Fantasy, Fairy Tale, & Fashion: The Smexiest Parts of TALE OF TALES
by Madeline Iva
I’m becoming more fantasy obsessed as I get closer to the releasing of my FIRST NOVEL which—you guessed it—is a fantasy romance.(Shameless plug: it comes out November 1st) Yet what is it about fantasy that does it for me, exactly? Well, for one thing, I’m a total sucker for ye-olde poofy dresses. Yup.
Pair up a ye-olde poofy dress with a dainty princess crown, add in some gloomy tall interiors–preferably with a brooding mysterious hero lurking in the background–toss in a general air of gothic funk, and yeah: that’s me swooning at your feet.
That’s not to say TALE OF TALES is an amazing movie. Is it romantic and heartbreaking? No. Disney would not approve. But I think it’s worth watching, especially if you view the movie more as a kind of fantasy fashion show. The stories are based upon the writing of Giambattista Basile who in 15 whatever was a fairy tale collector. Fairy Tale Collector—now that’s a job I want! I was transfixed like a cat chittering at the birds as I watched the plush costumes and how they blended with the settings of the film. ****SPOILERS AHEAD****
Here are my fav fashion moments from the movie:
- THE QUEEN:
I loved the sea monster–and was very unhappy to watch a critter minding its own business die–even a mythical one. The sea monster’s heart is about the size of a Thanksgiving turkey and contrasted artfully against the Queen’s black dress. She has to eat the whole thing in order to conceive a child. The smeary red all around her mouth makes just the right statement of glorious depravity in the moment. And the amazing stone backdrop provides a minimalist contrast–so lux.
Note the awesome stone labyrinth –I want one for my yard! (No more mowing.) I loved this scene, because the pale stone set off her crimson dress with black velvet detailing so well! THAT dress. That dress is TO DIE!!! Chasing after son in play, she runs along, gaily calling his name while she scampers about, her dress flowing behind her, the sleeves all a swirl –and her little gold crown wiggling around the corners—lurv!
How the Queen’s fashion sensibility continues, even as she takes a turn toward the homicidal. The Queen, while attempting to bash in someone’s head with an elegant black poker, wears a matching black taffeta dress with tight sleeves at the top of her arms and a tight bodice, both of which billow out into graceful bell sleeves and a voluminous skirt below. Bravo!
- THE PRINCESS:
Here is Violet with girly hair d’jour. I want to squeeze her to death! You’ll note her dress has little dangly pom-poms. In the words of Rachel Zoe: Ba. Nanas.
Our round faced, dimpled princess goes from this – to this.
What a before and after transformation! Yet who can resist her in such a besplattered state, full of post-trauma gravitas, as she comes all covered in blood and gore to deliver to her father the head of the ogre he married her to.
It says something about the depth of my romance convictions that I kept waiting for this relationship to work out. Look at the tenderness on his face — and look at the knife in her hand. Yeah, it’s never gonna work out.
- THE OLD MAID
One day an insatiable lusty King hears a maid singing with a lovely voice, but she nips inside before he can see what she looks like. He assumes from her youthful voice that she’s young and pretty. Alas, she’s not – not at all. But she desires him too!
From the other side of a locked door she protests her modesty and vows she’ll sleep with him–but only in the dark. Sneaking into his bed chamber doesn’t work out, however. When she’s exposed in the early morning light, the king orders his guards to throw her out. She winds up getting tossed out of a window all tangled up in a crimson bedspread.
Caught in the tree limbs far below, the bedspread winds up saving her life, acting as half hammock, half straight jacket. A boar-woman comes by and cuts her loose, and she falls down onto the mossy rocks. Half-stunned not just by her fall, but even more so by the humiliating events she just endured, she groans and frets. The boar-woman suckles her (!) comforting her in all her childish wounded vanity, misery, and woe, until she falls into a daze. She wakes up transformed into a youthful maiden ROCKING THE CRIMSON BEDSPREAD.
Of course the King comes along — he’s boar hunting — sees her, and instantly falls in love. They marry. Here she is in a divine wedding gown with a gold jester’s collar (the joke is on the King) with little danglies (people I am a sucker for danglies). Her beautiful hair is all piled up and topped with an extra-dangly pearl headdress – Swoon!
What I liked best about this film is that eventually the enchantment wears off and she’s back to being her old self again. She scutters off before the King can see her. Isn’t that really the lesson we need to learn from life? Sometimes after going through a sh** week you get a little boon. But soon enough the boon fades away and life is back to normal once again.
Disney would SO not approve!
Ready to leave the tyranny of Disney behind? Follow us at Lady Smut.
Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance. Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, is available for pre-order Oct 1st and releases November 1st.