Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fashion Raindrops: The Virgin Suicides

 On the Stairs.

"We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we
couldn't fathom them at all." (Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides). 

Every summer I find myself turning to The Virgin Suicides, one of my favourite books, and also the film adaptation by Sofia Coppola. It creates this beautiful hazy American vintage atmosphere, the kind of thing that designers would kill to evoke for a Spring/Summer collection, where people run barefoot and everything's a bit more innocent. I certainly feel like this year is full of yet another evocation of whiter-than-white dresses with lace, of floral headbands and knee-high socks, worn Lolita-style. It always makes me turn back to that book, for a more authentic and beautifully worded slant on sun-drenched afternoons and a little bit of heartache.

The other week I came across this amazing vintage dress at Brighton's Vintage Nation, featuring a gorgeous floral 1970s print and bell sleeves. I was hooked. £25 and a little restoration with some Vanish and I had myself a look that was almost worthy of the Lisbon sisters in the novel. 

So much of the text is about the local boys' perceptions of the girls and their appearance or behaviour, through the briefest of glimpses or through anecdotal evidence from their school-friends who have managed to get inside the sisters' world. When they try to liberate themselves at the school prom, with their sack-like dresses as imposed by the domineering Mrs. Lisbon, we see how they can go beyond the superficial, with conservative clothes unable to provide a barrier to their freedom.
Glowing White.

 “It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone," (Jeffrey Eugenides).

If you get the chance to read The Virgin Suicides, then do. It's one of my favourite summer reads and it stays with you long after the last page is turned. Whether you're a fashion lover or you just like a good book, I can thoroughly recommend it.

[All photographs my own. Please ask before reproducing].

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