Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
By turns daring, whimsical and full of pathos, the Wes Anderson cinematic universe is filled with fantastically well-dressed characters who thrive on being different – the stylish eccentric. From the hipster luxe of Margot Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums) and the vintage energy of Suzy Bishop (Moonrise Kingdom) to Max Fischer’s subversive take on schoolboy style (Rushmore), Anderson’s films offer instruction manuals on how to dress for yourself and no one else.
A love of the unexpected unites all three characters’ wardrobes. Margot, the frustrated prodigy whose deadpan demeanor hides deep sadness, sashays through The Royal Tenenbaums in furs, polo dress and loafers, an outfit whose preppiness is daringly undercut by dramatically kohl-rimmed eyes, an oversized red hair clip with retro vibes, and a wooden prosthetic finger. Meanwhile, Moonrise Kingdom’s stylish tween runaway Suzy embraces “Sunday School chic” to the full with a prim, 60s-style cotton dress complete with a prominent Peter Pan collar that contrasts nicely against the wild undercurrents to her personality. In a similarly maverick vein, Max Fischer, whose passion for quirky extracurricular activities and grand romantic gestures knows no bounds, charges through Rushmore in increasingly confident style as he turns the preppy schoolboy look on its head with wild colors, quirky accessories and surprising fabric choices.
Film stills taken from The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom and Rushmore, all by Wes Anderson
This time, I give three looks made famous by Margot, Suzy and Max the YesStyle treatment by infusing them with Asian-inspired edge. For the perfect fusion between street-style energy and classic appeal, read on!
1. Hipster Glam… Margot Tenenbaum’s Take
A rich, luxurious mink casually thrown over a polo dress or a champagne slip is one of Margot’s most recognizable looks – whatever the season. I inject playful energy into her brand of hipster luxe with a more casual but equally arresting ensemble. Instead of a striped, straight-cut polo dress and furs, I’ve opted for a more girlish fit-and-flare version, styled with a loose-fit brown coat in a furry material. The polo dress stays true to Margot’s embrace of preppy traditions while the coat adds street cred. To up both the style stakes and the quirk quotient, accessorize with this furry, leopard-print shoulder bag (also available in other colors such as ice blue and blush pink), which pays homage to our heroine’s iconic mink. Subvert the sleekness with a dose of kidult energy and eccentric charm by adding large matte snap clips to your blunt bob, before smudging on the eyeliner in true 00s style – the messier the better!
2. Vintage Quirkiness… Suzy Bishop’s Take
Inspired by the form-fitting silhouette, charmingly old-fashioned fabric and 60s energy of Suzy’s attire, I’ve gone for this figure-flattering tweed mini dress in a pinkish mix of colors, accentuated by a prominent black bow with a large rhinestone at its core. It’s a direct nod to Suzy’s signature look when she traipses across the countryside bopping along to retro tunes, but in swapping its sherbet colors for a dreamier palette, I’m aiming for a more understated effect. For retro embellishment, add frilled, sexy-schoolgirl knee-highs in ivory, paired with off-white platform canvas sneakers enlivened by black contrast trim along the soles. A wardrobe staple that’s great for grounding any outfit whether you’re going sleek, tough or cute, these sneakers tone down the whimsical sensibility of the dress and reconfigures the ensemble as edgy rather than dressy. Finally, sling this compact rattan handbag in an intricate weave over your shoulder, in lieu of Suzy’s boxy picnic case. Featuring lace doily trim along the flap as well as vintage-style floral lining, it’s the perfect balance between rustic and elegant.
3. Preppy with a Dandy Twist… Max Fischer’s Take
Re-interpreting Max’s preppy yet dandified style for a woman’s wardrobe, I’ve taken direct inspiration from our hero’s theatrical combo of a slim-fit corduroy suit, bow-tie and beret, which dominated the latter part of Rushmore. Here, though, I’ve opted for a palette of blue and purple rather than bottle green and pink, and looser, slouchier shapes. A ditsy floral shirt in blue layered underneath an oversized dark blue corduroy blazer stays true to Max’s flamboyant spirit while breaking free from overly preppy shapes. Purple loose-fit dress pants in a flowing cut add an extra touch of femininity. Instead of a bow-tie, I’ve topped the outfit with one of Max’s signature accessories, a woolen beret that screams radical philosopher, 60s playwright or simply turn-of-the-millennium hipster. Its peacock blue shade is a mood-boosting and less scholarly alternative to the original’s wine red.
Marching to the Beat of Their Own Drums
From going on a romantic adventure at the age of 12 and putting on award-winning plays before hitting puberty to assembling a school aquarium for the object of their affection, Anderson’s heroes are never short of maverick energy and impossible ideas. Their charismatic personalities are perfectly matched by bold wardrobes that embrace everything from the sleek and preppy to the kitschy and left-field. Time and again, they remind us that sometimes, an eccentric approach to life – and to style – is the best kind of approach!
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