If Looks Could Kill
A look back at some of our favorite scream queens with scary good taste.
LILIKO HIRUKOMA – HELTER SKELTER
Adapted from a popular manga, this fashion horror hidden gem tells the story of top model Liliko Hirukoma (millennials on the internet circa 2012 may recognize her from this Tumblr-famous photo), whose stardom is threatened as her body and mind begin to disintegrate following the experimental surgery responsible for her career. Director Mika Ninagawa‘s background in photography seeps into every vividly colored shot; from the extravagant fashions to the kaleidoscopic set designs, the movie is saturated with stylish visuals. But with each camera flash, the ugliness creeps in. Montages of her it-girl days posing and smiling as a bubblegum princess, a glove-and-gown superstar, and an angel-faced vixen are both dreamy and ominous. Scenes play out like an editorial in motion, with places like her apartment, a gothic wonderland of rococo and retro, acting as a backdrop for her beautiful decay. We can’t say for sure whether Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibit influenced Ninagawa, but the film does seem to touch on similar themes of sinister beauty and glamorous cruelty.
THE COUNTESS - AMERICAN HORROR STORY
Luann de Lesseps who? Lady Gaga’s role as the hostile hotelier on Season 5 of American Horror Story brings a new meaning to the phrase ‘timeless fashion.’ No matter the era, her elegant ensembles (which, by the way, include pieces from Yohji Yamamoto, Gaultier, and Margiela) and to-die-for accessories prove she’s a style icon for the ages. In fact, they even aid in her survival—her signature opera gloves, encrusted in over 11,000 glimmering Swarovski crystals, bear the blades she uses to prepare dinner. With such glamorously moody looks, it’s not hard to see how British socialite Daphne Guinness (who also inspired Moira on Schitt’s Creek) was a major influence for the show’s wardrobe department. But The Countess’ sophisticated style doesn’t end with her draped gowns and matching headwraps. Her dramatic makeup looks—bleached brows, lip shades of plum and gothic red, powder-cut cheekbones sharp enough to slice a throat—also leave fans enthralled (and asking when she’ll drop a Morphe palette). Sure, our culture’s had its fair share of villainous beauties, but a smoky-eyed vampire in Vivienne Westwood? Well, that’s just bloody brilliant.
KATRINA - VAMP
Four years before Madonna’s conical bustier from John Paul Gaultier polarized the American public and almost a decade ahead of The Fifth Element’s cosmic couture, Grace Jones was making bloodsucking look oh-so-sexy as the titular stripper in Vamp, a long-forgotten horror-comedy from director Richard Wenk. Although Jones appears in only a handful of scenes, she doesn’t need to say much to make a big impact. Walking the line between scary and seductive, Katrina is a pop art piece come to life in her white body paint (done by artist friend Keith Haring), metal accouterments, and kabuki Pennywise styling. Accompanying her supernatural beauty looks are avant-garde performances that add to the surrealist flavor of the film. But make no mistake, this queen of the undead isn’t sporting thrift finds from the LA underground—Jones pulled from her own closet for the low-budget production, dressing her character in designer brands like Azzedine Alaïa and Issei Miyake.
GALE WEATHERS - SCREAM
No one does a ‘90s power suit like Gale Weathers. The former Top Story reporter turned morning show host’s highlighter two-pieces and trendy hairstyles feel right at home in this campy meta-slasher series. Colorful, brash, and slightly cheesy, Gale’s clothing reflects her high-strung and flamboyant style and shows she isn’t afraid to take a risk—be it a masked killer or chunky highlights. (After all, what do you have left to fear if you’ve already conquered pineapple bangs?) For this final girl, function doesn’t have to come at the expense of fashion; she can chase down a psychopathic killer in red pumps and turn a hidden camera into a handbag. Even when she opts for a more subdued look, like the Annie Reva button-down LBD in Scream 2, bold styling and chic touches make her outfits pop. However, Gale’s eye-catching fashions don’t just add visual color; each step in her style evolution marks a new chapter in the Scream franchise and brings an aesthetic touch to its pop culture commentary.