Costumed Creepers (Part 1)
by Koji Iizuka
“In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girl can say anything about it.” Cady Heron once said this immortal line in the iconic teen flick Mean Girls in 2004. And I believe Joan Rivers would say something like this: “In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a shitbag in last year’s couture and cheap shoes and no other slut can say anything about it.”
I wanted to quote something more profound, but alas, Cady Heron best sums up the Halloween season and the dynamics behind its main attractions: the costumes. Let’s face it, the biggest charm of the season is dressing up in ways that defy convention. It’s the one day where it’s acceptable to let your inner Gaga shine and proclaim “I was born this way!”
Where do we usually get our inspiration? The movies, of course. From comedies to horror, certain characters have prompted people all over the world to dress up like them, either because of its camp factor or scream factor. Here are some favorites:
Vampires are the sexiest supernatural creatures in mythology. Their seductive prowess and the carnal way they devour their victims attracted a cult following for the beast.
Without a doubt, the most fashionable of the bunch is Count Dracula. In the 649 films that reference the most renowned vampire, he looks dapper in his slicked-back hair and tuxedo, embodying the dandy from past eras. His mannerisms, eloquence, and sense of style cannot be denied, even if he chose to eat his leading ladies instead of wining and dining them. Perhaps the most famous of these incarnations is Bela Lugosi in 1931, although even Leslie Nielsen’s spoof portrayal in 1995’s Dracula: Dead and Loving It has its sensual charm. I don’t think Dracula had any use for hypnotism as his toxic persona alone (and his suit which I suspect will be made by Tom Ford had he lived in this century) could smite any girl.
Vampiric evolution: scary to sexy and satirical to sparkly. Nosferatu would be furious.
Another dashing vampire is Lestat de Lioncourt in Neil Jordan’s adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Played by Tom Cruise, his dramatic flair and fashion choices remind one of John Galliano, and his pederastic relationship with Brad Pitt’s Louis de Pointe du Lac provided a stylish dash to the classic film.
No, Edward Cullen is not part of the list. Pattinson is trendy per se, but Cullen isn’t, unless you have a thing for sparkles.
Disney has made a name by making paradise, or what they call the happiest place on earth. In Disneyworld, every princess meets her prince and every ne’er-do-well gets their comeuppance. These villains are selfish, cruel, but most of all, tastefully dressed.
Maleficent and the Evil Stepmom (whose real name is Lucrezia) looked the epitome of class and sophistication in Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. They looked like the type of women who enjoy Margiela and Rei Kawakubo, looking ever so royal in their dramatic capes and crowns.
Diabolically haute (from L-R): Maleficent, Lucrezia, Cruella, Yzma
You can’t compile a glamorous list of Disney villains without including 101 Dalmatians's Cruella De Vil, who is always draped in fur and wants more, more, more. Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove comes to mind when it comes to more. Her greed to replace Kuzco as the emperor has whipped her into a frenzy matching her eccentric clothes. Yet she remains amusing and seems to be the animated version of Vogue Nippon’s Fashion Director and Editor-at-Large Anna Dello Russo. While she may be new compared to more classic villains, her look is happening and she is the 14th top villain compiled by Ultimate Disney.
Their out-of-this world schemes and haughtiness added to their appeal and I suspect these four would wildly be successful as editors at French Vogue.
Superheroics and Villainy
Glamour seems to follow the evil, but that is not always the case. We also have a wide variety of trendy superheroes that fight both crime and bad fashion choices. Of course, the top of the list is Superman, the quintessential hero. Like what his name suggests, he’s super. He can do everything. He can fight meteors and pull off two of the toughest choices in menswear: tights and underwear as outerwear.
