Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fashionably Hitchcockian.

{"Just wait until you see my PJs!" Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window.}

Jeff and I watched Rear Window two weekends ago when I was in D.C.  He had shockingly never seen it before, and I thought it would be the perfect flick considering that he, like Jimmy Stewart's "Jeff," was also confined to his apartment with a broken leg. I love Jimmy Stewart in basically everything, but this time around it was Grace Kelly who really struck me. Maybe it was because this was my first watching of Rear Window since the wonderful "Literary Gothic" seminar I took last year at Penn State. We watched some Hitchcock as a part of the seminar, and at least a small part of our discussion was focused around the "Hitchcock blondes" and the director's infamous fascination (repulsion? obsession?) with and depiction of the feminine. Almost any critical analysis of Hitchcock is sure to address this facet of his films, so I won't rehash it much here. What I mostly want to draw attention to is the fashion.

Yes, the fashion.

The aesthetic of Hitchcock's heroines (and anti-heroines) is often as important or more important than the characters themselves, and he is absolutely masterful about costuming them precisely to fit the mood and mystique of their roles. I had no idea how intimately he was involved in the costuming process. This article (especially the second half) takes a look at this particular obsession of his, even noting how final copies of his scripts included detailed descriptions of the women's clothing - down the very fabric choice and color - in each scene. Toward the end, it details the entirety of Lisa Fremont's (Grace Kelly's) wardrobe throughout Rear Window in relation to the rest of the film. Interesting.

And as creepy and misogynistic as Alfred Hitchcock may have been, I have to say: he had a pretty keen eye for fashion. I still think Kim Novak's wardrobe as Madeleine in Vertigo is one of the most striking and iconic I've personally seen in any film.

{One of the best outfits ever, on one of the best characters ever. If you've never seen Vertigo, shame on you!}

The black dress, scarf, and gloves with the white coat...the sultry makeup...the cold, platinum hair.... Pure genius. I want this outfit for Fall!

Below are some of my other favorite Hitchcock fashion moments.

{Grace Kelly's blue dress in To Catch a Thief}

{Psycho's sexy but somehow innocent Janet Leigh.} 

{Even screaming and with her hair askew, Tippi Hedron still looks impossibly chic in her green suit from The Birds.}
{Also, check out the fur coat.}

{Rebecca's Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) was no Hitchcock blonde, but her dark, severe, and subtly masculine style powerfully enhanced her sinister presence. One of my favorite Hitchcock characters.}

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