The Movie: "Addams Family Values"
The Setup: In this visit with the macabre family, created by cartoonist Charles Addams, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and Gomez (Raul Julia) welcome a baby boy, Pubert (Kaitlyn and Kristin Hooper), and a nanny, Debbie (Joan Cusack).
The Costume Designer: Oscar winner Theoni V. Aldredge, whose other credits include the theatrical productions of "A Chorus Line," "Annie" (the movie version, too) and "42nd Street," as well as the movies "Ghostbusters" and "Moonstruck."
The Look: Gloomy elegance, so well-conceived in Ruth Myers' Oscar-nominated costumes for the 1991 "Addams Family," continues in fine form. Today, when everyone from bridesmaids to schoolchildren dresses in funereal shades, Wednesday's (Christina Ricci) black floral-print dresses and Morticia's dripping-cuff gowns don't exactly shock or startle. (Gomez's attack-of-the-pin-stripe suits do amuse, though, as does Fester's (Christopher Lloyd) 18th-Century velvet wedding ensemble.)
Addams Style--black hair, pasty skin, clothes that look vintage but who knows how vintage--isn't so far from the latest looks by designers who are deep into black velvet.
Quoted: "I envisioned a family who digs into old trunks and graves for their clothes. . . . And everything should look just a little dusty. We'd throw some buff powder on the edges of a lapel or on a shoulder and rub it in," Aldredge says.
Miss: Aldredge's costumes suffer the same fate as Myers'--dim lighting that wipes out subtleties of design. A viewer simply cannot discern that Gomez wears eight variations of the dressing gown, most in deep, blackish reds. Or that Morticia's black dresses are encrusted with jet and crystal beads and executed in three layers of chiffon, silk velvet or silk crepe, the bottom layer in a color such as purple, green or gold. Pity.
Good Hair Day: Pubert crawls off with the best hairpiece of the year--a baby toupee in black--and a penciled-in mustache.
Prediction: "Everyone's going to be wearing black this year, so buy yourself a white dress or a color," Aldredge advises.
Sources: All principal costumes were custom-made at Bill Hargate's costume house in Los Angeles and Barbara Matera's in New York.