Because David Lynch and his leading ladies give us so many feels.

Art

12.13.2016

The Stylish Heroines of David Lynch’s Bizarre, Ethereal World

Few film directors are capable of producing such a consistent output of the delectably idiosyncratic and the compellingly bizarre as David Lynch. The characters, the dialogue, and the sets that populate his work encourage viewers to encounter a world where temporality and common sense are ever skewed and unpredictable. And nowhere do we encounter this strange, evocative world more than in the fashion and styles of his female protagonists. More than just costumes, the clothes become a stylization of the personality: suggesting, reflecting and encapsulating the characters motives and desires. Surrealism and uncertainty reign supreme in the lives of the women we meet in his films and they temper this strangeness with a good measure of silk, fur and endearingly dated prints.

Twin Peaks | (Un)dead Laura Palmer

From her black evening dress to her clip-on earrings, Laura Palmer’s closet was having a golden moment in the afterlife. Cast into the otherworldly Black Lodge, Laura copes through an eternal commitment to a singular outfit and preternaturally voluminous locks. Laura reigns royally over this idiosyncratic realm where physical laws are changeable and logic has diminished authority. Here in the Black Lodge, who cares that you can’t form a coherent sentence on call when you look like a vampy seductress that would make Dracula’s girlfriend jealous? Dale Cooper sure didn’t.

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Mulholland Drive | Rita/Camilla Rhodes

Step 1: Narrowly escape death in the glamorous and tortured hills of Mulholland and forget who you are. Step 2: dress accordingly. If there’s any sense to be made or certainty to be gleaned from Mulholland Drive, that’s it; because in this hypnotizing neo-noir world temporality is ruptured and identity is a tenuous concept. Rich shades of red and burgundy adorn our confused protagonist, casting a mysterious air over her upside down life. But who is our protagonist? Is it Rita, tormented and cast into a world of shadows and uncertainty? Or is it Camilla Rhodes, casting her sensual gaze over her Los Angeles kingdom? Are Rita and Camilla the same person or is Rita merely a figment of Betty’s (Naomi Watts) imagination? Regardless, our heroine keeps the illusion of a Hollywood golden age alive with her dark crimson lipstick, luxe wardrobe, and brooding sensibility.

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Twin Peaks | Audrey Horne

Audrey showed TV viewers everywhere that there exists a happy medium between Pacific Northwest grunge and fifties noir chic. Throw in a penchant for sweater weather and we have a bona fide logging town style maven. Audrey juggles a criminally leaning father, a dead frenemy and a romantic obsession with Dale Cooper impeccably with her taste for knee-high skirts and eternal autumn color palette. And we can always rely on Audrey to go above and beyond on the finishing touches: mannequin-perfect makeup and extravagantly hairsprayed dark black spirals.

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Blue Velvet | Dorothy Vallens

David Lynch was quoted as saying that Blue Velvet is a ‘film about things that are hidden’ but Dorothy Vallens demonstrates that, in this movie, there are just as many things revealed; namely, to be wary around anyone who wears that much, well, blue velvet. She also proves something else, rather forcefully: when your personal life is proving to be a weight you can no longer bear one solution beckons above the rest: sequins. Hey, when your everyday norm is a kidnapped child, a voyeuristic stranger hiding in your closet and a sociopathic sex partner who kidnapped said child (and your husband) you have to find solace in something. Dorothy proves that aging lounge singers can have covetable style and eschew small town respectability and show some skin while at it. Blue eyeshadow and an almost garish, but ultimately strangely appealing, red lipstick round out her romantically iconic look.

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Wild at Heart | Lula Fortune

Running from the law, a hitman and a mother that wants your boyfriend dead rarely looks this good. Part nineties neon angel, part biker tramp, Lula Fortune is a road tripping style goddess. Lula proves that days on the road aren’t complete without lacy lingerie, halter straps and tight black dresses. Top it all off with a neon pink spandex minidress and you may as well stay reckless, wild and unemployed forever. When your life consists of driving through barren moonscapes, campy motel room stays and encounters with duplicitous strangers why not pull on the neon and make the best of things?

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Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield | Lost Highway

A silk slip dress will take you a long way in the world; especially so when you have two identities, two lovers and live in a world where the laws that govern the arrow of time are mere inconveniences. Renee/Alice oozes of intrigue and pretense, encapsulating the raw, unattainable femininity of a 1940s silver screen siren. Blondes or brunettes? In Lost Highway you get both; Alice with her heavily coiffed blonde mane or Renee with her Veronica Lodge-inspired stark black locks and blunt bangs. While our two heroines diverge in their preference of shades (Alice is all about the latte beige and Renee sticks with the darker edge of the color spectrum), they share a mysterious sophistication that pairs seamlessly with Lynch’s hallucinatory vision.

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Featured image via ABC

Stay tuned to Milk for more alluring duality.

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