Why Alice is the ultimate children’s book icon
The Alice we expect today may have undergone the Hollywood treatment along the way, but one of the most striking things about the characters in Wonderland is how easily they transform and bend over backwards. vision of an artist, while remaining recognizable.
Over 300 illustrators donated their Alices: from Arthur Rackham’s fanciful vision of the fairy-child in 1905 to the softer, more impressionistic version of Moomins author and illustrator Tove Jansson in 1966 to the cartoonist’s version politician and children’s illustrator Chris Riddell published last year, where the heroine looks a lot more like the real Alice Liddell. Some artists bring their own styles, irrepressibly, to wear: Salvador Dalí’s series features his iconic floppy clock; Ralph Steadman’s Mad Hatter and March Hare seem straight out of his infamous illustrations for Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, while Yayoi Kusama’s 2012 book features more peas and pumpkins than most Wonderlands.
Despite the original stories’ reliance on puns, puns, and nonsense, Alice has become such an icon that she is often used as a touchstone, even in media. When Christopher Wheeldon first proposed a version of ballet, its creator Bob Crowley would have thought he was “completely mad” to make a wonderland without words. But the 2011 Royal Ballet show was a huge success – not least because of Crowley’s creations, which combined Alice’s familiar shorthands with classic tutus and cutting-edge staging, from op-art screenings to a puppet. of Cheshire cat in several parts. The Queen of Hearts emerged from an intimidatingly sized crinoline-cum-trone-cum-tank to dance a parody of a sequence from the Sleeping Beauty ballet: both very Lewis Carroll and very ballet.
‘Magic and mystery’
Alice has also long been a reference for fashion. Vivienne Westwood, Zac Posen, Viktor & Rolf and John Galliano all sent looks on the runway inspired by Caroll’s characters and Tenniel’s designs, while the transformational and otherworldly possibilities of Wonderland attract fashion shoots. .
“I think a lot of people are inspired by the magic, mystery and madness of Alice’s story,” legendary Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington said in a recent online discussion. In 2003, she directed an Annie Leibovitz shoot for Vogue, in which fashion designers were assigned characters from Wonderland. “There was Stephen Jones as the Mad Hatter; Viktor and Rolf as Tweedledee and Tweedledum. John Paul Gaultier was the Cheshire Cat because he’s always smiling and always striped,” Coddington recalls.