Monday, 19 October 2009

Cinderella's Dress

My geeky heroine, Alice, has a vintage fashion makeover during the course of Invitation To The Boss’s Ball. She sees herself as a bit of a stick insect (not a problem I’ve ever had, unfortunately) but I wanted to show that all shapes and sizes can have issues about their bodies and that all of us can be beautiful and sexy. I think ‘sexy’ is more about what’s on the inside, anyway.

The best era of dress to suit Alice would have either been a flapper dress from the Twenties, or something bias cut from the Thirties. Since the ball she was attending had a theme of ‘Old Hollywood Glamour’ I chose the latter, thinking of stars such as Carole Lombard and Ginger Rogers when my imagination got to work on Alice’s attire. I don’t actually have a picture of the dress because it’s a combination of different ideas I saw when I was doing my research. The colour had to be deep, dark green, like the first picture, but I think the style was probably more like the other pictures, something that would flatter a willowy figure.

Why green? It’s my favourite colour – especially dark green. It’s possible that when I thought “Thirties” and “green dress” that I subliminally thought of Kiera Knightly’s dress in Atonement, but I haven’t seen the film and the green I had in mind was much darker. However, when I googled “green thirties dress” and tons of movie stills popped up, I decided this picture captured something of the wistful, romantic feel I wanted for some of the ball scenes and I used it as my computer wallpaper while I was writing the book.

Initially, I just pictured a pair of fabulous vintage shoes as Alice’s footwear, something satin or sparkly, but when I came across this picture, I knew they were perfect. Glass heels! Perfect for Cinderella! Of course, the heels aren’t really glass, they’re Lucite – a type of Perspex. In my mind, the heels on Alice’s shoes were entirely clear, unlike the shoes in the picture, which are only partly Lucite. Seriously, if these vintage shoes had been in my size, I would have bought them in an instant.

A change of clothes wasn’t all that Alice needed. If an ugly ducking is going to be a swan, she needs a complete makeover. I could have gone for a coiled and waved hairdo (see the top picture of Carole Lombard), but I decided that it wasn’t dramatic enough. The image that sprung instantly to mind was of movie star Veronica Lake, famed for her sexy peek-a-boo side parting. It was just the thing to knock not only Cameron’s socks off but the breath right out of his lungs.

1 comment:

Jan Jones said...

Fabulous dresses...fabulous shoes...

And that is one powerful picture. Clever you to find it.