This past Thursday, fans of the Twilight franchise were treated to the news that one of its most popular stars would finally be returning to his onscreen personas in the new movie, Eclipse. The movie, based on Stephenie Meyer’s novel of the same name, is said to be an ensemble piece that focuses on four central characters: Bella, Edward, Jacob, and the ominous Volturi coven. While most of the world was busy getting ready for the big premiere in New York City, a select group of fans decided to take the opportunity to celebrate a little early.
As luck would have it, Bella’s birthday is on the same day as the premiere, so fans were able to celebrate two birthdays in one. And boy, did they celebrate. The hashtag #birthdaybella was trending worldwide on social media on Thursday night, and it wasn’t difficult to understand why. Not only is Bella’s birthday coincidental with the premiere date, but the franchise’s iconic red dress was also the star of the opening scene in New York City. As a result, most people watching the movie undoubtedly had the main character’s birthday in mind as the film went on—which is pretty much the point of the series.
While the dress may have been on full display at the premiere, it wasn’t the only piece of Bella’s wardrobe on show. As part of the celebrations, the New York Times published an in-depth photoshoot that focused on the fashion pieces that she wore in the iconic first part of the trilogy. In the accompanying slideshow, we’re treated to a detailed look at Bella’s bold choices throughout the years, from her bandana-covered head to her thigh-high boots. From the floral print dresses worn in the early part of the series to the glamorous gowns she wore for her weddings, it’s clear that Bella has never been afraid to express herself through fashion. She may have been born and raised in a small town, but the world is indeed her oyster.
Bella’s Fashion DNA
Bella’s fashion choices have always been a talking point among fans ever since her first movie. It was clear from the get-go that the character was comfortable in her own skin, and it was this attribute that perhaps defined her most as a person. Her fashion choices were never simply a means to an end—they were a genuine reflection of who she was, and it was this quality that endeared her to viewers.
In New York City on Thursday, fans got a chance to see a side of Bella they had never really been able to put into words: her unfiltered, unvarnished fashion sense. The New York Times captured the complete evolution of Bella’s style over the course of the trilogy in a beautifully put-together photoshoot. From her preppy attire as a teen to her rocker chic in the first part of the series, it’s clear that Bella’s fashion choices were a natural progression of who she was, and it’s in this spirit that we want to look back on this photoshoot. Let’s take a closer look at some of Bella’s style influences.
It’s clear from the get-go that director Rob Pattinson is a huge fan of the Roaring 20s, and he clearly drew inspiration from his favorite novels of that decade. The most obvious reference point for Eclipse is The Great Gatsby, with its decadent parties and flashy cars. This is most apparent in the film’s opening scene, which finds Bella and her four high school friends dressed in their finest party attire, walking towards a grand entranceway. While the setting may be old-fashioned—the five friends are seen sporting their Converse All Stars, floral print dresses, and striped stockings—the mood is anything but.
The characters’ outfits are an exact match for the attire worn by Sean McDowell and Carey Mulligan in their portrayal of Nick and Zelda Fitzgerald in the 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. The film also stars Bella’s childhood pal, Alice. Fans will remember the character as the loud, obnoxious friend who continually interrupts the protagonist’s conversation with his mistress. Aside from looking absolutely flawless in a white dress, Alice’s fashion choices in The Great Gatsby are also memorable for their sheer volume. The actress wore over 30 fashion outfits in the film, including a stunning purple dress with yellow polka dots, white lingerie with purple polka dots, and a floral print dress with black polka dots. It’s safe to say that Bella has inherited her taste in fashion from her famous friends. While the opening scene is set in modern-day New York City, the overall feeling is one of timeless elegance.
The other obvious influence on the set of Eclipse is the great American author and poet Scott Fitzgerald. Like Nick and Bella’s friendship in the novel The Great Gatsby, Edward and Bella’s in Eclipse are also linked by their love of Fitzgerald’s work. Even though the author died in 1940, it was the publication of his seminal work, This Side of Paradise, in 1926, that arguably laid the foundations for the Jazz Age, a cultural movement that gave birth to modern culture in the 1920s and 1930s. While Fitzgerald is most famous for his novels, it is his verse that has been passed down to future generations.
In the poem “Song of Summer,” Fitzgerald writes: “They have wealth and leisure / And pretty faces, / Everything seems to smile at them / Along the boulevards.” Just like Edward and Bella, the Parisians of the 1920s were also blessed with good looks and money, and they spent their time enjoying life in the City of Lights.
Fitzgerald was a dandy. He dressed impeccably and carried himself with panache. Like Edward, he was also an excellent conversationalist and lover of literature. Even though he was married and had four children, Fitzgerald always sought the company of young men. He was almost certainly the model for the character of Quentin Tarantulinu in Mario Bava’s 1964 classic, Dangerously Beautiful. The great Italian director made a habit of casting older men in the role of Romeo, and it’s highly likely that he cast his own father—a famous cinematographer—in the role. If you’ve never heard of Tarantulinu before, it’s likely that you’ve never heard of Quentin Tarantulinu’s father, either. For decades afterwards, the elder Tarantulinu was best known for playing the parts of the fathers of the young men that the young girls fall in love with in his films. Mario Bava passed away in 2012, but his films live on, and with each new generation discovering his work, it seems that he will continue to influence future generations forever.
Bella’s mother, Rosalie, is also said to be a big fan of Fitzgerald and has named her other daughters after novels and short stories that the author wrote. If you’ve ever watched any of the Twilight movies, you’ll know exactly which novel and short story Rosalie is referring to when she rattles off a list of titles to her celebrity friends. The mother-daughter duo are often found chatting over cocktails during the movie’s interludes. These discussions always seem to involve some of Fitzgerald’s most famous works. Even today, with all that we now know about celebrity and social media, there is still a special bond between famous parent and their child which dates back generations. In the case of the Fitzgerald family, this is most evident in Scott’s brilliant but flawed character, Jay Gatsby. Although he was never as powerful or famous as his friend William Randolph Hearst, the publisher of the New York Journal, Jay Gatsby was one of the 20th century’s most fascinating figures. He was known for throwing lavish parties, commissioning famous artists to paint his portrait, and sponsoring the writing of fiction classics, such as The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night.
Like the early days of their friendship in The Great Gatsby, the bond between Edward and Bella is also evident in the book’s poignant conclusion. After spending much of the marriage bedding other men, Edward leaves the marriage to be with Bella. The pair eventually reunite and enjoy a passionate, monogamous relationship—an idea which seems to have been influenced by their time with Fitzgerald. As with all things Fitzgerald, it is the man’s personality that we see reflected in his work, not the women with whom he was associated. In the final scene of the book, we glimpse a young Bella flying off into the sunset with her husband and their adorable newborn baby, Max. If you thought that her wardrobe in The Great Gatsby was stunning, just wait ’til you see what Bella wears in the finale of Eclipse. She is completely unrecognizable as the same character from the first two Twilight outings!
While The Great Gatsby is most often hailed as one of the great literary debuts of the 20th century, it was first published in the 20s, long before the Great Depression brought unprecedented decadence and opulence to an end.