pretty little liars

You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover: Hanna Marin’s Rosewood Jacket in Pretty Little Liars

It was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (1817)

Most of supernatural literature and cinema is based on “that willing suspension of disbelief” Coleridge referred to while explaining the differences between the goal of his poetry, in contrast with Wordsworth’s. As a viewer/reader, you are willing to believe in something which doesn’t exist in real life and enjoy it. The same trick is true for fictional situations which are apparently more common: think of Carrie Bradshaw, a columnist who is not wealthy, doesn’t even own the flat she lives in but can afford an incredible collection of designer shoes, clothes and accessories. This is very true when it comes to Marlene King’s Pretty Little Liars, the ABC tv show based on books by Sara Shepard. The mystery which the whole show is based on (what happened to the Queen Bee Alison DiLaurentis?) is not original [1] but it perfectly works. Huge doses of suspension of disbelief are needed to watch PLL, which I think is one of the reasons why it is so captivating and funny; the over-the-top adventures of the four protagonists and their outfits mustn’t be questioned, otherwise all the fictional building would crumble.

Take Hanna Marin’s recent “metamorphosis” (it’s more a personality crisis): the once-chubby and dorky Hanna Banana/Hefty Hanna, turned into a glamourous shoplifter at the beginning of the show, is now supposed to show her rebel side. The return of Ali into her life has crushed her certainties and now she doesn’t know who she is. The symbol of this is the over-decorated denim jacket she often wears.

normal_0434This change in style has been hailed by fans as “grungy” and “rock”, which is totally ridiculous. It’s true Hanna is currently sporting a different, scruffier style, but it’s far from expressing a plausible teenage angst. After all, Hanna’s rebellion includes drinking some alcohol, getting black highlights à la Christina Aguilera circa 2002/2003 and eating fried food, namely nothing socially unacceptable.


“I Might Go For The Daughter Upgrade”: Ella Montgomery’s Style in “Pretty Little Liars”

I haven’t been watching Italian television since 2008 and I have no intention to break this habit: most of programs really suck, so I prefer focusing on American tv series, whose quality has no equals. The range to choose from is extremely wide, but I don’t have much time to spend watching series, so I like focusing on a few only. The 4th season of True Blood is over, so now I’m watching the 5th season of Gossip Girl [1] and I’m looking forward to watching the Halloween episode of Pretty Little Liars.

I’ve started watching the ABC tv series created by Marlene King and based on the novels of Sara Shepard thanks to my friend Tibi: she said I would surely appreciate it. I watched the pilot and it totally got me hooked. You might say the plot is not original (I can see some elements from Gossip Girl and Desperate Housewives, not to mention a certain dark humour which reminds me of Heathers by Michael Lehmann), but nonetheless it’s involving. The cast is definitely a strong point of the series: the four protagonists are played by good actresses, and the supporting characters are good, as well. I must admit my heart lept up when I saw my 80s girl crush Nia Peeples (the lovely Nicole Chapman from Fame) in the role of Pam Fields, Emily’s mother, not to mention a 90s star, Holly Marie Combs (Piper Halliwell in Charmed), who plays Ella Montgomery, Aria’s mother.

As soon as I saw Holly as Ella in the pilot, I realized she was destined to become my new favourite character from a tv series, along with Lily Van der Woodsen. Her laid-back and basic style totally reminds me of Lily’s style in the first season of Gossip Girl. Ok, Lily has never been SO casual, but the relaxed attitude is exactly the same. I don’t think Ella’s style will go through quite a drastic evolution, as we witnessed in the case of Lily; I hope it won’t, because I finally found a style role model in a tv show I love. You may be surprised by my choice to speak about her outfits, but you know I tend not to follow the herd and to focus on minor or awkward characters (Millie Kentner, anyone?).

The “bohemian” vibe of some early outfits seen on Lily is a rule for Ella, as we realize since the first scene where she makes her appearance. Her family has just come back to Rosewood from Iceland and she spends some time with her daughter Aria, before the latter leaves to take Mike (Ella and Byron’s son) to school. Those flared jeans have been enough to turn her into a style icon in my personal book of style: she wears this type of jeans (my favourite) in many episodes of the 1st season, usually pairing them to loose cardigans and t-shirts. In this case, she wears her flared jeans with a plum t-shirt and a grey buttonless cardigan: perfection!