The magnificent Maleficent is the style diva for our time

in Non-Fiction by

Maleficent opened last weekend and pretty much slayed everything else at the box office. Which is fitting, I suppose, as it’s a movie about one of Disney’s most iconic villains. The story shows us another side of Maleficent, the horn-wearing, cape-twirling fairy who curses the lovely Princess Aurora with endless sleep on her 16th birthday. In this new version of the classic tale, Maleficent might still be on the dark side, but she has her reasons – her own true love stole her wings in exchange for power and wealth. Maleficent is protecting her land and her people, and maybe even trying to get a little revenge in the process.

The movie is a great spin on a familiar story, but its true genius lies in its costuming and makeup. Angelina Jolie is hauntingly beautiful in her perfectly-draped black gowns, the horns of her headpiece rising up from severe, otherworldly cheekbones. Apparently she was so terrifying on set that they had to cast her daughter to play Aurora – any other children who saw her would run away screaming.

If you loved Maleficent, or, more importantly, if you loved Jolie’s look in the film, then here are four must-read style books to remind you of the villain-turned-maybe-good.

savage beautyAlexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton (author), Harold Koda (author), Tim Blanks (contributor), Susannah Frankel (Contributor), Solve Sundsbo (Photographs)

If I had to pick any fashion designer to create a Maleficent look, it would be Alexander McQueen. This book chronicles his career, describing his rise to fame and examining the projection of his aesthetic. Just like Maleficent, McQueen was never afraid to push the envelope, and he turned clothes into structural pieces of art. His avant-garde style, creative use of textures, dark lines and sleek tailoring are a perfect fit for the austere Maleficent. If the two had existed in the same universe, I have no doubt the evil fairy would have snatched McQueen out of his bed, locked him in a tower, and forced him to design all of her looks.

Encyclopedia of the ExquisiteEncyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins

Modeled after mysterious artifact encyclopedias of the 16th century, this lifestyle guide focuses on the rare and the unique. Pulling pieces from history – such as the evolution of the kimono, or the history of the lingerie – it’s a book that looks to the past to help us understand our modern relationship with beauty. The old-world feel of the book is a perfect match for the world of castles and princesses and fairies brought to life in Maleficent. And if there was ever a villain who couldn’t let the past go, it’s our favorite black-horned fairy.

Alexa Chung - ITIt by Alexa Chung

Alexa Chung is a fashion icon and television personality, known for her easy street-style and often androgynous look. She’s also what many would call an “it girl,” that elusive term to describe someone who just seems to have “it.” In her style guide/memoir, she discusses her fashion inspirations and shares personal stories from her life. I’m still not totally sure what having “it” means, and I’m definitely not sure how to get “it,” but it’s pretty obvious that Maleficent has “it,” too. Maybe it’s just an innate confidence and an ability to wear anything and make it look good – something that both Chung and Maleficent seem to have in spades.

Fairie-alityFairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand by Eugenie Bird (author), David Downton (illustrator), and David Ellwand (photographer)

Maleficent is, at her heart, a fairy. An evil one, maybe, but still a fairy. This lovely and delicate book showcases fairy-inspired styles from otherworldly couturier Ellwand. Combining fairy-lore, fashions and illustrations, this unique collection is a must-read for any Maleficent fan. The styles might be a little more ethereal than her usual look, but the images pair well with the earthier, more nature-driven Maleficent at the film’s core.

What do you think of Maleficent’s style? Ready to go out and buy a horn headpiece yet? Let us know your thoughts on the movie and the fashions in the comments.

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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