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Films To Inspire Your Style: The Royal Tenenbaums

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    Photo: Touchstone Pi/REX/Shutterstock.


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    Wes Anderson films are not short on style, are they? There is, however, one Wes special that rises, a fabulously fur-lined head and shoulders, above his other pictures in the fashion stakes.

    We are of course referring to Gwyneth Paltrow's kohl-eyed turn as the moribund Margot Tenenbaum, in 2001's cult classic The Royal Tenenbaums. Somewhere between Owen Wilson's melancholy cowboy, Angelica Houston's power-house matriarch and Ben Stiller's OCD adidas-tracksuit-clad dad, Gwyneth Paltrow, as the depressive Margot, is the film's standout style icon. From her missing finger to her much older husband Raleigh (the wonderfully down-trodden Bill Murray) she's cinema's most undone fashion reference, and every girl's go-to Halloween outfit.

    From her morning-after eyeliner, to her nude slip dresses and moth-eaten mink coats Margot is the film's most memorable image and has been a source of inspiration for fashion designers for the past 15 years. Karen Patch who designed the costumes is a long-term collaborator with Anderson and spoke to Elle about how she created Margot's looks, under Wes' strict instructions that nothing be shop-bought.

    "The idea of Margot came together because I had seen an old Peter Sellers' film, called The World of Henry Orient, in which the young girl wears a mink coat to run around New York" explained Patch.

    Patch purposefully made Margot look like she'd been wearing her uniform since she was a child: the girlish hair grips, the too-short sleeves, the socks. Not even those cult Lacoste dresses Margot lives in, are available in store. "People think Lacoste made Margot's dresses, but Lacoste didn't make striped dresses in that style at the time—they only made solids. So I asked them if they would just send me fabrics so that I could pick out the stripes I wanted to make the dresses with. But I had to get their approval because Wes really wanted to use the Lacoste alligator logo."

    Patch was keen to represent Margot as a rich-kid gone bad, hence her mother's Fendi coat, her Hermes handbag and all the preppy dresses and Bass loafers. "I think those contradictions—the fact that she was wearing what looked like her mother's clothes, or something kind of country-club conservative—made her edgy. I like to put unlikely things together—it certainly makes things more interesting."

    Here is our small, insufficient ode to Margot Tenebaum, still the only reason to bob your hair in 2016.

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  6. Photo: Touchstone Pi/REX/Shutterstock.