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Wanda Woodward
Wanda Woodward (played by Traci Lords) in Cry Baby (1990)Photography Evan Schreiber

If John Waters had cast Adam Selman AW15

This season the designer looked to the Pope of Trash’s bad girls for inspiration – we pick the looks they’d misbehave in

Adam Selman – the man responsible for the most-Googled dress of 2014 – knows plenty about good girls gone bad. RiRi might not have been in attendance at yesterday’s NYFW outing, but maybe that’s just as well: this was an after-school girl gang that demanded to be taken on its own terms. The NY designer has found a new kindred spirit for AW15: the undisputed king of willfully naughty behavior, John Waters (did Selman pay a visit to the filmmaker’s exhbition on at NYC’s Marianne Boeski gallery?) Citing the counter-culture director’s Female Trouble as a key inspiration, the models hung around by the school gates with looks that said “You can’t sit with us.” We pinpoint the looks that Waters’ most iconic characters would totally play truant in.

VELMA VON TUSSLE, HAIRSPRAY

We think the competitive mother daughter duos of 1988’s Hairspray would love to practice their mashed potato in Selman’s alternative take on the traditional skirt suit. Debbie Harry’s turn as villainess Velma von Tussle sees her give the Dance Moms a run for their money in a series of matchy-matchy looks designed to blow away the competition and win her daughter, Amber, the Miss Auto Show title. And she really does blow them away – when her home-made bomb explodes in her own beehive.

CONNIE MARBLE, PINK FLAMINGOS

Don’t let Connie Marble’s elegant appearance fool you – underneath the classy silks and twinkling diamond-rimmed spectacles lies a disgusting undercurrent of finely woven filth. Selman’s buttoned-up blouses, printed with a ribbon motif, were all sweetness and light on the runway – perfect for plotting sweet, sweet revenge on your neighbours, or conducting the job interview from hell.

WANDA WOODWARD, CRY BABY (1990)

A bee-bop babe who doesn’t take nothing from no one, Wanda Woodward is the John Waters rebel with a real life cause – she’s played by Traci Lords, who originally achieved notoriety for her underage appearances in 1980s porn movies. Striking the perfect balance between girly and hard-core, her teen runaway look is iconic. When this season’s bow motif is teamed with cats-eye shades and checquered pants, prim and proper becomes a springboard for suburban rebellion – we think Wanda would throw on a leather jacket and dial her motorcycle getaway, stat.

DAWN DAVENPORT, FEMALE TROUBLE (1974)

 

Proving that bad moms do it well, Divine’s turn as trashy teen mom-turned-major league criminal Dawn Davenport saw a series of unbeatable outfit changes – including that extremely see-through wedding dress (nodding to Selman’s own penchant for sheer). AW15’s high hairdos and higher hemlines surely channeled Davenport at the height of down-but-not-out motherhood: the stay at home parent who is an upper echelon cat burglar in her spare time. Besides, silk headkerchiefs are an essential to keep one’s beehive in place on the job.

LULU, POLYESTER (1981)

In a universe where not getting Cha-cha heels for Christmas can spark an entire movie’s worth of bloodshed, “Spoiled” is an easily assimilable maxim. Selman’s slogan for the season channels any number of brattish Waters offspring, but cross reference it with the t-shirt’s other inspiration – Anna Nicole Smith’s now-infamous appearance at the Supreme Court – and one in particular comes to mind. Polyester’s Lulu is the promiscuous daughter to Divine’s long-suffering Francine, with a head full of air and a (spoiled) rotten core. We think she’d dance for the boys in lunch period in this number – for a quarter, of course.