Screen Play: Unlikely Heroines

More frequently than we will think, heroines in films do not come across as heroines at first glance. I guess everyone loves the rags-to-riches, My Fair Lady kind of transformation – if for nothing else, it makes for a feel-good story. The same principles applies for on-screen style icons. There are leading ladies, such as Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex and the City movies and Marie Antoinette in the film of the same title, who let us know right from the start that we are going love what they wear. In fact, we often watch the movie just so we can check out their threads. And then there are the girls who took us off-guard and ended up leaving an impression on our collective fashion psyche. Each of the following characters, from ditzy rich teen to chain-smoking playwright, have their own unique style that have made them unlikely heroines in the world of fashion.

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One of the most defining teen flick of the Nineties, Clueless centers around the adolescent problems of poor little rich girl Cher. While the ’90s are not exactly lauded for its fashion, there is something about Cher’s outfits, which encapsulate the essence of the decade, that feels familiar and pleasing (nostalgic much?). Filled with designers like Calvin Klein and Azzedine Alaïa, Cher’s wardrobe is definitely drool-worthy. To steal her distinctive look, you will need to stock up on white shirts, plaid skirts, mary-janes and minimalist barely-there spag-dresses. We do advise that you leave out the white knee-socks – unless you really are a schoolgirl. The cropped sweater vests and scrunchies will have to go too.


One of the most apt description of Margot Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums that I have ever came across is that she “embodies the same kind of hotness as the coolest girl in your college lit class”. Granted, there is not a lot of variation to her outfits, but like they say, if it ain’t broken, why fix it? A striped polo dress, fur coat, penny loafers, the Birkin and a clip in the hair pretty much sums up her daily ensemble. It may look simple enough, yet the mix of an undeniable upper class posh and her Rebel Without A Cause attitude makes her style very intriguing indeed. I know that there are already too many Margo on the streets comes Halloween, so why not go out as her on a regular day instead? Keep that cigarette lit, bu only as a prop.


No self-respecting fashion worshipper would have missed out on The Devil Wears Prada. Meryl Streep’s fabulous portrayal of Miranda Priestly aside, there is the clothes. From drab fresh graduate to stylish assistant to editor of the biggest fashion magazine in the world, Andy Sachs’ sartorial transformation is fascinating to watch. It is a publicity field day for many of the most famous brands in the industry, in Dolce & Gabbana and Vivienne Westwood, and the movie certainly helped to place high fashion in the mainstream consciousness. Andy is the quintessential ‘fashion girl’ – complete with thigh-high leather boots.

by Dottie Tan

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