They may not have walked ramps as showstoppers to couture lines. Nevertheless, they have inspired fashion trends around the globe. Celebrated literary characters Alice in Wonderland and Little Red Riding Hood have been objects of affection of not only children but illustrators, photographers, designers and artists alike.
In the year marking the 150th anniversary since her conception, Alice of Alice in Wonderland continues to be seen as a fashion trailblazer. It was Lewis Carroll—the pseudonym of the eccentric mathematician and visionary children’s fiction writer, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson—who first styled Alice in 1864. The author considered one of the first proponents of nonsense literature stylized her in the manuscript which he offered to his little friend Alice Liddell as a Christmas gift. In fact, Alice’s character was based on the Liddel girl who was not a blonde but a brunette.
Lewis Carroll had himself created 37 illustrations for the first print of the book. Doubtful of his own work he had later passed the baton to John Tenniel. As with the creation of every classic Alice in Wonderland has been interpreted and reinterpreted to suit the ends of several different voices. Consequently, over the years Alice’s style was modified as publishers of different countries illustrated Alice in their own unique way, adding the influences of their region to her wardrobe. Alice’s headband and pinafore have largely remained untouched and ubiquitous influences.
Films based on Caroll’s book too played an important role in her fashion legacy. The first ever film on Carroll’s classic was made in 1903—a silent film by a gentleman named Cecil M. Hepworth. Since then almost every decade has had its own edition of Alice. The last adaption being Tim Burton’s—another eccentric in his own right—2010 film that drew attention among other things for its imaginative costumes and lurid make-up.
Another popular character central to the fairy tale genre entailing an eternal tussle between the good and the bad is Little Red Riding Hood. The girl epitomized by her red hood, is till today one of the biggest reference point for fashion shoots, wardrobe collections, designer wear, art and again film adaptation. Among the well-known works Little Red Riding Hood has inspired falls ‘Into the Woods’, an editorial photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott featuring super model Natalia Vodianova for Vogue US back in August 2009. The shoot capturing Vodianova experimenting with varied elements of the fairy tale had generated quite a buzz.
Undisputedly the two dainty girls of childrens’ literature have paved natural inroads into the fickle world of fashion to hold the perennial interest of designers and visual artist. Only like true style icons can.