The sexier side of Alice
Continuing the trend for all things Alice in Wonderland related that started with the build-up to the release of the Tim Burton movie a few years back, LA-based Heavy Red have released a line full of Alice-themed items that may bridge the gap between things you can wear for Halloween and things you can wear on any occasion.
At the more costume-focused end of the scale, there’s a complete Alice outfit including dress, corset, jacket, and strait jacket straps. Although the pieces can be purchased separately, they really need to be worn together for full effect, since the dress alone is rather nondescript. Add the corset and the jacket, and you have a charmingly quirky take on the Alice archetype. It’s the color scheme that’s particularly appealing, leaning towards the genuinely Victorian with a blend of taupe brocade and dark red on the corset and ivory on the jacket. There are plenty of accessories to add for those who’re thus inclined, such as gloves, hat, masks, stocking, etc.
It’s not all about the costumes, though. The Alice theme runs through multiple parts of the Heavy Red collection, particularly the dresses. There are currently three different tea dresses available, all of them following the same basic pattern – knee length and sleeveless, with a fitted bodice and a full skirt. The tea dress concept implies ruffles, and they’re fully in evidence here. How much of the ruffles are visible is up to the wearer, though. All three dresses are layered with panels at the front which can either be worn closed, thus hiding the colorful ruffled underlayers, or open, allowing the ruffles to peek through. There are three different color schemes available –black and teal blue, black and red, and black and white. Worn as is it’s a soft, girly, subtly flattering style, but the softness of the fabric easily lends itself to a more overtly sexy style with the addition of a waist cincher. There’s also an all-black option, useful if you prefer a more muted look or want to add colorful accessories (this would be a good one to choose if you wanted to add a colorful waist cincher). The bodice is heavily seamed, a nice touch that adds shaping, and has an overall vintage lingerie feel to it. Bustier customers should probably be aware of the potential for the built-in cups to fit in a way that tips the effect over from subtly sexy into va-voom territory, but the company does sell matching jackets for those who want to tone down the effect a little, or who prefer not to have their shoulders exposed to the winter weather, and there is elastic built into the back band to allow a little give.
The line also includes an “Alice en déshabillé” dress. For those who may be unfamiliar, the French concept “déshabillé” refers to a state of partial undress, with a side order of slightly disheveled being implied. This dress is the most overtly lingerie-inspired of the line, but in the Victorian sense of the under-dress, rather than in the modern sense. It’s in no way indecent, and would be perfectly suitable for most occasions on which dresses might be worn, but there’s a definite edge of subtle naughtiness to this dress that the others don’t have. It’s sexy, but in a restrained, girly sort of way, with cascading ruffles down the back and corset lacing. The cream cotton shows off the subtle detailing such as quilting and seaming far more clearly than the black dresses do, exaggerating the lingerie effect.
In addition to the dresses the Alice line also features a couple of holster-style corsets in black or dark blue faux leather, which when worn with the dresses take the look from subtly sexy to openly kinky. There are also some adorably frilly gloves and a small selection of hosiery (the playing card themed thigh-highs are worth a look), and a pretty teacup hat in dark red.
For those who are on the lookout for something to wear to the upcoming rush of Halloween events there’s certainly plenty of material to assemble a more polished than average costume from within the Alice line, but that’s not all it’s about. Some of these pieces are worth a look in any season, or even better, capable of being worn as part of a costume and then re-used as part of one’s regular wardrobe once the holiday is over.