April 24, 2009 | By

Searching for inspiration in the annals of film, photography, and design.

This week, it’s horror movie time.
Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) has all the makings of a humorous vampire spoof: goofy, bumbling, vampire-hunting professor, lovesick assistant, horny Jewish innkeeper-turned-vampire, eye-candy, and funny accents. And though it is entertaining, there is something undeniably mesmerizing and bittersweet about the film. The film is shot in cold, flat light, and the scenery itself is strikingly desolate. (It was shot on location in the Alps.) Especially sympathetic is the possibility that this film anticipates Polanski's later more emotionally courageous work: The notion of a bloodsucking count mercilessly preying on the working class, Jewish family could perhaps been interpreted as an early attempt to address some of the issues that it would take Polanski nearly 40 years to fully approach in The Pianist.

Of course, all this creepiness is magnified by the fact that young Polanski is playing the protagonist opposite his startling beautiful young bride-to-be, Sharon Tate, who would, of course, suffer an incomprehensibly gruesome death two years later.

But enough about that. Let’s talk about the outfits.

Let's focus on the first half of the film. (Yes, yes: the second half has the famous ball scene but it's hard to get too excited over period piece outfits.) The best parts of the film take place at the remote, Transylvanian Inn run by the aforementioned horny innkeeper (played by a hilarious Alfie Bass) with the help of his bovine wife, and a magnetic daughter, Sarah (the lovely Sharon Tate).

First, when the nutty professor and his baby-faced assistant, Alfred (played by director Roman Polanski), arrive at the Inn, Alfred outfit is inspired.

Velvet blazer, floppy red schoolboy tie. Wait, You've seen this before. Ah, yes:

It would appear Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz’s has been channeling a young Polanski all along!

All the scenes at the Inn hover somewhere between the frumpy and the Gothic. For example.

As this scene opens, the professor is napping in his goofy nightcap and old housecoat (frumpy), but look how sinister the gnarled, dripping candle looks on the desk, and how Sarah enters the room in that flowing nightgown, like she is already a ghost (Gothic!).

It’s the equivalent of wearing giving an over-sized wool sweater or a lumberjack flannel shirt with a pale pallor, dark palette, and some towering black heels.

Sort of like this:

Seem familiar? That's because it's Catherine Holstein’s mesmerizing F/W '09 line.

Case closed. The verdict--even those not rocking hippie chic are still dressing like it’s 1967.

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