Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wilder Style, Musings, + Pictures: 12 Heroines of Lit and Film, Each Matched to a Marchesa Dress (or) Marchesa Show FW2012

The Marchesa show at New York Fashion Week was the most glamorous moment of my life. I walked in on a red carpet past hundreds of spectators and paparazzi, sat near top actresses and supermodels, and then feasted my eyes on the most exquisite dresses I've ever seen in person. Can't think of anything else that comes close on the glam-meter, though I will say that my bat mitzvah was quite the party (more after the jump).

Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig are the genii behind Marchesa, and with Georgina’s draping and costume-design background and Keren's embroidery and textile design training, the dresses seem made for fairy tales. And, to honor the fantasy each dress embodies, I'm going to match each picture I took of the dresses to a heroine of literature or film who would wear it, were she real/alive. On your mark, get set--wait, these dresses are just so beautiful, I can't stop staring at them--okay, go.

1. I realize I'm obsessed with Downton Abbey, I do. But I really do think Mary Crawley would wear this to a ball in London before World War I. I also think I want to be Mary Crawley.

2. This one is for Princess Leia from Star Wars. I know, I know, it's not a gold bikini nor is it a long, floor-length dress that looks like the wearer belongs in a convent. But the high collar, structured cap sleeves, and gladiator sandal heels definitely fit her image.

3. This gown would be perfect for Odile, the Black Swan from Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake, or, more recently, Darren Aronofsky's movie Black Swan in which Mila Kunis plays Natalie Portman's evil twin (or something like it). The embroidery on the torso looks a bit like a sinister face, and the white embroidery on the sleeves is a little skeletal. There were homages to Alexander McQueen throughout the collection, and I think this one especially pays tribute to the great designer.

4. And what would Odile be without Odette, the White Swan whom Natalie Portman played? This frock even has feathers--it's perfect.

5. Ah, yes. The little scarlet number. Who else but Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter could make red look so sinful? This lusty little gown even has a slight A-line skirt (see what I did there?).


Hester could also rock these shoes. You know what they say, once an adultress, always an adultress! She might as well embrace the hue.

6. Oh, be still my heart. The shape of this gown paired with the delicate feather detailing gets me every time. And so brilliant to make it nude and let the texture take center stage. I think this one belongs to a heroine of Russian literature, don't you? Perhaps Tolstoy's Anna Karenina on her way to the ball.

But then again, this is pretty Russian heroine-y, too. Anna can have two dresses.

7. I want to say this would be perfect for Cio-Cio San of Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly. The collar and embroidery seems Eastern-inspired to me, and I think there's something tragically beautiful about the shape of the dress. It's heartbreaking.

8. This is, without a doubt, what Disney's Cinderella would wear to her wedding. Bam. I dare you to find a more perfect fit. No, I double-dog dare you.

 9. This is what the Oscar statue would look like if it were a woman/not an inanimate object.

10. I think Cathy from Charlotte Bronte's Wuthering Heights would have worn this dress. Something about the wild tulle sprouting from the bodice reminds me of those overgrown Yorkshire Moors. The black and white overlay, brought together by the gold detailing (another homage to McQueen), speak to the forces of happiness and sorrow in Cathy's life.

11. Here we have a dress for the evil step mother/witch from Disney's Snow White. There's no purple, but there is that high white tulle and flame-like gold embroidery that reminds me of the mirror's flames (as in "mirror, mirror, on the wall").

12. And last but not least, a gown for Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I mean, that yellow dress is so overdone. This is what she would have worn if she knew what was good for her. I know these got a little heavy on the Disney references, but for dresses that beg to be worn by princesses, I don't think 3 out of 10 is so bad.

So there you have it. Any you really agree or disagree with? Who would you have put in each dress? Let me know in the comments!


  1. this is such a great way to look at these dresses! The Oscar statue one is spot on. Actually, they're all pretty much spot on.

  2. The Mary Crawley and Anna Karenina dresses are my faves - great shots!


    p.s. What did you wear to such a glam event?? Just curious. ;)


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