Last week, I went to my neighbourhood gallery, the fabulous Camden Arts Centre, for a Hitchcock retrospective and watched the equally fabulous Vertigo, cult film from the thriller master.
Vertigo has got great suspense, great plot twists, and even greater costumes. No surprise as the Costume Designer is Edith Head, who counts 35 Oscar nominations as the brain behind the chic of Sabrina and Roman Holiday, amongst many others.
In the 1958 thriller, Scottie -James Stewart- is a detective who follows his friend’s wife, Madeleine -Kim Novak- and becomes obsessed with her. Suicide, murder, faux-semblants and lookalikes feed the mystery, but it is the Hitchcockian blonde who steals the show, with her innocent yet fatale looks and blue hazy eyes.
There are three outfits worn by Kim Novak that I clearly remember and that seem truly relevant right this season. First the luxe long cream coat she wears over a black turtleneck and black elbow-length gloves, to play hide and seek in the woods. So minimalist chic, so understated elegance. Secondly, the floating blue dress she wears by the bay, that flies in the wind, before she jumps in the sea… and have it taken off by Scottie later. Feminine, everyday glamour of the era. Finally the silver grey fitted buttoned suit she wears with a white shirt and diamanté brooch and that to me embodies the idea of the cold Hitchockian blonde heroine. That suit will spark a dangerous obsession for Scottie.
Now if you haven’t seen the film yet, I recommend it, be it only to (re)discover the wonderful Kim Novak and find out how her impeccable style turned her into a cinema icon.