1. Icon of the Week: Alice in Wonderland

    Posted by Claudia Low on March 3, 2010

    While most of us surely wouldn’t perpetuate Alice’s wardrobe on a day to day basis, it’s hard to deny the influence her Wonderland has had on popular culture. Because most visual interpretations of the text have been textbook moulded since 1865, Alice in Wonderland is unwaveringly iconic. Today I thought I’d point the ways in which the text has influenced the fashion industry, before you go off to catch Tim Burton’s contemporary take on the classic. 

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a novel penned by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll in 1865.

    As you might be well aware, it chronicles Alice’s journey down a rabbit hole into a world of fantasy filled with anthropomorphic creatures.

    The protagonist was based on Alice Pleasance Liddell, whose family Carroll had met in 1855. Liddell was often thought to be his favourite subject during the time, though there’s little evidence to justify this since Caroll’s journals from 1858 to 1862 were destroyed by his heirs. Many have suspected Carroll to have been romantically attached to her as a child, but I digress. 

    In 1862, Carroll rowed up the River Thames with the Liddell family, during which, he told the daughters a story about a bored girl named Alice who went off looking for an adventure. Liddell asked Carroll to write it down for her. After two years, he gifted her the handwritten manuscript, having expanded it with episodes on the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Tea-Party. In 1865, the book was published, featuring illustrations by John Tenniel, and has never been out of print ever since.

    There have been countless adaptations and derivatives of Alice in Wonderland, but  perhaps what cemented its iconicism was Disney’s animated film in 1951. 

    The reason for the film’s success, I believe, was due to artist Mary Blair’s modernist approach to her design of Wonderland.

    Her bold use of colours and streamlined art created a familiar world that was undoubtedly a facet of fantasy. 

    The characters in turn were drawn in iconic simplicity, etching themselves into our linkage to Carroll’s work.

    But the otherworldly quality to Carroll’s work has always been an inspiration to popular culture. So much so that the word ‘Wonderland’ entered the English language as a proper term, and horseshoe-shaped headbands started getting referred to as Alice bands. 

    But terminology aside, I’ve personally always loved Alice-associated fashion interpretations because outlandish whimsicality just goes so well with a touch of innocence.

    Here are some of my favourite Alice-inspired high fashion takes:

    Natalia Vodianova for Vogue US

    Amanda Seyfried for Vogue Italia

    Beyonce for Disney

    Ali Cavanaugh

    ZooZoom

    Elena Kalis

    And I’ve always had this creeping suspicion that Wonderland inspired Prada’s Trembled Blossoms.

    I for one, personally can’t wait for Tim Burton’s take on Wonderland because right from the get go, its released photos looked like a gorgeous motion fashion editorial!

    And of course, the hype’s been constantly whetted, what with all the associated jewelry lines that have just been released!

    Swarovski

    Stella McCartney

    Tom Binns for Disney Couture

    Tom Binns

    What do you think of the contemporizing of it, let alone Alice in Wonderland as an iconic fashion inspiration?

     

    [Photo Credits: fashionbox, cyanatrendland, theartnoveaugirl, lavie-en-beads, popsop, disneydreaming, 80spurple, karmaloop, latimes, asos, tmagazine, sandersartstudio, wddvds, f8onmoon, nummynims, pfangirl, thevine, outnow, list, yaumi]

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