Enid, Helena style

February 16, 2010 at 12:07 am | Posted in Fashion | Leave a comment
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Helena Bonham Carter has described her version of Enid Blyton, as seen in the recent BBC4 biopic, as both ‘appealling and appalling’. Based on the respected biography by the late Barbara Stoney, Enid depicts the writer’s darker side, taking some dramatic license and lingering over her self-centredness, adultery and general coldness towards her children. At the same time, the (tv) film also elicits sympathy for Blyton. It strives to show how she was affected by her father’s desertion when she was 13, and later depicts her grief when, after years of estrangement, she hears of the death of her mother (in real life, according to Stoney, Blyton told her brother that she was too busy to attend the funeral).

Most important in the context of this site is the film’s wonderful mise-en-scène. The costumes, designed by Lucinda Wright, are a mixture of childish, practical, seductive and coldly glamourous and are especially wonderful. While HBC’s own tastes lean towards pantaloons, mop caps, bustles, lace and ribbons (she once claimed to ‘get high on ribbon’), she does look quite stunning with her 1940s hairdo, padded shoulders and pillar box lipstick.

Key elements to the film’s Enid style are floral prints, dotty fabrics, coloured tights and practical cardigans, with pearls, painted nails and the odd dead animal.

Bright red nails are shown off to good effect when Enid is eating jelly (top left) and when she is tapping away at her typewriter bashing out the stories we know and love.

For a classic red nail polish, Opi is a good brand to try. They have concessions in many department stores (some, such as Selfridges which has its own Opi nail bar, carry a wider range of colours) but you can also explore their impressively large palette via their website. My current favourite is ‘Vodka and Caviar’ which is a strong, classic red, but it’s hard to avoid being tempted by the quirky names of some of the other shades too: ‘Cha-Ching Cherry’, ‘Dutch Tulips’, and ‘Off with her Red!’ all sound good. The latter name is, of course, a play on the favourite saying of Alice in Wonderland‘s Queen of Hearts, which brings me round (slightly tenuously I admit, as they are completely different characters) to Helena’s most recent role as a Vivienne Westwood-meets-Elizabeth I-style Red Queen in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Note the nice red nail polish.

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