Friday, November 20, 2015


I have a weakness for 80s and 90s films about misfits, it's true, but The Craft had an especially huge influence on me. Not the way it influenced hundreds of others--it seems like this movie inspired many young people to dabble in Wicca, which is fascinating in and of itself--but in a fashion sense. All of the thigh-high socks and clunky heels! All of the dark matte lipsticks and chunky hair accessories! All of the black! These are my people.

To be fair, I'm not quite sure if this movie has aged well. It's sometimes clear that the effects budget was tight and spent primarily on a few choice scenes, for instance. But every time I watch it, I fall a little more in love with it. It's just such a fascinating take on the pressures young women face.

It is really, really hard not to make this post all about Fairuza Balk, who has been a fashion icon of mine for two full decades. And of course, she plays the most famous character in the film: Nancy Downs, the de facto leader of the coven. Everything looks cooler and edgier on Balk because of her striking features, but I also think the makeup suits the character's personality: smoky and messy and darker than what the other girls wear, a sort of "goth light" approach to beauty.

Robin Tunney, who plays Sarah, actually wears a wig in this film because she had shaved her head for Empire Records, another 90s favorite of mine. The wig can sometimes look downright atrocious, so let's ignore it and focus on her makeup instead, especially the way it contrasts Nancy's in the first half of the film. It's like they embody two huge 90s trends: barely-there neutrals on Sarah, deep browns, burgundies, and plums on Nancy.

The clothing designs were meant to start out frumpy and unpolished, then develop in to trendier, more put-together looks as the film progressed. Weirdly enough, I like a lot of the messiness seen here: the untucked shirts, the oversized coat, and the awkwardly-placed red barrette. I also like that t-shirt dress Sarah is wearing in the top right corner (although Tunney supposedly hated it), as well as some of the fashions worn by Lirio, an ethereal and experienced witch played by Assumpta Serna. See how the sheer, flowy fabrics and crochet she wears in the bottom right contrast to what the coven wears?

HAIR PORN! I don't care what anybody says, I loved the hair in this movie. I always want to do that braid-with-strands-falling-loose look, but I just don't have enough volume in my hair to pull it off. Also, Rachel True's skin, wow.

One of my favorite subtle contrasts is the jewelry the girls wear, which is readily exemplified by Rochelle (Rachel True) and Nancy (Fairuza Balk). Even though they both wear plenty of pieces, Nancy's looks heavier and Rochelle's looks lighter due to the choice of materials. I also love that image on the bottom left, where three of the girls are in relatively comfy clothing and Nancy is wearing those tight leather. It seems to emphasize that Nancy was more focused and "serious" about getting what she wanted via witchcraft, while the others initially viewed it as something fun and meaningful that brought them together.

Obligatory Bonnie (played by Neve Campbell) photos! She honestly didn't inspire me as much as the others, but she's still a lovely, lovely woman. And hooooooly shit, those outfits on the bottom left! I would sell a kidney for that shirt-and-pants combo.

Why I can't I find leather jackets that cool at the thrift store?! Also, I'm in love with that gauzy blue shirt.

On the DVD director's commentary, Andrew Fleming points out that they darkened up the makeup for each of the girls as the film progressed. The top three images--all from the last quarter of the film--emphasize this. Rochelle appears makeup-less for the first half of the film, but she's clearly wearing lipstick and eyeshadow in this shot. (It's still less makeup than the other lead characters, of course, but it's the change that matters.) Nancy's makeup starts with the eyeliner and matte browns seen earlier in this post, then shifts in to the mixture of burgundy and plum seen in the top shot, and eventually settles on to the especially dark, almost black eggplant colors pictured at the bottom. Sarah starts wearing more eye makeup.

And that's it for The Craft!


  1. This is such a great post :) The Craft is one of my all time favourite films, but I'll admit I mainly watch it now just for the fantastic 90s hair, make-up and wardrobe!

    1. I watch it way too much because I think it was one of the only movies that treated the subject in an interesting manner.

  2. I dabbled in Wicca as a preteen but somehow missed seeing this movie! I've wanted to watch it for ages, though, and this post has convinced me that I need to make time for a viewing this weekend. Have you experimented with any of these looks yourself?

    1. The clothes? Yes, yes, I absolutely wore loads of black, fishnets, and heavy crosses for a few years!