Costume Party: In Praise Of ‘Carrie’ And Lonely Teenage Girl Fashion


Does blood wash out of silk?

Brian De Palma's 1976 Stephen King adaptation, Carrie, is an icon of horror. What better time than Halloween to explore the fashions of this scary and deeply sad portrait of teenage loneliness? Maybe it's silly to talk about fashion in a film that famously opens with a shower-set nude scene. But De Palma is a master of not just stylized, split screen-filled thrillers, but also of fashion. Many of his films, from Body Double to Blow Out and Scarface, feature memorably over-the-top outfits. In Carrie, the fashion isn't quite so outré, but it captures the moment and demarcates the social differences between shy, troubled Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) and her peers.

Carrie, to put it mildly, isn't like other girls at her high school. Her classmates all wear bell bottom jeans or flowing skirts. They're all casually dressed and ultra-'70s in their style. Carrie, on the other hand, looks like she could've come from the '50s, with her cardigans and commitment to modesty.

Carrie's fashion sense is an extension of the film's central tragedy. These conservative outfits are likely the choice of her abusive, religious mother (Piper Laurie). At times, Carrie looks like she might drown in her oversized sweaters. Carrie sews, and it's telling that the dress she makes herself for the horribly fated prom night is a pale, classically pretty but more revealing than usual slip dress—a dress which, of course, prompts her mother's infamous comment about "dirty pillows." Even when Carrie makes her own outfit, building a fantasy for herself, she is still hemmed in by fundamentalist insanity and the cruelty of her peers, until she gets her telekinetic revenge as the dress is rendered unrecognizable by blood.

In the film's eeriest fashion moment, Carrie home from prom night, washes off the blood and changes into a long, prim nightgown. Her mother, also wearing a long nightgown, attacks her, and she fights back. The nightgowns match in an unsettling cultish way, and it's clear that Carrie, more than ever, needs to break free of this relationship, and the mandated clothes that come with it.

Compare this to the other matching clothes we see in Carrie: Carrie's tormentors are often seen in their gym uniforms, which are school-mandated but revealing. Carrie can't slip on a gym uniform so easily.

Carrie's chief tormentor, Chris (Nancy Allen) has no qualms about wearing a halter top to school. Carrie, meanwhile, shields herself. Her stack of books may as well be a part of her outfit.

Carrie's homemade prom dress, then, holds a world of possibility. This could be the dress that frees her, that lets her feel confident. We see her smile wearing this dress. Carrie may still be shy, but in this unforgettable, terrifying denouement, she's wearing what she wants for perhaps the first time. Knowing that Carrie made that dress makes the scene even harder to watch. She doesn't find love in this dress, it ends up ruined and she kills people in it. Fashion doesn't ultimately provide a path to freedom and happiness for Carrie, though we desperately wish that it would.

Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Which one, though?

Kim Kardashian is suing fast fashion retailer Missguided, claiming that the brand uses her image to spark interest in and sell its clothing. This lawsuit comes a few days after a theory, that she may be selling her own vintage clothing designs to fast fashion brands so that they can rip them off, made its rounds on the internet.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kardashian's attorney Michael Kump writes that "Missguided systematically uses the names and images of Kardashian and other celebrities to advertise and spark interest in its website and clothing." Other celebrities that the brand has tagged on its Instagram include Cardi B and Dua Lipa, along with the other members of the Kardashian-Jenner family.

Kump uses the example of the Yeezy dress that Kim posted to Instagram, which was ripped off by the brand within a couple of hours. "Recently, for example, after Kardashian posted a photo on Instagram of a dress that was made for her... Missguided quickly responded with its own Instagram post... boasting that it would be ripping off the design within 'a few days,'" Kump continues. "Missguided purposefully inserted Kardashian's Instagram username (@KimKardashian) into its post to capitalize on her celebrity status and social media following in promoting the sale of its upcoming product."

Kump also draws attention to the fact that the brand uses Kardashian's name so much that it may lead others to believe that she works with the brand, which, he wants to make clear, she does not: "Missguided's U.S. website has included entire pages that are devoted solely to the sale of clothing inspired by Kardashian, and on which Kardashian's name and likeness are prominently used without her permission to promote the products."

Some are noting that it's suspicious that Kardashian is not suing Fashion Nova, as well, since the brand most recently ripped off a vintage Mugler gown that Kardashian wore. Though it may be harder for Kardashian to make any claims since timestamps have revealed that the dress was made before Kardashian premiered the dress.



Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.

He previously claimed to be a victim of a hate crime

According to reports, actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested by the Chicago Police Department. As CNN outlines, he's facing a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report. If found guilty, he could face up to three years in prison.

The Empire star previously claimed that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime on January 29. He alleged that two masked men attacked him, tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and yelled, "This is MAGA country!" Brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo were eventually arrested and brought in for questioning, during which news broke that one appeared on Empire and the other worked as Smollett's personal trainer. Now, according to both men and reports, it's being said that Smollett paid them to "orchestrate" the attack.

Smollett's attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, have issued a statement regarding their client's defense. "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," they told Deadline. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."

If this is all true, this unfortunate turn of events should in no way take away from the fact that there is an abundant number of racially and sexually motivated attacks happening all of the time. They also still remain vastly underreported, so it's essential to listen to alleged victims, always.