Someone who isn’t as experimental with fashion is Bruce Wayne from the set of Batman films by Christopher Nolan. His taste is more GQ with his dark suits and classic American pieces, and he’s the kind of guy who would sport a quiet Cartier Tank watch and Cole Haan shoes. Just like his crime fighting, he does it quickly, quietly, and most of all, with style. However, one of his most evil nemeses is more adventurous, sartorially. The Joker, from all his versions is a superb dresser. His signature purple suit, green hair, and pasty makeup had a certain appeal that both scares and intrigues. Depending on your mood, you can go from the campy Cesar Romero version in 1966, the sophisticated Jack Nicholson in 1989, or the more disturbed and psychopathic role portrayed by the late Heath Ledger.
The Jokers: Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger
When it comes to superhero villainy, the best dressed is hands down, Mystique from X-Men. Technically, she isn’t wearing anything but her blue skin and red hair is enough effort for the non-mutant to pull off. Snaps for you, if you can.
The horror movie villains inspire (sometimes through their face alone) is such that they make instant favourites during the Halloween season. A good example is Michael Myers from John Carpenter’s Halloween. His face, or lack thereof, is enough to scare anyone out of his wits.
Someone who actually has a face (or what’s left of it, anyway) is Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. His choice of torment is through dreams, but his trademark pullover and fedora is a dream come true. To pull that off, head to Gap and shred through the basics aisles.
Gone are the days when blood-drenched capes and fangs scared the living daylights out of people. The thought of nocturnal creatures and the lumbering undead are behind us as they were replaced by modern horrors. These terrors look like regular people, but their evil is hidden beneath warm smiles, innocent ambition, sensual desire, and sometimes, even next season’s clothing.
A masterclass of fierce, Miranda and Mugatu
A prime example of a fashionable monster is Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada, the so-called “impossible boss of all impossible bosses.” Her polished look is a combination of the hottest designers but she is pure hate. Somewhat similar is Mugatu, the famed fashion designer from Zoolander. He isn’t as demure or sophisticated as Priestly, but he is just as evil (or dim-witted) and he works with his equally stunning assistant, Katinka Ingabogovinanana (played by real life supermodel Milla Jovovich). Equally dim-witted but stylish is Dr. Evil from Austin Powers, whose monochromatic ensemble is very Helmut Lang. I just wish his schemes were as fabulous as his outfit’s clean lines and quiet elegance. If he cleans up his act a bit, he might even hook up a lover.
Stylish psycho bitches, Alex Forrest and Kara
Speaking of lovers, there is of course the horror that is Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction. If you’re going to have an affair, you better not have it with someone mentally unstable. You can’t be blamed, though, as Glenn Close plays a vivacious lady in the film, much like Kara from No Other Woman. You can’t decide whether to hate or pity Anne Curtis’s character, but she makes husband-stealing look glamorous in Chanel bags and a snakeskin bikini.
The ladies of Stepford, Connecticut from The Stepford Wives are all immaculately dressed in 50s inspired floral outfits, most likely gleaned from the spring collections of Marc Jacobs. Led by Claire Wellington (played by Glenn Close in 2004’s adaptation), these ladies chose to be submissive wives obsessed with pleasing their boorish husbands and cleaning their houses.
Don’t get me wrong. Fashion is not only for women. Metrosexuality is at its peak, thanks to David Beckham. While his only horror is being married, many men with zero-conscience (and a zero-fat diet) abound. Take for example Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.
GQ motherfuckers, Patrick Bateman and Don Vito Corleone
Dressed to the hilt in YSL, Gucci, and Prada (occasionally stained with blood), he spends his nights in fine restaurants with finer women, capping the evenings with the finest cases of murder, butchery, and cannibalism. And if you have to ask, he stuffs his dead bodies in a Jean-Paul Gaultier bag. But of course, the godfather of style has to be Vito Corleone from the Godfather series, who looks impeccable in his Yves Saint Laurent (I’m assuming) tuxedoes. He and Count Dracula would get along well.
There is, of course, that mask from Scream if you are lazy but still want to make a statement. Also Karen Smith’s Halloween costume in Mean Girls. Throw on a negligee, mouse ears, a blank look, and if anybody asks, tell them you’re a mouse. Duh.