Clothes Lines: Haute Halloween costumes and why it’s OK if no one gets it

Chelsea Peng, Current Assistant Editor

Fall might be the most wonderful time of the year in stylish circles, but Halloween is more like surviving Fashion Week without car service, caffeine or any of your luggage.

The chic girl has it hardest because her dilemma is one of comprehensibility or compromise: She wants to pay homage to the late Anna Piaggi, but most people will think she’s some sort of clown/geriatric Willy Wonka hybrid who’s forgotten to blend her blush. But she’d also never deign to buy one of those terribly unexceptional sexualized cat, bumblebee or nurse getups. By the way, thanks to some enterprising vendors, you can now dress up as a sexy version of any vegetable or food item you desire, including a hamburger or an ear of corn. Also available — even more disturbingly — is an “adult coral clownfish Ne-moh” ensemble.

Shattered childhood aside, it’s tough to maintain your sartorial sensibility without invoking questions from confused Halloween revelers. Let’s take a look at my figurative moodboard for celebrity, cinematic and runway inspiration, and low-effort, high-impact costume ideas.

It wouldn’t be Halloween without Heidi Klum’s annual holiday bash (since 2000) or her routinely outlandish guises. The oft-pregnant “Project Runway” host has outfitted herself as a snake entwined with an apple, the blue-skinned Hindu goddess Kali and Lady Godiva in a rhinestone bodysuit, among others. Alexa Chung, another TV personality, attended a 2008 Halloween fete as a post-guillotine Marie Antoinette (panniers, powdered wig and all). And for the 90th anniversary of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld threw an “Eyes Wide Shut”-themed fancy dress ball. To go this route, just tie on a Philip Treacy mask to complement your black-tie Givenchy confection.

Now, to the movies. Poor little rich girls, look no further than Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick. You’ll be ready to drink and self-medicate the night away at the Factory in semi-sheer tights, no pants (no shirt either if you’re aiming for Susan Superstar from “Ciao! Manhattan;” otherwise, go with a black turtleneck) and a dark ’60s eye with as many sets of fluttery false lashes as you can get away with.

Emulate any icy-blond Hitchcock heroine with a pastel shift dress and coordinating coat, structured handbag, disheveled side-swept French twist and a frightened expression. Bonus: For Tippi Hedren of “The Birds,” paint on faux-blood scratches and affix a stuffed crow to your shoulder.

Another DIY: Craft that much-talked-about Chanel spring 2013 beach bag — look 45 modeled by Sigrid Agren — by spray-painting two hula hoops and attaching quilt-patterned paper (If Anderson Cooper can do it, so can you.). Pair with a cutout leotard or one-piece swimsuit, dark sunglasses, a pink pout and glossy limbs, and even Karl would approve.

Conform or confound, it’s up to you. One’s easier, but the other’s more rewarding, especially when someone recognizes you as Giovanna Battaglia by your leopard hat alone. No matter which you choose though, do it with humor and cleverness.

And remember — don’t let all that candy ruin your waistline.