Susannah Frankel: Ready To Wear
Monday 11 August 2008
Fashion issue of the week: where on earth did Angelina Jolie get "that nightie"? I love Angelina Jolie. Despite her best efforts to be humdrum, to fit in with us mere mortals, she positively radiates superstardom. She's not averse to stepping out in a tent of a dress, pregnant or otherwise, and preferably a grey one, and still she upstages anyone else in their glittering finery on the red carpet. She attempts to downplay any physical beauty, taking on serious, even political roles. A better-than-average performance as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart aside – much red-eyed, red-nosed screaming and gnashing of teeth required – she still looked like the resident supermodel. The reviews at the time labelled her screen presence "overpowering", not entirely unfairly. But Angelina Jolie just can't help it. The weirdest thing of all? She does actually look like Mariane Pearl – like a hyper-real Mariane Pearl, the living, breathing Hollywood ideal. Marvellous.
And now, here she is in the long-awaited, much-anticipated pages of Hello!, clad in nothing more obviously glamorous than a big, white, frilly nightdress that may as well have been snapped up for a song at John Lewis, or perhaps Woolies. Even given her history, this particular choice of outfit is unprecedented. The thick straps, the ungainly A-line silhouette, the large tiered frill that falls to just below the knee...
Angelina Jolie's nightie looks dated, as opposed to vintage – more Terry and June than Pretty Baby. And still her appearance rivals that of the average angel.
Anyone else would surely have been tempted to dress to impress. Jolie could have worn a bias-cut silk Charmeuse slip, for example, the sort they stock at Myla or Agent Provocateur. It could have been oyster or even red, echoing her astonishing appearance in Alexander, when her crimson goddess dress, and magnificent crimson breasts barely contained therein, were the focal point of the entire, admittedly quite lamentable, epic with its cast of, literally, thousands.
If purity was the effect she was looking for – and one can only assume that to be the case – she could have opted for a cotton lawn, lace-trimmed Victorian nightdress with pretty mother-of-pearl buttons, or a 1930s petticoat. If she were even remotely predictable, she would have worn men's pyjama bottoms (Brad Pitt's pyjama bottoms!) and a vest.
But no. Angelina Jolie chose to follow a route that was far more anti-fashion and anti-glamour than any of that. She tried, once again, to look normal, like the demure young mother she most certainly is not. Inevitably, she failed.
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