Fashion’s Infatuation with Alice

How could fashion resist Alice? She is blond and wears a sweet light-blue pinafore while her best friends are a Cheshire cat, a white rabbit, and the mad hatter. There is an endearing insanity of such a crew. Most blockbuster children’s movies come with a whole range of readily marketable merchandise eagerly awaited for by little ones. However, this time Tim Burton’s Alice and Wonderland has influenced the grown-up crowd; Fashion brands are now creating Alice-inspired designs for their upcoming collections. Lured by Tim Burton’s dark gothic characters with a cast including Jonny Depp and Helene Bonham Carter, Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale has turned into a very sexy story with immense creative appeal.

Just look at the character who plays Alice: Mia Wasikowska. She is not portrayed as a young innocent girl but as a beautiful woman with flowing long blond locks wearing a halter dress. She could have easily stepped off the summer/spring 2010 runway wearing the latest “ruffled” look. Donatella Versace recently told that her spring/ summer 2010 collection was inspired by Alice and Wonderland, “I loved the idea of that fantasyland,” she said.  Her latest collection is full of geometric flower prints, short-short skirts, baroque curlicues, and slinky chain mail

“Without a doubt, this is one of Donatella’s most exciting collections yet, as it highlights everything sexy and fun about being a female. Backstage at one of her shows, she attributed her inspiration for the collection to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland,” said Loren Ridinger. In December, Haute Living’s fashion ambassador Loren Ridinger hosted a runway show with sultry fashionistas prancing the catwalk in Versace’s 2010 Spring/Summer collections.

Burton’s dark phantasmagorical artistic visions have long influenced the fashion crowd, in particular the gothic trend. Yet this time, his dark twist on Alice might make this favorite children’s character one of the most marketable fictional characters of all time. For his autumn collection 2010, Zac Posen has created a pre-collection entitled “Lewis Carroll meets Paloma Picasso.” In Paris at the Printemps department story a window display features rabbits made from white roses with big books in the background while dresses designed for the fairytale world and made especially for the store by designers Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kan, and Haider Ackermann are displayed on mannequins with rabbit faces.

But how has this all-time endearing childlike character become of such influence for the modern woman? “Alice’s wonderland reflects the desire of every contemporary woman to be at once sophisticated yet whimsical, feminine yet cheerful,” said Giovanni Furnaletto in a recent FT article. If this is truly the reason; that child-like wonder continually seduces, charms and delights, then Burton’s remake had it right: a little bit of childhood insanity in the world of grown-ups is attractive. We must continue to look through the looking glass.