Pretty in Pink's Volcanic Ensembles
Pretty in Pink is an emotionally saturated journey involving teens and love triangles and giant shoulder pads and vast social gaps, with everyone suffering their way into wisdom. The 1986 John Hughes film played at Central Cinema recently, though if you missed it, rent the DVD from Scarecrow Video. They've got the Everything's Duckie Edition, which is jammed with extras: stills, cut footage, boring interviews with boring celebrities.
But there's also Volcanic Ensembles, a mini-documentary about the movie's apparel, and this is worth watching. Jon Cryer describes his character Duckie's style: Costumer Marilyn Vance's "whole thing was, let's just put things together that should never ever be put together." This included eccentric prints and layers and multiple plaids, accessorized with scuffed pickle winkers, military emblems, and hair arranged in slanting poofs, to bring a new-wave-Teddy-Boy-Fonzarelli-lumberjack-drum-majorette-in-garage-sale-pajamas effect.
Lots happens on-screen. Playing Andie, Molly Ringwald's face is blank, while her insides swirl with dignity. Her style is an accumulation of grandmotherly items—white tights, pearl-buttoned cardigans, doily collars, errant florals—and for this, her peers mock the shit out of her. Andie works after school or hangs out, making neat stuff in her gauzy pink bedroom and staring into the photograph her mother left behind when she split without explanation. She takes care of her father, too, portrayed by Harry Dean Stanton. He's a nice guy but a sad sack, and in just about every scene, he's shrouded in a rumpled beige bathrobe. When its chest falls open, it reveals his rumpled beige skin.
There are plenty more fashion moments, including a nice sampling of vintage rich-kid douchewear: the pleat-front slacks, the pastels, the pillowy hair. As Iona, Annie Potts wears a black latex gown the texture of industrial rubber bands. "I'd have to flip it up and release my lower body from the struggle of that dress," she says in the documentary. Most notable is Andie's home-sewing montage, set to New Order's zappy "Thieves Like Us." Limited in skills and budget, but propelled by the strange mental clarity you get when someone fucks you over, Andie builds a prom ensemble that's so ugly, it actually becomes charming, what with its blend of polka dots and bare shoulders and barbaric droopiness.