Just like the relationship between music and style, the fashion industry is also intimately linked with movies. Who could forget about Audrey Hepburn’s iconic little black Givenchy dress, accessorized with pearls, a tiara, and classic Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Or Keira Knightley’s gorgeous emerald green silk dress in Atonement that set off a multitude of copycats? Ever since 1948, fashion has been recognized at the Oscars under their Academy Award for Best Costume Design — not to mention all the red carpet outfits that get fawned over or criticized by viewers all over the world. One of the best places to take style inspiration from is film. So the next time you’re mulling in front of your closet trying to decide on an outfit, take a cue from a favourite movie character.
With the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s stylized adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, we can expect another Roaring Twenties revival in fashion. Retro looks were seen on the spring runways of Bottega Veneta, and glamorous fringed mini dresses were spotted at Versace. The flapper style previously made a comeback around the time Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris came out. Glitzy art-deco dresses paraded down the runway at Gucci’s show soon after the movie. And over at Etro in the same season, drop-waist dresses reminiscent of the jazz age were featured heavily in the collection. To incorporate the flapper look into your regular wardrobe, try pieces accented with beading or fringe, and mini dresses with straight waists. Accessorize with art-deco jewelry, embellished headbands, and layer together strands of beaded necklaces.
For those looking to channel a style that’s less showy and more gothic punk, there’s the style of anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The movie’s release in late 2011 had a trickledown effect, making a moody impact for the fall and winter collections of 2012. Designers Proenza Schouler and Givenchy incorporated rebellious leather looks into their presentation while Fendi showed dark futuristic ensembles made of PVC and patent leather. The movie also inspired H&M to come out with a collection in collaboration with the film’s costume designer, Trish Summerville. To get the look, combine leather pieces with items such as ripped jeans, distressed tees, studded and spiked accessories, and combat boots.
Another movie that strongly influenced the style of many, especially in the late 1970s, is Diane Keaton’s character in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Annie Hall. Get the menswear-inspired look with oversized blazers, wide-leg trousers and flowy skirts. For the bold, complete the ensemble with a tie and bowler hat.
A movie character look that would be perfect to emulate for the warmer weather is Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Tuck a crisp, short sleeved button-up into a dirndl skirt and add a chic scarf around the neck for a polished touch.
A popular and stylish film that made a notable impact on those who came of age in the 90s is Clueless. Bring up the movie to any young woman and, chances are, she’ll talk about how much she still wants Cher Horowitz’s revolving closet. Los Angeles company Wildfox Couture created a lookbook for spring that paid homage to Clueless. You can channel your inner Cher or Dionne with a preppy plaid mini skirt, matching blazer, and knee-high socks.
For every style, there’s a cinematic fashion icon. These are just a few of the movies that can provide fashion inspiration for those days when you believe there’s nothing to wear. Whether you commit fully to a look, incorporate just a few pieces from a character, or take inspiration from a combination of characters, the options are endless.
[Article first appeared in the May 15 issue of Richmond Review.]