Black Swan is the story of a young ballet dancer who is cast to play both the white swan and black swan in Swan Lake. As a coddled, 20-something girl who still lives with her mother, Natalie Portman’s character assumes the role of the white swan easily, but her obsessive perfectionist personality makes it harder to find her dark side for the role as the black swan.
Here are my reasons for naming this movie as Fashion’s movie of the year:
1. Ballet is elitist. Unless you happen to have been exposed to ballet you may not even be familiar with the story of Swan Lake let alone the name of the composer of the ballet. Like so many of the mispronounced names of foreign designers, you have to know the lingo. If you don’t belong, your lack of bearing will out you. In the world of Black Swan the pretension is palpable, but the need for perfection becomes a carnal desire as Natalie Portman’s character transforms. You will love to see this perfect little world unravel.
2. Rodarte. The famous sister design team made all of the costumes. The feathery, ethereal costumes almost look like something you would expect to walk down the runway of the sisters’ line Rodarte. They are perfect for both the dreamy and nightmarish qualities of the movie. I hope there is some ballet influence in their next collection.
3. Sexual undertones. Throughout the entire movie, Vincent Cassel’s character tries to push Natalie Portman’s character to the edge. It is not enough that she is technically perfect. She needs to become both roles she is playing. To do that she must find her dark side. This is often translated into her being sexually explorative. Admittedly, no one is more embracing of homosexuality than the fashion industry. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis’ scenes together could be a snap shot for an ad in Vogue.
4. Body image. Natalie Portman’s character suffers from OCD. She has an obsessive need to be perfect and that not only applies to her dancing technique. She must look the part. She is seen picking at hang nails and a growing blemish on her back.
Although elitism, overt sexuality, and poor body image are reasons why some might persecute fashion, they make for a very artistic and dramatic movie. Besides, isn’t fashion just one long and beautifully dramatic movie anyways?