Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Just watched the 1997 version of Lolita, directed by Adrian Lyne, and am now reading the book. The book is beautifully written, although quite disturbing and horribly sad in places. I think the film does a good job of capturing Humbert's mixture of being both besotted with Lolita while at the same time being callously uncaring as to her feelings. Dominique Swain is perfect as the vulgar and brattish, yet sweet and fun-loving Dolores Haze who is both sexually precocious and terribly childlike.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to show you some of Charlotte Haze's clothes. A middle-aged, middle-class widow, Charlotte sees Humbert as sophisticated and European. Her attempts to impress him with her name-dropping and mangled French only repulse him, and he finds her narrow minded, boring and suburban. Poor Charlotte, she isn't a particularly likeable character, but she did have a few interesting outfits in this film.

This is the dress she is wearing when she first meets Humbert. A typical, pretty 40s frock with a sweetheart neckline and a peplum, in a pale grey and pink floral print. I love her hair in all those amazing curls at the front, with the rest tucked into a snood at the back.

It was very difficult to get a proper screenshot of this dress, as the whole scene is shown from Humbert's view on the stairs, but I do love it. Charlotte is going to church, so she has on a smart little navy suit or dress, with cream pleating around the neckline, and an wonderful navy straw cartwheel hat with spotted net and a bunch of white and navy daisies.

This hat is rather ghastly, like a strange flying saucer landed on her head, but I like the draped frock and the lovely mother-of-pearl brooch with what looks like two birds.

Just the thing for when you are lounging around at home with your lodger and your nymphet of a daughter - pink satin lounging pyjamas. Although these were more popular in the 1930s, they were around still in the 1940s too. As Charlotte's hair is in a fairly structured style, I'm imagining that this is something she would have changed into at home - the classic "I'll just slip into something more comfortable".

Humbert and the Hazes go swimming. I do like Charlotte's beach coat, it looks like it's made out of terry toweling. Imagine how nice that would be to put on over a swimsuit to keep off the chill.

Another snood, this time with a pants suit. Check out those mega 40s shoulderpads. Spring 1947 was the year that Dior's New Look came in, and big shoulderpads went out in favour of sloping shoulders, so we can see that Charlotte, for all her pretensions at sophistication, is not quite in style.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thanks so much for this post. I did not like the book very much, but this film looks worth watching, for the fashion alone. Love that big blue hat, am after exactly that type at the moment for the Spring Fashion week Hatter Tea Party. Wish me luck!