Monday, 25 June 2012

Movie Style: Lolita

My favourite novel OF ALL TIME is Lolita. It is challenging, subversive, perverse, beautiful, nostalgic, darkly funny, romantic, poetic & disturbing. In orther words, perfect, and probably one of the greatest novels of our time. There have been two films based on Lolita. The first, filmed in 1962 was directed by Stanley Kubrick and the screenplay was written by Nabokov himself (or so it was claimed, Nabokov was later seen to not exactly be a massive fan of the film or the finished screenplay). It's an absolute classic, and is where that iconic image of Lo in the heart-shaped sunglasses comes from.

 l-r: gaga, lana & marianne love their heart-shaped shades

The version I kind of prefer though is the 1997 version directed by Adrian Lyne, starring Dominique Swain as Dolores/Lo/Lola/Lolita, Jeremy Irons as Humbert, Melanie Griffiths as Charlotte & Frank Langella as Quilty. Even though it's not as critically acclaimed, I personally feel that the whole hazy vibe of the movie feels much closer to the romanticised, lyrical quality of Nabokov's prose. It has been accused of not containing as much black comedy as is in the novel, but I disagree- most of the scenes with Lo trying to impress Humbert & gain points over her mother (her modern dance creation is a favourite) or being huffy & rude (writhing around restless & bored on the hotel bed, or general bickering with Humbert) are both hilarious & uncomfortable.

The performances are spot on too- I think Dominique is perfect as the stroppy, impetuous, flirty, tortured & sad Lo; & Jeremy Irons manages to capture the charm & likability of Humbert that is so monstrous & hard to digest. Part of what I find fascinating about the book is that Humbert is such a great character that you almost forget at times what he's done- he's completely believable as an unreliable narrator, and it's in the small moments that we get a glimpse of Lolita's true unhappiness that  it hits you like a ton of bricks when you realise you have been sympathising with a monster! Irons is perfect at capturing that balance between charismatic charmer & totally monstrous deviant.

I also love Lo's wardrobe in Lyne's version of the movie. It's soft & girlish & feminine yet grown-up & flirtatious, helping to convey how Lo is stuck in a weird limbo between wanting to be a woman yet still needing to be a girl.







A Lolita-inspired wardrobe is full of 40s floaty silhouettes & prints- things like this teadress are the perfect embodiment of that, & I think the red, strap, peep-toe sandal with a slight heel add a bit of light-hearted fun & modernise it a little with a bit of colour-pop clashing.

A sailor-style playsuit is a great summer look, with white ankle socks & saltwater sandals. It would be a good outfit for a bike riding excursion- extra points if your bicycle has a basket in the front!

The final outfit is a small step away from the Lolita- vibe, but with Lana Del Rey-type Americana overtones of gas stations, vegas & dive bars.

Red lipstick, cherry soda, a pastel satchel, vintage luggage, a braided crown, plastic sunglasses & a nameplate necklace would complete any of these looks.

9 comments:

  1. I've never seen this movie -- or read the novel, for that matter -- but I've always heard things about it! The set you made is adorable... Love the dresses!

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    1. You should def try to! It's a great movie- the kind that stays with you for a couple of days afterwards. x

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  2. That was a really strong and powerful movie.

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    1. I know definitely- it's the kind you can rewatch again & again too x

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  3. I want to see this movie so bad, I read the book and I've heard the movie is really great!

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    1. Definitely see it, actually, even though this one is my fave you should try to see both if you can! x

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  4. Lovely post, your style picks are spot on. But I have to say that I do prefer the 1962 version x

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