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We found the dress for my date with the president’s daughter

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Image of the article titled The Story of * The Dress * From My Date With The President's Daughter

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When Elisabeth Harnois donned a velvety candy pink mini dress in the spring of 1998 on the set of the ABC TV movie My date with the president’s daughter, she couldn’t have predicted that she would become one of the most formative dresses for a microgeneration of Millennials that has watched reruns on Disney Channel.

“Oh my God, that’s such a sweet thing! »Harnois gasps on the phone to learn that someone once tweeted, “The pink velvet dress in My Date With the President’s Daughter is the Marilyn Monroe on the subway gates for Millennials.” But she laughs while reading it other tweets screen similar feelings about “the iconic bad bitch pink dress »Harnois wore: “Outside, I look fine but inside I’m sad that I can never wear My Date With the President’s Daughter dress “, bed a.

The hyperbole here is minimal. The dress, which costume designer Delphine White unearthed in a small Toronto boutique, really ignites a kind of breathless excitement. It’s the perfect combination of longing and pure desire, tied with other coveted movie dresses, like Kiera Knightly’s green dress in Atonement and the aforementioned dress that Monroe wore in The seven-year itch. It might not contain the same level of glamor, but it acted like a harmless kind of sexual arousal. The dress retained a legacy precisely because it was an ambitious glimpse of what a beautiful and cool teenage girl bubbling with confidence might look like: You too could look that cool … in, like, a few years.

The simple spaghetti strap dress prompted 20- and 30-some things To boast of counterfeits they have found online, fashion designers at sell fools on Etsy, women at Tweeter on the way the dress lives without rent in his head, and Instagram users to tag the movie while showing off the replica dresses they found for costume parties and everyday outfits. And, in a recent TikTok that went viral, Los Angeles-based photographer Elizabeth Elder claims to have found the original dress Harnois wore in the film. The video reveals both a label from a creator, California Proline, and a sticker with a barcode that reads “Disney Pictures & TV.” It’s a dead ringtone for the original Pink Saccharin, and she only paid it $ 15 to a seller on Depop who clearly didn’t know he owned a piece of movie history.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect [make the TikTok], but my friend said to me, ‘You have to tell the world this dress is safe,’ ”Elder told Jezebel.

After doing some research, Elder concluded that the crushed velvet dress was originally intended to serve as a swimsuit cover. Strange choice of material, if so, but it shines as a stand-alone piece.

The response ranged from pleasure to jealousy.

“People thought I was Gen Z and they were like, ‘You haven’t even watched that movie! “” Elder said. “Uh, I’m 26, I really know what it is.”


My date with the president’s daughter aired on ABC in 1998, worn by star Will Friedle, best known at the time for his portrayal of Eric Matthews, the goofy older brother of the longtime ABC sitcom Boy meets the world. The plot of the film is simple: Friedle plays Duncan, a high school geek who is more interested in magic tricks than finding a girlfriend. One day, while he was hanging out at the mall, his friends bet $ 50 that he couldn’t find a date for the Spring Prom. It’s a challenge Duncan is determined to win, but after a quick search he almost gave up until he laid eyes on Hallie, played by Harnois. Unbeknownst to Duncan – one way or another – Hallie is the protected daughter of the President of the United States, and she managed to escape her Secret Service just long enough to try on hats at the mall. Duncan lacks play, but that’s okay: when he invites Hallie out, she’s both stunned and overjoyed (“A dance?” She asks. “You mean, with people from our age? ”.

Hallie spots her Secret Service detail and tries to get out quickly. But first Duncan asks, “Shall I pick you up at seven?” Where do you live?”

“1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” she said, still trying to hide. “It’s a big white house, you can’t miss it!”

Duncan is surprised to find that the address leads him straight to the front door of the White House. There, he is informed that there will be strict limitations on where the two can go and that the Secret Service must be with them all the time. But, as repressed early girls are used to, Hallie hatches a plan to ditch them with Duncan, which leads to a crazy night of dance clubs, biker gangs, and, of course, the reveal of the dress.

