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 yet...no.  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.

Side
Electric hips?
Front

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.

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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.

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