17.3.10

"Aren't You His Mother?"

When I was watching Rosemary's Baby, yes, I was incredibly freaked out, but I loved the costumes (and if they're inspiring enough for the Mulleavy sisters, well...). I found it intriguing that although Rosemary is (spoiler alert!) carrying Satan's baby, her wardrobe is childlike and innocent. Peter Pan collars, short hemlines, boater hats, ballet slippers... her clothes aren't what I would call juvenile, and they probably were in fashion in the sixties when the film was made, but I'm sure it's no accident that the clothes aid her in her wide-eyed, naive characterisation. The first time I watched the movie I just thought "Oh, cute dresses, very iconic hairstyle, yes, OK please stop playing the creepy lullaby..." but once I thought about it, I was amazed at how much the costumes influence the film.

While I was looking up photos to back up this idea, I came across the website Clothes On Film, which offers some really interesting insights about the movie. And although I was a bit bummed that other people had noticed the styling, as that would mean I was not brilliantly gifted with seeing subtle costume themes and therefore realising I was NOT naturally gifted with costuming abilities, I was really interested to read about it from people who have some far more fascinating insights!

The writers, Christopher and KB, of the article from Clothes on Film pointed out that the blue and white that Rosemary is wearing in this scene is very reminiscent of colours that Catholics associate with the Virgin Mary.

According to the info on Clothes on Film, the red suit that Rosemary wears in her hallucination/dream sequence (where she imagines being raped by the Devil) (OR DOES SHE?) was isnpired by iconic designers Ossie Clark and Mary Quant and is in stark contrast to her other outfits in the film. While she wears neutrals and pastels throughout the movie, this blood red, dramatic suit is a jarring departure from her character and a symbol that something bad is about to happen...

These dresses show the babydoll, thick collared dresses that I most associate with her character, and the childlike styling that I was talking about earlier. Still very stylish for the sixties (and today!). The clothes are very reminiscent of Mary Quant styling that was influencing America. I suppose as the wife of an actor (albeit one that does deals with the Devil) has to keep in fashion...

Probably the most iconic shot of the movie - again, using the Virgin Mary colours in her clothes - and it's completely unsettling to see somebody in a nightgown that we today associate with grandmas holding a SCARY ASS KNIFE about to go HUNT SOME SATAN.

If you're interested, the pieces by Clothes on Film can be seen here, here and here. There is also a piece devoted specifically to the Ossie Clark suit. I kind of like looking into the costumes like this, instead of doing what I usually do which is saying HAY PRETTY DRESS SHE LOOKS COOL. Although to be honest sometimes that's OK with me too.

What did you think of the film? The costumes? That hair? The really, really, REALLY creepy poster?

x

{pictures via Clothes on Film, via FrockTalk.com}

2 comments:

  1. I love that red suit she wears. I am gonna check out that site for more film styling insights.

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  2. Oh, I haven't seen it! I definitely will now after reading this though, it sounds fascinating (albeit MEGA creepy!)

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