Friday, February 28, 2014

Inspired by the Movies: Vicki the Silver-and-Gold-Digger from The Parent Trap (1961)

Parent Trap Thumbnail

When Pattern Review announced its "Inspired by the Movies" contest I was kind of stumped.  I have made a zillion costumes based on movie characters, but the requirement for this contest is that the final result *not* be a costume.  Which is a clever twist but was not inspiring me so much.  I was trying to think of contemporary movies whose style I liked and was really coming up blank.  TV shows, yes.  But movies?  Nothin'.

Then I was thinking about the yellow skirt I had planned and what I would wear with it and suddenly a little tickle in my brain reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time:  The Parent Trap.  I prefer the 1961 version, but I will tell you that I also own the Lindsay Lohan remake and like it almost as much as the original.  I am not a purist.  Though it makes me sad to see her being cute and undrugged.

At any rate, I have watched this movie dozens if not hundreds of times, can recite every line along with the characters, still laugh when the cake gets stuck on the bird beak, and there it is in the middle:  Vicki's yellow suit with a silver top.  I love Maureen O'Hara's wardrobe, but have neither the hourglass figure nor the bullet bra to carry off her looks.  But Joanna Barnes as Vicki?  That I can do.

While reams of ink (to mix my metaphors) have been spilled on Maureen O'Hara's Maggie (here is a fabulous rundown of all her outfits), I couldn't find much on Vicki's costumes.  I assume this is partly because she's the villain and mostly because as a femme fatale she is a total fail.  The costume designer really was not giving us anything to work with in seeing Vicki as the seductive younger woman.  All her clothes are too big, hiding whatever figure she may have.  Her hair is gray grandma hair of the kind where you go to the beauty parlor to get it set once a week.  She mostly wears heinous suits--hardly the kind of attire that screams bedroom!

Hayley Mills's character calls her "very nicely put together" and Maureen O'Hara's character refers to her as "that plotz-faced child bride with the electric hips," and  Nothing we see her in makes her look sexy.  I think it's a rather cheap trick on the part of wardrobe to make the villain unappealing visually as well as morally.

White Cowl Dress

She first appears in her best wardrobe item.  It's all downhill from here, trust me.  She waltzes onto the scene in a fresh white cowl dress, the color suggesting bridalwear.  The fit is nice--not curve-hugging like Maureen O'Hara's clothes will be, but at least figure conscious.  The style is perfect for sitting pool(?--that thing always looked like a slimey pond to me)-side and trying to cozy up to the teenage daughter of your man-target.

I love that chunky necklace, too!

Chanel Style Jacket

The next time we see her is at the country club.  She is seated the entire time so you don't get much of her outfit, but this is where she starts her run of suits.  This Chanel-style collarless checked jacket is nicely tailored and a good start, and it appears she is wearing a coordinating sheath under it.  OK, I guess she's trying to convey gravitas.  I get it.

Yellow Suit

The next outfit is my inspiration, the Silver-and-Gold-Digger Outfit.  I don't know if that is what the costume designer was trying to convey, but I think these should have been her signature colors.  She was blatant about what she wanted out of life and from Mitch, she should have worn it on her sleeve!  This photo shows the matching silver purse.  The only place I could get her matching yellow shoes(!!!) was in the tiny fuzzy shot from the back.

A yellow suit is a little much for my life, but a yellow skirt with a silver drapey top is just about right.  I went on a journey to find the right drapey top.  I didn't want to try to copy what she is wearing (not that you can see much of it), but to reimagine it for what a mid-level gold-digger might wear today (Mitch was wealthy, but he didn't seem *rich rich*).  I went with her method of alluring rather than showing off the goods, and adopted a very current silhouette in Simplicity 1805 (see all the examples in the S1805 blog post) that a woman in the fashion know--who is slightly clueless about how very little men care about what might be fashionable if it isn't tight and short--might wear.

The skirt was a lot simpler to choose.  The pencil skirt hasn't changed much over the years!  Burda 07-2010-120 offered a nice version with the interesting dart variant.  I went with silver shoes instead of yellow--again, more current--and put on my best seductress face.  Luckily, I have a marketable skill and a good job because I am no better a seductress than she turned out to be.

Gray Suit

Here we have the nadir of Vicki-dom.  My heavens is this terrible.  She is at Mitch's house TO SET UP HER WEDDING and she is swimming in a dirge of a gray suit with a brown shirt under it.  Brown.

