Vintage Film Threads: Dress Like Suspiria

Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977) is a film you will always see in not only top horror films, but top horror films when it comes to fashion. The costuming is simple, well put together late 1970s looks paired with stylistic backdrops and a suspenseful horror plot. You get this from the moment Suzy (Jessica Harper) arrives at the airport in Germany, to attend ballet school, to the moment she flees the scene.

What stands out is not just Suzy's style choices, but the other girls in the school and the teachers. Under the pink and red backdrops and pastel frocks lies something not quite right at the school: unimaginable deaths, missing students, infestations and more plague anyone who picks up on anything other than dance routines at the Tanz Academy.

Each shot in the film is set up like a work of art. In addition to picking up some vintage threads try and find something theatrical and stylized to stand in front of, if you get the chance. Below, I have selected three scenes from the film and curated pieces for each that you can find online, or similar garments at your local thrift stores. 


Whites and pastels are the go-to color palette to emulate Suspiria. A crocheted or mesh-sleeved top will help you achieve Olga's (Barbara Magnolfi) downtime look, or you can pick up a simple tee dress in lilac as seen on Suzy. Honestly, I kind of want to wrap myself in the wallpaper. 


Teachers and the administration at Tanz Academy vary in their styles. You can go super casual with a 70s bohemian embroidered top or go toward a more sophisticated black dress with sheer sleeves as seen on Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett), the vice-directress. However, don't forget you can always go with the iconiclastic 1970s/early 80s sheer dresses that found their way into weddings and discos (winged sleeves or spaghetti straps work in terms of this film). 


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For sneaking around, Suzy does not choose traditional black to go unnoticed. Instead she goes with white, beige, and tan tones. She's a final girl who refuses to compromise her style even when subjected to numerous horrors (even opting for light colored 1970s heels - not pictured above). You need three basic pieces to create the above look: a white or ivory skirt, a beige or tan tank, and a crocheted or loose knitted cardigan.  


This concludes our special October/Halloween series for Vintage Film Threads. Next week we will shift back to exceptional Autumn fashion on film. As always, if you have a particular film you would like to see in this series, please leave a comment below. Until next week.