Written by Marianna Cerini, CNN
There are just a few explanation why films go on to develop into cult classics. Generally, it is due to their storylines. Different instances, it is their razor-sharp scripts and quotable, sassy one-liners.
“Legally Blonde,” which turned 20 this month (and has a long-awaited third installment on the best way), ticks each these containers. However there’s one thing else that helped safe the film’s popular culture legacy: its protagonist’s inimitable — and overwhelmingly pink — trend selections.
A refresher, in case you want one: The film follows sorority queen Elle Woods (performed by Reese Witherspoon), a perky blonde obsessive about the colour pink, as she enrolls in Harvard Legislation Faculty to win again her ex. It transpires that she’s naturally suited to the courtroom and may overcome adversity just by being herself — that’s, each good and stereotypically blonde. She neither has to compromise her model to be taken significantly nor conform to gender stereotypes of what profitable ladies are presupposed to appear to be.
Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.” Credit score: Tracy Bennett/MGM/Kobal/Shutterstock
All through her neofeminist awakening, Elle flaunts one hyper-feminine outfit after the opposite — 44 in whole, for a movie that is simply over 90 minutes lengthy. Amongst them are the sequined bikini she rocks in her school admission video, the bubblegum-pink tailor-made knee-length gown she wears to courtroom, and the hot-pink leather-based two-piece units — with pink sun shades, naturally — that she arrives at Harvard Legislation Faculty in. (And that is to not point out the numerous matching pink get-ups worn by her chihuahua, Bruiser.)
Oozing self-assurance, Elle’s wardrobe is central to the film’s message of feminine empowerment and its rebuttal of the “dumb blonde” trope. With each skirt, fur coat and halter high, she proves that appears do not outline us, and that a girl will be many seemingly contradictory issues without delay. It’s society, not Elle’s love for fairly issues, that sees her pigeonholed by the “Malibu Barbie” cliche.
This intelligent use of clothes to upend conventional narratives helped “Legally Blonde” obtain cult standing, in response to Sew Repair stylist Ashley Sanchez.
“Elle’s uncanny capacity to embrace individuality and really feel empowered by her sense of fashion is what resonates with audiences in all places,” she stated over e-mail. Along with Elle’s optimism, kindness and compassion, it is her closet that “makes her an icon,” Sanchez added.
Elle Wooden’s outlandish outfits are crucial to the film’s plot, exposing the characters she interacts with as both judgemental or kind-hearted. Credit score: PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy
So too does her unapologetic fixation on pink, a hue related to these similar qualities.
“What’s vital to notice in regards to the movie’s use of the colour is that (the colour pink) represented greater than the hyper-femininity and girlishness we frequently affiliate with it,” Sanchez stated. “To Elle, pink is consultant of energy, confidence and an assured sense of non-public model.”
The film’s costume designer, Sophie de Rakoff stated in a latest Vogue interview that she settled on the colour after visiting a sorority home forward of filming. “Everyone was in pink and I used to be like, ‘Why are we making an attempt to reinvent the wheel?’ Clearly it needs to be pink,” she stated, additionally telling the journal: “You’ll be able to’t discuss pink with out speaking about ‘Legally Blonde’ at this level. You’ll be able to’t.”
There have been 44 outfits all through the flicks 90 minute run time. Credit score: Tracy Bennett/MGM/Kobal/Shutterstock
Rewatching “Legally Blonde” twenty years on, it is hanging what number of of Elle’s outfits nonetheless maintain up, from her sparkly off-the-shoulder crop high to the halter gown she wore the night she is dumped by her boyfriend, Warner. Her “first day of college” ensemble, full with cardigan, pencil skirt and tie, would not look misplaced at this time — nor would her sharp internship apparel, which comprised a high-necked ruffled shirt and a fitted mid-length black skirt with a slip peeking out on the backside.
The identical might be stated of Elle’s rival Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair), together with her preppy tennis skirts, headbands and pearls, or the double-denim-wearing manicurist Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge), each of whom would have a look at dwelling alongside millennials or Gen Zers.
In response to Sanchez, that is partly on account of a latest revival of 2000s model. “Y2K tendencies will be seen in all places lately,” she stated. “Our seemingly infinite nostalgia for that interval implies that Elle’s most iconic outfits really feel simply as trendy at this time.”
The latest resurgence of 2000s model has cemented “Legally Blonde”‘s credence within the trend world. Credit score: Tracy Bennett/MGM/Kobal/Shutterstock
The colour pink’s trend renaissance has additionally helped “Legally Blonde” retain its sartorial relevance. Take Marc Jacobs’ and Halpern’s Fall-Winter 2020 reveals, each of which featured an abundance of silky pink clothes, or the likes of Simone Rocha, Versace, Prada, Miu Miu, Valentino and Loewe, which all lately embraced pink, from muted to millennial, of their Spring-Summer time 2021 collections. Then there’s the celeb issue. With Ariana Grande parodying “Legally Blonde” in her video for “Thank U, Subsequent,” and Kim Kardashian dressing as Elle Woods for Halloween, it is easy to see why the film’s candyfloss outfits are nonetheless talked about — even amongst those that weren’t born once they first hit the large display.
Audiences have lower than a yr to attend — till subsequent Might, to be exact — to see what Elle’s model appears like now she is in her 40s. Although little is thought about how her wardrobe shall be up to date for 2022, one factor is for certain: With de Rakoff reprising her position as costume designer, pink shall be on the agenda.
“Whereas Elle may swap her stilettos for chunky heels, or commerce in her fur-trimmed coat for a extra polished pink blazer,” Sanchez stated, “she would by no means boring her shine.”