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Look of the Week: Jenna Ortega channels gothic glamour at ‘Wednesday’ premiere

<i>Leon Bennett/Getty Images</i><br/>Jenna Ortega (right) poses with her 1990s predecessor Christina Ricci
Getty Images
Leon Bennett/Getty Images
Jenna Ortega (right) poses with her 1990s predecessor Christina Ricci

Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

A young Christina Ricci became synonymous with the whip-smart, macabre daughter of the Addams Family in the 1990s. But at this week’s premiere of the new Netflix spinoff, “Wednesday,” lead actor Jenna Ortega stepped fully into the role.

The 20-year-old Disney Channel star turned scream queen turned heads on the “black” carpet in a look that embraced gothic glam: a lingerie-inspired high-slit bridal gown complete with a delicate black veil. The dress was the penultimate outfit to hit the runway in Versace’s spring-summer 2023 ready-to-wear show in Milan in September.

The Tim Burton-directed “Wednesday” follows the delightfully violent titular character as she attends school and harnesses her psychic abilities. Known for her highly imitable style of twin braids and an austere schoolgirl dress — which she has donned across Addams Family comics, television series, animations and movies since the 1930s — Wednesday has left large black patent shoes for Ortega to fill.

With roles in “X” and the latest “Scream” movie under her belt, Ortega has already proven her acting chops in bloody, unsettling films. But channeling the style of mysterious Wednesday is just as important a part of the job. Over the past week, she’s shown up to “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and a Critics Choice Association event in daring gauzy and lacy black ensembles.

Her styling at this week’s premiere echoed a recent look by “X” co-star Mia Goth, who wore an all-black, veiled Dolce & Gabbana dress to promote the movie’s prequel, “Pearl.” In the spirit of the Addams Family franchise, the rest of the “Wednesday” cast played their parts on the black carpet, too — including Ricci herself in a tiered, glittery spider frock from Rodarte.

“Jenna is so fantastic. It’s just such a wonderful version of Wednesday, so relevant for today,” Ricci, who now plays a teacher at Wednesday’s school, told Extra at the premiere. “I always say I think every generation should have their own Wednesday.”

All-black everything

“Wednesday” arrives after a hot goth summer that crept into spooky girl fall. This year has seen Kourtney Kardashian overhaul her wardrobe to include angsty Catholic chic and corsets that have become mainstays on the red carpet. Elsewhere, the 2022 Met Gala, which followed the theme of “Gilded Glamour,” inspired 19th-century-inspired high society goth looks from Bella Hadid, Lizzo and Maude Apatow, while the MTV VMAs followed suit three months later with Lizzo (again) in a voluminous black gown and Dove Cameron in a wide-belted choker and bustier.

With fashion houses including Balenciaga, Givenchy and Schiaparelli leaning into black-heavy collections this year, the trend is set to continue into 2023. The Versace show featuring Ortega’s gown heralded the summer’s dichotomous mood between dark glam and Barbiecore, as dramatic lace and corseted styles with veils and hoods were followed down the runway by a hot-pink bridal mini dress modeled by Paris Hilton.

Over the years, there has been no shortage of actors opting for sultry darkness on the red carpet — including Eva Green, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan and Aaliyah. But if 2022 marks something of a renaissance for edgy, witchy and regal dark looks, they have been branded as fashion fails in the past. Ortega steps out 20 years after Gwyneth Paltrow’s infamous sheer Alexander McQueen goth dress landed her on worst-dressed lists for the 2002 Oscars.

Perhaps, in hindsight, the styling wasn’t goth enough. Dark Goop walked so Bella, Kourtney and Jenna could run.

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