The Original – My love of Alexis Carrington

After hearing about the passing of famed costume designer Nolan Miller it got me thinking about my love of 80’s television icons. Growing up there were only two women that I ever wanted to be. Alexis Carrington or Suzanne Sugarbaker. While most girls my age were obsessed with dressing like the sisters on Full House, I was putting on my mom’s ballgowns and practicing my most menacing Joan Collins stare in the guest bedroom mirror. The fact that these two characters were strong, ballsy brunettes is not lost on me. Suzanne’s costumes were really nothing to write home about since the costumers on Designing Women had no idea how to dress a woman that had curves but Dynasty was another universe. Mr. Miller had a profound talent and dressed all the women on the show in only the best and latest of 80’s fashion. Currently, late 1980’s – early 1990’s fashion is on every runway. Nothing but neon and color-blocking are clogging the runways. What I hope shows up at 2012 Fall Fashion week is early to mid 80’s fashion. Before the neon and acid wash, women dressed UP. Ballgowns, matching suits, grand hats and luxurious furs were de rigueur for powerful women of the 1980’s. No one exemplified the power, wealth, and luxury of the decade more than Alexis Carrington on Dynasty. The scheming ex-wife of wealthy oilman Blake Carrington, Alexis’s main fun in life was to get in knock down, drag out cat-fights with his new plain jane wife, Krystle (played by Linda Evans) Alexis steals every scene simply by her fabulous outfits and outlandish antics.

The first thing you need to know about Alexis, is that she loved anything fur and since Dynasty was based in Denver she got a lot of opportunity to wear it. As a borderline vegan, I want to hate her choices, but good God can she pull off a muffler.

I think this is the outfit that would come from a dalliance between Luke Skywalker and an Ewok, but she still pulls it off. I wish we could see the full length of the sleeves. I need to see how far down that fur goes.

I am totally stealing this look for winter. I already own those earrings so I’m halfway there. I found the faux alternative, now I just need to add some winter white and I’m set.

Love the matching scarf and hat dear. Combining black and yellow not so much.

She’s positively gleeful! Must have been after another catfight with Krystle. Hot rollers need to make a comeback in my bathroom.

Cruella de Carrington. How awesome is the structural art deco jewelry? I miss lip liner.

A hat with matching sleeve cuffs? Where does one procure such items?? Our first encounter with the red nails. Or as my friend Mary calls them, steal-your-man red. Won’t be the last.

How jaunty! Where did pins go? Did they call before they left? If Navajo is the house guest that just won’t leave, pins are your cool friend from childhood that left town one summer and never returned, but when you found them on Facebook they write Twilight fanfic and love Toby Keith so you’re deeply confused. Were they cool or did you just think they were? THOSE are what we call deep thoughts, Carl Sagen. Take note.

Alexis didn’t just sport fur hats. She was a fan of all large head pieces. I am such a fan of the netting and color-coordinated to boot! I need more netting in my life. Also that blush. Is it called rouge or is it called blush? All of this blush talk has me reciting Steel Magnolias lines to my dog. There should be a whole post about that movie and my love for Olympia Dukakis. Another time.

Ooh! A petite chapeau! She looks like if Coco Chanel was hard up and started designing uniforms for nurses.  Love that lapel. How Art deco.

Nobody makes a funeral more chic than Ms. Carrington. The black netting is beyond. A little bit of skin and a large rhinestone earring complete the sexy mourner look. Rawr.

I told you we hadn’t seen the last of the red nails. I assume this is her “Are you there God? It’s me Alexis.” look, but for all we know she’s lunching with the ladies and dressing down some poor waiter for not putting dressing on the side. I think we’ve seen these earrings now about 5 times. Look at you Alexis, wearing things again! How green of you dear.

Oh how I love a phone in a car. And it matches. Of course it does.

Again with the netting Alexis? I feel like is her testifying in court look. Does she ever lower the netting? Is it a sun protector?  Do things get stuck in it? Is she constantly having to adjust it or is it static? I need answers…

Look how cute she is in her little headband! The hot rollers are in full-effect here. I’m not liking the appearance of those forehead lines though. Your eyebrows shouldn’t be able to move after the age of 35.

Oh how I pray this isn’t a flapper costume and just what she wears to the grocery store on a Tuesday morning.

A turban. A f’ing turban. And she still looks totally glamorous.

A rather sexy look for prime time television. I miss green satin. I also miss breasts without a gap in between them.

I also miss powersuits. I truly love how she outshines Linda Evans in every. single. photo. Red stockings with a purple suit? Daring Ms. Collins! Linda, that jacket looks less like Chanel and more like a flotation device. Scooch over dear. You’re blocking Joanie’s lighting.

A rare mis-step in the annals of Dynasty’s costuming. On top of everything else wrong with it, is it also quilted? Good lord. I’m not a fan of that hair either. She’s got the mom chop going on.

Her sexy secretary look. A little too Victor/Victoria for my taste.

This has got to be her female prisoner look. Was she locked up for pushing Krystal one too many times in the pool? This photo scares me. Where are the earrings? The scarf? She doesn’t even have her purple eyeshadow on!

Aww… there’s my girl. Much better.

The best part about Dynasty were the GOWNS. I would wear either of these in a hot minute. Linda, your bangs are positively awful.

Alexis created the original side-eye. Linda, Linda? Over here dear. We really do need to adjust that Klonopin dosage.

Another shot of the gold dress. I need to buy more coffee filters. Thanks for reminding me, love.

Not really a gown, but we’ll let it slide.  What do we think she drinks? Is she a Chardonnay or Sauv blanc girl? That better not be white zin. She might as well just be drinking straight out of the box then.

I feel like this could double for a brothel ad on the back of a Reno phonebook. Has Linda ever shown a forearm? Wouldn’t hurt girl.

The fuschia and the sleeves combined with that striped mirror makes me want to start blaring the Miami Vice theme. Is that a BOW in the back??? Perfection.

My favorite gown. She’s so f’ing fancy I can’t stand it.

I need this lipstick. And again with the rollers. I’m getting twitchy with the buy button. Do they still work as well as they did back then? Will I have to sleep in them? I need that volume!

Again with that side eye. I’m getting turned on Ms. Carrington.

A shoulder pad with a jersey knit. Knock me over with a feather! Do those little clips hold it on her bra-strap? Promise me they do. I need those in my life.

Mother of the bride look. What ever happened to peach? Everything ugly is coming back, but I’m still being made to wait for the 1985 Triple Crown of Peach, Mauve, and Teal??? I would totally rock some mauve skinny jeans. I would also rock that sweater. I’ve never met a dolman sleeve I didn’t like.

I’ll leave you with my favorite image. I just can’t stand the hauteness.

This is my call to arms. Let’s bring back the hats, the gloves, the fur, the gowns. We need more glamour and less sweatpants as perfectly acceptable leaving the house attire. When did America get so sloppy? Let’s wear matching outfits, costume jewelry, and coordinate our phones to our turbans. Come on ladies!