Alice in Wonderland - and in Bloomingdale's, too
Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" tales are not only coming alive in theaters - starting with Friday's release of the new Disney 3-D version by quirky film director Tim Burton - but also in stores, with a wave of merchandise tie-ins.
Bloomingdale's, too, will get in on the fun, displaying props from the film in the windows of its Manhattan flagship and costumes on the second floor, alongside designer Alice attire.
The designs, from frilly pink dresses to bold necklaces and bracelets, seem to reflect Alice's wide-ranging, enduring appeal.
"There's something for everyone - those who have a bit of a rebel streak seem to identify with the lawlessness of Wonderland, but others identify more strongly with Alice," notes Melanie Benjamin, author of "Alice I Have Been" (Delacorte, $25), a new historical novel about Alice Liddell, the real-life British girl who inspired Carroll's heroine.
Alice gets "the opportunity most of us never had but so desired as children-to point out how ridiculous all the alleged grown-ups are acting around her," Benjamin explains.
For sure, the Wonderland Alice discovers has always been a wacky place. But this season, it's never been more stylish.
Who was Alice?
The little girl in the pinafore dress was modeled after Alice Liddell, a friend of the Rev. Charles L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll, his pen name). Some have speculated his interest in her may have been more Roman Polanski-ish than paternal.
"The relationship between artist and muse in this case is mysterious and perhaps scandalous because the artist was a 30-year-old man, and the muse a 10-year-old girl," notes Melanie Benjamin, who researched Liddell's life for her new novel "Alice I Have Been."
Who is Alice?
Australian actress Mia Wasikowska, 20 - who wowed critics as a troubled teen in the first season of HBO's "In Treatment" - plays Alice in Tim Burton's new film, which uses Carroll's characters but little of his plot. "Alice is 19, and she returns to Wonderland with no recollection of having been there before," Wasikowska explains, in the March issue of Teen Vogue.
- Joseph V. Amodio