In the 1942 flick I Married A Witch, Fredric March’s character Wallace Wooley states, “Mere physical beauty isn’t everything.” That may be true, but did he even LOOK at this dress? In the classic film, Veronica Lake plays Jennifer, a Salem witch who’s been stuck in a tree for hundreds of years, until a bolt of lightning sets her spirit free! She’s put a curse on the family of the man who burned her at the stake, and after wandering around the modern world, accidentally drinks her own love potion meant for one of her enemy’s descendants! It’s the definition of a screwball comedy from that era, and an adorable one to boot! We had always pictured Veronica Lake as a tall, sultry actress, but she was barely 5’0, and the little cutie runs around this movie creating all sorts of havoc (apparently, not far off from the real life set either!) In the book Vintage Fashion, Ottilie Godfrey describes in detail how Jennifer’s infamous black dress was made: “For Lake’s wardrobe in I Married a Witch (1942), Edith Head and her fellow costume designers were allowed to use acres of extravagant fabric to enhance the actress’s glamour and help boost public morale. This black chiffon over nude silk evening dress with Guipre lace bodice detail and bishop sleeves is a perfect foil for Lake’s smoldering beauty.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Happy Halloween to all our bewitching beauties!
In this bewitching edition of “Fancy Friday,” we’re showcasing Miss Lena Duchannes (played by Alice Englert) in Beautiful Creatures. The box office bomb debuted on this editor’s birthday (Valentine’s Day), and she absolutely loved the 2013 flick! Based on the novel of the same name, it tells the story of an ordinary boy who falls for an extraordinary girl. Set in the deep south, the two fall in love, while spending copious amounts of time cracking sardonic jokes and reading lots of books – I mean, what’s not to like? The characters also wear some killer clothes! Without revealing too much, this scene happens to be the climax of the film, and Miss Duchannes sports this mystical ballgown. Costume designer Jeffrey Kurland explained to Entertainment Weekly, “I designed the top of the gown as a man’s shirt might look, open and loose, which I felt was more her style.” The open shoulders on the belted corset, paired with the grays and lavenders in her layered skirt create a mesmerizing look. These photos don’t even do the dress justice – you have to see the film to really appreciate it! It’s also the outfit Lena wears when she finally learns to stand on her own and defend herself; and there’s no better accessory than STRENGTH!
“God knows all the money in the world can’t buy good taste,” Miss Fiona Goode, aka “The Supreme,” sharply stated. The style that marches across the screen in American Horror Story: Coven is absolutely breathtaking. There are so many strong female leads on this show with distinctive styles, we could have dedicated a whole “Witch Week” to each of them! Season Three of AHS tells the tale of small, private all-girls’ school in New Orleans called Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. But this isn’t your ordinary finishing school – it’s a secret academy for witches! The headmistress is the quiet, bookish Cordelia Foxx, whose mother happens to be The Supreme. Fiona Goode, played by the marvelous Jessica Lange, is the most powerful witch of her generation. Despite the fact she’s dying of cancer, Fiona’s not ready to surrender her title just yet… So let’s start with the queen bee: Since Fiona has been top dog since she was a teen, she’s definitely established her own strong sense of style. Rarely seen in anything but black, she is always decked out in dark, designer duds. We featured Fiona’s field trip outfit as a “Look-of-the-Day” earlier this week. Costume designer Lou Eyrich spoke with Entertainment Weekly about her work and Miss Lange’s look on Season 3 of AHS, “Last season, she had to wear a nun’s habit almost the entire time. So for her to get to start wearing Givenchy and Gucci and Lanvin shoes and Prada boots – it was so fun to watch the transformation. Jessica quite loved wearing all those wonderful clothes.” Even though Fiona’s powers are waning, she doesn’t sugarcoat the truth about her selfish reign, as she laments, “All that power… I just took it, poured it back into myself, and dressed it up in Chanel.” Damn straight. Miss Goode is usually only out for herself, but she does give the girls the best style/witch advice on the show before their little outing: “WEAR SOMETHING BLACK.” As for the students, people have been witch-hunting for centuries, so the school’s population is pretty small – in fact, there’s only four students! The wonderful website, Worn On TV, did a flat-out amazing job of collecting each of the witches’ wardrobes. It’s where our editors were able to find out where many of the characters’ outfits were from! First, there’s Nan, played by Jamie Brewer (pictured, above). She can read thoughts, which can give her some overwhelming