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Fashion Meets Film: Teen Witch


Holy Smokes! She's a teen witch!

Holy Smokes! She's a teen witch!

So, what if, like you were 16 and you discovered that once upon a time you were TOTALLY a Salem witch? Even better, what if you used your recently-developed witch skills to cast spells on all of the barneys on the football team to make them think you were the most popular girl in school?

Louise goes from a studious nerd on the outskirts...

Louise goes from a studious nerd on the outskirts...

... to one of the most popular girls in school. Like, totally magic!

... to one of the most popular girls in school. Like, totally magic!

Welcome to 1989 cult classic Teen Witch. Robin Elaine Lively plays Louise Miller, a lovable but nerdy 16 year old whose life is turned upside town when she suffers a biking accident after school. Knocking on a neighbor’s door for help turns into a family history lesson when she meets seer Madame Serena (Zelda Rubenstein), who informs Louise that she is actually a reincarnated witch. Serena gifts Louise with an amulet that restores her Salem-era magical powers. As any teenager would, Louise goes to town, getting back at her wicked English teacher, punishing the cheerleaders who made her life hell, and trying to win the love of Brad, the most popular guy in school. Apparently, being popular is a lot to stomach, because Louise eventually realizes that believing in herself and winning the respect of those around her without magic is more important that anything an amulet could provide. Happy ending, much?

Louise uses her sneaky powers to win over the hottest boy in school, Brad.

Crush worthy Brad is still into Louise, even when she gives up her powers.

Happy endings are great and all, but some of the most enjoyable parts of the movie are when Louise gets all bad-ass and uses her powers to get her own way. Check out these two memorable scenes below, one in which Louise’s magical charms tosses an unsuspecting cheerleader into the pool, and another when her powers turn her brother into a bellboy!

Popularity rules! Especially at the school dance-- duh!

Popularity rules! Especially at the school dance-- duh!

Teen Witch is full of much-loved quotables and musical moments. With a soundtrack boasting such epic late 80s greats as Lori Russo’s “Never Be the Same Again” and Cindy Valentine’s “Finest Hour”, musical numbers are a big part of what made the movie so popular with audiences over the years. One of my favorites is this completely ridiculous “I Like Boys” anthem, which is pretty much exactly what boys think goes on in the girls’ locker room!

But even better than the locker room dance number is the holy grail of all teen movie musical sequences– the infamous Teen Witch rap! What else can we say, other than “supersonic, idiotic, disconnected, not respected, who would ever really wanna go and TOP THAT?!”

Boleros and Bolo Ties-- fab? TOP THAT!

Boleros and Bolo Ties!

Music numbers aside, hands down the best thing about Teen Witch is shockingly NOT the acting (big surprise! Lead Louise is actually current teen queen Blake Lively’s sister– apparently, bad acting runs in the family?), but rather the fashion! The movie’s fashion reads like an ode to late 80’s styling, with items like strong-shoulder padded boleros and wispy bolo ties making a strong appearance in the film. Knee length pleated skirts in a variety of textures and patterns also featured prominently in the flick, paired with slouchy and off-the-shoulder cable-knit sweaters or trim-fit turtlenecks.

Who can resist an 80s prom queen?

Who can resist an 80s prom queen?

One of my favorite fashion forward looks from the film was the dress that Louise wore to the dance in the movie’s closing sequences. A barely-there mini in hunter green, the dress pulled from the current and 80s’ body-con craze with its snug fit. But the dress’s amazing-ness didn’t stop there! This 80’s wonder was completed with puffed shoulders, a slim sweetheart neckline and a tutu-level huge peplum right near the waist. Louise paired it with a pair of mid-level pumps and her trademark popular-girl bouncy and big 80’s Tawney Kitaen wannabe hair . One word to sum up this look? Corny, but… simply MAGIC.

Teen Witch-- destined to live forever in DVD and basic cable re-run heaven!

Teen Witch-- destined to live forever in DVD and basic cable re-run heaven!

The legacy of Teen Witch will definitely–hopefully!–live on forever, thanks in really large part to basic cable and the cult of DVD. Seriously, in the last few years, I’ve seen the movie broadcast both late night and early morning too many times to count, and it better stay that way! From the fashion to the catchy rap that gave a generation of late 80s babies a does of silliness, it’s hard to overlook the contribution Teen Witch made to the genre of the 80s teen superflick, as well as the memory imprint it left on a lot of young women today. A great example is designer Rachel Antonoff’s recently 2010 lookbook, which features a series of shots styled after the infamous Rap scene. The lookbook, which was also published in Teen Vogue, was complete with a modern update of the rap that’s suspiciously hipster in nature. Love it or hate it, Antonoff’s Spring campaign is proof that when it comes to Teen Witch, no teen rap scene–or Salem descended teen witch (sorry Sabrina!)– has yet to TOP THAT!

Rachel Antonoff's Spring 2010 lookbook recreates the Teen Witch Rap.

Rachel Antonoff's Spring 2010 lookbook recreates the Teen Witch rap...

...albeit with a slight updated hipster leaning!

...albeit with a slight updated hipster leaning!


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4 Responses to “Fashion Meets Film: Teen Witch”

  1. Aurora says:

    Omg I love this movie! Last time I saw it on tv was a few years ago.. I loved “top that” but my favorite was “I waaaanna be the most popular giiirl!”

  2. 1. Until I as about 20, I thought I was the only human to have ever seen this movie. My parents rented movies from a really bootleg video store at the time, so I rented this particular one often.

    2. I always wondered how her classmates would dress like/copy her on the SAME EXACT DAY on which she also wore that outfit. Were they all up in her window or something?

  3. oh, and her IRL brother played Rusty Griswold in National Lampoons vacation.

  4. Jenessa Jenessa says:

    Gee, your choices in Fashion Meets Film never cease to AMAZE!!! Love the correlation between this teen witch movie to today’s fashion lookbooks. “Corny, but…simply MAGIC” haha! about 90 percent of everything I find fascinating.

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