Wednesday, 13 July 2016


There isn't much I can say about The Shining which hasn't already been said.  It has been dissected so many times, and from so many different angles, that it's almost surprising the film hasn't been reduced to chunks of orange carpet and splinters of wood from hacked up doors.  And what's most intriguing, and equally frustrating, is that most of these discussions about Kubrick's masterpiece are open-ended and unverified.  How long did shooting take?  How many times did Shelley Duvall do the scene on the stairs with the baseball bat?  Did the author of the book it's based on, Stephen King, hate it and then change his mind?  Or did he just have to say he changed his mind because of a legal clause and then when Kubrick died he ignored that and went back to bad-mouthing it?  Why is Danny in two different positions in the same scene on *that* carpet?  Surely someone as notoriously meticulous as Kubrick wouldn't do that as a mistake?  So what does it mean?  Why does Jack's typewriter change from white to blue?  Or is it blue to white?

And that's not even scratching the surface.

There are a few things we do know for certain.  Shooting was arduous, with endless script changes.  Shelley Duvall was pushed to her emotional limits by Kubrick.  Jack Nicholson shouted and jumped around with his axe to get into character before filming the "here's Johnny!" scene.  And the set of the hotel is purposefully designed to not make any sense - ballrooms too big for that building, corridors that lead nowhere, fridge doors that open both ways.

If you feel like there's more you want to explore about Kubrick's masterpiece then I recommend the documentary Room 237.  Well, I say recommend - personally I found it completely bonkers and disagreed with most of the content.  But I think I'm in the minority.  However there is one theory presented in that film which I kept thinking about when I saw The Shining again recently - the Native American connection.  There are references in the film that the hotel is built on an Indian burial ground, and the hotel itself is decorated with lots of Native American motifs.  For example in this room.

Then there's the way Shelley Duvall's character Wendy dresses.  And THAT my friends is what we're here to talk about today.

This is Wendy Torrance when we first meet her.



Firstly, that gingham is so on point for SS16, she would fit right in rummaging around the racks of a ZARA sale.  Also the layering of the long sleeved tee underneath is pretty perfect.  The red tights and tan boots are less ideal, but I like it.   Meanwhile Danny, her son, wears a lot of red, white and blue.  He's also a big fan of Disney characters on his clothing. 

Look at those lapels!  

Checks/plaid are plentiful in this movie.  Jack loves his check shirts.  He's a classic all-American hero!  Also I love Wendy's Cowichan cardigan in this shot below.  Hey, did you know that "Cowichan" is related to words used in the indigenous languages of the Americas?  JUST SAYING.  


More plaid/check goodness with a little bit of corduroy mixed in. 

Wendy is very much a wife and mother.  Some people read Kubrick's version of King's female lead as misogynistic, but I'll leave that up to you to decide.  What I  do know is that when she's supporting her husband with his work, Wendy dresses similarly to him.  

Lots of muted browns, and tweed and wool fabrics.  In general both of them are dressed in very similar colours to the interiors of the hotel.  Was this deliberate?  Did Wendy ask Jack for specific details on the colour schemes for every room that she would possibly enter so she could dress accordingly?  Judging from what happens next, I think that maybe she did. 

How else do you explain this perfect co-ordination of dressing gown to wall and wood paint?

Wendy is in full flow here.  Look at that silver service.  And she's brought it all the way upstairs from the kitchen, pushing the cart through endless corridors.  All I can think is how cold the toast must be by the point it reaches Jack.  I can't bear cold toast.

When it does reach Jack he's still asleep in his mint green top.  He's sleeping with his reflection facing him in the mirror.  I can't do that, it's creepy.

"Ooh" he's saying there, "ooh, cold toast!"  He must love cold toast.  That is why he and I could never be friends, that and *insert spoiler which you really should know by now - this film came out in 1980 FFS*

There's not much to do in an empty hotel during the winter months and Wendy spends a lot of her time caring for her family.   Which includes opening this huge can of fruit cocktail.  I remember when you could first do all your food shopping online my mum accidentally ordered a can of baked beans three times the size of this.  That was a fun month.

Wendy's outfit for this task is a blue corduroy (again) prairie dress, with pouf sleeves and a high neck.  She wears it with slouchy red boots.  It was the beginning of the 80s after all. 



Then she takes Danny for a walk in the maze, wearing a red jacket (red again) and plaid shirts (again).  I also like her plaits with this look.

Perhaps Danny's most famous outfit is his knitted Apollo landing jumper, which was knitted by a friend of the legendary costume designer working on the film, Milena Canonero.

If you want one yourself there are lots of people ready to knit one for you.  Also in 2014 for his debut Coach collection Stuart Vevers was inspired by The Shining and you could get a Coach branded Apollo jumper in blue or black.  Tavi Gevinson wore one on TV with Stephen Colbert.

But back to Wendy.

My favourite outfit of hers is this yellow jacket, again very Navajo-reminiscent (although I actually think it's more Mexican), which she wears with flared jeans and moccasin boots.  Need I say more?

So great.  Also #plaid scarf.

Not outfit related but would quite like this bathroom below.  Although without the lady in the bath who *insert spoiler - seriously HOW HAVE YOU NOT SEEN THIS FILM?*

My least favourite outfit for Wendy, mainly because it just looks like it would be very warm and itchy, is the one she wears during the last part of the film.  Again with the corduroy and the knitwear and the dungarees.  Did we talk about Danny's dungarees yet?  I don't think we did.


Wendy went for a sludgy dungaree dress, turtleneck, green check shirt and moon boots. 


Oh and she accessorised with a baseball bat and a look of sheer terror. 

But she switches that for a knife because it works better with her look. 


On a lighter note, at one point Jack is clearly reading a copy of Playgirl, which is Playboy for women.  During the 70s the magazine "covered issues like abortion, equal rights" and "played a pivotal role in the sexual revolution for women".   I've just taken that from Wikipedia, I've never read an issue.

Also, isn't he sitting in the chair that Martin Crane adores in Frasier?  Doesn't Martin Crane also wear a lot of plaid?  Isn't he also grouchy?  Uh-oh, new conspiracy alert.

I'm going to leave you with my absolute favourite look in the entire movie.  And it's very on trend as a lot of women have started dressing twin-styles at fashion weeks around the world.  Plus it's a little bit Gucci, especially with that wallpaper.  Yes, you guessed it, it's the twins.

(If you didn't guess that because you haven't seen the film then GTFO and STFD).

1 comment:

  1. Re the Cowichan sweater/cardigan: While both are chunky sweaters/cardigans made fram natural wool, ithe on in the picture looks a bit more like a lopi sweater/cardigan off Iceland (like this e.g. : than a Cowichan (like this:
    And Cowichan is simply the name of a Salishan people of Vancouver Island or a member thereof :)