I love Drusilla (Juliet Landau) a lot, and I’m sure I don’t talk about her enough. And the sets of promo photographs from season two of Dru and Spike (James Marsters) are possibly my favorite sets of promotional photographs ever. I’m not even sure why this is, exactly; they’re not particularly out of the ordinary, as far as promotional photographs go. I think it might in part be that I get very nostalgic about back when Dru and Spike were a thing, because they were so wonderfully malicious and weird, and I think it is also that while lots of promotional photographs have the cast assumedly in-character and posing in standstill, these sets are so on, so active.
Anyway, I also think it’s fascinating that Drusilla’s photographs (and indeed her entire season two wardrobe) fall into three distinct color palettes, each of which represents a separate part of the puzzle that is her. There is the white dress; “white is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection,” and therefore this reflects the Drusilla that was. The whole story of Dru is, after all, that she was so innocent and good that Angel (and Darla) just had to ruin her, and in presenting so as to suggest that kind of innocence and goodness that she no longer has, she misleads observers. Opponents do not take her so seriously at first, because what danger is a crazy child and really that’s what she is. There is also a part of Dru that does, to whatever extent, remain that crazy child, that retains innocence, though it is corrupted.
Then you have the shades of red. Red (and black) are the colors that most often get associated with vampires in general, regardless of mythology or canon or personality; this is pretty obvious. Black for darkness, red for blood. Variants of this outfit probably get the most overall screen time, and it’s decidedly the most eclectic: top like a corset, long skirt, fur-trimmed beaded jacket, very appropriate-to-the-90s shoes. It’s capital-r Romantic but not nearly so literally vintage as the white dress. Red is also “emotionally intense,” which — yes, obviously, of course, the majority of crazy fictional characters (and “crazy” ones, but there’s no “” necessary for Dru, as she is 100% insane) have that particular thing in common. Red is danger — of course, she’s a vampire — and red is strength — again, vampire — and red is “passion, desire and love” — well, yes, I’ve discussed vampire sexuality before, but Dru is one of the Buffyverse’s more overtly sexual vamps to be sure, and what with the “we can love quite well, if not wisely” business, she’s one of the vampires who arguably was in a kind of love with another vampire. Dark red additionally has “longing, malice and wrath,” the first of which foreshadows the inevitable fate of her relationship with Spike and matches the fate of the Whirlwind as a whole, the latter two of which are fairly inherent, though hers is less of a directed malice and more a malice-for-fun’s-sake.
And finally, you have Drusilla in black. Black for darkness (she is a vampire, she is of the night), black for mystery (who in the heck knows what she’s talking about half the time? Also, she is a vampire), black for evil (again, vampire, and one with a reputation at that). There is something to putting vampires in black old-fashioned outfits, highlighting a certain level of inherent mourning that comes with being the undead, but it is especially potent with Drusilla, who either wants to mourn or to kill, maybe to kill and then mourn by dancing in the ashes.
–your fangirl heroine.