The Devil Wears Slightly Disappointing Clothes

In recent years, I haven’t been impressed by that many contemporary films’ wardrobe styling.  Each time I read ‘stylish’ in a Marie Claire/Glamour film review, for me, it often translates to ‘boring’ and predictable.  So I sat up and listened when I heard Patricia Field, ex-stylist of Sex and the City was in charge of the wardrobe on the film adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada (by Lauren Weisberger).  The film has premiered, the stills are out, Vogue has coo-ed over it, and unfortunately, it doesn’t come out here in the UK until October.  However, judging from these pictures, and don’t shoot me for saying so, my reaction is a little like ‘Oh?  Is that it?’.   

I respect Pat Field’s daring choices and I still do rate SATC as the only show that pushed style boundaries.  In Carrie Bradshaw, the array of styles that Field created were so innovative and fashion-forward.  Naturally, my expectations were high. 

Now I understand that the nature of Runway magazine in The Devil Wears Prada is conformist in its style rather than zany and urban-edgy.  It’s about beautifully cut clothes, designer labels, fashion of the highest quality and price.  But how great would it be to see Runway magazine’s staff and Andrea herself materialised as uber-fashion victim types, with over the top styling.  Is it that mainstream audiences have the word ‘stylish’ pigeon-holed into a certain typecast – a wardrobe purely of Prada, Gucci and Balenciaga?  Is there not room for further interpretation of the word, especially when we’re figuring Patricia Field into the equation.  I do wonder whether she was allowed full rein of the wardrobe or whether, she was trying to stick to how Weisberger portrayed their clothes.  Or was she trying to convey how an American Vogue-type magazine office staff would dress in reality?  I have no idea.  Either way, I’m not blown away by this highly-anticipated ‘fashion’ film.  For me, the content of the film maybe fashion, but the clothing itself is only ‘safely stylish’. 

(Pics from Telegraph)

24 Replies to “The Devil Wears Slightly Disappointing Clothes”

  1. Funny, I read that NYT article 2 minutes after I blogged about it! I agree with La Ferla on most of her points. Who else is seeing what I’m seeing? Because I seem to see hear a lot of people wetting themselves over this movie coming out…….

  2. Yes, the clothing does appear to be far too “safe.” I haven’t seen the movie but I hear that the girl who plays Emily has more outrageous outfits, but I guess it depends on what one considers outrageous.

  3. eh, I think the criticisms are a bit harsh. This isn’t meant to be a fashion movie. It’s a movie about people who work in fashion and it’s meant to be mainstream, not fashion forward, which a majority of people wouldn’t understand. Plus you can’t really expect to see the people in things that reflect ‘now’ when it was shot about a year ago and is based on a book written before that. Of course I wish the styling was as amazing as it was on satc, but I’m not that disappointed either.

  4. I think that Hollywood definitely has the brand-name obsession thing going on. When Anne Hathaway ticked off the typical known designer names, Chanel-Prada-blahblah… I didn’t really expect anything…
    Then again, the US Vogue staff does seem to be about the impeccably cut, safe trends of the season (always in-season). Anna Wintour certainly doesn’t help.

  5. Meg: Good points. I still think ‘Come again?’ when in the book, Weisberger talks about everyone at Runway wearing tight leather pants. Perhaps, I’ve just been waiting for a REALLY fashion-intense film for a while now.
    In Spades: In that NYT article Maya posted, they pointed out that real Vogue-ettes were super casual and wore things like Chloe and Marni. So now I’m not even sure that Pat FIeld was going for fashion reality either – just some sort of warped 90’s notion of fashion where it’s about Gucci and Chanel. I think it definitely factors in that the film is supposed to be for everyone so I suppose it has to be accessible with it’s fashion as well. *sighs* I’ll just sit in the corner with my mini-rant!

