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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 eyebrows, same figure, same skin. We are talking FIFTY years here, people! (Click on the photos to enlarge them and see for yourself.) If this is what Botox does, then sign me up. And you know how Lucille would respond to that:
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So can you guess what fashion magazine this spread ran in? Surely, a circa ’65 Lucille Bluth would only grace the pages of Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar, or Vogue, right?

Nope, nope and nope.

Mademoiselle?? Woman’s World?? Lady’s Circle??? Good Housekee—oh, nevermind.

None of those magazines had the foresight to cast the woman who would become the World’s Greatest Mom as their Summer of ‘65 fashion model. So guess who did?

Wait for it…
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TV Guide! I’ve had this thing on top of my TV set for 25 years, ever since I found a stack of the things in an old abandoned farm house my friends and I pillaged of vintage clothes and books. The issue is mostly dedicated to the cover story, the Munsters, and—not to diss Jessica—but the most fashionable spread is of Fred Gwynne, Mr. Munster himself. Look at those shoes! And tie! He’s quite the Ivy Leaguer, wouldn’t you say?

Have fun watching Arrested Development this weekend. I know I will!

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 every 13-year-old who is forced to hear this segment while trapped in their parents’ car will label me a majorly out-of-touch nerd.) Still, I feel like there’s so much more I can say (and clarify, natch) about this topic! But host Jeannie Yandel did an awesome job catching the core ideas behind the films, as well as my own gushing reaction to one of my favorite films when I was a teenager: Valley Girl.

Click here to listen to us chat about James Dean’s cool style in Rebel Without a Cause and how Nicholas Cage stole my 12-year-old heart in Valley Girl. 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 just shy of 15 years after Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, and the two movies’ similar influences were bound to draw comparisons. Both directors cited Fritz Lang’s seminal science-fiction flick Metropolis and the cartoonist Moebius as inspirations, but the films’ overall looks diverge in opposite directions. Besson brought his lifelong love of comic books to The Fifth Element by having Moebius and fellow sci-fi cartoonist Jean-Claude 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 “Annie Hall 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 Read More »

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