Welcome to Get the Look: Vasilisa the Beautiful — the first installment of Get the Look: Russian Fairy Tales Edition! In the spirit of “Jenny actually uses her degree for something,” this is a new series in which we will tell you a Russian Fairy Tale and also we show you how to Get! That! Look! We’re kicking off this series with my personal favorite Russian Fairy Tale: Vasilisa the Beautiful.
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Vasilisa, and her mom was dying. On her deathbed, her mom gave her a haunted doll and said “Give this doll a little bread and a little drink, and my blessing will bring it to life, to comfort you.” This is a Super Normal thing: haunted doll mom.
The mom dies, the father remarries, and the stepmother is a real jerk, and so are her two daughters. Vasilisa’s dad is always out of town, being a merchant, so there’s no one to stand up for her and she has to do all the chores and stuff. BUT! Luckily! She has this haunted doll, who does all the work for her (v convenient; where do I get one — jk I would not trade my alive mom for this).
Look: Haunted by my doll mom
I recommend a folksy embroidered LBD for mourning your mom, paired with a bold lip paint and a brooch to express the depths of your pain. A sparkly Russian doll purse will definitely not complete your chores, but it WILL complete your look.
Anyway, when the three girls came of age, suitors start to come a-wooing — they’re all super into V, and none of them are into the stepsisters. So, the stepmom decides to kill Vasilisa. Naturally.
The stepmother tells her daughters to hide all of the matches in the house, and then she sends Vasilisa into the woods to borrow some matches from her sister, Baba Yaga (dope). Vasilisa is scared, and so she asks her haunted doll mom what to do.
“Go to Baba Yaga,” says the doll. “I will keep you safe.”
So, Vasilisa goes. After hiking through the woods all night and all day, she gets to a small hut on chicken legs (you know what it is), surrounded by a fence made of human bones (how extra can u get??). Night falls, and the skulls (!) that sit on the tops of the fence posts (!!) start to glow from the inside (!!!).
Home Decor: Big Chicken Energy
If you want to stage a stunning vignette, put a tiny house and a mortar and pestle onto this bird leg table. Bonus points for any eldritch extras you can round up; spell candles and matches would work well here. Amazon even sells skull lights and a kitschy bone fence if you’re all in on that backwoods witch aesthetic.
Vasilisa is super freaked out by this. But, before she can run away, Baba Yaga rolls on up in her mortar (like, a gigantic mortar — that’s how she gets around; she rows herself across dry land using a mortar as a boat and a pestle as a paddle! She has got to be R I P P E D!!).
“Come inside, child,” says Baba Yaga. And Vasilisa goes (which, like, ofc; how could you not?).
Vasilisa explains that her stepmother, Baba Yaga’s sister, had sent her to borrow matches, because they needed light to work by in the evenings.
“I will give you some light,” says Baba Yaga. “But, you must earn it.” OR BE KILLED (implied).
So, Baba Yaga says that Vasilisa has to do all these chores: clean the house and yard, wash Baba Yaga’s laundry, cook her a meal; BUT she also has to do some bullshit: separate grains of rotten corn from grains of good corn, and separate poppy seeds from where they had spilled in the dirt. And all must be done by the time Baba Yaga returns in the evening.
Look: Too Hut to Handle
This poppy jumpsuit is easy to move around in, so it can go from day-of-cleaning-spilled-foodstuffs in flats to night-of-sassing-skull-witches in heels. So, you know, versatile. Sharp, pointed nails that can’t actually pick up anything exude effortless elegance. You want to look like you haven’t had to lift a finger since your mom possessed a mysterious doll. But if you’re actually doing your own cleaning, add an apron or a chore coat, and braid your hair to keep it out of the rotten corn or whatever.
So, Baba Yaga heads out in the morning and Vasilisa is like: How do I get chores done at home? Why, I make my haunted doll mom do them, of course! So, she does the same thing now, and spends all day just, like, snooping around Baba Yaga’s hut and also napping.
Baba Yaga comes back, and she sees how well everything’s been done, and she’s all like: “How is it you have managed to do so well today, girl?”
Rather than own up about having a haunted doll mom slave, Vasilisa says that she’s been #blessed by her dead mom.
Baba Yaga is like “Gross! Gross! Get out of my house! I don’t want any BLESSED PEOPLE in MY HOUSE!! What the HECK!!” And then, to keep the plot moving, she says, like “Take one of the lights from the fence post for your stepmother and get! outta! here!”
So, Vasilisa gets back to her stepmother’s house, and they tell her, like, Thank God you’re back, because for all the time she was gone, they just could not manage to light any candles. Even light that they brought in from outside of the house! It would snuff itself out as soon as it crossed the threshold.
Then, Vasilisa’s stepmother and stepsisters actually stop talking for a minute, because they notice the GLOWING SKULL LIGHT that Vasilisa had brought back with her, and they’re like: What The Actual Fuck?? The hellfire goes through the skull and into the stepfamily, and they get consumed with it from the inside; the three figures crumble into three piles of ash, and Vasilisa lives happily ever after.
Look: Literally Glowing
Do you want your eyes to shine like a vindictive skull? Do you want to SLAY (your stepsiblings, js)? Mixed metallics are the way to go! She’s Vasilisa the Beautiful, not Vasilisa-the-vanilla, so prep with gold snail patches (witchy!), use a filter cream for that lit-from-within glow and finish with glitter eyeshadow. You can keep the look subtly skeletal, or go all-in on a crystal cranium clutch.