Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nicole Kidman as Halloween Inspiration

Is Nicole Kidman my favorite actress? I don't know; she's had a bit of a strange career path lately, though "come what may, I will love her until my dying day" for Moulin Rouge. But judging by the number of times her roles have inspired my Halloween costumes over the last several years, you'd be forgiven for thinking that.

Freshman year of college, I dressed up as "Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf." Basically I wanted an excuse to buy nose putty and make myself a monstrously huge fake nose. I also thought that this was the kind of clever, intellectual costume that would appeal at Vassar. Little did I know that Halloween at Vassar is the night when everyone puts away the intellectual pretentions that weigh heavily upon them for the other 364 nights of the year and just lets loose. I felt embarrassed to have chosen such a deliberately frumpy costume.

Kidman as Virginia Woolf
me as Virginia Woolf

Oddly enough, the "frumpy" dress I bought at Goodwill, when divorced from the fake nose, ugly hat and clumpy shoes, actually turned out to fit me really well, and has since become one of my favorite wardrobe pieces. I wore it when portraying a 1930s character in my play last spring.

I already wrote a lengthy blog post about my last year's Halloween costume: Marguerite Gauthier from La Dame aux Camélias. This character, as you may know, inspired the character of Satine the tubercular courtesan in Moulin Rouge. And Kidman/Satine's astoundingly gorgeous red gown in that movie set me off on a years-long quest for my own perfect red dress. I found one in Paris a year and a half ago, and wore it for my Dame aux Camélias costume.

Kidman in Moulin Rouge

me as La Dame aux Camélias

And this year? The choice was simple: Mrs. Coulter from The Golden Compass. I have loved the book since I was 9 years old, and when the movie came out last winter, it made the story better-known and gave Mrs. Coulter a distinctive "look." In the movie, Kidman makes her first entrance in a gown that is all-over gold sequins, and as luck would have it, I had purchased just that kind of gown for $2 at a rummage sale several years ago. I then bought a stuffed-animal golden lion tamarin (to represent the golden-monkey daemon), consulted this tongue-in-cheek guide for "How to Be Like Mrs. Coulter," and I was set to hit the town!


Kidman as Mrs. Coulter (with Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra)

me as Mrs. Coulter, with the golden monkey (I'm keeping it and have decided to name it "Philip" in honor of Philip Pullman. Oh, and it's a complete coincidence that my pose in this photo mimicks that of Kidman in the picture above. I am not that obsessed!)

Of course it's too early to tell what I'll be for Halloween next year, though as I've mentioned before, I've often wanted to work up a Margot Tenenbaum costume. Still, if that doesn't pan out, I'm dying to see Nicole Kidman/Baz Luhrmann's new movie Australia, and the images and costume sketches of Kidman's character reveal that she again has a very tempting wardrobe--slinky '30s dresses mixed with safari gear!

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