Her mother is sporting a fairly adorable naughty widow dress while Vicki is manning the guestbook table at the funeral.  Terrible.

Brown and Gray

She does have a good necklace again, though.  I can't tell if it's same one she wore with her white cowl dress, but the two strand pearls she wears with the Chanel jacket and the yellow suit appear to be the same, so I think she is an unwealthy girl trying to stretch her wardrobe staples while she runs in wealthy circles until she can hit the jackpot herself.

But overall, costume designer, shame on you.  In this scene she is set up as a foil for Maureen O'Hara's adorable print dress with contrasting scarves at the waist, but they are not even going to pretend it's a contest.  Give a girl a fighting chance to live out her dream of a life of unearned leisure!

Vicki Pink

Realizing that dour suits are a losing proposition, Vicki attempts to bring on the feminine.  Except she went so far into feminine that she emerged as Easter Parade Matronly.  You thought it couldn't get worse than that suit?  Think again.

Vicki Pink Full Length

This polka-dot confection has tucks and fripperies galore to hide those "electric hips" and is an unflattering tea length.  Seriously, honey, you need to cut your fabric allowance in half for just about everything you wear, and this one is public enemy number one.

And where did that third pearl strand come from?  Mysterious.

Vicki Oversized

Not to worry, Maggie has her covered.  Literally.  When Vicki joins the camping trip on the fly, Maggie dresses her up in some of Mitch's pre-Weight Watchers items, telling her to "just cinch it."

Vicki Brown Closeup

She also managed to unearth another shirt in that most bridal of colors, brown.  Even so, Vicki is kind of working that cinch and the shirt is unbuttoned as low as she can reasonably go.  She's making an effort.  Then Maggie shoves her into a truck and waves goodbye.

Vicki Bandana

Although the camping trip is a disaster, she does manage to style that Members Only jacket in a fairly cute, preppy way by tossing it over the shoulders.  She also found a different shirt that is a deep burgundy and almost not-brown! Our girl is clawing her way back to youthful one muddy shade at a time.  The kerchief over the rollers is kind of stylin' too. She appears to have a lot of practice wearing them given how soundly she sleeps.  I take back what I said before about the beauty parlor; she has to DIY like the rest of us schlubs.

Vicki Curlers

And here's our parting shot, she all fury and curlers and oversized men's pajamas that actually could be sexy in the right situation.  Two teenage girls, a grizzled farmhand, and a pair of motor-tongued bear cubs is not that situation.  Also, real bears licked her feet?  Or were those wooden stunt feet? I would not let real bears lick my feet, I don't care if they're bitty cubs that wouldn't hurt a fly.

Hecky gets her boots and she storms down the mountain to dig for new treasure.  I hope for her sake that she ran so quickly she left her wardrobe behind and had to get by with a well-cinched pair of men's pajamas.  Cut those pants into shorts and unbutton a few extra buttons and you have a sort of adorable variation on a salwar kameez.

Electric hips?

Actress Joanna Barnes was a good sport in all this, and even reprised her role in the Lindsay Lohan remake as "Aunt Vicki," the mother of actual, if still unsuccessful, femme fatale Meredith Blake (played by Elaine Hendrix), who gets to wear actual attractive clothes.  I assume Joanna privately sneered at her as an amateur.  Anyone can work with a fitted sheath.  In her day you had to make a pastel polka dot HeeHaw reject dress look good!

Vicki, I salute you.

You can see the full album here and my pattern review contest entry is here.


Three posts in one week!  I'm sure you can guess the contest deadline is today.  Ha!  I have been spending *a lot* of time at work on a big project, but I don't want to give up my real life to do it.  I am glad I don't have to do any more late night blogging, though.

And I've been so busy that I haven't told you that Cidell and I finally did another podcast! You can find us on iTunes, too.


Trumbelina said...

You hit the nail on the head with "HeeHaw reject". Ha! What a post! Thanks for the link to the Maureen O'Hara wardrobe makeover. I also love this movie (both versions although I've seen the original more times). That yellow skirt fits you to a tee, and the adjustments to the silver top make the fit just right.
One more thing: Thank you for doing another podcast. I love them.

Angela said...

What a fun interpretation! That skirt is gorgeous on you. Yellow and silver is a great unexpected color combination.

