Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wildfire's The Best of Friends - Friends Brought together by the bond of a Make-over , 80's style!

In two minutes Jessica was out of bed and in an entirely different outfit. Then she grabbed her mother’s hot curlers and stood in front of the bathroom mirror. She rolled the ends of her hair lightly around the fattest rollers. After a few minutes she gently brushed out a mass of curls. Next she touched some mascara to her eyelashes and carefully put on lip gloss. The change was amazing. She looked like a different person - much older and very glamorous.
*from - Sweet Valley Twins #1 - Best Friends - Francine Pascal - Skylark - 1986

On the edge of the sink was Elizabeth’s brand new eyeliner stick. She picked it up , admiring the color. It was exactly right for here.
She cast a quick look over her shoulder at the shower curtain and figured her twin wouldn’t mind if she used it. She peered into the mirror again , then outlined her eyes carefully , smudging and blending the smoky color until she had it just right. Her eyes looked enormous. The pencil was blunted terribly , but she knew Elizabeth could always sharpen it again , so Jessica put it out of her mind.
* from - Sweet Valley High # 39 - Francine Pascal - Bantam - 1987

Then she sprayed what felt like a quart of hair spray on Josie’s hair. "Now, look at yourself!"
In shock , Josie stood before the mirror. Somehow, she forced her lips into something like a smile. "Nice," She lied. Actually, she thought she bore a close resemblance to a circus clown.
"Red’s going to flip!"Cat exclaimed.
He sure will. But not the way you think.
* from - Three of a Kind # 4 - Marilyn Kaye - Harper Pb - 1991

One of the highlights of a retro 80's magazine is the make-over - drab , unsmiling average
pretty girls with scrubbed faces are suddenly transformed into perky new-wave beauties with
blue mascara and neon clothing. Interestingly the make-over is only as good as the trends that
correspond with it , leaving many to wring their hands at the possibility of trying to pull off a
Vidal Sassoon haircut with a Magic Cuts mentality.

I love this Wildfire book written by Jill Ross Klevin , 1981 , mainly because the focus isn’t specifically on romance it’s really on Allison’s sudden life-transforming friendship with Susannah. It’s also a book about a make-over that covers more than the basics not just outwardly but also covers the sometimes mythical ‘inner beauty’ as well. Really well written! Of course the plot thread is about as old as all original make-over’s like Marilyn Monroe’s nose bob and Archibald Leach’s star dazzling new moniker - Cary Grant - which is pretty old! Allison the class brain wants to be seen in a new light , she doesn’t like the image she’s projecting - at times she envies school beauty Susannah - whose not just pretty or even ‘a prettier pretty girl she is gorgeous , beautiful with blue-violet eyes , cascading hair , flawless skin - a living embodiment of heroines you read about in soppy romances.’ And if that isn’t bad enough her clothes are gorgeous - gedda load of this ensemble -
‘Susannah walked in wearing black silk baggy trousers , a cerise wool jacket with padded shoulders and a black lizard cowboy belt , a Hawaiian shirt , black with fruits all over it , and unreal cowboy boots black with red top stitching. With her hair swept to one side secured with a flowered comb , her makeup so professional looking , she looked like some sort of fashion model on her way to a photography session as though she’d just stepped off the cover or Vogue or Madamoiselle. She made the other girls invisible.’
What do the other girls have to say about that?
‘After this stunning entrance one girl can’t help but crab - "She thinks she’s one of Charlie’s Angels."
What a hoot ! a reference that’s still good for nowadays.
Allison can only say - ‘not too shabby’.

Allison then discovers she is put on a committee with three of the school’s most gorgeous creatures and wishes she hadn’t worn her scrungiest jeans - don’t you just love that word - Scrungiest! The story is from her point of view giving that lively zest that comes from inner dialogues - and some humorous razzing even when she herself is the target like calling her hair frazzly , her face a blob her body pear shaped. The project is the
typical teen project of following a parent around for the day - and it being 1981 and feminism on the rise they decide to do a project on the most overworked underpaid woman ever - the stay-at-home-mom. The teachers called Ms. Dorcas - remember calling people Dorcas Melorcas? Her main dreamboat in typical early 80's fashion is slender with dark curly hair think older brother on Eight is Enough and a whale watcher to boot one of the gorgeous things on their
their project who only sees Allison as a chum. Allison & Susannah become friends during the
project when they discover that Susannah can help beautify Allison and Allison can help smarten up Susannah - the funny thing is both girls have the potential for beauty and brains they just
need discipline and better choices. Susannah makes study dates with Allison , and Allison takes up jogging with Susannah. The hair part of the make-over is done by a man named Dusty
-( oh does that bring back memories never trust a man named Dusty - I once knew a Dusty an oddball who claimed to have reverse binocular vision instead of seeing things up close he claimed he saw things as if at the end of a tunnel everything teeny , tiny sized ) and the scene is a hoot - he gives her a gamin cut that she yelps looks like a crew cut and shows off her stick out ears.
Her shopping spree leaves her with two pairs of baggies ( the nickname for baggy trousers ) , charcoal grey and red , two shirts , a grey cable knit sweater , a vest , a purple jean skirt , a suit with an unstructured jacket in muted mauve-ish grey and cream stripe. Annie Hall meets Yuppie.
Susannah calls it ‘Early Ingenue’ Allison pegs it as being ‘Early Boyish’.
I love the fashion in this book! And it gets even better when it’s discovered that Susannah wants to be a fashion designer and makes all her own fabulous outfits and is itching to create a look for Allison’s school concert. ( Allison is a violin trapped in a stodgy grind’s body grueling away to fulfill her parents dream of becoming a doctor ) a mauve Edwardian dress with plenty of lace , mutton sleeves and full skirt , paired with a picture hat and white gloves. Most definitely early 80's! And though Susannah is the ultimate chic chick , her room copied from a decorating magazine in what they think every typical American girl wants , pink and white flowers , ruffles , ribbons , stuffed animals - Yugg she says. Yugg!

