As Virginia Woolf writes in Orlando: “Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm.” In this way, Coco Chanel was correct when she purportedly said that “fashion is not something that exists in dresses only,” as it both shapes and responds to the world around us. The fashion collections below are inspired by works of literature and the trends therein contained, whether its the sober clothes of independently-minded Jane Eyre or the tightly-laced bodices taken from de Sade’s velvet boudoirs. Or we could reverse the process as Sonia Rykiel did and pen the novel in response to the clothing. Anything goes in fashion, right? … Read More
Remember when you couldn’t go to a multiplex without bumping into a Jane Austen adaptation? The mid-’90s were a veritable explosion of corseted dresses and witty courtships, from faithful period pieces like 1995′s Sense and Sensibility to 1996′s Emma to updated valley-girl translations like Clueless (1995). In 1999, a Canadian company tackled Austen’s more obscure Mansfield Park, TV viewers tuned in to countless BBC miniseries versions of her work, and the fad lasted until about 2005, when Keira Knightley starred in Pride & Prejudice.
But recently, USA Today notices, Austen’s fashionable fairy tales have begun to fall out of vogue. And it looks like this decade’s 19th-century literary It Girls will be none other than the Brontë sisters: Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre will both hit the big screen next year and a biopic is also in development. So, what gives? Why have the Brontës subsumed Austen in the pop-culture imagination? … Read More
Brontë Sisters Power Dolls — which aren’t real, but really, really should be — come complete with “boomerang book-throwing action” and “super-disguise mustaches” to hide their gender from evil, sexist publishers. This 1998 commercial from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the filmmakers behind Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, warms the cockles of our English major hearts. We want the Emily one. Stat. Poor oft-forgotten Anne is just so angry looking (as she should be). Our favorite moment has to be when the super-powered English authors join forces to create the all powerful Brontësaurus — it’s like the Devastator, but thanks to its “barrier-breaking feminist vision,” so much cooler. … Read More