Editor’s Note: Tuesday night, ABC Family premiered the mid-season finale of Pretty Little Liars and finally revealed the identity of the series-long Big Bad, previously known only as “A.” There’ll be no spoilers here, but Hannah and I are absolutely obsessed with PLL, and when we realized the Liars were–yet again–dressing as their favorite Disney characters, well … Hannah had a few things she wanted to say. Enjoy!
Pretty Little Liars is indisputably the best show currently on television. It has a gripping plot based on the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl which results in her closest friends being stalked and tortured by an even more mysterious, seemingly omnipotent figure that goes by the name “A.” Unlike your run of the mill “family friendly” teen-focused shows, PLL is full of sophisticated references to philosophy, literature and film noir. It is an intelligent take on feminism, the media, selfhood and power. It also features a lot of crazy/amazing outfits on the lead characters (including my favorite, the illustrious Mona Vanderwaal). If you haven’t been watching, pause this article and go straight to Netflix. Start with episode 1 and enjoy. If you haven’t seen it yet, be warned: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD.
Welcome back. Have you recovered? Are you as addicted as I am?
On the penultimate episode of this latest season, the five main girls, Hanna, Spencer, Emily, Aria, and Ali, crash their own high school prom. The prom theme is fairy tales, and the prom decorations are ridiculously unrealistic for a public high school prom (even in upper middle class Rosewood, Pa.) but they make for a gorgeously dramatic set.
The girls, of course, wear gorgeous and insane prom dresses inspired fairytale princesses (as designed by Disney). Naturally, each girl’s inspiration also (mostly) relates to their personal lives.
Hanna is my favorite (other than Mona who, tragically, did not appear in this episode (nor did Noel Kahn with his beautiful and evil face)) so she gets to go first. With a sparkly, lacy bodice and long, white A-line skirt, Hannah’s dress evokes Cinderella’s ball gown. Although Disney merchandise suggests that the Cinderella’s dress is blue, if you watch the scene where she is transformed, you will notice that the dress is initially white and sparkly like Hannah’s. Moreover, with her lace up boots and hair up in braids, Hannah looks ready do some light housework, Cinderelly-style.
It makes sense that Hannah would choose this princess as her inspiration. She has effectively “lost” her father, who divorced her mother and has been mostly absent from her life. Finances are definitely tight for Hannah, with her mom unable to afford her college tuition. And at the prom, her Prince Charming, Caleb, offers to whisk her away to New York City and pay her tuition with his lucrative new job.
Spencer, my smart, independent, suffers-no-fools, Spencer Hastings, has obviously selected Merida as her prom dress inspiration. With a higher neckline, her long gown is a deep teal like Merida’s gown was. It even seems to be made of draped velvet – so medieval! Her multitude of rings and metal cuff bracelets also evoke the Middle Ages period in which Brave was set. While Spencer does have a boyfriend (Toby, not my favorite), she is still as whip smart, career driven, and self reliant as any modern day Merida would be. So it just fits that Spencer would use that character as a fashion inspiration for prom.
Ali is so clearly Belle it kind of freaks me out. Both characters are into books (Ali is particularly obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany’s). Both characters are menaced by some kind of powerful beast. Recently, Ali was even trapped in the lair of the beast (A). Like Belle, Ali seems to have a love/hate, or at least, respect/hate with her beast.
So no wonder Ali chose a prom gown reminiscent of Belle’s golden ballgown. Ali’s princess-style dress is yellow with a sparkly lace bodice and belt. Her rose red lips brings Beast’s enchanted rose to mind, and her hair falls on her shoulders in soft curls much like Belle’s does in the movie, perfectly fit for a princess trapped.
Typical Aria, her dress is a modern twist on Snow White. Of course, Lucy Hale’s alabaster skin, dark bobbed hair, and big anime eyes make her the perfect choice to appropriate Snow White’s look. The “gown” is actually a blue crop top with a printed A-line skirt all in the blues, reds, yellows, and whites of Snow White’s classic dress. Ever the hopeless romantic, thinking (wrongly, ahem) that Ezra is her Prince Charming, Aria absolutely sees herself as the righteous princess with the heart of gold and silvery singing voice.
Alright, I’ve been postponing this last one because it’s a stretch. But given that the other four girls SO CLEARLY used Disney princesses as inspiration, I can’t possibly leave Emily out. Sweet, foolishly open-hearted Emily must be playing against type with her prom ensemble. Her black, long sleeved gown seems to be inspired more by Maleficent than any Disney princess I can recall. With a deep v-neck and strong shoulders, the dress seems….evil somehow, but Emily is not evil in anyway! If anything she is the sweetest, most forgiving and most loving of the girls! Perhaps Emily finds it empowering? Either way she looks great so I won’t complain.
Regardless of their inspiration, all the girls look great, and you have to give them props for caring about fashion while also being constantly menaced by an all-powerful stranger!
Do you watch Pretty Little Liars? What do YOU think of the Big A reveal? Let us know in the comments below!