With her pixie cut, pale skin, and waif-like figure, 1968’s Mia Farrow must have been mistake for model Twiggy at least a hundred times while walking down the streets. But a model she was not– Farrow made her mark that year instead for starring in the seminal horror film Rosemary’s Baby. Directed by controversial auteur Roman Polanski, the spooky story of a pregnant New Yorker whose husband makes an unsavory deal with the devil, the film is a masterful depiction of the paranoia of modern life. The film, which won two Oscars, dutifully depicted Rosemary’s progressively twisted visual world with dark colors and some very creepy camera work. Not one to leave minor details unnoticed, Polanski made sure to capture the fashion in the film, with costuming reflecting Rosemary’s decline into darkness.
In the early stages of the film, Rosemary is a happy mom-to-be. Bright colors and cute cuts are the staples of her look, in the styles so popular during the 60s– a line, tent dresses in pop-art-esque yellows and optical prints made up the playful part of her wardrobe. As an urbane housewife, her less playful looks were just as smart. Think boxy plaid coats, silky evening dresses, and square heeled shoes gorgeous enough to die for! The detailing that captures the subtleties of the era’s fashions, such as the peter-pan collars on her various dresses, are in particular what we here at M.I.S.S. love!
As Rosemary’s world starts to fall apart, so does her overall look. Long gone are the days of the put together, cheerful housewife. While our heroine’s health declines (little does she know it’s because she’s been knocked up by Satan), her pale skin becomes less of a fashion statement and more of the picture of frailty. Her bright colors are tossed in favor of thick, heavy tartans– peep her hat and scarf combo below and, while fashion forward it is, tell us that isn’t the color palate of a woman going through some serious issues in life!
As the film draws to a close and Rosemary unknowingly delivers the spawn of Satan, Polanski went with a wardrobe choice that has become the image many associate with the film. In a daze, the brand new mother wanders around her apartment with a knife, ready to attack, clad in a simple blue nightgown. Rosemary’s descent into paranoia and her brush with the occult has left her sanity in question, and what better way to convey that than stripping the former beautiful ingenue of her fancy fashions! The haunting image of Rosemary, once vibrant and every bit the chic fashionista in the making, standing alone in her powder blue long shift nightgown and brandishing a knife is Polanski’s final visual statement of the dangers of maddening doubt, and a true example of the power of the link between fashion and emotional expression. Check out the haunting scene of Rosemary’s discovery below, and enjoy the occult classic if you already aren’t a fan!