The Versace ’13 Going on 30 ‘dress has come full circle

A funny thing happened on November 8 on the set of “The Voice”: Ariana Grande, the show’s new coach, came to work in a Versace dress that had been widely worn as a Halloween costume a week earlier. .

The colorful mini dress – with its crystallized straps, cute cutouts at the empire waist and chunky stripes in shades of turquoise, lime green and scarlet – appeared on the Italian luxury brand’s Spring 2003 catwalk. But the style is best known for its brief turn in the 2004 romantic comedy “13 Going on 30”, worn by Jennifer Garner as her character, Jenna Rink, performs the “Thriller” dance at a labor party.

Almost two decades after its introduction, this dress has found new life, in part thanks to online retailers selling eerily similar styles for under $ 20. Vogue predicted in mid-October that the vibrant look would be “everywhere on Halloween.” If TikTok is any indication, it was.

The dress’s re-emergence coincides with a searing nostalgia for 2000-era clothing, from head (hair clips and bob hats) to toes (flared jeans and platform sandals).

But its popularity goes beyond capturing the turn of the millennium aesthetic: Celebrities and influencers have sought out specific archival pieces associated with pop culture moments from the years, said Marian Park, youth strategist at WGSN trend forecasting agency.

“It’s less about costume and more about opulence or decadence,” she said, pointing to a 2000 Roberto Cavalli tiger stripe high-slit dress worn by Aaliyah at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. -the. Most recently, it was worn by Paloma Elsesser, a model; Bretman Rock, an influencer; and Kim Kardashian.

Consider TikTok Queen Bee Addison Rae wearing Tom Ford’s Gucci (circa 2003) at the Met Gala. Or Olivia Rodrigo wearing a plaid skirt suit at the White House, a reference to the plaid skirt suit worn by Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless”.

“I think we can only expect more and more play in dressing – and the affiliation with a costume, or something specific to a movie or a pop cultural moment, is more and more diminished. “Ms. Park said. “It’s more a question of looks.”

Susie DeSanto, the costume designer of “13 Going on 30”, said the film’s renewed interest in fashion was “crazy.”

“Around Halloween, I can’t tell you how many people sent me pictures of all kinds of people – little girls, teens, drag queens – doing this dress,” Ms. DeSanto said. “I had teenagers with fashion podcasts in Spain and Brazil contacting me and doing clothing interviews, sending me pictures, like, ‘Where did you get that? Where can I find this? “

The film’s script provided for designs that would plausibly appeal to both a 13-year-old girl and a 30-year-old woman – fun, sweet and naive, bordering on sexy-baby – and “designers and trends. from the early 2000s couldn’t have been more relevant in telling this story, “Ms. DeSanto said. Ms. Garner’s character carried a spin of Miu Miu, Moschino, and Marc Jacobs. (It helped that director Gary Winick, being a fashion enthusiast, said Ms. DeSanto.)

The Versace dress was presented last fall at a show in Milan, where Britney Spears sat in the front row and which Cathy Horyn, then New York Times fashion critic, likened to “being assaulted by a gang of Angry Barbies “.

“It was a dress that worked for the stage, for the character, and that’s why we chose her and that’s why she was wearing it,” Ms. DeSanto said.

While the costume may be losing some of its affiliation with the film, the dress owes its resurgence in large part to one of the film’s stars. Last Halloween, Christa B. Allen, who played the younger version of Ms. Garner’s character, purchased a recreation of the dress on Etsy, then recreated a scene from the movie while wearing it on her TikTok account. The video has over four million likes.

“Cosplay is huge on TikTok,” Ms. Allen said. “I realized: people love Jenna Rink, and I feel like I can give them a way to revisit this character and spend more time with her.”

Around the same time, model Elisha Herbert shared photos of herself on Instagram wearing a recreation of the dress she ordered from Nasteski, a small Australian festival and swimwear brand whose customers idolize. the style of 2000s celebrities like Paris Hilton.

When designer Anthea Nasteski reposted these photos, she received dozens of comments and a handful of commissions – like the Etsy seller, she was charging over $ 400 – but didn’t really advertise the dress, she declared. She felt at the time “it was bad taste for me to sell someone else’s design,” even though that person was Donatella Versace.

Mrs. Nasteski had also made the dress fairly quickly; with only a few days between Ms. Herbert’s order and Halloween, she used Lycra and scraps of tie-dyed fabric that she already had in her workshop.

Yet months later, in the summer of 2021, when the dress was suddenly sold by sites like Cider and Amazon for less than $ 20 – and went viral because of it – these new replicas used the same effect. tie-dye that Ms. Nasteski did. . The photos on the Amazon listing are the same as the ones on Ms Herbert’s Instagram.

For Ms. Nasteski, this was another example of small designers seeing their work, without credit, on the platforms of large e-commerce companies. But it was also more complicated. It was his modified design, but it wasn’t his original design either.

When the cheaper versions of the dress were introduced, “suddenly it was everywhere,” said Ms. Allen, the actress. “I think if you wear it and people around you know the movie and know the character, then you can share that special fun moment. But if they don’t know the dress and the character, then it’s still a great dress.

Ahead of her 30th birthday on November 11, Ms Allen reached out to Versace to see if she could borrow the original. But, she said, was kindly informed that the dress had already been handed over to someone else. (She later found out it was Mrs. Grande.)

Today, the dress no longer seems to depend on nostalgia or even familiarity with the movie, said Mandy Lee, a highly regarded trends analyst on TikTok. She recently reported seeing one in the wild, worn by a customer at vintage store Beacon’s Closet, who had her dressed in fishnet tights.

“I don’t think it’s really a costume anymore,” Ms. Lee said. “Some Gen Zers don’t know the benchmark, so when they first watch it they might not have that memory sparked by the movie. This is no longer the ’13 Going on 30 ‘dress. It’s just another pretty dress.

Still, she is not convinced that the dress has a longevity after this last period of exposure. At less than $ 20, she was “here for the taking,” she said, which helped the dress go viral. But it may also have killed her, turning her into a micro-trend that people come to hate because they see her so much, doomed to the trash or a thrift store.

“The hyper-exposure you have online now can ruin things at times,” Ms. Lee said.

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