From glam goths to punk rock princesses: Iconic fashion moments from our favourite Tim Burton films

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray

Thanks to the likes of Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, and countless others, Tim Burton has brought us an array of weirdly wonderful characters over the years. And they have all taught us a number of important lessons, but none more so than this; it’s cool to be a misfit, so long as you always stay true to yourself.

It’s unsurprising, then, that Burton’s films are just as well known for their beautiful, often award-winning, costumes as they are their dark undertones.

So, to celebrate his new film, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (set to hit cinemas in September 2016), we've taken a look back at Burton's stand-out style scenes.

From glamorous goths to punk-rock princesses, click through for our round-up of the absolute best fashion moments from Tim Burton’s most iconic film characters...

  • Mrs Lovett – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2007

    Helena Bonham Carter showcased an array of period ensembles in this bloody flick, but our favourite was, without a doubt, her take on Victorian beachwear.

    Cinched in at the waist with a statement belt, the look blended horizontal and vertical stripes, as well as ribboned boots, vintage sunnies, and a navy and red colour palette. On the whole, it felt very much like a gothic 1950s pin-up – and summed up Carter’s own quirky style perfectly.

    Image: Warner Bros, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

  • Catwoman – Batman Returns, 1992

    Michelle Pfeiffer famously donned a vinyl catsuit, clawed gloves, full-head mask, killer heels, and a slick of red lipstick for her stint as Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.

    The heavy white stitching (Burton’s own design) was inspired by the calico cat, but they wound up giving the whole thing a seriously edgy feel – perfect for the grunge trend that surrounded this 90s superhero flick. 

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Vampira – Ed Wood, 1994

    Lisa Marie is an absolute goddess, isn’t she? She brought Vampira – aka Maila Nurmi – to life when she starred in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, adding her own elegant twist to that iconic Morticia Addams-inspired costume and OTT makeup.

    Anyone else suddenly desperate for their own black parasol?

    Image: Touchstone Pictures, Ed Wood

  • White Queen –Alice in Wonderland, 2010

    Anne Hathaway’s costume in Burton’s Wonderland was all ruffles, fragile lace, and glistening frosted white. And yet, while being the sort of gown every fairy princess dreams of, it also felt dark and bewitching at the same time. As Hathaway herself put it, her character was a “punk-rock, vegan pacifist”.

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Sally – The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993

    Yes, fine; she’s an animated character. But Sally’s patchwork look is one of our absolute favourite Burton fashion moments; a raggedy tunic made from scraps of subdued mustards and maroons, it ripped apart the traditional Disney princess look and turned it completely on its head. Plus, it was the reason we fell in love with mix ‘n’ match prints.

    Image: Touchstone Pictures, The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Katrina Van Tassel – Sleepy Hollow, 1999

    Sleepy Hollow may have been set in the 18th century, but Christina Ricci’s vintage gown was anything but old fashioned. Just look at those monochrome stripes – they’d be just as at home on a runway as they would on the streets of historic London.

    Image: Paramount Pictures, Sleepy Hollow

  • Red Queen –Alice in Wonderland, 2010

    Helena Bonham Carter’s costume in Burton’s Wonderland felt like a cartoonish version of an Elizabethan gown, complete with nipped-in waist and high ruffled collar. The brightly coloured prints, which invoked a Vivienne Westwood vibe, were, of course, inspired by a traditional pack of playing cards.

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Emily – Corpse Bride, 2005

    In a world of boring monochrome, Helena Bonham Carter’s undead bride was a welcome burst of colour. Think soft muted blues, a tattered gown, and a wreath of dead roses upon her head.  Because, yes, she was a corpse (clue’s in the title, guys).

    Despite all of the graveyard dirt and maggots, this was easily one of the most stunning wedding dresses we’ve ever seen on the silver screen. 

    Image: Warner Bros, The Corpse Bride

  • Betelgeuse – Beetlejuice, 1988

    Michael Keaton’s undead character may have been a disgusting chauvinistic pig, but this guy proved that fashion never dies. Vertical stripes, everyone; you can never go wrong.

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Alice –Alice in Wonderland, 2010

    Mia Wasikowska starts off wearing a simple and childish blue gown in the Alice in Wonderland movie, but, as she changes size throughout the film, she finds her ensemble alters accordingly.

    When she shrinks out of her dress, she finds herself wearing her silken underthings as a slip. When she eats the cake, she grows until her dress is nothing but a tiny tutu – and, when she shrinks to just three inches tall, the Hatter fashions her a little dress out of scraps of her old gown.

    Our favourite, however, is when she finds herself with nothing to wear at the Red Queen’s court – and they make her an outfit out of the curtains. Which sounds like it would be awful, but just look at that frock; it’s voluminous, and wildly patterned, and such an eclectic mix of patterns and materials. We adore it.

