Have you been to see Alice in Wonderland yet?
After being lucky enough to get hold of the last 3 tickets on opening night I thought I was going to be in for a treat. However Burton wanted to ground the new story not making another film with disjointed scenes and crazy characters. I thought that was what the intentions of Lewis Carroll were in the first place? Not that I'm claiming to be a film critic or anything but I couldn't help but feel let down by the certain loss of the nostalgic dream like fairytale the original stories had. Thankfully this wasn't so for the fashion storyline.
With an ever-increasing obsession of late for fashion history, I've been purposefully drawn to seeking out enjoyment from watching film such as The young Victoria and Coco before Chanel. Whilst both being unique and memorable films in their own right, they also serve the purpose of being an accurate representation of fashions gone by and a great insight to how and why clothes have evolved into what we wear today.
Seeing what modern takes on classic Victorian styles had been commissioned by the romanticist and visionary film director Tim Burton in Alice in Wonderland made the ticket worth every penny. Thankfully taking the attention off a story line that seemed to lacked anything inspiring or original.
In charge of designing Alice's six different costumes and the rest of the characters looks is two times Academy award winner Colleen Atwood. Arguably the best in the business with credits like Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago. The film started with classic Victorian dresses. Even though the rebel Alice was lacking in the iconic crinoline (the under skirt cage-frame to make skirts stand out) that had hit an all time size during the 1860s when the book was originally written.
It's not until the story heads to Wonderland do you really start to see the full creative genius of Colleen. She says, ''Alice was a nod to tradition until Wonderland, then I was took to another place.''
With no restriction of era and a new older Alice (minus the childish pinafore), the costumes become more like timeless creations by the best couture houses of Paris of today. Combinations of varying hues of the iconic 'Alice' blue and mixes of ribbon, lace, embroidery and silk often put together in a deconstructionist way made them vaguely reminiscent of Vivian Westwood ensembles and other fanciful designers of today.
Now with a fashion language relevant today, whilst keeping true to the spirit of the story, the new take on Alice has widened its pulling power, appealing to a new fashion savvy audience. Disney has made no secret of this move, commissioning the best in the field to design capsule collections inspired by the film. Headed by the slogan 'Alice is the new black' the commissions including Avant Garde Jewellery designer Tom Binns. He has two collections. One for Disney couture- a lower priced range of trinkets including 'drink me' bottles (see below) and Wonderland themed charm bracelets. The other, a range of exquisite necklaces, demanding a heftier price of up to £900 and is for Disney Signature. (See page 64 of this months Vogue and below)
Stella McCartney has also been drafted in to create jewellery pieces and Urban Decay Make-up, Sue Wong, Swarovski and Uniglo are all on the merchandising bandwagon. But can this be considered true fashion? This has caused much debate but according to many fashion experts the film has inspired numerous S/S10 collections in less obvious ways. So with feminine dressing back in vogue, from powerful businesswomen to everyday girls. Alice, with her determined and feisty soul could easily be placed at the helm of this movement. Proving that Alice really is fashion latest muse.
See other alice inspired designs....