My princess ambitions are probably quite clear from my previous posts. Being the main character of a modern fairytale (involving a fabulous pair of Louboutin heels and an incredible bespoke gown) is a daydream I’m not ready to abandon. But…
Ok, let us face it: the Princess gets it all. Facing cruelty and obstacles with a dentistic masterpiece of smile, being always kind, gentle and having a golden heart, waiting patiently for things to get better and, meanwhile, singing along sugary songs with a nightingale voice is proven to be a winning strategy. In the end, the Princess defeats her enemies and lives happily ever after with a ridiculously handsome husband (tons of chivalry, litres of blue blood and a deep pair of blue, dreamy eyes are the minimum requirements for Prince-Charming-Candidates).
While the happy royal couple triumphs in an aura of perfection, a very important character dies, or is exiled, or something worse. It is the Supervillain. Those women (or, more rarely, men) are the ones that try, along the whole story, to get rid of the annoying, sweet and lovely protagonist and ascend to absolute power. Strong of a degree in Obscure Arts and a Master in cruelty, the Supervillains spend their time inventing and implementing evil plans. Of course, the sympathies of the audience are supposed to stay with the poor, vexed Princess. Quite hard, if we consider that, in all the last movies inspired by fairytales, the Supervillains have been played by the most beautiful, influential and glamorous actresses in the world.
A bunch of fresh-faced, young actresses have recently been obscured by the dramatic impact and presence of their older colleagues. How can Kristen Stewart, with her always suffering expression, defeat, at least in the audience hearts, the magnificent Charlize Theron? How is the round-faced, unknown Lily James supposed to be remembered, when together with her a sparkling Cate Blanchette is starring a super-cool stepmother?
It looks like the Supervillain role is the new unofficial award for successful actresses. Both Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts have played Snow-White witches (the first one in “Snow White and the Huntsman ” by Rupert Sanders, the second in “Snow White” by Tarsem Singh). Angelina Jolie has interpreted the title role in “Maleficent” by Robert Stromberg (stealing the lead from the anonymous Elle Fanning, who played the secondary character Aurora). Tilda Swinton has opened the way by playing the fascinating Ice Queen in “The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by Andrew Adamson. And what about Glenn Close and her unforgettable Cruella De Vil in “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” by Stephen Herek?
It may look like the power of these bad girls is their ability with spells and potions, but the truth is another… they are damn good-looking and they have a wonderful style. While the princesses wear pastel gowns and pastry-like skirts (or, in the case of Kristen Stewart, a Knight armor), those witches hit the stage with bold colors, feathers, iron crowns, cat eye make up, evil glances and top model attitudes.
It is clear that the perception of female roles is changing. These characters represent much more than the villain of children movies. They are strong, independent women. If they were not wearing medieval clothes, they could be CEO’s, entrepreneurs, lawyers, managers. The attitude, the costumes, even the dialogues want to show unconventional, strong-willed anti-heroines, with whom it is impossible not to fall in love.
The interest for the bad guy is also attempting to Prince Charming popularity. Women of all ages have recently gone crazy for the troubled, obscure protagonist of “Fifty shades of Grey”. Moreover, the whole pre-adolescent world has fallen in love with Twilight’s vampire Edward Cullen and the popular sentence “What if I wasn’t the superhero, but the super villain?” (do not ask me why I know it!). To complete, it is not a case that the attractive actor Luke Evans (former hot version of Count Dracula) has been cast to play Gaston in the upcoming version of “Beauty and the Beast”. It is going to be quite hard for Emma Watson-Belle to reject him and choose her hairy and fanged partner!
Fashion is now exploring the power of the Supervillain look, directed to all those women who do not need a Prince or a Fairy Godmother to drive their destiny. As an example, when Maleficent was released, MAC signed a limited edition make up collection inspired by the beautiful dark fairy and Chiara Ferragni, fashion blogger and shoes designer, dedicated a slipper to Maleficent, changing her iconic blue eye symbol into the character’s eye. A couple of years ago, the fashion brand PINKO dedicated a T-shirt collection to some of the Disney’s villains. Moreover, some brands are exploring the seduction of villainess and dark. One for all? Saint Laurent Paris, which is currently working on contemporary and badass looks, using colors like black, taupe and dove and introducing small metal studs an fringes.
I bet that an army of Princesses-to-be are now abandoning the path of the righteous to migrate to the dark side. It is true, the Princess wins… but the Villain burns bright like a flame, has lots of fun (and evil laughs) and falls on her stilettos with uncomparable class.