She’s one of the most stylish Disney villainesses of all time. With ruby lips, eyes perfectly rimmed in black, sharp, high cheekbones and a show-stopping black dress, cape and horns, Maleficent’s look is more than memorable – it is iconic 55 years since “Sleeping Beauty” debuted onscreen.
No wonder then that Maleficent, the titular character in the movie starring Angelina Jolie, has inspired one of the most extensive assemblages of fashion and beauty tie-ins in recent film history. Elements of Maleficent’s look have been translated into wearable items, from black-and-white beaded jackets by Naeem Khan for HSN to a dragon-shaped rhodium ear cuff with onyx and black diamonds from Crow’s Nest Jewels to a M.A.C. red lipstick.
“Maleficent is fabulous,” said Nancy Deihl, director of the master of arts program in costume studies at New York University. Maleficent, along with the Evil Queen and Cruella de Vil, are the three fashion Furies, she said. “While heroines are pretty, the villainesses are what you call striking. You can even say beautiful, in a certain way. Belle laide really applies to them. They’re never going to be mistaken for the sweet heroine.”
Toni G, Jolie’s makeup artist, created the Maleficent makeup look, which M.A.C. interpreted not only with a blue-red lipstick called True Love’s Kiss but with a collection of makeup and nail lacquers, including faux lashes, eyeliner and a black nail color named Nocturnelle. For most of the film, the underside of Maleficent’s nails was coated black, but the top was painted in a pale pearlescent hue. M.A.C. also created an online guide for which 19 products to use to re-create Jolie’s Maleficent visage.
Jewelry also was a natural fit for commercial reinterpretation.
London-based Crow’s Nest Jewels took themes from the film, such as horns, thorns, dragons and feathers, and fashioned them into a stunning seven-piece fine-jewelry collection ($5,180-$20,880), including an18-karat ring with yellow and red sapphires that evokes flames.
Several fashion jewelry companies are offering versions influenced not just by Maleficent, the film character, but also by the decorative elements of the movie, including period-themed fabrics, embellishments, design motifs and architecture. A black feather necklace by RK by Ranjana Khan Jewelry for HSN ($239.95) mimics the feathers in Maleficent costumes.
Some clothing capsule collections are not so much a literal interpretation as an evocation of Maleficent’s costumes in the second half of the film, which shows Maleficent as an adult wearing mostly black in “much heavier fabrics with lots of volume” and “sculptural shapes,” according to Anna B. Sheppard, costume designer.
Ranjana Khan’s husband, designer Naeem Khan, whose dresses and gowns have been worn by first lady Michelle Obama, Carrie Underwood and Eva Longoria, has created for HSN a black-and-white collection that references Maleficent and Aurora so subtly, the clothes stand on their own without association to the film. “I wanted to create clothes that are fun and wearable without getting too dark,” Naeem Khan said. “You want to feel that they’re part of the movie, but you don’t make the clothes too evil. You want them to be glamorous. Everyone has that badness in them, so I try to keep it a little bad, but predominantly good.”
Retailer Hot Topic is offering a combination of T-shirts with artists’ renderings of “Maleficent” scenes as well as several all-black tops, bottoms and dresses. The most Maleficent-looking of the bunch is a dress with a standup collar.
Previews of the film mostly Maleficent as vengeful and menacing. But the movie’s story of her metamorphosis will likely make her an attractive, even heroic character, much like Elphaba was in the book and musical “Wicked.”
Whether that will help fuel a demand for Maleficent-inspired fashion is unclear. What’s evident is that those who may want to channel their inner dark fairy will have plenty from which to choose.
“Costume is not fashion, but fashion is costume,” said NYU’s Deihl. “What we wear and how we go about every day is a performance of our lives. Some people might decide that they are in a Maleficent mood and they have to be Maleficent for a day.”