headaches. Her signature look is usually a white and black or navy dress with a Peter Pan collar. Our favorite frock of hers is pictured in the photo below, where she’s wearing a Nitcha Bow Collar Dress by Ted Baker. The new girl in town is Zoe Benson (played by Taissa Farmiga), whose special power is… screwing her boyfriends to death. To be honest, her clothing isn’t remotely as interesting as her special skills, but the girl can certainly rock a hat (pictured, below left)! One of the most fascinating recruits is Madison Montgomery, played by Emma Roberts (pictured, below right). She is a famous movie star, but also happens to be a Salem descendant, and instead of going to rehab, her agent decides to send her to the witch academy. Despite being a diminutive girl, Madison can be downright terrifying, and since she’s a wealthy actress, it makes sense she’s got a closet full of couture, who also agrees with our opinions on Zoe’s duds (pictured, above right). Madison dresses like a little tart in the beginning (pictured, above left), but as the show goes on, her clothing becomes more conservative, yet still retains its LA flair. In the group photo pictured above, Madison wears a gorgeous mink hat and maxi dress by Free People called, what else, “Witchy Woman.” Our favorite dress of hers is the square-neck A-line little black dress by Herve Leger (pictured, left). Paired with the black headband, knee socks and cocktail in-hand, she looks like a sexy witch ready to take on the world. But her most popular look was probably her infamous red dress of “Surprise, bitch” fame (pictured, above right). The ruffled red frock is called the high-low “Fais” long halter dress by BCBG MAXAZRIA. Madison wears this label quite frequently throughout the series, including the electric blue “Gemma” T-back dress (pictured, above left with Jamie Brewer) and the white “Diana” fitted dress on her night out on the town with Fiona (pictured, below) she wears with Steve Madden Spycee platform sandals. After Madison’s “transformation,” of sorts, she keeps herself much more covered or shielded, usually by a fantastic fur. The last student is Queenie, played by Oscar nominee Gabby Sidibe (pictured, below center), who is probably one of the funniest girls on the show, but she doesn’t get to sport of lot of great outfits (although we’re loving this black number below!) She’s a poor, overweight girl from Detroit, and both intellectually and powerfully above her peers, so she’s bit of a loner. When Queenie comes to New Orleans, she thinks she’ll finally fit in, but now she’s just surrounded by privileged white girls (even if they’re outcasts in their own right), and it seems nothing has changed for her. Even after coming to an academy of her own, Queenie still has trouble finding her “tribe,” just like the random side character who enters the students’ lives named Misty Day, played by Lily Rabe (pictured, below). This little swamp witch has the power of resurgence, and a 24/7 obsession with Stevie Nicks. Personally, she was this editor’s favorite character originally. This lovely, poor hippie was burned to “death” by her own family of religious fanatics, but little did they realize she could bring herself back with magic and some mud from the swamp! Despite being broke and living in a secluded one-room cabin, Misty Day certainly has her style staples: maxi dresses (mostly by Free People), lots of fringe and florals, layered necklaces, big belts, and many skinny scarves. Along with her signature wavy hair, her bohemian look matches perfectly to her free spirit and earthy vibes. Our other favorite lady of AHS Coven, Myrtle Snow, sums Misty up perfectly: “You miss the point darling,the swamp mud is a metaphor, her metaphor, she’s a sophisticated witch with extraordinary gifts, hiding out as a hippie swamp rat.” The other blonde mentor of the academy is Headmistress Cordelia Foxx, played by Sarah Paulson (pictured, left & above). Cordelia lives in the shadow her all-powerful mother, Fiona, but after suffering a personal tragedy, is able to see things she could never see before. Cordelia dresses the way you would picture a stylish 1940s heroine would dress – she’s usually sporting conservative, high-waisted pants, long-sleeved silk tops, large floral prints, lovely lace and she almost always accessorizes every look with a strand of pearls. At first glance, Cordelia seems to be the complete opposite of her mother, but the two probably wear the most designer pieces on the show. Cordelia’s printed blossom skirt (pictured, above) is Dolce & Gabanna, while the character also gets to wear Elie Tahari, Valentino and Ted Baker in other scenes. Mrs. Foxx is lovely, but she’s nowhere as interesting as her mother, or the following queens… Next up is the ageless Marie Laveau, played by the ageless Angela Bassett (seriously, her skin is insane.) Miss Laveau (pictured, above) is Fiona’s archenemy, the immortal voodoo priestess across town. She is flat-out fierce, and Bassett is a goddamn dream. Her tribe and Fiona’s