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Miss Havisham’s Fire

February 17, 2011

One thing I’ve been noticing so far in Fashion Week is the inspirations designers are referencing are more often than not new and interesting, which is a refreshing respite from the usual cycling through of decades and countries. My favorite one yet is Miss Havisham, the wealthy old spinster from Charles Dicken’s novel, Great Expectations. Her story is rich with great opportunities to translate into fashion. Jilted on her wedding day, Miss Havisham spends the rest of her life shut in her mansion, refusing to alter her surroundings from their exact state on that fateful day. This includes never changing out of her wedding dress and, since she was in the process of getting dressed when she received the news, only leaving one shoe on. Later, she adopts a daughter, and uses her in an attempt to get revenge for her pain. She molds the girl into becoming irresistible to men while feeling nothing for them so that she’ll spend her life breaking the hearts of men as they once did to Miss Havisham.

The archetypal spinster was an intriguing reference for Marchesa, beloved by brides for their classic romanticism. It was fun to see them interpret the tale into Gothic, deconstructed Victorianism. 


Latest It designer, Prabal Gurung, also name-checked Miss Havisham (dramz!) for his collection. Veering away from his polished aesthetic, Gurung took on the challenge to do “undone,” and succeeded. His take infused more modernity into the reference.

I’m going to bet that those tights will be everywhere this Fall.


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