Wrung out like a dish cloth after ten days of insanity (Grazia shoot, Copenhagen Fashion Week, staying up all night to finish building this site, the Grazia reveal excitement, and then the headlong rush into London Fashion Week), I am afraid that I skipped a couple of LFW shows late on Saturday night, and headed off to The Soho Hotel for the VIP screening of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I’m not sure which part of the evening I was more excited about – the movie, being fed or the prospect of sitting down for a whole two hours.
I justified my truancy because the screening was hosted by the English designer Alice Temperley, whose bridge line is called….wait for it…Alice, and a rail of the ooh-I-can-so-see-quite-a-lot-this-in-my-wardrobe AW10 collection was set up in an ante room for us to flick through & choose a piece from whilst eating cake and sipping tea from proper china cups.
It was a rather lovely evening. Several editors in chief & well known people had brought along their children, one of whom was dressed as Alice and, instead of those awful premieres of child friendly movies where celebs subject their poor infants to the glare of the red carpet, this one took place in a very small screening room in the velvety bowels of the hotel, away from the public gaze.
So: the film. This was one of the very first screenings of Alice anywhere in the world, so we had no preconceptions. I think it must be pretty scary for children, because I certainly found it so. It is also rather confusing to anyone familiar with Alice’s adventures, both in Wonderland and through the looking glass. The cast of characters is all present & correct, but they don’t necessarily do what one expects. (And if you ever wondered exactly what the Vorpal Sword did, you will be left in no confusion by movie’s end.)
Wonderland has become a post-apocalyptic nightmare and Alice is now nineteen, with a ravishing line in silk balldresses. It’s best to suspend all prior knowledge of Alice and just let oneself be swept along in the wake of Burton’s imagination. Watching this film is clearly the nearest you will get to chewing on magic mushrooms without breaking the law.
Everything becomes clear in the final quarter of the movie, so much so that you rather want to see it again immediately with that knowledge in your head. Shot in 3D, the effect is bloody brilliant as Alice falls down the rabbit hole, and it helps the gloriously anthropomorphic Cheshire Cat float admirably, but I can’t say I felt it added much beyond that.
But oh my goodness: the production design, the make up and, above all, the costumes which take Tenniel’s original drawings, turn them inside out and produce something so fantastic, witty and beautiful that you just want to stare and stare and stare. (I’m interviewing Colleen Attwood the costume designer on Monday for LLG.)
The film leaves you feeling rather wobby like a weeble, which I presume is the effect of the combination of being sucked into Burton’s extraordinary mind and the 3D glasses. My solution: I asked Daniel to drive me straight to Claridges to John Rocha’s 25th Anniversary cocktail for a restorative flute of Champagne.
All images courtesy of Disney Enterprises Inc