tribe have been fighting for centuries, but they’re putting the truce aside to cause more trouble (especially after Fiona insults her in her own shop!) Marie has been alive for hundreds of years, currently hiding out as a beauty shop owner, but her true passion is fighting for civil rights (and voodoo, obviously). She’s got long, gorgeous braids and has retained most of her early fashion statements – Marie still rocks head-wraps, floor-length dresses and lots of big jewelry, including hoop earrings, long necklaces, cocktail rings and arm bands, but has adapted them to modern fashion. This editor had a friend who summed up the power struggle between Fiona and Marie as Lange and Bassett’s acting as “just cutting up the screen.” Dead-on, we could watch these witches for weeks! Their fight to stay on top keeps the story line mysterious and interesting. Last, but definitely not last, is the most fashion-forward witch of the week (and possibly history?!) – Miss Myrtle Snow (pictured, below). Played by the magnificent Frances Conroy, Myrtle is the Head of the Witches Council, and Fiona Goode’s former foe. In the EW article referenced earlier, costumer Lou Eyrich stated, “Ryan wanted her to be a cross between Diana Vreeland and Grace Coddington. It was fun. My team and I spread out across town in New Orleans looking for maxi dresses and capes and gloves and kooky glasses. Watching Franny transform into Myrtle Snow was a highlight.” They certainly achieved the look, cause when Myrtle first appeared onscreen, all I could think of was the amazing frizzy-haired editor in the Vogue documentary, The September Issue! (Myrtle and Grace have the same big hair, and seem to play second-fiddle to the stars in both their industries… the similarities don’t end there, either! Both ladies have eclectic styles, and retain the most sophisticated, all-knowing air about them, while being unfailingly polite. This editor could write for days about both of them!) In Coven, Myrtle Snow started out as the studious, good girl at Miss Robichaux’s, but has since transformed, so much so that even her former schoolgirl nemesis Fiona snarkily says, “Look at you, developing a sense of style when no one else was paying attention.” With her signature hair and designer frocks, Myrtle always dons her winged cat-eye glasses and long gloves, along with several other vintage pieces. She also has some very important fashion lessons for her bewitching ladies (like the one pictured, above right), and we featured her mini-unrequited love story/history of the wrap dress earlier this week on “Words on Fashion.” Here are some of our other favorite Myrtle style quotes and lessons:
- “I’m just MAD for tartan!”
- “I’d rather burn, than boil.”
- “Your tasteful modesty is out of fashion, so knock it off.”
- “You could never pull it off, dear.”
- “Your weak-willed, boring and your fashion faux pas give me nightmares.”
- “Listen to the celestial tones.”
- “You’re just like Halston when he sold his brand to J.C. Penney. You’ve forsaken your destiny.”
- “Look at me, I’m fabulous.”
- “Don’t be a hater, dear.”
- And, of course, “BALENCIAGA!“
If you haven’t seen AHS Coven please be aware, SPOILER ALERT AHEAD! Costume designer Lou Eyrich spoke of Myrtle’s infamous last words and look with Collider last year, “That was a big deal, because in the script she comes out in a red dress and says ‘Balenciaga!’ so we all thought it had to be Balenciaga. We started researching, and we realized we couldn’t afford a Balenciaga dress, because we have a small budget. So Ryan said, it’s not literal, she’s just saying it as a crazy Myrtle thing, a Myrtle-ism. Then we were able to grind it out, and we actually searched town. But everything wasn’t eccentric enough for Myrtle, and then we went online and actually my shopper, Bob, found it online and it was the perfect thing, and it’s a Carolina Herrera. There was a lot of the stuff in the press saying, ‘That’s not a Balenciaga dress.’ But it was never meant to be.” Honestly, it’s the perfect explanation for Myrtle’s whole ironic character arc, and probably the most memorable scene of the show. Early on AHS Coven, Fiona Goode asks the mirror, “Who’s the baddest witch in town?” Honestly, it’s hard to say with this list of rock stars listed above, but always remember, “BALENCIAGAAAAAAA!!”
When this editor was a little girl, she loved witches so much, she formed a “Witch Club” with her best friend. (Thankfully, those days are behind her!) She also loved old movies and Jimmy Stewart, so her parents rented her Bell, Book and Candle. Honestly, I was so bored I couldn’t even tell you what happened, but it does make me feel nostalgic! In the 1958 film, Kim Novak plays a Manhattan girl and a modern witch who falls in love with James Stewart! She sports some stunning costumes by Jean Louis, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the film. Here is the best: a simple, long-sleeved black peplum dress, with silk gloves and the most elegant hooded cape to match. Bewitching is an understatement.