Susannah’s romance is mired by the fact that she comes from a rather poor background so when a sleazy movie-director’s son with toothpaste-ad teeth starts offering to take her away for the weekend she , despite feeling nothing really but dazzled seriously contemplates just marrying him rather than face a future drudging away as an office clerk or waitress. Allison fired up for her friend says this - ‘ "You could have a great future Susannah , or anyway , you could try instead of copping out at the first opportunity , settling for somebody else’s future instead of going out there and fighting and working for one of your own." Great advice!
As for Allison’s romance she gets Bobby to ask her to go steady after a little nudge from Susannah , just to ask her out , and they have a cute scene which reminds me of a similar scene in the old movie Picnic ( rent it , it’s wonderful ) in which both are in bathhouses at the beach changing and shouting back and forth - ‘ "This could get to be a habit , you know it , Al?" "What , going to the beach?" "No , dummy , you and me."’
After some romantic snafu’s where Allison thinks Bobby is two timing her , only to discover the woman he goes clamming with and whale watching is not only married but 60 years old. Allison learns to stop being so wary and more trusting.

I love the fact that these two girls just don’t become friends - the kind of best friends where they steal each other’s boyfriends or become ultra-competitive like Jessica and Lila ( from SVH ) - they are friends that actually improve one another’s lives! Transforming not just their appearances but their thoughts , their own insight , the way they view themselves. An inspiring friendship when you think about it. Allison knowing her friend does not recognize her self worth or talent sends Susannah’s fashion designs off to a future designers contest. While it’s Susannah who nudges Bobby into asking Allison out and because of her coming more out of her shell feels comfortable telling her parents that she would rather play her violin than study her butt off to follow in their footsteps of becoming a doctor. It’s not a surprise that in the end Susannah wins , well , second prize in the designers of the future contest and breaks up with Mr. Hollywood in a violet-blue jogging suit that matches her eyes none the less and the Dynamic Duo ( their term for each other ) have brunch and toast- ‘ may we live happily ever after.’

Ever get a hair cut that changes everything?- I had one once only not in the good way. I was going for a Jennifer Grey perm ( it was Dirty Dancing season ) everyone wanted one - few had them , I trouped out with high expectations of hopefully resembling Jennifer Grey or least my hair resembling her hair , unfortunately I was taken to a salon that specialized in cheap and fast , after several hours of sitting under smelly pink rollers waiting for the new me to emerge I was revealed after the last puff of hot air blew from the hair dryer. I saw myself and was close to
screaming I was eleven mind you , and thought looking at the frizzled pom pom that was now my head er hair that fifth grade had just sunk to a new low. I did not look like Jennifer Grey not even my hair looked like Jennifer Grey in fact it didn’t look much like anything accept a wig that might’ve been used in a sub-par revival of Annie that had gotten run over and had been with some effort moderately squished back into shape. It was horrible. Worst yet I had to pay for it.
After that I did not set foot back into a salon for four years. I think one of the best make-overs a person can ever have is spiritual - one day just looking in the mirror and realizing your not as bad as you think you are - heck , you’re beautiful for you!

Hope you love the pics - the Go Crazy for Color pic’s are from Canadian Living 1983 ( check out the one pic where it looks like the woman is holding lollipops - they are actually lipgloss containers - I saw one on an episode of Fact's of Life and recall knowing some older girls in school who had these - very cool! ), the makeover pics are from Morgan Fairchild’s Superlooks. Don’t you just love the book cover ( accept for the torn bits! ) the girls look like they’re wearing the same white pants , and that guys shirt what is that? geometric print goes Hawaiian! Best yet is their picnic basket - stocked with oranges , green and red apples , bananas and grapes! Where are the chips? the sandwiches? It's mad love among the astroturf! These staged photos are a blast!

Favorite Make-over movie is She’s out of Control with Tony Danza & Ami Dolenz - 1989 - Ami goes from a slumpy brain , with ultra thick glasses , droopy ponytail & braces to a gorgeous knockout with the worlds best hair - long , sunlit blonde waves ( I always think of Stacey McGill’s dream perm in the Babysitter’s club as being something like this. ) Her outfits are to die for in this movie - she pre-dates the Clueless look by about six years! She wears this incredible midriff baring white eyelet blouse , with this bouncy white softly pleated skirt , white over the knee cuffed stockings , and later on , those Alice-inWonderland ringed black & white stockings peeping through slashed jeans. Her jean jacket clanks with lots of pinbacks , and her prom dress is heavenly! Not the best 80's movie in the world it bombed when it first came out
mainly because it was nothing more than a bloated episode of Who’s the Boss without Sam. But I like it , if only for the idea of a hidden goddess waiting to be let loose in everyone - on the flipside check out an old Doris Day movie called That Touch of Mink , Cary Grant’s boozy assistant tries out the cliche of getting Grant’s stodgy secretary to remove her glasses and take down her hair in attempt of finding her inner goddess - what is revealed is a woman just as homely only now she is squinting , has frizzy hair and has the man gulping in disappointment -
it always works in the movies , He says. I laughed like crazy.

The real Bruce Patman

The real Bruce Patman
For more 'real' Sweet valley comparisons click here it'll take you to Cliquey Pizza 2

The Real Lila

The Real Lila
Same soft , dreamy look!