Hallie leaves the White House in a conservative dress, but as soon as she can, she insists on buying an outfit more suited to a teenage girl trying to let go, certain they both need a change of guard- dress. Duncan is resistant: he wants to win this bet, that is to say to arrive at this dance. He even insists that Hallie looks pretty in her bland pale blue skirt with a matching sweater and a tight bun. Hallie frowns.

“I don’t want to be pretty,” Hallie insists. “I want to watch… hot!”

They meet in a hip boutique, and after trying half the store, Hallie is ready.

Oh, Duncan …Hallie said in a singing voice. Then take a look at the little pink dress. A vaguely sultry melody plays in the background as Hallie tears off her hair tie and spins her head in slow motion like she’s in a Pantene Pro V commercial. She even takes a little spin for good measure. Duncan quickly transforms into a tasteful Disney version of a horny cartoon coyote.

“They really gave me a hard time with the reveal,” Harnois told Jezebel. “I was so embarrassed because all of my friends were like ‘ooooh‘, but after sinking it was fun to see me like that. And I ended up falling in love with this dress.

But it took a bit of conviction from movie costume designer Delphine White.

“It’s really fucked up, but at the time I probably felt like I looked fat in it or something,” Harnois admitted. She was 18 when the movie aired. “The industry was really fucked up for a lot of girls. It was still popular to be very slim. I’m so happy that this is changing, but wearing this dress made me more aware of my body and I was already insecure about it.

The dress was deliberately chosen for impact, meant to shout something out about the character and where she was on her journey. “I really wanted it to be a change from what she was normally required to wear as the president’s daughter,” White told Jezebel. “I chose pink, not only because it worked for Elisabeth, but also because it worked for the character. Because, in many ways, we are reclaiming the pink. Being able to wear it when you are the craziest is really a statement of strength for me.

“And for this character, this evening was like a release from prison. Of all the restrictions she had in her life … she was dying to get out there and experience life and had a real sense of adventure. And, in an appropriate twist, the dress also worked its magic on Harnois, helping him to come out of his shell: “I think if I’m totally honest with you, I have to say that this dress probably broke me down.” much more adventurous in my own personal style, ”she said.

She’s not the only one. Elder, who now owns one of the alleged dresses, told Jezebel that the dress had changed her own style: “I used to wear darker colors, and now I just wear a bunch of lighter colors. ever since I saw myself in that dress. ” said Elder. “I felt very confident wearing it, like I was a new woman.” But now the dress does not see the light of day. Aside from a Halloween costume that Elder wore a few years ago, she intends to keep it in protective packaging in a safe place in her closet for the foreseeable future.

The power that this dress wielded over those who wear it and those who envied it is palpable. Harnois said that years after the film aired, whenever she was recognized on the street, the dress was the main thing everyone wanted to talk about.

“Most of the time the girls were like, ‘Oh my God, I love that pink dress!’ But when I really realized [how popular the dress was], it was when boys would tell me that it was a formative part of their discovery of sex as a teenager, ”Harnois said with a laugh. “I was like, What? Even when I met my fiance, when we started dating, he was like, ‘Oh yeah, I saw this movie … oh, Yes, I saw that dress. “

It’s easy to assume that the cropped hem is what captivated us. Sure, it was flirty, but the mini dresses were a dime a dozen, and candy pink was everywhere. The magic lay in Harnois’ performance in what would otherwise have been a forgettable teenage game. This dress was how Hallie rebelled against her suffocating father and the systems that kept her from being a normal teenager who had fun, made mistakes, and had some semblance of a love life. I might not have been able to fully understand his plight given that I was seven when the movie came out. The main tyranny I suffered from my dad was the uncool clothes he chose for me in Ross’s kids section. But when you’re a kid, there’s nothing cooler than a teenager in sick outfit giving authority a metaphorical middle finger, even if their rebellion is, in hindsight, very sure.

White and Harnois are both deeply humbled by the discovery that the dress is still deeply loved. The two went on to work on a plethora of other TV shows and movies, but there’s something special about this little-known 1998 TV movie that has gained cult devotion.

“Oh my God,” Harnois said as I recited another tweet about the so-called bad bitch dress. “I was a lot cooler than I thought.”



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