April 4, 1997
Change of a Dress
by Kristen Baldwin
Gillian Anderson's wardrobe - which once belonged in the eccch files - is now the talk of the town.
Has The X-Files' Gillian Anderson had an encounter with fashion-conscious aliens? The question was out there at February's Screen Actors Guild awards when the formerly demure Anderson arrived in an asymmetrically cut, body-baring dress by Hervé Léger that would have made the perma-pantsuited Agent Dana Scully blush. Where has this otherworldly stylishness come from? According to Anderson, it's been evolving for some time.
"The first awards ceremony I ever went to, I was awarded the Geisha Girl from Hell," says the actress, referring to her bustle-laden gold Pamela Barish dress and tight curls at the 1995 Golden Globes. "From that point on, I had to start paying attention to what I wore."
She's not the only one taking notice. Anderson also wowed fashion critics at this year's Golden Globes with a cleavage-showcasing dress by Armani. "When the show first started, you'd never look at her and say [she's] going to be a cover girl," says L.A.-based stylist Phillip Bloch. "The sexy thing about her is she's sort of a female Superman. By day she's Agent Scully, and by night she's a glamour girl." Which explains Anderson's growing pin-up status: A Yahoo! Web search yields 78 sites devoted to her cultish worship.
Even Agent Scully has opened her own makeover investigation. X-Files costume designer Jenni Gullett says Scully has gone from a wardrobe of "matronly" suits in the first season (inspired by Jodie Foster's The Silence of the Lambs look) to "more sophisticated" outfits by such designers as Jax and Armani. "[Scully's look] is classic and very conservative," says Gullett. "It's not attention getting."
Maybe that's why Anderson is trading Scully's lackluster style for wilder clothes encounters. "I think it's her nature to be glamorous," says Anderson's manager, Connie Freiberg. "[X-Files] was her first job, so [the first year] she was busy learning lines and hitting marks. The second year was being pregnant, and the third was waking up to 'Oh, party time.'"
(Additional reporting by Jessica Shaw)
Transcript provided by Alfred and appears courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.