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Fashion Fetish essay by Katharine K. Zarrella now live!
Once Upon a Dress: Fairytales from the Closet

'What a garment symbolizes to us determines how we feel and behave while wearing it.'

Katharine K. Zarrella is the latest writer to pen a piece for our Fashion Fetish series. The arts and fashion journalist has offered up an engaging essay in response to Dasha Zhukova’s film, Once Upon a Dress. The film stars Chloë Sevigny, Derek Blasberg and Peter Brant II in a 1920s-esque daydream. Zarrella describes the film plot as, ‘a cat and mouse chase', which sees Sevigny transported to a romantic fantasy world by the prettifying powers of a silky, pleated Prada frock. This depicted daydream ‘illustrates Sevigny’s character’s belief that the dress will, perhaps ‘magically’ transform her into the coy femme fatal she desires to be’. Zarrella's piece argues that fashion and accessories function as both as objects of non-sexual desire and confidence boosters. She highlights instances in fairytales, such as Cinderella and the Wizard of Oz, where the crystal slipper and ruby red slippers respectively provided the characters with the confidence they need to shine. 'While these garments and accessories have literal magical functions in their respective stories, one could deduce that, on a more realistic level, the clothes are a psychological vehicle for the characters to overcome their insecurities; to surmount their shortcomings and grow into idealized versions of themselves’. Although the silk dress featured in the film is desired, Zarrella acknowledges that, at the end of the day, ‘it is the woman who ‘makes’ the dress and not visa versa’. Drift off to a sartorial dreamworld with Zarrella's essay now!