Secret Style Icon: Christina Ricci in Buffalo ’66

Like an ice princess from heaven.


Buffalo ’66 (1998) is a strange and complicated film. It stars Vincent Gallo, who also directed it, as Billy Brown, an angry oddball of a man recently released from da clink, where he served time for a crime he didn’t commit. He decides to go see his parents, football enthusiasts who think he works for the government and has been out of the country for five years. During a phone call to them, he embellishes this lie by inventing a wife named Wendy, saying he’ll bring her along for the visit. Just then, he notices young Layla (Christina Ricci) exiting a tap-dancing class. He kidnaps her and forces her to pose as Wendy, yet she ends up being the only person to show any concern for or interest in him for the rest of the movie!


Now I adore ’90s-era Christina (hello, Wednesday Addams and Val from 200 Cigarettes), but to this day I’m surprised Layla goes along with this plan, because I think of Christina’s characters as tough chicas. Yeah, girl, he’s cute and all, but PLEASE! Give him a karate kick to the head with that tap shoe or something! It was hard for me to find some sort of simpatico with her character, because we never found out the reasoning behind her actions—or, more to the point, non-actions. Perhaps Christina agreed—she and Vincent reportedly did not get along on set—but sometimes I wish we could see an alternate version of the movie from Layla’s perspective, so we can better understand just why she was so agreeable. Since that will never happen, I shall focus my rolling eyes onto her pretty ensemble.

In my favorite scene, Layla performs an impromptu solo routine to King Crimson’s “Moonchild” in a bowling alley. It’s cute and very surreal. Here you get a good view of her outfit: a sexy pastel-blue dress, white cardigan, light-blue tights, and sparkly tap shoes. When reviewing the film back in 1998, famous film critic Roger Ebert described Layla as “dressed like a Barbie dressed like a hooker.” First of all, NO, Rog. Second, I think she looks more like an ice princess from heaven. This is the kind of ensemble I wore when I attempted to ice-skate for the first time in Pershing Square one winter. I just wanted to look like a li’l angel, but held on to the rail until I fell on my bum and sat out for the rest of the time while my Olympics-ready friend glided by with one leg in the air. HATED HER! Anyway, Layla wears only this ONE outfit for the entire film, so it had to be memorable, and I like to think she’s channeling some Courtney Love-circa-Live Through This vibez, which made me picture her back at home, rocking out to Hole and Babes in Toyland.



Clockwise from far left: dress, $32, Romwe; Moon’s Reflection eye shadow, $15, M.A.C. Cosmetics; Everything’s Aglow silver heels, $50, ModCloth; sparkle pantyhose, $17, American Apparel; Nars Sweet Dreams lip gloss, $25, Sephora

To get her look, pair a babydoll dress or something soft and romantic with these sparkly nylons, and then focus on the makeup. Layla balanced her heavy blue eye shadow with a more-neutral lip gloss. I really like M.A.C.’s Moon’s Reflection for a base, to which you can add some lightweight silver or white glitter for effect (Make Up For Ever has a great selection). For the lips, a light-pink gloss, like Nars’s Sweet Dreams, adds a nice, subtle shine. But all you really need to cop her steez is some combination of powder blue and silver, so if you prefer something a litte more sophisticated, try this white button-up with a daintily-detailed skirt and ballet flats:


Clockwise from top left: collared shirt, $35, Romwe; studded ballet flats, $42, Asos; clutch, $47, Asos; lace skirt, $72, Topshop; crystal earrings, $10, Asos

Now you’re ready to interrupt a round of bowling with your own dance routine. And, FYI, both of these pairs of shoes could probably inflict minor injury, so don’t hesitate to use ’em if you need to. ♦


  • caro nation March 6th, 2013 11:13 PM

    Vincent Gallo is one definitely a God-spilled-a-person kind of person, but I liked how he was able to channel his seemingly innate jerkass traits into a really complicated performance. Layla recognizes his vulnerability; he orders her around and flies into rage but especially from the way she looks at him in the car you get the feeling she has taken ahold of the emotional upperhand. She’s a bit like his heavenly ice queen savior, because who knows what kind of fucked up shit he would have gotten involved in without her, y’know? He definitely undermined her on set but when they filmed Christina was in control of the scene. Maybe I’m trying to justify my love of this movie’s visuals… so red and grainy.

  • pygmypuffs March 6th, 2013 11:46 PM

    90′s era Christina Ricci is golden. Can there be a SSI for Wednesday Addams, pleaaaaase?

  • airplanes.books March 6th, 2013 11:59 PM

    one of my top 5 films! also, one of my top 5 90s guardian angel babes!

  • 062131 March 7th, 2013 12:07 AM

    I was excited for this article because I watched that film some time ago and kind of had a memory that I really liked her clothes, but turns out it’s just ONE outfit. Hm. Well, I guess it is quite memorable!

  • woahmeredith March 7th, 2013 1:01 AM

    it’s been my life goal for like five years to find glitter tap shoes and when i do i will wear them for the rest of my life and be the worst secret agent ever.

  • Melissa @ WildFlowerChild March 7th, 2013 10:51 AM

    I have never heard of this movie, but now I am very interested in watching it.

    <3 Melissa

  • limegreensunset March 7th, 2013 11:44 AM

    YES YES YES YES YES and also YES.

  • MaggietheCat March 7th, 2013 12:34 PM

    Such an odd little film. Beautiful visuals. Super excited to see this.

  • amelia March 7th, 2013 4:17 PM

    Layla was a great character. She always seemed to be in control of her own emotions which made Billy Brown’s complete lack of control and emotional outbursts perpetuate her appearance more and more as the snowy, patient ice angel calmly helping him through his story.

    I’d love to hear her story though.

  • Tulip March 8th, 2013 4:39 AM

    I loved her outfit in the movie. I agree she looked like an ice princess from heaven.

  • insteadofanelephant March 9th, 2013 2:49 PM

    YES a thousand times YES

    blog: instead of an elephant
    Creative Director: Thread Magazine

  • mockest March 9th, 2013 4:56 PM

    I perceived Layla as being sort of… jaded? Not necessarily the right word, but I can’t think of a better one. I think she was pretty capable of taking care of herself if she felt threatened, but her character seemed to be sort of transcendental, as if she understood him and was ultimately in control.

    Super cute outfit cord!

  • purrr March 10th, 2013 5:24 PM

    An alternate version of the film from Layla’s perspective is impossible, because the whole film is an egocentric male fantasy. There is no Layla. This is a film about Vincent Gallo. I don’t understand how anyone finds this film romantic when all it’s full of abuse and dysfunctional relationships.

  • periwinkle_dreams March 13th, 2013 6:34 PM

    that scene totally just blew my mind. I’ve been tap dancing for 15 years and had no idea it could be dreamy or sultry or anything like that! I’m so going to learn her dance now.

  • BritishFish March 31st, 2013 7:05 PM

    What?! I’ve never seen this movie but now I have to considering my favorite song is in it.

  • Lemons April 6th, 2013 12:23 PM

    “When reviewing the film back in 1998, famous film critic Roger Ebert described Layla as “dressed like a Barbie dressed like a hooker.” First of all, NO, Rog. Second, I think she looks more like an ice princess from heaven.” – Lol

    I am totally watching this film later.

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica June 18th, 2013 1:11 PM

    This sounds like a fantastic movie! Totally gonna watch it asap – thanks for introducing me.