My favorite book has always been Alice in Wonderland. This is because it is truly wonderful. It has the most ingenious plot ever created: everyone is mad and that is the normality. I would argue that we are all mad in real life. You, my readers, the blogger community, people everywhere, and, of course myself are all indeed mad. We are all however, unaccustomed, or at least unwilling to own up to this fact. When everyone is mad, everyone is interesting. This is how I like to look at it. To fully appreciate Alice in Wonderland you must first agree to the notion that nonsense is acceptable. However superfluous the wording or story line may seem to our strictly structured minds, I am going to ask you to put aside all of your short comings or cynical tendencies and simply enjoy such a fantastical world. When reading Alice in Wonderland, the imagery of her frilled girlish dress comes to mind, a tailored vest for the White Rabbit, a magnificent yet terrifying gown for the Queen of Hearts, and the most out there and fanciful hats for the Mad Hatter himself.
Now, my greatest desire is for Alice in Wonderland to be turned into a film. Yes, another one. But this rendition would be done to highlight not only the fantastical extremes of the story itself but play into how this story has inspired editors and designers on looks, collections, and spreads alike in fashion. This would be a film created where all of the costumes are haute couture and specially designed by the likes of Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld and Dior’s Raf Simons. It would be the fashion world’s look on such a beloved story. In the pages of Vogue, only years ago, an entire spread was done with beautiful designer gowns, models dressed like the characters, and the designers photographed too, commenting on how the story has changed and inspired their artistic passion. I would love to see artistic minds from all mediums, come together to celebrate how this book has not only challenged many ideas but also inspired new ones. And to play the role of Alice would be none other then the beloved Cara Delevingne. Now making it in the acting world, Britain’s famed supermodel inhabits a more rugged sensibility yet captivates a girly charm. She would be perfect. She has even said that her dream acting role would be to play Alice. To have her, the face of the modern English girl play the iconic role of Alice would be simply wonderful.
When I visit London, I always try to see a rendition and interpretation of such a classic. This is my fourth time in London and so I have now seen four different renditions. Each were brilliant. I have seen it performed by the Royal Opera Ballet, where the sets were intricate and detailed and huge colorful props used, and vast amounts of confetti strewn onto the audience. At Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin star restaurant, The Fat Duck, I have seen him make an entire coursed high tea menu around the Mad Hatter; a glass tea cup sitting before me, a golden pocket watch used as a tea bag, and when hot water poured in, the watch dissolved, and when sipped a taste where your moth is half hot and half cold. A meal altogether wonderful not only because Heston Blumenthal is one of the most amazing chefs there is, but because this story, if chosen to mimic for a tasting menu, requires a sort of loving attention and care to dare for what would seem mad, to become edible! I then saw it as a play, acted out in the gardens of one of London’s city churches. This was hilarious for the Queen of Hearts was played in drag. Just the other night, I saw Alice and Wonderland done as an experiential play in London’s suers. It was ingenious and cleverly done. The atmosphere of the space was designed to bewilder your senses. It amused. It conjured the sublime. For the next month, I am excited to say that I will be living and studying at Oxford University! Today happens to be the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, and as the town of Oxford has been celebrating today with festivities to the campuses’ very grounds where Louis Carol first dreamt up this story, it seemed fitting to share this with all of you! All different mediums have been moved by Alice and Wonderland. I would love to see how when all of these mediums can be intentionally combined with an artistic sensibility can show just how present a story meant for children can impact the world’s most creative visionaries.