  6. Yeah I do understand susie, and I do think it’s going for quite a version of what ‘fashion’ is. That said, I find it incredibly satisfying when I see a film that is well styled but completely unexpected. You, Me and Everyone We Know is great. So is Prime and Something New (both newer movies, but had a couple moments of styling genius)

  7. I have to agree with Meg in what she said… This isn’t Sex and the City and I wouldn’t want her to repeat that just to show how innovative and fashion forward she is…. And after all, how fashion forward is Anna Wintour really? or US Vogue? or the american indystry represented by magazines like Vogue and “Runaway”?
    Having noted this, I have to say that I haven’t watched the movie, just seen photos of it and I agree with your comment on safe fashion, susie…. However, this is exactly what I expected…

  8. Meg: I loved the styling in YAMAEWN as well (sorry can’t be arsed to type it out!) – so out of the blue yet natural at the same time.
    Perhaps, my expectations were a little warped. After all, the wardrobe choices they made are in accordance with what the book originally portrayed. It’s probably just my madcap thought of the day – ‘Wouldn’t it be great if they did go all out with the wardrobe?’ knowing that they very well couldn’t go too crazy.

  9. Also, this film has to fly all over America, not just in New York. Chloe and Marni aren’t going to mean anything to a lot of people in middle America, so they wouldn’t really be impressed by a character’s upgrade from argyle skirts to Chloe dresses. Prada, Gucci, et. al., are well-known luxury brands even to people in the midwest, and I’m sure the studio plans to make most of their money from those exact people.

  10. Oh!, and I also forgot to add this: Anne Hathaway herself is sort of a brand. She’s pretty much about wish fulfillment. First she was the ugly duckling who became a princess. Now little girls who watched her and dreamed of becoming princesses when her first film came out are older and dreaming of having glamorous careers and moving to New York and wearing expensive clothing, which is exactly the movie Anne Hathaway is in right now. I don’t think it’s supposed to reflect reality: I think it’s supposed to reflect an average American girl’s dream. It’s like “Princess Diaries Does Vogue.” That means it’s not going to be imaginative because it has to be bland enough to appeal to a lot a lot of girls.

  11. Some great points all round – ok, I put my hands up and I’ll just go sit in the corner in crazy woman mode!
    The last two points are very valid indeed – I think I’m just waiting for someone to come up with a film that reflects my fashion fantasies. Clearly, this film would only have an audience of about 5 people. Someone out there good at film directing?

  12. I always think Hollywood underestimates the audience; they spoon feed everything and create no challenges. I, too, wish that someone would create the fashion movie we all (as fashion types) want to see. Middle america might not understand it immediately, but if the characters and plot were somewhat relatable, box office “success” could still be an option! Maybe I’m being too optimistic…

  13. No, you’re not being too optimistic. Middle America only functions are our lowest common denominator because the media dumsb everything down for them. I definitely wished people like you were working in Hollywood instead.

  14. I haven’t seen the movie but i’ve read the book and i remember being kinda dissapointed by the clothes Weisberger described: they seemed bland and predictable. Stilettoes with pointed toes, mini skirts, belly baring tops, really tight pants..not really my idea of super stylish. On the other hand, Miranda really ticked me off as she reminded me of my ex-boss. Seems there are a lot of Anna Wintour’s working in the fashion field around the world.

  15. What is up with all the middle america bashing?
    There are people in Middle America who do enjoy fashion and personal style, not just labels.
    But to be fair, there still is a large majority of people living in Middle America, who would rather wear labeled clothing than mixing it up anyday.

  16. I don’t think anyone’s bashing middle America. It’s just that the majority of people there are more conservative in every way than the majority of people in New York. I apologize if you were offended.

  17. LP: Or grow up to be married to a gay man LoL
    I think the magazine Runway is all about high fashion and being safe rather than a more avant garde type of magazine.
    The choices aren’t very surprising but I can’t say Im disappointed either.

  18. perhaps American style is not so overstyled and trendy. American style is classically classic, non?

  19. ^Classically classic is not indicative of all American style though…. look at SATC – they pushed the boundaries a LOT. Plus, New York seems to be in it’s own style stratosphere so even if they did go for ‘overstyled and trendy’, it wouldn’t be so shocking.
    Just my opinion!

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