“Balenciaga!”: Five Style Picks from American Horror Story: Coven Finale

After 13 episodes, Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies finally has a new Supreme and has found its peace heading to new, rosy future. The finale of American Horror Story: Coven ends on a happy note, even if it’s been filled with an endless number of gruesome events (multiple deaths, tortures, mutilations). Unfortunately, most of the storylines haven’t been given the right emphasis; too many stories have lead to a confused, sometimes sloppy, plot, but one must give the show credit for being – style-wise – incredibly appealing. Lou Eyrich, the show’s costume designer, has done an excellent job in revisiting the main elements of the witch aesthetics and adapting them to the personalities of the characters.

There are many noteworthy outfits in this season, but I’d like to focus on the last episode only, which has really brought the fashion game to a higher level. So these are my five style picks from The Seven Wonders.

vlcsnap-2014-01-30-22h57m01s74The first 3 minutes are a lovely homage to Stevie Nicks, whose music and style have been one of the main inspiration for the series creator Ryan Murphy. She’s the spirit guide of Misty Day (Lily Rabe), the fascinating witch from the swamps, and she makes her appearance twice [1]. At the beginning of this episode, the black-clad singer walks through the golden-lit rooms of the academy and wishes the girls (Misty, Queenie, Madison and Zoe) good luck: they are about to undergo the tests of the Seven Wonders [2] and find out who the new Supreme is. The girls show their respect and admiration by wearing a fringed shawl, Stevie’s trademark accessory. Definitely one of the best moments.

vlcsnap-2014-01-30-22h59m51s254Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), the “Guardian of veracity in the vernacular”, is probably the best character of Coven. Her complex story (her past and her present, her relationship to Fiona Goode and Cordelia Foxx) is presented in detail. We know a lot about her passion for fashion (she frequently quotes Diane Von Furstenberg, Halston, JAR jewelry), too, which shows in flamboyant couture outfits, fiery red hair (a homage to Grace Coddington, I guess) and quirky accessories. In this episode, she sports awesome ivory winged cat eye glasses, along with hand-shaped silver sweater chain clips. Both the accessories are vintage pieces, which beautifully complement her outfit, combining different patterns in a very refined way.

vlcsnap-2014-01-30-23h04m48s142Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) is the headmistress of the academy and the daughter of the former Supreme, Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange). Her style evolution is interesting: when the show starts, she’s married, in love and trying to get pregnant; her idealistic and optimistic life vision is emphasized by neutral and light shades, with some touches of black and white. As the story progresses and her life is literally torn apart, she starts wearing more and more black, just like her mother and her students. In the last episodes, some beautiful floral patterns appear, symbolizing a new, happy phase in her life. In this episode, she wears a stunning floral skirt with a black turtleneck long-sleeved top, black tights and a single strand of pearls.

dolcegabbana_almondblossomskirtThe Dolce & Gabbana skirt she wears is printed with almond blossoms, a style choice which is not coincidental. According to the Christian tradition, almond branches are a symbol of the virgin birth of Jesus, while in the Hebrew Bible they are a reminder of the watchful eye of God, due to the tree’s early flowering. In both cases, the almond tree has a powerful, positive meaning which mirrors Cordelia’s future.

myrtle_reddressHow could I leave out the most flamboyant outfit of the season? Myrtle realizes Cordelia needs a blank slate in her life before moving on, so she begs her to put her at the stake for her crimes. The red-haired witch has always been Cordelia’s spiritual mother, so this moment is particularly touching, but one will later realize that Myrtle’s sacrifice will be for good. In occasion of her death, she wears a scarlet red evening dress with long train, off-shoulder neckline embellished with flat ribbons, lace gloves, red pendant earrings (maybe made of coral, a symbol of female energy) and black sunglasses.

vlcsnap-2014-01-30-23h55m22s1When asked about her last words, Myrtle just screams “Balenciaga!”. Some critics say this is not a homage to the Spanish couturier (which she probably loves), but a clue for the show’s fourth season. “It’s set in 1950,” Murphy revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “If you look historically what happened in the year 1950, there’s some more clues in that year. It’s a period piece. We try and do the opposite of what we’ve done before. Jessica Lange has already started practicing her German accent so I’m very excited!”. Uhm, I bet “German” here is the clue: according to Murphy, Lange will play a “Marlene Dietrich character”, but there’s more[3]. Shaunna Murphy from Hollywood Life pointed out the story of Brigitte Höss, “the daughter of the notorious Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz where more than one million Jews were exterminated. Brigitte eventually escaped Nazi Germany and eventually modeled for — you guessed it! — Balenciaga, in the 1950s. After her father was hanged, Brigitte moved to D.C. with her Irish-American husband, and spent 35 years serving the wives of senators and congressmen as manager of one of the city’s hottest boutiques.” That would be interesting!

vlcsnap-2014-01-30-23h24m41s33My last, but not least, pick are the super-sexy and aggressive black patent stilettos with ankle straps that Cordelia wears during a tv interview. She pairs it to a Billy Reid Staten black dress with white and red floral print. This shoe choice tells a lot about her new role in the coven and shows she’s finally taken charge, leaving her painful past behind. The pumps don’t have steel heels, but they remind me of the iconic shoes by Tom Ford from the Gucci fall/winter 1997 collection.

Even if I liked the last episode, this season has been a huge disappointment. Murder House still remains the best American Horror Story season so far, so I guess anything would turn out pale in comparison. Still, it’s a pity many interesting storylines (especially Zoe and Kyle’s) have been neglected in favour of useless ones (think of Nan and Luke, for example, or the baby Marie Laveau kidnapped from the hospital nursery). The season started with a bang (the first episode was so good), but then it got lost because of a confused plot, too many characters and violence for violence’s sake. I must admit I regretted watching it a bit, but fingers crossed for the next season.

[1] Stevie first appears in the tenth episode, aptly called The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks.

[2] Seven Wonders is the title of the song she sings in the opening. It’s from Tango in the Night, the Fleetwood Mac album released in 1987.

[3] Here you can read of more possible clues for the fourth season.

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