    Image: Walt Disney Pictures, Alice in Wonderland

  • Jack Skellington - The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993

    Jack Skellington may have been tired of his traditional Halloween outfit, but that sharp pin-striped suit definitely caught our attention. Particularly the fact that he accessorised it with leather boots and a statement bow-tie… what a style icon, eh?

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Sandra Bloom – Big Fish, 2003

    The pinnacle scene of Big Fish is the moment when time stops, allowing Ewan McGregor’s character the chance to lock eyes with Alison Lohman through a sea of floating popcorn kernels and frozen circus goers. So it makes sense that her periwinkle blue gown became fixed in the minds of viewers all over the world; we love the oversized bow and textured skirt.

    Image: Columbia Pictures Corporation, Big Fish

  • Victoria Winters –Dark Shadows, 2012

    Bella Heathcote got to play the same character in two wildly different eras, which meant that she had a plethora of stunning costumes to choose from. Perhaps her best, however, was her sweetly prim governess attire; the lashings of red really give it that extra something, don’t they?

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Edward – Edward Scissorhands, 1990

    Another Tim Burton film, another example of leatherwear done right. Designed by Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood, Johnny Depp’s outfit was inspired by all things glam-rock and S&M related. And, when you consider the fact that he only says 169 words throughout the entire film, it seems obvious that a huge part of our fascination with Edward Scissorhands is due to that shredded and heavily-buckled ensemble.

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Vicki Vale – Batman, 1989

    Kim Basinger had a number of stellar outfits in Tim Burton’s Batman, but our favourite was her chic ‘undercover journalist’ ensemble. Sure, Bruce Wayne probably would have spotted her even if she was hiding under that black beret, but she looked incredible regardless. 

    Image: Warner Bros, Batman

  • Martian Girl – Mars Attacks, 1996

    You wouldn’t expect an undercover spy from outer space to look so… well, so ostentatious, but Lisa Marie’s alien refused to blend into the shadows. Her psychedelic fishtail dress was so tight that she had to be sewn into it (putting an end to any bathroom break dreams), and she teamed it with phenomenally huge hair (presumably it was full of secrets).

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Alice – Alice Through The Looking Glass, 2016

    Unlike the first movie, Alice is an independent woman in Through The Looking Glass – which meant that costume designer Colleen Atwood had more freedom with Mia Wasikowksa’s wardrobe.

    Cue the creation of a this fabulously fashionable ensemble, loosely inspired by the imperial costumes of China.

    From that decorative purple tunic, to the structured jewel-coloured neckpiece, Alice’s new look felt evocative, and bold – yet oddly practical, too. Which obviously came in handy when she crashed into the Cronosphere…

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Angelique Bouchard - Dark Shadows, 2012

    Eva Green’s sumptuous and shimmering red sequinned gown was the stuff of dreams, wasn’t it? Unsurprisingly, it was handmade by designer Colleen Atwood.

    Image: Warner Bros, Dark Shadows

  • The Joker – Batman, 1989

    Everyone has a favourite version of the Joker, but Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Batman’s arch-nemesis is by far one of the most famous. And a lot of that was down to his bold and bright costume, which seemed to have leapt straight from the pages of the original comic books.

    Those eye-popping tones of purple and orange, not to mention his snazzy patterned trousers, juxtaposed perfectly with the Joker's dark and twisted personality, making him - if possible - even more frightening a foe.

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Lydia Deetz –Beetlejuice, 1988

    Lydia Deetz, played by Winona Ryder, definitely put gothic fashion on the map – and reminded us that the best way to make a fashion statement is to be yourself. That or, you know, wear a really kickass hat.

    Image: Geffen Company, Beetlejuice

  • Willy Wonka – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005

    In 2005, Tim Burton brought us a vivid technicoloured remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – and he called in award-winning costume designer Gabriella Pescucci  to dream up Wonka’s ensemble. Gone were the pastel hues of Gene Wilder’s character; instead, Johnny Depp got a blood red velvet jacket over an almost-entirely black ensemble. 

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Oompa Loompa – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005

    Forget the lurid orange and green Oompa Loompas of old; Tim Burton’s reimagining of Wonka’s helpful workers saw them popped in sharp white suits (with black-and-white striped socks, of course). The result? We wound up envying their wardrobe, yes. 

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Time – Alice Through the Looking Glass, 2016

    Sacha Baron Cohen, as Time, was given a glorious costume inspired by the architecture of a grandfather clock. We don't know any other actor who could have pulled off those super-wide shoulders so effortlessly...

    Image: Rex Pictures

  • Miss Spider - James &The Giant Peach, 1996

    Yes, we're jealous of a spider. Are you happy now? 

    Seriously, though, look at her boots. Check out that beret. And don't forget about her monochrome stripes and stylish silk scarf... this arachnid deserves her own catwalk collection.

    Image: Walt Disney Pictures, James & The Giant Peach