02 September, 2008

Crimes Against Fashion: Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink was released in 1986, the year I turned fifteen. I guarantee I saw it at least twice in the theater when it came out and endless times after. Though it arguably has the best soundtrack of any John Hughes film, and has the most lines permanently instilled in my everyday vernacular, I’ve never been able to fully embrace Molly Ringwald’s character. She dressed funky and vintage, something I longed to do at the time but couldn’t. She wore hats, which of course gave her a zillion bonus points in my book. But she wasn’t the most sympathetic character, and she went with Blane over Duckie. I know that’s the fault of the test screening audiences who demanded the ending be changed, but whatever. Chances are no matter who she chose she would have dumped them by summer’s end anyway and hooked up with someone like Steff. Neither guy was the one for her, and both deserved better.

Why this lingering hostility towards the character of Andie Walsh? Because she turned this:
into this:

Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for recycling and repurposing clothing and creating a whole new piece. But I also feel one should respect a classic, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Perhaps if they had justified it a little, i.e. there was a rip or stain on the back that couldn’t be repaired. But no. They took a beautifully cut vintage* prom dress and turned it in to some droopy sleeved too-long shift that would never stand the test of time. The dress didn't deserve such a horrible fate. Shame on John Hughes, shame on Molly Ringwald (for cutting into the dress on film), and shame on those of us who grew up in the 1980s thinking we had viable fashion sense.

*I’m suspending belief enough to forget that the dress was probably built specifically for the movie. It’s the principle of the crime I have issues with, not the reality!