It has been, as contestants on TV talent shows are wont to say, a “journey.” Until today, Angelina Jolie’s most memorable article of clothing—apart from all the showstopper red carpet gowns she habitually sports—was a vial of blood she wore containing the blood of her ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton. Jolie said it was “more like a flower press,” and remarked of the accessory: “It was kind of a sweet gesture. I thought it was kind of romantic!”
Forget that vial. The ever fashion-forward Jolie has originated a new garment: The Wedding Dress Designed By Your Kids. After she impressively managed to marry Brad Pitt in secret at their chateau in France, pictures published in this week’s Hello! magazine show the biggest surprise of the Pitt-Jolie nuptials—Jolie’s Versace wedding dress came accessorized with doodles by her own children.
“I wanted the kids to be a part of everything including the dress because that’s our family; that represents the way we live our life together,” Jolie told Hello!, as quoted in the Daily Mail.
And so the children drew pictures of monsters, flowers, various creatures, and family members. The dress, which looks like a whimsical, satiny coloring book, also features drawings of planes, a passion of Jolie’s, according to the Mail, “and motorbikes for Brad.” It was designed by Atelier Versace master tailor Luigi Massi, who hand-sewed the children’s designs on to the dress and veil. There is even a word, “buttock,” threaded into the design.
After you have divested yourself of the eye-rolls attendant on anything Jolie does—even if she’s a more effective passionate figurehead than most (on issues like rape used as a weapon of war)—maybe you’ll see the dress as simply a lovely thing to do.
While it’s not a vial of blood, Jolie’s latest fashion moment advances a radical notion of its own: this time about getting married, and the meaning of family amid the usual fretting over flower arrangements and dessert choices. The chaotic, colorful designs of the children peppering the dress say it isn’t a day for just two loving partners, expressing their love to the world, but rather two partners whose family is central to their coupledom.
The children are just as important as their parents on this special day—and the drawings all over the wedding dress state that emphatically, and playfully. Jolie’s wedding dress is less regal gown and more form-fitted refrigerator art.
The dramatic statement of a knockout wedding dress is typically that this is the bride’s day, her big moment. The message of the Jolie dress is a neat rejoinder to all the jokes in the media about her huge family—she has three biological children, and three adopted, all clearly much-loved. The dress says: “Yes, media, you’re right, we are a big bunch photographed by the tabloids in airports, and yes, our kids are everything. We are all in this together. Our wedding day is every bit as much our children’s as it is mine and Brad’s, and it’s going to be as much fun, and filled with joy, for them as it is for us.”
The dress transforms all the selfishness associated with the day—all the obsessing over looking right, looking neat, the right bouquets, the right cutlery settings, a day of fuss and anguish over what others think—and makes it about the family unit, crafted and clearly treasured by Jolie and Pitt. She’s wearing the love of her family. (And yes, if you must, roll your eyes again.)
The Jolie dress is an expression of the joy of family, not the smugness of a couple. And so, no, it’s not a vial of blood, but Jolie hasn’t lost her sartorial ability to shock, or to jolt us when considering how the bounds of one’s love can be expressed.