July 28, 2021


The fine art of fashion

‘Legally Blonde’ at 20: The enduring legacy of Hollywood’s pinkest wardrobe

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MGM 2001 Movie Previews
384593 09: Actress Reese Witherspoon acts in a scene from Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Pictures” comedy “Lawfully Blonde.”,(Image by Tracy Bennett/MGM Pictures)


There are a handful of causes why films go on to develop into cult classics. From time to time, it’s simply because of their storylines. Other occasions, it is their razor-sharp scripts and quotable, sassy just one-liners.

“Legally Blonde,” which turned 20 this thirty day period (and has a extensive-awaited 3rd installment on the way), ticks equally these containers. But there is one thing else that served protected the movie’s pop lifestyle legacy: its protagonist’s inimitable – and overwhelmingly pink – style possibilities.

A refresher, in scenario you want one particular: The motion picture follows sorority queen Elle Woods (played by Reese Witherspoon), a perky blonde obsessed with the color pink, as she enrolls in Harvard Law University to earn back again her ex. It transpires that she’s by natural means suited to the courtroom and can conquer adversity only by staying herself – that is, both wise and stereotypically blonde. She neither has to compromise her design and style to be taken very seriously nor conform to gender stereotypes of what successful ladies are supposed to glance like.

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in

Tracy Bennett/MGM/Kobal/Shutterstock

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in “Lawfully Blonde.”

Throughout her neofeminist awakening, Elle flaunts a person hyper-feminine outfit soon after the other – 44 in total, for a movie that is just about 90 minutes prolonged. Between them are the sequined bikini she rocks in her faculty admission online video, the bubblegum-pink customized knee-length gown she wears to court docket, and the sizzling-pink leather-based two-piece sets – with pink sun shades, in a natural way – that she arrives at Harvard Regulation University in. (And that is not to mention the quite a few matching pink get-ups worn by her chihuahua, Bruiser.)

Oozing self-assurance, Elle’s wardrobe is central to the movie’s information of feminine empowerment and its rebuttal of the “dumb blonde” trope. With every skirt, fur coat and halter top, she proves that looks really do not determine us, and that a woman can be lots of seemingly contradictory points at after. It is society, not Elle’s really like for very factors, that sees her pigeonholed by the “Malibu Barbie” cliche.

This clever use of garments to upend classic narratives helped “Legally Blonde” reach cult status, in accordance to Stitch Correct stylist Ashley Sanchez.

“Elle’s uncanny capability to embrace individuality and sense empowered by her sense of style is what resonates with audiences all over the place,” she mentioned around e-mail. In addition to Elle’s optimism, kindness and compassion, it is her closet that “makes her an icon,” Sanchez included.

Elle Wood's outlandish outfits are critical to the movie's plot, exposing the characters she interacts with as either judgemental or kind-hearted.

PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy

Elle Wood’s outlandish outfits are vital to the movie’s plot, exposing the figures she interacts with as both judgemental or kind-hearted.

So far too does her unapologetic fixation on pink, a hue involved with these exact features.

“What’s critical to observe about the film’s use of the colour is that (the color pink) represented much more than the hyper-femininity and girlishness we normally associate with it,” Sanchez mentioned. “To Elle, pink is consultant of electricity, self-assurance and an certain feeling of own model.”

The movie’s costume designer, Sophie de Rakoff claimed in a recent Vogue interview that she settled on the colour after viewing a sorority house ahead of filming. “Everybody was in pink and I was like, ‘Why are we hoping to reinvent the wheel?’ Certainly it has to be pink,” she mentioned, also telling the journal: “You just cannot chat about pink devoid of conversing about ‘Legally Blonde’ at this issue. You simply cannot.”

There were 44 outfits throughout the movies 90 minute run time.

Tracy Bennett/MGM/Kobal/Shutterstock

There ended up 44 outfits through the videos 90 moment operate time.

Rewatching “Legally Blonde” two a long time on, it’s putting how many of Elle’s outfits nevertheless keep up, from her sparkly off-the-shoulder crop best to the halter dress she wore the evening she is dumped by her boyfriend, Warner. Her “first day of school” ensemble, total with cardigan, pencil skirt and tie, would not search out of put currently – nor would her sharp internship attire, which comprised a high-necked ruffled blouse and a equipped mid-duration black skirt with a slip peeking out at the base.

The exact could be reported of Elle’s rival Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair), with her preppy tennis skirts, headbands and pearls, or the double-denim-donning manicurist Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge), both of whom would look at household together with millennials or Gen Zers.

In accordance to Sanchez, this is partly thanks to a modern revival of 2000s style. “Y2K traits can be viewed in all places these times,” she stated. “Our seemingly endless nostalgia for that period usually means that Elle’s most legendary outfits sense just as modern-day now.”

The recent resurgence of 2000s style has cemented

Tracy Bennett/MGM/Kobal/Shutterstock

The the latest resurgence of 2000s design has cemented “Legally Blonde”‘s credence in the trend world.

The shade pink’s trend renaissance has also aided “Legally Blonde” retain its sartorial relevance. Acquire Marc Jacobs’ and Halpern’s Slide-Winter season 2020 shows, equally of which highlighted an abundance of silky pink attire, or the likes of Simone Rocha, Versace, Prada, Miu Miu, Valentino and Loewe, which all just lately embraced pink, from muted to millennial, in their Spring-Summer season 2021 collections.

Then there’s the movie star issue. With Ariana Grande parodying “Legally Blonde” in her online video for “Thank U, Subsequent,” and Kim Kardashian dressing as Elle Woods for Halloween, it is effortless to see why the movie’s candyfloss outfits are still talked about – even among those people who weren’t born when they initially strike the major monitor.

Audiences have fewer than a 12 months to hold out – till upcoming Might, to be exact – to see what Elle’s model seems like now she is in her 40s. Although minimal is recognised about how her wardrobe will be current for 2022, 1 point is for confident: With de Rakoff reprising her purpose as costume designer, pink will be on the agenda.

“While Elle may swap her stilettos for chunky heels, or trade in her fur-trimmed coat for a additional polished pink blazer,” Sanchez stated, “she would in no way boring her shine.”