Sunday, November 18, 2012

When Fiction Is In Fashion

Today's Sunday Guardian column

With much fanfare, Banana Republic recently launched a clothing line inspired by Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, with coats, capes and jackets in lace, faux fur and sparkle. They’re not suitable for wearing at train stations, one supposes.

While this is clearly tied to the recent movie version of the classic, here are some copyright-free suggestions on how other heroines can inspire fashion, too.  If you’ve read it, flaunt it.

The Lady Chatterley Collection. Get ready to shock with this daring re-interpretation of early 20th century English country house style. Featuring a range of ban-worthy tops and now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t skirts that are as easy to take off as they are to put on. Switch off that episode of Downton Abbey and get ready to hunt game.

Molly Bloom Bloomers. A long-overdue update of a perennial sleepwear classic, perfect for day-dreaming naughtily in bed all summer long. Think of it as an invitation to lounge to your heart’s content in cool shades of Irish green. One look and you’ll go yes I will yes.

Jane Eyre Enchantments. For the woman who’s fire within and ice without, a collection of scarves and gloves that’s been rescued from the attic and re-designed for a new era. Crafted for rides in the country as well as travels in the city, keeping you stylish for years. Reader, you’ll wear them.

Helen of Troy Trainers. Girl, you've got to be ready for anything. Today, you're a queen, tomorrow your heart may be kept hostage. Make sure you face every challenge with these sleek trainers, available in hues of the wine-dark sea. Don’t be like that haughty Achilles and leave heels unprotected. Every pair is guaranteed to keep your feet dry on long ocean voyages. (Guarantee will be rendered null and void if the wearer approaches horses of any description.)

Juliet Jumpsuits. Why let your teenage years fly by without making sure you look your best? These jumpsuits are made from a special Lycra blend, rendering them stretchable and thus ideal for leaping from balconies. Because there are times when we all need to get away from intruding nursemaids. Pair them with our platinum-plated accessories and you can be the belle of the ball. Make sure that from yonder window, the only thing that breaks is light, not your heart.

Emma Bovary Bargains. You may be lurking indoors looking bored, but we know you’re longing to be a bad, bad babe. Presenting a range of Parisian gowns to show you in your true colours. Agricultural fairs or carriage rides, you’ll be sure to raise their blood pressure every time. Buy as many outfits as you want now; you can always borrow from admirers and pay later.

Hester Prynne Pant Suits. They’re looking at you. They’re whispering about you. They’re wondering what you’ve done. Walk past a jealous world with your head held high, clad in one of our perfectly-tailored pant suits and you’ll be A-okay. After all, why conform when you can be in form? Available, naturally, only in scarlet.

Elizabeth Bennet Bridal Wear. Light and playful on the one hand, sharp and saucy on the other. If that’s what you’re like, here’s a wedding ensemble to match. With much pride and very little prejudice, we dare say they won’t be able to take their eyes off you. After all, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman possessed of a small fortune must be in want of a wedding gown.

Scarlett O’Hara Spectacles. When you’ve got your eyes firmly fixed on what you want, make sure they’re protected with this stunning series of sunglasses. In plastic and metal, for cutting-edge elegance that also shields you from the world. Make sure you stand out, whether you’re the maid of the plantation or hanging with the girls at the pub. One glance at you, and they’ll give a damn.

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