Sunday, 7 February 2010

Fashioning February: Retro review - Desperately Seeking Susan

Susan played by Madonna is a free spirit who roams from place to place living out of a round leopard suitcase. She has a casual relationship with Jim played by Robert Joy who is a member of a local rock band. He keeps in touch with her by placing an advert in the personal section of the New York Mirror to let her know when she is in town. Their romance is observed by Roberta played by Rosanna Arquette who is a bored housewife living in New Jersey. Unsatisfied with her life as the wife of Gary played by Mark Blum, a totally self absorbed sales guy, she begins to live vicariously though Susan's more exciting one. One day after seeing Jim's latest ad for Susan to meet him at Battery Park she decides to turn up and watch them at play. Meanwhile Susan finds out that a guy she had a one night stand with was killed right after she left him but unknown to her she actually passed the killer in the hotel when she was on her way out. The killer got a good look at her pyramid style jacket but not her face.
After Susan and Jim's brief reconciliation, Jim takes off to a gig and Susan goes shopping with Roberta following her. Entering a thrift store Susan sees a pair of boots she likes and swaps them with her distinctive jacket, Roberta buys the jacket from the shop owner and places her own ad for Susan inviting her to meet her to Battery Park. Susan is frantic to get her jacket back as it has the key for the locker where she kept her suitcase. However two events occur that prevent Susan and Roberta meeting; Susan gets arrested for not paying her cab fare and Roberta is knocked unconscious after trying to flee from the killer of Susan's one night stand. Coming to Roberta's aid is Dez played by Aiden Quinn, Jim's pal who has been asked to keep an eye on Susan, worried that she may come to harm. Seeing Roberta in Susan's jacket, Dez assumes that she is Susan and as Roberta is suffering from amnesia due to her little accident she is none the wiser. She moves in with Dez and gets a job as a magician's assistant. Meanwhile, Roberta's husband is looking for her as well as Susan and the killer who thinks she is Susan.
On retrospect, Desperately Seeking Susan was a pretty good film, had a decent script, great cast and a wonderful wardrobe. Sadly it never got the kudos it deserved simply because Madonna was in it. Saying that the film will always be known for its brilliant fashion, particularly that of Susan, whose style was basically a mesh of Madonna's look as it was then and the character's. Susan rocked backcombed hair which was hlghlighted to the max, her make up consisted of black liquid eye liner and matte red lipstick. Her wardrobe was funky and boho with lace camisoles, lace gloves, shoe boots, trillberry hats raybans, sleeveless gloves, leggings and a sequined blazaar. The look was topped off with accessories - loads of them - necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Then there was the blazaar jacket which was the basis of the storyline; it had a leapord lapel and rolled up sleeves. Roberta's suburban housewife style was very preppy and full of dresses and jump suits topped off with pearls. There was a lot of nuetral colours and unstructured shapes going on which reinforced the character's sense of emptiness. Hubby, Garys wardrobe was mostly full of preppy armani suits along with designer sunglasses. Susan's frumpy bestie, Crystal could be seen in neon coloured tights, pretty cardigans, satin dresses and donning a grey rinse in her hair. This was pure Librarian chic before it became chic and as for the blue rinse - hello Tavi! The storyline in Desperately Seeking Susan might not have set the world alight but the fashion certainly did.

4 cool comments:

Chic Chocolate said...

This takes me way back! It seems like every girl in high school was into the Madonna phase or Vanity 6 phase! LOL! :-D

Chic Modern Vintage said...

This is for sure going back. I forgot that Madonna was even in this movie, and it was a good movie that didn't get the Kudos it deserved.

Ondo Lady said...

Chic Chocolate - Yes Madonna had a distinctive style back then didn't she? Not sure if it was all her own as I can see influences from other sub culture.

Chic Modern Vintage - It was a great movie but was never taken seriously because Ms Ciccone was in it.

Rollergirl said...

My fave fashion film. I always, always wanted to be Susan in that last picture. THOSE BOOTS! I'm sorry Chic Modern Vintage but HOW can you forget Madonna was in this movie? Explain!!! (Actually, I quite love Rosanna Arquette's dorky housewife in this too...)