She’s In Fiction: My Top 10 Fashion And Beauty Heroes

I get The Kate Moss Religion, but I’m not a believer. When it comes to idolatry, I prefer solid-gold fiction
Publish date:
December 7, 2012
friends, clueless, fashion iconcs, beauty idols, thelma and louise

Because I naturally skip past magazine features encouraging me to actively take a path to Penelope Cruz’s hair or Jessica Beil’s butt, I feel I must be predisposed to not worship a celebrity’s looks. But while on the one hand I feel it’s a good thing I naturally balk from idolising a real (as it were) person - that it’s indicative of a subconscious knowledge it can only lead to unhappiness - on the other, my aversion to copy-catting does not extend to fictional females. I idolise the people who are the most unattainable of them all, the ones that don’t exist.

I get The Kate Moss Religion, but I’m not a believer. I acknowledge her fantastic work ethic and cheekbones, but I’m a neutral. I have also never found Audrey Hepburn the enthralling entity others do, rather unbearably twee. So you won’t find Holly Golightly here.

What you will find are the robust, kick-ass women I’ve found endlessly visually appealing in film and TV. My love for these heroes is definitely tied up with their ballsy dialogue, I realised that once I’d made the list - but it sure doesn’t hurt that the costume team deserve a bow.

Maybe it’s the imitability of humans. You want to pretend you’re Kate Moss for an afternoon? Step in, Phillip Green. You want to emulate Jessica Rabbit? Tough titties. Speaking of which…

Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Sure, she’s a beauty archetype steeped in historically biased ideologies with proportions that couldn’t begin to accommodate a menstrual cycle. But credit where credit’s due - she’s a feat of the imagination. Plus, great dress.

Elvira Hancock in ScarfaceHow do I love thee, Elvira? Let me count the ways. I’ve never seen a more glorious bob. Your first scene in Scarface left me as speechless as Tony Montana and like him, it was love at first sight. You descend the mafia mansion as slowly as the soft-wind instrument soundtrack allows before strutting towards the cocaine, turquoise silk dress swishing in your wake. All you ever do is walk through carpeted bathrooms wearing wonderful nails and withering looks but damn are you utterly, utterly compelling.

Morticia AddamsTall, pale and completely alluring, Morticia’s all-black ensembles are timelessly ghoulish. There have been a few Adamms family Morticias but I remember Anjelica Houston’s circa 1991 most. The definition of poise, Morticia is measured, sharp and cool as ice with her children, whom she kisses with blood red lips. Le freak, c’est chic.

Rachel Green in FriendsBefore I gush about Rachel, I should caveat that I also dig Monica and Phoebe - Girl Geller has a face that could sink ships (and looks phenomenal in red) and Phoebe’s effervescent approach to clashing patterns is eternally humbling. But this isn’t an homage to all three, and Rachel makes the final cut because from her casual wear to her reliance on a cropped turtleneck, she’s the most ‘me’. And because her hair is so shiny (not in the slightest ‘me’), she even looks gorgeous when she chucks on a grey, oversized Knicks jumper to ‘catch up on her correspondence’ before Ross drinks the fat.

Incidentally, this particular scene is why I love making a song and dance about sending cards and letters. And why I always declare it out loud as ‘catching up on my correspondence.’

Tina Carlyle in The MaskCameron Diaz as Tina Carlyle in The Mask is PURE SEX. So much so that I may or may not have Googled ‘cameron diaz mask stripe dress buy’. And I may or may not have found someone making exact replicas of that vertical stripe dress. And I may or may not have taken a break from writing this to purchase one.

This monochrome beauty (she wears it to the Coco Bongo club in which she’s eventually wooed by Jim Carrey) joins some red-on-black stripes and a beautifully '90s floaty red skirt as the film’s greatest fashion feats – no small victory in a comedy about a weirdly charming green lizardy mask guy.

Sally Albright in When Harry Met Sally, or any late '80s/early '90s rom-comYes, it helps that When Harry Met Sally is one of my all-time favourite films. And it helps that I believe my fictional namesake to be one of the most real, strong, smart, witty and unannoyingly-endearing females to have ever graced my DVD player. But there are two other things: those bouncy, adorable, perfect curls and her off-the-shoulder dress in the final party scene. So '90s, so right.

Daria, in DariaThis is a weird one, but I rate Daria for her repetitive wardrobe. She knows what she likes and sticks to it – she’s the Jennifer Aniston of sardonic animated characters.

Daria reminds me of a very good friend of mine who places no emotional attachment on clothes. When getting ready for a night out said friend will come out holding two or three choices to ask your opinion. Not unusual - except she isn’t asking merely to gauge an additional point of view which she’ll eventually ignore for her gut instinct, she’s asking you because she’ll do exactly as you say. Rather than being ‘in the mood’ for this or that, every single day she likes each outfit equally. And I really like that. It makes getting ready her with her fun because she’s essentially a living breathing dress up doll. And that’s what Daria would be if you could get her out of those pleats.

Thelma & Louise in Thelma & LouiseOnce they’re untied from their drudgerous lives, Thelma & Louise come into their sartorial own. The more nomadic, criminal and filthy they get, the cooler they look. They go from Southern Belle-blouses as depressing as their facial expressions to industrious denim, cut-off tees, and sleeveless button-downs tied at the waist. And Louise (Susan) absolutely rocks it when they first set out for what starts as a ‘weekend away’ in her silk head scarf and cat's eye sunglasses. Swoon, basically.

Ariel in The Little MermaidIt’s testament to Ariel’s sheer impact on me that she makes the list even though she is half-fish. That shell bikini, that hair. Who else would look good in a sheet and some old rope? Believe me I’ve tried. You can’t compete with a broad whose hair routine is a fork - I couldn’t look like that with the length of John Lewis’ cutlery aisle at my disposal.

Cher in CluelessIt was SO HARD for me to find one picture to encompass the sheer admiration I have for Cher Horowitz. Sure, she has money. Sure, she doesn’t need to really walk until she fails her driving test (“Girlie, as far as you’re concerned, I’m the MESSIAH of the DMV”) but this would not be a fictional fashion and beauty heroes list at all if it wasn’t for Cher.

Her wardrobe is pure personality. Always put together, from day to day Cher’s look will go from bright and-fun, chic-but-playful to sluttily studious and back again and always, always full of colour. She’s the reason aged 15, I started wearing vest tops over t-shirts and why I love tartan and why, when someone at work once told me I was looking ‘very Clueless today’ I almost died of pride.

Who’s your fictional beauty crush? All of these are old films - am I living in the past? Tell me who I’ve missed out!

Sally tweets here and pins pretty dresses here