Lucille Bluth in her youth: Actress Jessica Walter modeling, circa 1965

In honor of the return of Arrested Development this weekend, may I present Lucille Bluth (nee Jessica Walter) circa 1965, in a fresh and breezy summer fashion spread to take you into the holiday weekend. The ferns and white wicker accents are an especially elegant touch, don’t you think? The groovy hostess dresses (yes, please, on the cutout red romper) and palazzo-type pajamas are designed by one Ruthanne Tuttle of Mr. Gee.

But really, who cares about the clothes (no disrespect, Mr. Gee). I can’t get over how Jessica looks Exactly. The. Same. Same hair, same makeup, same… Read More

On This Day In Fashion on the radio!

A few days ago I taped our third segment for the radio program “KUOW Presents;” this one was about teen fashion, the bottom-up theory and two films that demonstrate the evolution and growing influence of street style versus designer style. The piece just aired, and it’s always kind of wild for me to listen to the conversation edited down after the fact. (I also have to say there is nothing weirder than listening to myself talk about teenagers and my students like I’m some hip old broad who’s totally down with “kids these days.” I’ve no doubt that… Read More

The Fifth Element: A Comic Book Future Designed by Gaultier

Science fiction movies could be a costume designer’s dream, but oftentimes the scenery and special effects take precedence in futures where characters are dressed in military uniforms, shapeless robes or makeshift remnants culled from scraps of destroyed societies. The future is usually depicted as dark, and this leaves many costumers returning to the same stale ideas over and over. But when Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element premiered on this day in 1997, audiences were not treated to a future costumed as a drab dystopia, but rather in the vibrant imagination of French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.

The Fifth Element was released… Read More

Annie Hall: How Cinema’s Least Likely Outfit Became Its Own Style Genre

Alvie: “I love what you’re wearing.”
Annie: “You do? Well, uh, this tie was a present from Grammy Hall.”

By the time this famous exchange takes place between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, the Oscar-winning film released on this day in 1977, the actress had already made an indelible sartorial impression in at least half a dozen scenes. From chasing lobsters to seeing movies to playing tennis, Annie consistently puts forth a one-of-a-kind style that combines a curious mix of dichotomies: masculine and neurotic, frumpy and tailored, haphazard and thoughtful. But the outfit that inspired the… Read More

Indecent Proposal and a More-Than-Decent Thierry Mugler Dress

It’s not often that a garment perfectly illustrates a literary technique. But witness Demi Moore in a Thierry Mugler LBD and observe the sexiest version of “Chekov’s Gun” this writer has ever seen. Chekov’s rule of foreshadowing posits that if an element—such as a gun—appears in the first act of a story then it must be used—or fired—before the story ends. Otherwise, why introduce the element at all? In Indecent Proposal, released on this day in 1993, the “gun” is replaced with a Mugler dress wrapped around the body of Moore and represents the crux of the… Read More

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