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March 21, 2010

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Fashion drawn to 'Alice'

THE fashion world has found a muse at the movie "Alice in Wonderland." Following the story line of the new Tim Burton adaptation of the classic Lewis Carroll book, this Alice is distinctly more mature and has outgrown the headband and pinafore from her previous animated persona. Now she is live-action, edgy, adventurous and confident.

She wears a corseted style and a halter dress with haphazard ruffles and ribbons (the latter look seemingly ripped from the Paris runways).

That makes her a perfect inspiration for the atypical fashion and beauty partners lined up for "Alice," including jeweler Tom Binns, Swarovski, Bloomingdale's and makeup brand Urban Decay.

It is Burton's explosion of color, texture and dramatic costumes that has people talking, says Avril Graham, a fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar.

"The whole package for each character, with its other-worldly hair, makeup and design combo almost echoes the mood of current popular culture," she said, comparing it with the communal fascination of Lady Gaga.

The Lexington Avenue windows of Bloomingdale's flagship store in Manhattan are filled with Binns' jewelry modeled after The Red Queen, The White Rabbit and The Cheshire Cat and there are Tea Party vignettes set up in the home department.

Movie props decorate the dress floor where designer Sue Wong's "Alice"-themed cocktail dresses hang.

Swarovski, which collaborated with the film's costume designer Colleen Atwood, is selling replicas of the sparrow pendant worn by Mia Wasikowska's Alice character. The centerpiece is a smoked topaz crystal on a pendant.

Urban Decay crafted an eye shadow palette in a box made to look like a gold-spine book. When it is opened, out comes a pop-up scene from the mushroom forest. And, of course, there's a keyhole latch.

"I never connected with the old Disney cartoony Alice because she was very clean and had an apron," said Wende Zomnir, creative director of Urban Decay. "But I don't think the Lewis Carroll book is quite so shiny and perfect."

Everybody has a personal own image of what "Wonderland" looks like, and that is what fuels so much creativity, said Stephanie Kraus, vice president of fashion and home at Disney Consumer Products.

"Alice," being a century-old story, obviously has a life beyond of-the-moment trendy fashion, she predicted.

The clothes, accessories and beauty items that use it as inspiration will be relevant years from now, she added, just as the imagery from the book and all its movie versions have lasted.


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