With Halloween approaching, these black evening gowns in the FIDM Museum's permanent collection epitomize spooky chic for the stroke of midnight. Traditionally, witches have been portrayed in black, the color of darkness, power, and evil. But black is not necessarily reserved for wizened old crones; pop culture is full of beautiful, glamorous witches, whether the young sorceresses of Salem, Angelina Jolie as the evil fairy Maleficent, Endora from Bewitched, or the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Even the green-tinged Wicked Witch of the West appreciates a fabulous pair of shoes.
Hubert de Givenchy (b. 1927) created this gown for Los Angeles socialite Betsy Bloomingdale, who is regarded as a kind of fairy godmother to the FIDM Museum thanks to her many donations from her couture wardrobe. Though made of black silk gazar edged with black velvet, it is anything but basic. With its asymmetrical three dimensionality, it invites admiration from all angles, and casts a disorienting spell on its beholders.
Howard Greer (1896-1974) had a flair for the dramatic, thanks to his stint as the head of Paramount's wardrobe department. He often provided coordinating capes or jackets with his eveningwear. This high-low black taffeta and tulle cape hides a fishtail gown with a dramatic neckline, which plunges to a V in the back but recalls a witches' pointy hat in front. All you need to join the ranks of Hollywood's best-dressed witches is a broomstick.