New York Fashion Week: generations of style artists and enthusiasts come together in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. This year was as glamorous as ever. My inner cinephile couldn’t help but wonder, what if some movie moments were to populate the runway? Which ones should? What if I picked, like, five? Well, now that you’re begging me to of course I will oblige.
1. The Fairy Godmother, portrayed by Whitney Houston in the 1997 “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”
This was an obvious first choice in my eyes. Glitter and gold from head to toe, with big curls and shimmering eyelids, Whitney shines in this gown. And thank goodness, because her powerful rendition of “Impossible” is deserving of an outfit to match it. To quote her from her own movie, “she can’t handle how FABULOUS you are.” The “she” in my coinage of this quote would be New York Fashion Week, which somehow neglected to make use of this Disney gown from 26 years ago in its 2023 collections. Seems like a big oversight to me.
2. Miss Piggy in “The Great Muppet Caper”
This 1981 masterpiece features Piggy at peak diva level, with a beautifully ostentatious number featuring synchronized swimmers, fountains, sparklers, and a love triangle between a man, a pig and a frog. Piggy dons a variety of flashy looks throughout the film, but the one I see best fitting on the NYC runway has to be her feathery pink and white dress.
3. Jobu Tupaki, portrayed by Stephanie Hsu in “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once”
In the multiverse, the most powerful figure is destined to sport the most fantastical outfits. Jobu wears several. It seems fitting that in such a crazy hodge-podge film, my choice of a New York Fashion Week look from “Everything” should be Jobu’s hodge-podge from the final battle scene. A multitude of fabrics, voluminous hair and cartoonish makeup cause this look to be one deserving of the artistic showcase.
4. Princess Leia, portrayed by Carrie Fisher in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”
This look practically wipes the floor with the ones I have mentioned prior if we are speaking in terms of cultural resets. If your mind didn’t go straight to it, the specific one I am referring to is the brown and gold bikini from Leia’s time at Jabba’s Palace. We need not get too far into the weeds of the fact that she was a sexualized captive; Carrie in this outfit is simply an undeniable serve. I don’t doubt that fashion critics would be foaming at the mouth to see this piece on the catwalk.
5. Tess Coleman, portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis in “Freaky Friday”
Last, and most certainly not least, a 2000s makeover look. This is probably the least realistic choice for an event such as NYFW, but I just love it and I’m making this list, so here it is. The premise of a mother and a teenage daughter switching bodies yields the magnificent circumstances of a middle-aged woman with the brain and fashion taste of a 16-year-old, and, importantly, the cash funds of a famous author. Duh, she drops a bag on a brand-new wardrobe! Even if this silk, earthy-toned long-sleeve dress paired with black boots isn’t the most bold runway look, at the very least it would kill as New York street style. Give Jamie Lee and the costume designers for “Freaky Friday” credit for the memorability of this assemblage.
A few honorable mentions include: Reese Witherspoon’s sparkly bikini top, furry pink coat, and khaki pants from “Legally Blonde;” Keira Knightley’s green gown from “Atonement,” and Beyoncé’s yellow dress from the “Hold Up” music video in the “Lemonade” visual album. Maybe one year at the Met Gala stars will recreate some of these looks and satisfy my craving for the marriage of cinematic nostalgia and modern fashion. Until then, a girl can dream.
By Risa Bolash