Mariah Carey gets a lot of flack for Glitter, the 2001 rags-to-riches story about aspiring superstar Billie Frank that’s loosely inspired by Mimi’s own origins. But actually, the sheer Mariah-ness of Glitter saves this camp classic from being a forgotten flop (ahem, Jem and the Holograms), along with the feels-filled closing ballad “Never Too Far Away.” If anyone should have been run out of Hollywood forever, it was Joseph G. Aulisi, the film’s costume designer. He made some choices that were so WTF they standout in a movie that is almost 100 percent WTF-ery. Here are some highlights.
When you’re so poor you can only afford overalls
You know the road to a high-glam makeover will be long and dazzling when the journey begins at baggie drab-green overalls.
Billie steals the show as a backup singer for established pop star Silk, but not with her unique sense of style. It’s no wonder that when a photographer asks for a photo of the four of them, Silk says, “they’re just background,” and unfurls a boa that blocks Mariah and friends from the shot.
What’s with the silver body glitter?
See what’s going on there on Mariah’s left shoulder? That silver body glitter is a recurring signature look throughout the film. Besides its obvious nod to the cinematic masterworks’ title, the flourish is never expressly acknowledged.
While Billie’s DJ/manager Dice starts pushing her demo cassette (!) to the clubs, Billy does her part by wearing disembodied translucent sleeves.
Not a good look for a 31-year-old. Or even a 21-year-old. Or anyone.
Not without my translucent silver wrap
Perhaps the pinnacle of Glitter’s ridiculousness—and not just because Mariah films a video where she is showered in actual glitter. Billie wants to perform while wrapped in a modesty-guarding shroud that is definitely not a shower curtain, but the lascivious director demands she perform in nothing but a silver bikini. And what kind of singer would ever shoot a music video in nothing but a bikini?
Nothing says Dice like a giant necklace that says “DICE”
Besides her now-signature silver arm glitter (see above), Mariah’s pink-on-pink-on-pink look here is right in her bespangled diva wheelhouse. Yet just when she’s on the verge of getting it right, she finishes the look with the worst accessory: her boyfriend Dice, barechested and wearing a necklace that actually says “Dice.” Spoiler alert: 28 minutes later Billie will learn that Dice has died after becoming “the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest.”
But does this look really go from day to night?
For her reunion with her mother on a farm in Maryland, Billie wears a low-cut gold glitter mermaid gown. Now THIS is when you need a pair of green overalls.