Anonymous said...

This is the exactly kind of thing I imagined when I read about "Inspired by the movies". You've taken a nice suit from the 1960s, and made the resulting outfit beautiful and wearable. My favorite dress/sweater combo is the blue-grey combo worn by Meg Ryan in the final scenes of "You've Got Mail".

Adelaide B said...

I love this look. (And that movie.)

Clio said...

Love your take on the gold digger outfit and LOL'ing at "pastel polka dot Hee Haw reject dress".

Beryl said...

I'll have to run over and vote for you. My husband and I love both Parent Trap movies and are constantly making reference to or quoting them. Your comprehensive fashion commentary on them is wonderful!

kathy said...

This might be your best post ever.
Miss Golddigger.

Kathy said...

Really great outfit... I love how you opted for an unexpected movie inspiration. And P.S. I listened to the podcast the other day... really enjoyable. Hope you guys keep it up a bit more often!

liza jane said...

One of my favorite movies ever. Love the outfit rundown. And that pencil skirt! Fun post :)

Kristy said...

I haven't watched this movie (either version) in years but your post makes me want to track it down now! I love your finished outfit, I was too stumped to think of an entry but your choice is perfect as "an inspired by" but not costumey.

Joy said...

I've rewatched this movie a number of times now that the kids are old enough to appreciate it. I thoroughly enjoyed your wardrobe analysis, ha!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I love your outfit and think it definitely reflects the character in the original Parent Trap! Although I'm so much more a fan of the remake since the mother of the twins is a bridal designer and the fashion for all the women, including Lindsay Lohan is awesome.

Good luck in the contest!

Inkstain said...

This is a BRILLIANT Post and a fabulous outfit and the choice of Vicki, poor Vicki under her awful mother's thumb, is so original. I hope you win, and I think you've got a truly sophisticated top in that silver charmeuse.

Inkstain said...

p.s. our favorite permanent quote from that movie lives on, 'I'm not saying a word, not one little word.'

Anonymous said...

A very cute ensemble!

I too adore The Parent Trap (original please!) and was thrilled when watching a show the other day with Hayley Mills. I kept pausing and imdb-ing her.

Will have to watch TPT today when sewing just to keep the solidarity with you and Vicki.

Linda, Bathtub Fabric Queen said...

LOVE this movie! And she's so hilarious as the "bad guy." Her crime: to marry money-- the premise of most all Marilyn Monroe movies! Her undoing: teenagers and camping.
I went with Auntie Mame for inspiration.

McVal said...

LOL! I love the original Parent Trap too and bemoan the fact that I thought Lohan was a good role model for my girls at one point...
LOVE your Gold-diggers ensemble!

Inkstain said...

And I have to add a third comment about this wonderful movie. Our family had just moved to seek their fortunes in LA and I was in a bit of a traumatized mental condition over loss of dog, home and friends. My Mom took me to this movie and afterwards we went straight to a hairdresser to have my hair chopped off and curled like Susan/Sharon/Hayley Mills. It was the start of my new life in Hollywood. I'll never forget my Mom's big gesture to make misery seem like fun.

catspec said...

Love the color...:) Just love the outfit! Can't say I see the movie tie-in here, but it could be the color. ;) Love it.

Anonymous said...

I love your outfit and your commentary on the movie fashions is fantastic!
My 13-year-old daughter decided to cut off her long hair and brought in a photo of Hayley Mills from The Parent Trap and asked for that hairstyle. The stylist kindly pointed out that my daughter would need to do a lot of work to style it that way. They came up with a compromise hairstyle that worked with my daughter's straight hair. But I kind of loved that her role model was from the 1960's.

emadethis said...

What a beautiful color combo. The silk is so fluid, and I'm sure it feels amazing to wear. You and Cidell will be in my ears as I work on a pair of gloves today!

studiofaro said...

Love, love the colour combo on you. And what a great casual fit top pattern you have made. So on trend! :)

Isabelle said...

What a beautiful outfit - great colour combination.
It was such a treat to get to listen to you and Renee again. Thank you for taking the time to do this!

Tany said...

Absolutely stunning outfit!!!!

Susan said...

This looks amazing on you. GORGEOUS!

Mrs. Micawber said...

Oh gosh, I love those movies - old and new. What a fun post (also really enjoyed that great link). And the outfit is lovely - perfect fit on blouse and skirt both.