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A new ret­ro­spec­tive cel­e­brates Lewis Car­roll’s Alice and her in­flu­ence be­yond lit­er­a­ture.

By Erica Wag­ner. What do Vivi­enne West­wood, Deb­o­rah Kerr, and Aero­smith have in com­mon? If you think that sounds like a ques­tion wor­thy of the Mad Hat­ter, you’re not far off – but at least this rid­dle has a so­lu­tion. The an­swer is Alice’s Ad­ven­tures in Won­der­land. Lewis Car­roll’s mas­ter­piece was pub­lished 150 years ago in 1865, and what’s strik­ing about the cel­e­bra­tions this has oc­ca­sioned is the re­minder of­fered that Alice’s in­flu­ence has not been con­fined to lit­er­a­ture alone. Since May 2, the V& A Mu­seum of Child­hood in Lon­don’s Beth­nal Green has been mark­ing the an­niver­sary with an ex­hi­bi­tion, ‘The Alice Look,’ which brings to­gether cloth­ing, images, rare edi­tions, and il­lus­tra­tions to give us Alice, not only as a lit­er­ary hero­ine, but as a cul­tural trend­set­ter, too.

Cu­ra­tor Kiera Va­clavik, a se­nior lec­turer at Queen Mary, Univer­sity of Lon­don, spe­cial­is­ing in chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture says, Alice’s in­flu­ence is all around us. “Peo­ple who have never read the book know what she looks like,” she tells me. “This is thanks, in large part to John Ten­niel’s iconic il­lus­tra­tions, which, I must con­fess, scared me half to death when I first saw them as a girl. So I’m not sorry to hear her say that the ex­hi­bi­tion ‘de­fa­mil­iarises’ Alice, show­ing how fash­ion has in­flu­enced images of her, and how she in turn has in­flu­enced fash­ion.” ALICE THROUGH

THE AGE S star­ring Johnny Depp, He­lena Bon­ham Carter, and Anne Hath­away

Tim Bur­ton’s bigscreen reimag­in­ing of Alice in Won­der­land,

Walt Dis­ney’s an­i­mated film Alice in Won­der­land

Alice in Won­der­land book cover by Vivi­enne West­wood

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