Monday, April 11, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) (Take 2)

While I was ruminating on Tennessee Williams and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, I was wondering why Elizabeth Taylor is wearing such a fancy white dress. Then it occurred to me that in a very real way, this is a second wedding night for Maggie the Cat! This is her bridal gown. She has been redeemed and made a bride all over again.

And later I was searching for a dress like this iconic one from the film and found an Etsy seller that re-creates this gown in silk and chiffon custom for $499. I almost rejected it out-of-hand as too expensive for this blog. But then – a revelation! I would do a Maggie the Cat bridal look. Five hundred dollars for a wedding dress is a steal and this would be a lovely tribute to the film and my interpretation of Maggie’s transformation.

Here is my interpretation: (Click for a larger and more detailed view.)

Dress: 100 percent Silk Heart Stopping Chiffon Maggie Dress Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, $499 via Etsy seller pinkpurr
Veil: High Fashion Birdcage Veil, $45 via Etsy seller GlamItUp Toppers
Belt: Giordano Frangipani Leather Belt, YOOX Collection, $109
Stockings: Berkshire: Toeless Thigh Highs in Nude, $6.95 via Bare
Shoes: Badgley Mischka Randall in White, on sale for $169.50 via Piperlime
Total: $829.45

This is pretty faithfully recreated with the exception of the veil. The dress is unbelievable! Custom-made of silk and chiffon, it is simple and elegant and lovely. Wearing a short bridal gown is very retro and is a trend that I think should come back. (I have seen a lot of people using short bridesmaid’s dresses but the trend hasn’t made the leap to brides yet.)

To illustrate, here are my grandparents getting married in 1951. Her dress is the same length.

This Maggie the Cat dress for a bride strikes the right balance between sexy and demure, between jaw-dropping and tear-dabbing. (FYI: This handmade dress also comes in a wide-variety of colors, even including leopard print. Of course, for a bridal look, I stuck with the classic white, but lots of other choices are available.)

I have added a lovely leather belt. This gives the dress a bit of texture and a little sparkle on the buckle. Elizabeth Taylor wore a belt with her gown in the movie. I think it is quirky and innovative to wear a belt on a bridal gown.

Maggie the Cat’s shoes had some sort of flower or bow on them. I wanted something very high quality so they could stand up to the dress. This pair from Badgley Mischka has that same balanced quality that the dress has. They are cute with the bow and sexy with the high heels. The price is pretty great for such a lovely pair of formal shoes.

I feel strongly about hosiery and formal events. It has become old-fashioned to wear panty hose. But – for major occasions bare legs are just not appropriate. I also feel that Maggie would not wear this dress without stockings. The pair I have selected are nude thigh-highs, but they are toeless. This allows you to show off that wedding day pedicure but still have the polished modesty of hosiery. A forgotten benefit of stocking is that it will cover up any imperfections of your skin, such as small bruises. It is like having air-brushing that you wear!

Lastly, I have taken some creative license and added a veil to this outfit. I feel it makes it all fall together and feel like bridal ensemble. I love the birdcage veil! It is so retro. This one has the tulle off the back and the birdcage mesh in the front and it is handmade. I feel like if Maggie the Cat were picking out a veil she would wear something like this.

This ensemble consists five easy pieces for a gorgeous bridal ensemble and it costs on a little over $800. Elizabeth Taylor also wears a solitaire diamond pendant and diamond earrings. If you can afford something like that to go with this look, that would be lovely. I wished I had been able to work in something blue, but you can’t have everything. I think for a low-maintenance backyard daytime wedding, this look would be a perfect and memorable one.

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