A Look at The Virgin Suicides
I'm not quite ready to admit that summer is coming to an end, and to take my denial a step further, I thought I'd start this article series with a pretty summery film.
The late 90s movie, set in the 70s, is filled with sun, grass, flowers, golden light and peach schnapps (cause babes love it). There are a billion reasons to love the film- its adaptation of the book, Kirsten Dunst's smile, the washed out images, Josh Hartnett's hair, the storyline, Josh Hartnett's eyes, the 70s vibe, Josh Hartnett's everything.
The fashion in the film is pretty flawless; think a lot of lace, a lot of white, a lot of floral, pretty much the perfect summer wardrobe. Not to forget one particularly cool jacket that Lux wears during one of her many sex encounters on the roof.
Its biggest strength is the age old contradiction between Lux’s dual image of perfect daughter and rebellious teenager, but it works so well. The girls are extremely limited in their wardrobe choices by their parents. Their mother even takes their prom dresses in to make them look wider and longer after she reluctantly agrees to let them go. But on one particular occasion where one of the sisters steps out of the house in her long white shapeless nightgown, you realise the fabric is ever so slightly see through- allowing for her knickers to be subtly visible.
I remember the first time I watched it. I was 13 and I randomly switched on the TV whilst it was on. It had only just started so I thought I'd stick with it, mainly because I thought Kirsten Dunst was pretty. I think the first scene I saw fully was the one where that doctor asks the youngest sister how she could possibly want to die since, and I'm quoting, she's "not even old enough to know how bad life gets". The girl replies "Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a 13 year old girl", by which point I was like "TOO RIGHT"! It's not true, I've never said "too right" in my life but that was my feeling about it.
I carried on watching and remember feeling sad with the girls, happy with the girls, and confused when Trip left Lux on the pitch the morning after Homecoming (not as much as I was confused when I saw the mother was Chandler's father in Friends though). I downloaded "I'm Not In Love" to put it on my iPod and started browsing every shop for nice-floating-white dresses. But mostly, I started trying to look mysterious and aloof like they do, so I'd get people obsessed with me too. Obviously it never worked as I don't think anyone would ever call me aloof.
The plot is good, but if it wasn't for the visuals I wouldn't still be obsessed with it now. It stayed weirdly relevant to my life across the years:
- When I was 17 I bought a flower crown (because why not) and the first thing I thought of was Lux wearing hers when dancing in a field.
- As soon as it gets to April and sunnier days, my only inspiration (and everybody else's) for photoshoots is the film.
- The blame for the amount of floral patterns in my wardrobe lies squarely with this film.
- These girls almost made me wish I had to wear a uniform at my school (a feeling that very briefly resurfaced a few years later when watching Gossip Girl)
-When I went through a phase of embroidering knickers for 3 months, Lux was my one and only inspiration.
The list goes on and on. I know Lost In Translation is a classic and I know Marie-Antoinette was colourful but there just isn't anything like The Virgin Suicides. I've been trying to make the perfect VS's inspired dress for a year and I've not been able to settle on one yet as they set the bar too high. But it's not just the clothes. It's everything, from the floral wallpaper to the bottles of perfume.
And more than that, it's the actual image. It's like looking at your grandparents photos for an hour and a half. It’s as if there is a very thin veil on the film.
And 19 years after the film's release, I still find myself googling images of it when I'm uninspired and don't know what to wear. I guess they got me as hooked as the four poor boys watching through the telescope from the house across the road.
Shop our Virgin Suicides inspired pieces