It was my friend Syuke who mentioned to me about the consistent use of the colour green in the 1998 movie Great Expectations—a modern twist to the classic Charles Dickens novel. As a music buff, I waxed lyrical about its soundtrack that runs the gamut from Tori Amos, Chris Cornell, and Iggy Pop to heavyweight bands such as Pulp, The Verve Pipe, and Grateful Dead, never noticing this particular trivia. Having said that, the fact that it was indeed a heavily stylised film never missed me. To this day, Gwyneth Paltrow’s portrayal of the icy Estella still has me dreaming, and I am almost always seen dressed in my RM5 “bundle” grey T-shirt, blue jeans, and boots à la Ethan Hawke’s Finn Bell. Although it was highly publicised that Donna Karan outfitted this film, Judianna Makovsky, its masterful wardrobe designer, actually only obtained a few ensembles from Karan as a favour due to her low costume budget. Nevertheless, Karan’s impact on the film’s wardrobe is apparent. With her seductively draped gowns and ’90s minimalism, Paltrow is a vision of youth and beauty in a cool cosmopolitan New York setting.
In every scene, almost every character at some point is dressed in green, a colour that we would naturally associate with envy. Each of them have something to envy in someone else, and this is one of the driving themes within the movie. Finn is always envious of Estella’s status, and Estella envies Finn’s ability to express emotions. On the other hand, Nora Dinsmoor, played by Anne Bancroft, is envious of those that are happy in relationships. The characters are so burdened with envy that it becomes one of the reasons for their unhappiness.
A less romantic approach would be that it is Cuarón’s favourite colour, which explains his extensive use of it in Great Expectations, A Little Princess (rumour has it that the initial plan was to only audition girls with green eyes for the role), Sólo Con Tu Pareja, and Y Tu Mamá También. Of course, I prefer the more intellectual take of the former logic. Ever since then, if you asked me what my favourite ’90s fashion film was, the answer would always be “Great Expectations”.
Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz in that iconic checked two-piece Versace Autumn/ Winter ’17 Adam Selman Autumn/Winter ’17 Demna Gvasalia’s approach to teen angst at Vetements Autumn/Winter ’17