My recent introduction to the documentary Grey Gardens, the story of Jacqueline Kennedy's aunt and cousin who lived in dilapidated splendor in East Hampton, resulted in a bit of an obsession. I'm in good company as some close friends actually named their new kitten after Little Edie Beale. I also took the DVD on vacation to New Orleans where I played it any time we were in our rooms. Two friends that were along repeatedly said "Are you watching that again?" then promptly sat down mesmerized each time, while the fourth in our party simply gazed in wide-eyed, undisguised fascination at the scenes playing out on the screen. I wrapped scarves around my head and tried to speak like the younger Edie.
Dressing for Halloween isn't top of my list, but I'd been looking for an excuse to remake myself into Little Edie wearing her "best costume for the day". When told of my plan most people asked "Will anyone know who you are?" It didn't matter because anyone that did know would get such a kick out of it that it would make up for the blank looks of everyone else.
It's a simple costume, so I had much of what I needed already. The wrap for my head and the sweater are items I owned, along with the shoes. I found a pin similar to hers at a 2nd hand store and the skirt is one of those 1970s wool wrap things, which I thought kind of looked like a salvaged slipcover from an old couch or chair. The shorts underneath are grey workout shorts. I did not, as she described, pull the panty hose up over the shorts but wore them underneath since that didn't sound comfortable. The following year I wore the same costume but took along an old ripped mink since it was cold.
After seeing the documentary film Edie declared it a classic. As delusional as she must have seemed at the time, having a Broadway musical and an Emmy Award winning HBO Movie created about her and her mother certainly gives proof to her point. After hours of walking and talking like Edie, something clicked and I didn't want to stop. She was indeed fabulous and I hope she would have been delighted by my emulation of her in the revolutionary costume.