Thursday, October 22, 2009

Strange Beauties: The Allure of the Unusual Leading Lady

Today's guest post comes from the talented artist and blogger, J.L. Schnabel! I hope she doesn't mind me saying so, but I think that Ms. Schnabel might be a kindred spirit -- we both share a similar attraction to the surreal and strange...and we're both slightly obsessed with Halloween. Her blog, Blood Milk is a constant source of inspiration, and she has introduced me to so many new artists and designers. Oh, did I mention she also makes incredible jewelry...?

As a worshipper of the surreal & unusual, I often like my leading ladies to have a touch of the strange. My favorite "horror movies" feature the lovely les femmes noires: Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder, for their turns in Bettlejuice, Dracula, The Addams Family and Sleepy Hollow. What I love most about these characters is the way they each own their 'weirdness.' They live, unafraid and comfortable, on the fringe of their respective societies; whether as a vampire lover or secret witch, their identities are firm and poignant. While both actresses have been severely underrated, both in their beauty and talent, they are forever immortalized as the characters they have helped shaped my aesthetic and art...

Being closer to Christina Ricci's age, I worshipped her as Wednesday Addams. I lopped off my Barbie's head, trained myself to sleep with my arms folded over my chest like the dead and wore my raven hair in two braids for months. As the princess of doom and gloom she's often been the inspiration to weird girls and artists alike. She is rendered here in a portrait by the amazing David Stoupakis:

Ricci's turn as blonde and witchy Katrina Van Tassel allowed her to work her magick on steampunk clad Johnny Depp/Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow. One of my favorite details of the movie was the bird and cage optical illusion that Ichabod gives Katrina:

{Optical illusion spinner birdcage by The Social Cellar}

Although I didn't quite understand the full emotional depths of Dracula when I first saw it as a kid, it was the first time I remember being aware of Winona Ryder, who plays fated bride Mina Harker. At the heart of all the blood and vampire-hunting is a chilling love story. The exquisite costumes featured on the entire cast capture the detail and drama of Victorian life and elegance.

The decadence of Victorian style has been re-created in these lovely handmade hats by Etsy seller Topsy Turvy Design.

Bettlejuice is one of those films that has lingered and spilled over into several creative facets of my life. The dramatic and gloomy Lydia Deetz has a permanent rain cloud over her head until she meets a pair of unlikely ghosts. Even the cartoon series was great! Part of my wardrobe is inspired by the stripped patterns in the movie, which are easy to find in the vintage section of Etsy...

{Romper from Find MeVintage / Blouse from Etsy seller Marion kc}

What leading lady do you relate to most?

Happy Halloween!
x/x, jl schnabel x blood milk
::P.S. Please visit Bloodmilk to enter my October giveaway here!


Brigid said...

Good stuff! Ricci and Ryder have always been two of my favorites. I loved Beatlejuice and the Addams Family as a kid.

Anonymous said...

Sleepy hollow is my favourite film ever! It's so dark and beautiful.

I've always loved the really old movie stars like Clara Bow and Marlene Dietrich. They were just so elegant. Clara wasn't beautiful in the classic way either, but she was still an absolute stunner. Edie Sedgwick had the whole not-conventionally-pretty-but-still-gorgeous thing going on too.

Lily said...

How about Isabelle Adjani in Herzog's remake of Nosferatu?

Lily Leaf ♥ said...

I'm going to have to say...
Once again, I love the post!
I love her and I love the clothes and hats. sigh- your blog is very inspirational! I'm SO glad I stumbled upon your blogspot :)

Anonymous said...

Hithcock's Marnie....she is crazy and I love it!

Sepulture said...

h. bonham carter as mrs lovett! :D

{Tara} said...

Stephanie -- Thanks, and thanks for stopping by!

Brigid -- Me too...they are just classics in my book.

Hammy -- Sleepy Hollow is amazing; I always want to watch it around this time of year. I also adore Clara Bow!

{Tara} said...

Lily -- I haven't seen that film for some strange reason...must add it to the queue!

Lily Leaf -- Thank you so much! You just made my day!

Besswess -- Ah, excellent choice...the slightly off-kilter leading ladies are always the most interesting.

Sepulture -- Agreed...H.B. Carter in almost anything, really ;)

Sam said...

I love that film - it's Cappola, (terrible spelling?) isn't it? Very lovely visually and Winona looks like a dream in it - such a shame she's kinda dropped out a bit...I think scanner darkly was the last thing I saw her in (Linklater?).