Kidman's retro fashions will bewitch women

June 24, 2005|By Tanika White | Tanika White,SUN STAFF

In the movie Bewitched, which opens today, Nicole Kidman plays a perky witch with a flair for early-1960s fashion.

She casts spells in fitted cardigans over crisp, collared shirts. She wriggles her nose while wearing cropped jackets, ballet flats and skirts below the knee.

But some fashion experts say Kidman will be working another kind of magic outside the theaters. Now that the movie is out, Kidman, a celebrity style-setter, will make women across the United States want to wear similar retro fashions.

"She really sets the pace for the younger woman as well as the older gal," says Ernestine Sclafani, vice president of public relations for New York-based Weber Shandwick, a PR firm that specializes in trends and fashion. "What she wears on-screen and off-screen, women really try to emulate."

Kidman didn't start the nostalgic trend, said Charla Krupp, executive editor of SHOP Etc. magazine. Styles from the '50s and '60s have been playing prominently in fashion magazines and runway shows for months now.

Ladylike skirts, in long and slim pencil styles, or full and flouncy ones. Capri pants and cuffed capri jeans. Cropped jackets and demure little cardigans. Ballerina flats and peep-toe shoes.

But, Krupp added, "when you see that fashion trend up there [on-screen] for two hours, you do start to think, `Oh, maybe that's how to do it.'"

The retro-innocent look might feel rehashed to your mother or grandmother, but it's new for younger moviegoers.

"I think that the person who goes to see Bewitched is a new generation," Sclafani says. "And now that that whole [retro] influence has come back, they're going to resurrect that as being a part of today's look because it's so new to them. And this movie has definitely helped bring it back again."

Kidman's Bewitched wardrobe - full of pretty, precious and pastel - will only help bolster the trend into the coming seasons, fashion observers say.

"Summer was all about loose and free-flowing, namely the tunic," says Maggie Gallant, a trend expert at Spotlight Communications, who focuses on fashion and entertainment. "For the fall, we're going to see tighter silhouettes, more form-fitting. Women are going be showing their curves, those fabulous '50s curves."

But don't expect a full-on return to Happy Days or Leave It to Beaver styles. Bobby pins might be back - Kidman has been wearing them in her retro-wavy hair on talk shows and other public appearances - but bobby socks? Still out.

"You're not going to be seeing poodle skirts," Gallant says, with a laugh. "Kidman is channeling that '50s feel with a modern twist. And that's exactly what the fashions of the fall will be."

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