“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Glinda asks Dorothy, upon her arrival in the wonderful world of Oz. Who else would we feature on “Pink Wednesday” than the most famous good witch of all? Billie Burke played the witch of the north in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, and dons an enormous soft pink, sparkling ballgown, with poofed sleeves and a matching crown and scepter. The film’s costume designer was the legendary Adrian. When Dorothy is surprised at how lovely Glinda is, she responds, “Only bad witches are ugly.” In The Wizard of OZ FAQ, by David J. Hogan, our editors were shocked to learn Glinda’s gown was featured previously in the movie, San Francisco (1936) on Jeanette MacDonald. Hogan also mentioned that Billie Burke once joked of her costume, “I look like a refugee from German opera.” Burke wasn’t far off, but it’s a cinematic look that has gone down in history. Good thing no one dropped a house on this dress!
In the week leading up to Halloween, we’re featuring our favorite looks from our favorite witches onscreen! This editor was OBSESSED with the 1996 film The Craft, which is basically just a runway of the ultimate goth girl looks from the mid-90s. It tells the story of a new girl in town, named Sarah (Robin Tunney), who befriends two shy girls named Rochelle (Robin True) and Bonnie (Neve Campbell), along with their intense friend Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk), who to this day still scares the hell out of me. In this Halloween edition of Little Black List we’re counting down the “Top 10 Fashion Tips of a ’90s Teenage Witch,” as told by the girls of The Craft. Note: Sabrina wouldn’t agree with most of this. 😉
1. Put your own unique spin on your school uniforms. 2. Tinted sunglasses & floral frocks are essential for nature walks and bus rides.3. Oversized outerwear is very important when summoning Manon at the beach.4. You can never wear too much black. 5. Make sure to wear comfy overalls during levitation – you may fall!6. Refer to the classics: lace-up, pointed Victorian boots are must-haves!7. Chokers, crosses & rosaries are the only necklaces worth wearing.8. Vinyl plastic is the fabric of intimidation.9. Combine all of the lessons above when you’re about to have meltdown.10. Once the leader of your coven is committed, make sure to wear really terrible shiny clothing, so we know you’re safe.
This “Tuesday Twosome” is a “Tuesday Trio,” and who better to feature during a week dedicated to witches than the Witches of Eastwick? In the 1987 film, the beguiling ladies are played by everlasting beauties Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. They play Alexandra Medford, Jane Spofford, and Sukie Ridgemont, respectively – three friends who are drastically different, but all face the same issue: men trouble. While lamenting and bonding one night, the women accidentally and unknowingly form a coven, and conjure the “perfect man.” Unfortunately, the so-called perfect guy happens to be Satan! And who better to play him than devilish Hollywood bad boy, Jack Nicholson? Here, the three ladies play around in some gorgeous frocks. Cher looks stunning in a black evening gown, with a subtle sequined detail; Michelle Pfeiffer’s character is sporting a slick black hat and a large-printed pajama set; and Susan Sarandon’s character, Jane, goes from nerdy music teacher to a voluptuous redhead in a gold lamé gown. The film’s costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers mentioned in a 1990 article in the LA Times, she’s featured jewelry of her late mother in all of her work. (Fun Fact: Rodgers is also the costumer from Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, who designed our favorite black-and-white striped pattern the lead character wears!) The witches look absolutely lovely here playing around, but things take a dark and dangerous turn, and they have to figure out a way to get rid of the once perfect boyfriend they all use to share! (P.S. If you couldn’t tell from the details mentioned already, this movie is super weird!)
“Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I…” This editor is only bothered and bewildered by how little information there is out there on the fashion of the classic TV show Bewitched! This editor absolutely LOVED this show, but since my parents didn’t have cable, I would have to wait and watch it at friends’ houses (hoping and praying I would get to sleep over and catch it on “Nick at Night!”) It centered on a lovely housewife named Samantha Stephens, played by the gorgeous Elizabeth Montgomery, who was hiding a little secret – she was a witch! Inspired by the films I Married a Witch and Bell, Book and Candle, it tells the tale of your everyday, stunning blonde who’s hiding her witchcraft from the man she loves! There’s also a cooky, older relative who keeps interfering with their lives! (Guess struggling to find new material isn’t a recent problem in Hollywood… 😉 ) The show premiered in 1964, and Samantha’s costumes are heavily influenced by former First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, whose husband President John F. Kennedy had been murdered only months before the first episode aired. As pictured in the photos above, Samantha dons a soft pink Chanel suit, a classic black shift with a string of pearls, and a beautiful A-line coat. (Honestly, Samantha sported enough pink dresses, we were rethinking featuring Glinda on “Pink Wednesday!”) She dons polka dots, pretty florals, big bows, and some absolutely stunning dresses (pictured, above). Samantha Stephens is also never without her cat eyeliner and lovely locks perfectly coiffed. The crazy relative in this story is Samantha’s mother, Endora, who was played by the award-winning actress Agnes Moorehead. Subtly is NOT her style! She loves messing with her son-in-law, Darrin, and appearing whenever she feels like it. If you couldn’t guess, this bleeds into her wardrobe, as well. Endora is rarely seen without heavy blue eyeshadow, exaggerated wingtip eyeliner and extremely bright colors. She loves high collars and capes and bold accessories (pictured, above). Bewitched was outfitted by costume designers Vi Alford and Byron Munson. In the book Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery, by Herbie J. Pilato, Munson was quoted as saying Elizabeth Montgomery had “horrible taste in clothes.” That certainly isn’t the same for her television counterpart! Although, it makes us wonder how true this 1968 article is featured on Harpies Bizarre (or how honest Munson was being…) The article, originally posted in Leader-Times, makes several references to how Elizabeth Montgomery wore many of her own clothes on the show, and how she worked together with costumer Vi Alford. Montgomery stated, “A girl like Samantha can’t afford a new dress every time she goes out… I’m not saying that I can’t afford it. But when I found a gown or frock that I like, I feel I should wear it as often as I want.” The actress actually had her own clothing line come out during the series, so who knows if this was just fluff trying to promote her new line, or if it was the truth. The one item we know for sure is Elizabeth’s is the necklace Samantha wears in nearly every scene of the series. Montgomery’s husband and Bewitched director, William Asher, gifted her the white gold, diamond heart pavé necklace the year before the show, and it ended up becoming a trademark of Samantha’s. It’s simple and classy, just like Mrs. Stephens’ style. As the show gets deeper into the 1960s, and into the 1970s, the fashion starts to get really trippy (pictured, above)! The prints get wilder, more colorful and definitely bolder. We prefer the early ’60s version of Samantha’s clothes, but we did love the addition of her baby witch, Tabitha! We wish was could wiggle our nose to look this cute in everyday life!
We’re continuing “Witch Week,” with the fabulous Meryl Streep! She plays “The Witch” in 2013’s Into the Woods. She actually spends most of the movie cursed as a hideous hag (thanks to her mother), but once her neighbor, The Baker, secures the magic ingredients (a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold), she transforms into the absolute stunner shown here. Costume designer Colleen Atwood told Vanity Fair, “It is sort of a take on a turn-of-the-century silhouette. We played with scale a lot with her hair. It was big, the shoulders were big, it was all big.” Meryl’s dark turquoise gown featured high-shoulders and a long, whimsical cape, her nails and beautiful bouffant also matched in color. Atwood added, “I kind of wanted the texture of the hair and the dress to tie together.” The result was breathtaking – we are definitely dying our hair blue in retirement! Meryl is drop-dead gorgeous as blue-haired lady!
Since we’re a week away from Halloween, our editors at theSkinnyStiletto decided to dedicate this week to our favorite type of supernatural subject – witches! We will feature the best-dressed bewitching ladies of TV and film! Here is fashion icon herself, Sarah Jessica Parker, in Hocus Pocus as Sarah Sanderson. She plays one of three sister witches, and also happens to be the prettiest (and dumbest) of the three. While her older sisters are more concerned with revenge and coming back to life, Sarah is more excited about being attractive again… “BOYS WILL LOVE ME!” Sarah declares, after rejuvenating herself with the life of a young child. She may have been born centuries ago, but Sarah still looks hot in her corseted red gown, platinum blonde hair, heavy eyeliner and tops it off with a flowing purple cape. Sarah is a total creep, but she knows the importance of not letting your looks run, “Amok, amok, amok, amok, amok!” (Fun Fact: SJP recently found out one of her ancestors was actually accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts! This movie wasn’t too far off!)