories. I did this screen grab of one example to encourage my readers to find it online and enjoy the whole feature.  Very cool.

The other exception is shoes.  Stylish women are always looking for interesting, daring shoes, and this year's fall models include some very Maleficent-like looks.  If you are shopping for yourself, just be ready for some very high heels.

These three come from the designer Jerome C. Rousseau's website.

Aizza, $495

Charme, $895

Flicker, $595, available in black elsewhere

Here's another shoe, available on the Bottega Veneta website, that surely was inspired by Maleficent.  It costs $730.

Another Bottega Veneta style, called the Suede Chrysanthemum Ankle Boot, is available for pre-order from Neiman-Marcus at $970.

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