05/17/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

'Grey Gardens' Brings Back Fashion's Most Interesting Muse

Countless fashion designers, as diverse as John Galliano and John Bartlett, have tried to get inside the head of Little Edie Beale of "Grey Gardens" fame. It is a special muse who can wear a blouse as a head wrap and pronounce, in all seriousness, that the best thing is to wear pantyhose under a short skirt because you can always take off the skirt and use it as a cape.

The Beales of East Hampton, as exposed in the 1975 documentary by Albert and David Maysles, lived in squalor but nevertheless managed to look smashing in fur coats and inexplicable combinations of Marimekko and Pulitzer prints. Their loony look of decayed decadence is so seared into the designer consciousness that it has practically become camp to cite "Grey Gardens" as an inspiration.