Vanessa en Vogue
How Vanessa Hudgens became Carlye Wisel’s accidental style icon.
Written by Carlye Wisel
Look, I never thought I’d find myself enthralled by Zac Efron’s ex-girlfriend and a kingpin of the television musical phenomenon, but then again, with Mary Camden as the subject of Justin Timberlake’s reflective jam and Hilary Duff all up on her mom game with a gentleman other than Gordo, we’re taking pre-determined notions with a hefty grain of Maldon these days.
Vanessa Hudgens’ threads have been dynamite as of late, and not just because she plucked a few fancy frocks off a stylist’s rack. It’s because she’s simultaneously playing the part of regular LA girl as well as movie star; keeping true to her First National Queen of Coachella roots while dipping a toe into the Barneys pool.
Now, if that doesn’t seem so over-the-top, let’s keep in mind this is a female who’s become famous for waltzing in kitten heels. For glaring doe-eyed across a karaoke stage on New Year’s Eve and sparking a love interest that would last for too many song-and-dance routines. For wearing outfits that could only be explained as “my mom forced me to wear this and I’m too busy studying math to know any better.”
Unlike her spunky-haired, debatably oversexed post-teen counterpart Miley Cyrus, Vanessa’s public growth came by way of her impeccably intense turn as Candy in Spring Breakers, a movie whose rebellious edge opened the door for VH to move beyond her youthful public viewing.
The overseas premieres of Harmony Korine’s gross-out wonderland truly marked the former bubbly Disney Channel ingenue’s first shot at nabbing runway samples for big deal premieres, and she ran with it . Were her picks flawless? No , but was that glimmery Temperley dress  not what a part-time free spirit would wear if one possessed the ability to float back in time to the junior prom? You never want to call a burgeoning style icon too early — the fashion appeal of someone like, say, Kristen Stewart by fans as well as El Ghesquière-o are continually beyond lost on us who were raised pre-Twilight — but Hudgens straight solidified her burgeoning style icon status with a dip overseas last month to promote her turn as a prostitute in the could-be-a-big-fucking-deal flick The Frozen Ground. Some people travel to stuff themselves with liquid, soft cheeses and hefty encased meats, some to ransack the U.K.’s stack of Sophia Webster heels, but Hudgens? Hers was to prove a sartorial point.
Her current love affair with all white errhang — seen in two kickass versions at Italian film premieres , and once while popping by the BBC — proves that she’s not only on the same brain wavelength as we are, but is a ball-busting daredevil. (Someone who wears that many stainable blanks has a hefty ritualistic connection with a higher spirit or merely knows her reproductive cycle better than by drip-drip-drop accidental chance.)
But the blank buck don’t stop there. If a gilded, maroon Moschino suit  isn’t the tailored equivalent of “Fuck With Me You Know I Got It” then there’s one outfit in particular that kicks it up a few notches, by way of a royally co-signed songbird named Jenny Packham. Quell the panic, as your eyes are not taking a trip back to 2004; the California homegirl donned a bedazzled, flesh-tinted bodysuit on a red velvet step-and-repeat for reals. A Toxic moment?  Perhaps, but someone who can within the same hotel-stay don both a throwback to peak Britney-era iconic getups and a tip of the turban to being painfully bohemian  is a varied egg we can’t wait to crack.
And that’s what’s so downright dazzling. I’m confused to be in so deep with the brains behind Gabriella Montez because she’s kind of like me. (Kind of.) She utilizes publicity opportunities to get capital-d-dressed, but kicks it like it’s the nineties and there’s a probable chance she might end up swaying in the grass outside a Phish show if she plays her cards right on tour .
There’s a verifiable off-switch, a difference between her glamorous self and her laidback one. She knows who she is. In a world where it’s perfectly feasible to trot around in heels that look like birdcages or a silhouette of shorts that are cartoonishly oversized, there’s something about embracing the normal — as well as the wow moment — that makes me stoked to see what’s next.
And really, isn’t that the best, when your closet envy turns not to jealousy, or hatred, but to total rah-rah support?