Lights, Camera, FASHION!

For years we have turned to cinematic expression to give us ideas and inspiration in fashion. Some movie classics depict an era, some revive the styles from decades before, and some push the boundaries, becoming a muse for what is to come. Needless to say, men and women for years have turned to Hollywood as an outlet for fashion insight. Although I could go on for days about different movies that have left me speechless for the costumes and styling, I have picked out some of my favorites:

1. Sabrina (1954)

Audrey Hepburn and William Holden as Sabrina Fairchild and David Larrabee (photo credit: http://www.marltje.nl/)

Audrey Hepburn’s turn as the chauffeur’s daughter of the wealthy Larrabee family in the film Sabrina showcases some of the most drool-worthy gowns and cocktail-wear. Hubert de Givenchy’s Spring/Summer 1953 collection caught the eye of Hepburn herself. As a result, Givenchy’s looks can be seen throughout the film. Sabrina’s chic transformation after coming back from Paris attracts the attention of the Larrabee brothers, and really who could blame them, especially in the Givenchy ball gown number at the Larrabee garden party? The gown is actually a strapless dress with an overskirt that drapes down the back with a belt. Interesting enough, dresses with longer hemlines in the back are once again making a splash on today’s runways. Another favorite is Sabrina’s full-skirted Givenchy dress that she wears on her date with Linus Larrabee. The dress with its boatneck front plunges in the back which shows off Hepburn’s delicate figure. It also fascinating to note the evolution of a design house. Givenchy went from lady-like embroidered Parisian-wear to its now Gothic Romance look under the helm of Riccardo Tisci. Sabrina’s elegance, however, will always be associated with the House of Givenchy.

“We can’t have you walking up the Champs Elysses looking like a tourist undertaker! And another thing, never a briefcase in Paris and never an umbrella. There’s a law.” – Sabrina Fairchild

2. The Royal Tenenbaums

Think American Apparel meets Barney’s. From classic tracksuits to fabulous fur, the Royal Tenenbaums provides a signature wardrobe style unique to each character. My favorite character, of course, is Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow). The depressed former child playwright’s heavy dark eye makeup contrasted with her preppy Lacoste dresses perfectly sum up the unique humor of The Royal Tenenbaums.

“I’m very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a terribly attractive woman.” –Royal

3. Clueless

While the rest of the country was plunged into the depths of grunge during the mid-90s (Seattle sincerely apologizes), Cher and Dionne proved that color, plaid, and knee-high socks were just so much more stylish. Yes, Clueless is an obvious choice, but this movie is near and dear to my heart. Growing up I wanted to have Cher’s computerized closet that selected outfits for me. I also wanted to have the perfectly matched hair accessories and purse with the cute Mary Janes. The upscale preppy look quickly became a trend amongst teen girls along with phrases “as if!” and “rolling with the homies.” One of the most memorable scenes is Alicia Silverstone being asked by her gruff father about her Calvin Klein dress. Well, thanks to Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa, the body-hugging number has just been reissued in both red and white. And for extra thought, on the Fall 2010 runways, knee-high socks and school-girl chic were all the rage. Could “Betty” Cher be the inspiration?

“So okay, I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don’t get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair – ew – and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we’re expected to swoon? I don’t think so.” – Cher Horowitz

Dionne and Cher (photo credit: http://www.fash-eccentric.com/blog/)

4. A Single Man

Fashion designer Tom Ford’s directorial debut in the Christopher Isherwood-adapted novel, A Single Man,garnered much attention on the film awards circuit last year. The story is of a middle-aged Professor (as depicted by Colin Firth) living in early 1960s Southern California struggling to cope with his the devastating loss of his male partner of 16 years and the friendship with his best friend (Julianne Moore). Firth’s impeccably tailored suits and thick-rimmed eye-wear only adds to the richly detailed setting that Ford has created. Moore’s cat-eye eye liner, bouffant hairstyle, sheath dresses, and bold jewelry are gorgeous. Such trends can now be found on the Fall/Winter runways. It is no surprise the entire film looks likes a stunning advertisement for one of Ford’s glamorous lines.

“By the time I have dressed and put the final layer of polish on the now slightly stiff but quite perfect George I know fully what part I’m suppose to play.” -George

A Single Man (photo credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/)

5. Marie Antoinette

Kristen Dunst as Marie Antoinette (photo credit: http://seattlest.com/)

The infamous Queen of France was a fashion rebel. She asked for lower-necklines on her corset tops and shorter hemlines that bared her ankles. In Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, we see Kristen Dunst portray the young and spirited queen in those bosom and ankle bearing dresses. Dunst sported nearly 70 gowns in the film designed by costume designer Milena Canonero. During pre-production, Coppola gave Cononero a box of pastel-colored macaroons and urged the costumer to work with a similar color-palette. While Cononero still wanted to stay true to the 18th century designs, she definitely created some costumes more stylized and dramatic than dictated by their era. The result was a gorgeous set of gowns that added depth and flair to the movie. Not surprisingly, Cononero was awarded the Academy Award for costume design for the film. While most of us will not be sporting the heavy gowns, we can take some tips: wearing rich fabrics, light pastel colors, and a mischievous grin can bring flair to any outfit.


What do you think are the most fashionable movies out there? Agree or disagree with any of the above choices?
“Letting everyone down would be my greatest unhappiness.” – Marie Antoinette

3 Replies to “Lights, Camera, FASHION!”

  1. Great choices…while I love me some “Sabrina”, “Clueless” is #1 in my heart, especially in regards to fashion.

    You’re a writer;) So proud.

  2. great movie choices! sabrina is one of my favorite movies, and the fashions are just beautiful. i love the outfit she cooks in–how groundbreaking in 1954 to wear all black with pants and flat shoes!

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