Yesterday I watched 'Grey Gardens' with my friend Willa and was really inspired by Little Edie and the way she wears garments, transforming a top into a headscarf, a skirt as a cape and bizarre ensembles of tights over shorts and a floral swimsuit over a tiger print polo neck.
The film is about Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (aunt to Jackie Kennedy Onassis) and her daughter Little Edie. The film depicts the upperclass mother and daughter in their home, Grey Gardens, East Hampton, Long Island, which has fallen into disrepair much like Edie and her daughter. They were once rich socialites of the 1930s but became poor after her Big Edie's father cut her mostly from his will and she was divorced by her husband via telegram. Little Edie returned to Grey Gardens to look after her mother, where they lived out eccentric lives as recluses in a time warp, trapped inside their once magnificent mansion. The film is amusing yet tragic and perfectly captures the love and resentment within their mother-daughter relationship.
I loved the make do and mend spirit of Little Edie. She was witty and inventive, and for a woman who once lived in luxury, she made do with what she had. Here you can see she has tied up the skirt of a red dress to make it more fashionable and also fashions a skirt out of an old table cloth by knotting it around herself.
"Mother wanted me to come out in a kimono so we had quite a fight"- Little Edie
My favourite scene is when Edie decorates her brothers room by arranging images on the wall explaining why she has selected each image and how they interlink. She is so childlike and it is perhaps this basic outlook that makes her able to clearly explain and understand her choices and their connections, which is sometimes difficult as a design student.
“I feel so strongly about mementos and everything because of Mother…”-Little Edie
Willa informed me that many designers had been inspired by the film, including Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein, basing whole collections around their story.