Perhaps you heard the news last week that David Lynch's bizarro genius series Twin Peaks will be producing a new, 6 episode season, nearly 25 years after its tragic cancellation! I tried to pay tribute to this news with an appropriate outfit.
For those unfamiliar, Twin Peaks was a short-lived TV series about Pacific Northwestern town full of beautiful women and ridiculously violent psycho-sexual underpinnings. It followed the story of the FBI agent sent there to investigate the murder of a local girl that everybody is revealed to have been totally obsessed with, as he live-blogs his life into a tape recorder for his secretary back home.
Like Lynch's movies (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Mulholand Drive) the vibe is creepy, crazy, borderline silly, explicitly hallucinatory, arguably abstract, and sometimes meant to fuck with you. And the clothes are amazing.
Most notably: the sweater and skirt ensembles of the character Audrey Horne.
Audrey is just your basic mischievous teenage daughter of a local hotel tycoon. She loves activities like flirting with 35 year old men and dancing in diners to instrumental jazz.
One of the best things about Audrey's sexy cashmere cardis and classic pencil skirts is that they so beautifully represent her character. In a town full of women who talk to logs, high schoolers working as part-time call girls, and people getting viciously abused by their own spouses, some of whom are tragically mentally ill, Audrey's Nancy Drew antics -- eves dropping on conversations and peeping through keyholes -- seem adorably benign. And more to the point, her sex-kitten attire doesn't imply sad, twisted darkness the way expressions of sexuality seem to for many other women in the town of Twin Peaks.
Lynch has proven throughout his career to be preoccupied with pointing out the terrible seediness that lurks beneath the surface of anything we tend to idealize, whether he's calling out the Hollywood dream machine for being a destroyer of lives, exposing idyllic 50's America as a smokescreen for a culture of violence and misogyny, or, in the case of Twin Peaks, reminding us that beautiful girls, who are envied and seemingly adored, are often mutilated on the inside by the projections and abuse they attract from a sick and broken society. Most of the women in Twin Peaks are struggling on some level to stay afloat in a world that simultaneously rewards and punishes them for their allure, turning ladies into femme fatales left and right as they attempt to flip this power differential in their favor, often paying the price with their innocence and trust.
But Audrey is somehow immune to this process. She's definitely a femme fatale of some sort, but despite being a flirtatious little minx, she doesn't seem to internalize this epic drama at all. Her knowing attitude and ability to see the invisible strings controlling everyone's behavior in this power play prevent her from blindly engaging in it. She sees the game for what it is. So naturally, her clothes evince both sensuality (those sweaters are certainly sexy) and innocence (since her outfits are almost old fashioned). There's plausible deniability in her sexiness, and this choice about Audrey's costume denotes self awareness about her character. That's some brilliant cinematic costuming at work right there.