Lights, camera, fashion! Whatever your stance on the world of cinema, we all love sitting down to a great classic movie – often time and time again. However for fashion fans, many of the true classics are old favourites not just for the plot, but also for the costume design or memorable iconic fashion moments. The silver screen is no stranger to style; these films go on to inspire generations after generations, decades after their initial release date.
Whether you’re a movie buff or fashion follower, get swept up in the magic of the movies with our list of the most fashionable flicks of all time… in our opinion these block busters are truly Gone with the Wind fabulous!
Annie Hall (Director: Woody Allen, 1977)
Woody Allen’s ‘Best Picture’ winning film is largely regarded as a classic because Diane Keaton gives an incredible performance and cements her status as a cinematic style icon as the film’s leading lady. Despite objections from the costume designer, it has been reported that much of Annie Hall’s androgynous ’70s wardrobe actually belonged to Diane herself.
Annie’s eccentric, menswear-inspired outfits – oxford shirts, wide-leg trousers, pantsuits, oversized ties and fedora hats – caught on as a major womenswear trend after the film’s release, remaining one of fashion’s greatest film inspirations.
Coco Before Chanel (Director: Anne Fontaine, 2009)
Fashionistas and film critics alike celebrated the biopic, Coco Before Chanel. As if Chanel’s incredible rise to fashion royalty wasn’t reason enough to head to the theatre, the costumes alone had their own allure.
Set before the First World War, this period piece follows the story of the humble seamstress Gabrielle Chanel – portrayed by Audrey Tatou – focusing on the period in the designer’s life before she became the fashion icon we know her as today.
Pretty Woman (Director: Garry Marshall, 1990)
From pleather-wearing prostitute to ladylike lover, Julia Roberts’ transformation in Pretty Woman is recognised as the most dramatic makeover in cinema history.
The rags-to-riches storyline sets the scene as one of the greatest classic rom-coms of all time. Not only notable for its captivating plot, but for the evolution of Vivian’s wardrobe – the thigh high boots, the polo-match brown polka-dot dress, the $250,000 diamond necklace and off-the-shoulder red gown will all be remembered in the fashion wardrobe of fame.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Director: Blake Edwards, 1961)
What female hasn’t channelled her inner Audrey Hepburn with an LBD, oversized shades, black gloves and string of pearls at Halloween?
Undoubtedly one of the most stylish films in Hollywood history, the opening scene in which we first meet Holly Golightly sets the glamourous tone for this iconic movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn steps out of a yellow cab in a full-length Givenchy gown, gracefully strolls over to the Tiffany & Co. store and stares longingly into the window – magical! Givenchy made two versions of this exquisite gown. The first was created to be perfectly straight and was designed for Hepburn to wear as she stood still outside Tiffany’s, and the second was designed with a split to enable her to walk and sit in further scenes.
Clueless (Director: Amy Heckerling, 1995)
Clueless reigns as the ultimate go-to chic flick, gaining fashion credibility for its OTT ‘90s style statements and ever-quotable fashion references to designer labels, such as: “Alaïa, it’s like, a really important designer.”
Rich-kid Beverly Hills teenagers put haute couture firmly on the big-box movie map, as shameless shopaholics Cher and Dionne worked their co-ordinating plaid ensembles, knee-high socks and cute backpacks. Did you know that 53 different styles of plaid featured in Clueless? Seven of which are worn by Cher, twelve by other leading characters and the rest by supporting female cast.
Gone with the Wind (Director: Victor Fleming, 1939)
This timeless movie – based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell – may be almost four hours long, but as any seasoned film buff will tell you, watching Gone with the Wind is a worthy time investment. Not least for its captivating performance by Viven Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, but for its costumes that play just as pivotal a role.
The magnitude of 1939’s Gone with the Wind was reflected in the 19th century outfits – over 5,000 garments were designed by Hollywood legend Walter Plunkett. Who can forget the signature emerald green velvet gown crafted from a pair of old curtains? Fashioned by Scarlett to conceal her financial woes, despite the hardships of the Civil War.
A Single Man (Director: Tom Ford, 2009)
No one can argue that everything Tom Ford puts his hand to results in the epitome of class, and his directorial debut was no exception.
The film’s expert costume design, moving storyline and the Academy Award-nominated performance by Colin Firth all came together to make A Single Man brilliant – and the critics agreed. No man on the brink of suicide has ever looked as sharp as George Falconer. To mask his grief, Colin Firth’s character sheaths himself in a deceptively simple wardrobe. The combination of a muted colour palette, thick rimmed spectacles, perfectly polished shoes and Tom Ford’s penchant for a perfectly tailored suit puts A Single Man firmly at the top of the cinematic style stakes.
Belle de Jour (Director: Luis Buñuel, 1967)
Why wear clothes when you look as fabulously stylish in lingerie as Catherine Deneuve?
As a sexually frustrated housewife who turns to prostitution for satisfaction, Catherine Deneuve’s wardrobe in Belle Du Jour was a delicious blend of 1960s prim with a dash of diva – think figure-hugging wiggle skirts, silk blouses and stiletto heels. Did you know Yves Saint Laurent was appointed as costume designer for Deneuve in Belle Du Jour and during the making of the movie the pair developed a lifelong friendship? So much so that Deneuve insisted on wearing his designs in her future film roles.
Cleopatra (Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1963)
Mark Antony was powerless to resist her charms, but we were captivated by her grandiose gold headdresses and elaborate accessories.
Elizabeth Taylor was the epitome of glamour in the 1963 historical film epic Cleopatra. Her extravagant wardrobe consisted of 65 costumes, which catapulted Egyptian-inspired styles such as metallic evening dresses, snake rings and arm cuffs to the wardrobes of the modern day masses. Taylor’s costume expenses (to include a dress made from 24-carat gold cloth) were a large contributor to the film’s record-breaking budget, costing a whopping $194,800 – the highest ever spend for a single screen actor.
Sex and the City (Director: Michael Patrick King, 2008 + 2010)
Sex and the City‘s Hollywood blockbuster spin-offs may not be as credible as the original HBO series, but they certainly hold their own in the style stakes, thanks solely to costume designer and stylist Patricia Field.
Carrie Bradshaw’s quirky couture wardrobe has been on our style radar for over a decade – thankfully her eclectic ensembles in the Sex and the City movies didn’t disappoint. From the oversized 3D floral embellishment to the infamous blue Manolo Blahniks, and from ‘that’ studded belt to the Vivienne Westwood wedding dress, we enjoyed every outlandish outfit on offer.
The Great Gatsby (Director: Jack Clayton, 1974 + Baz Luhrmann, 2013)
There’s a reason that both the 1974 and 2013 versions of The Great Gatsby won an Oscar for ‘Best Costume Design’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel plotline and the roaring 1920s provide the ultimate creative opportunities in costume design. The Great Gatsby perfectly captures the flapper style of ‘The Jazz Age’, from the extravagant beaded gowns to Jay Gatsby’s infamous white suit, from a period that was full of dazzling fashion inspiration.
Costumes showcased in the 1974 adaption starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, have gone on to inspire modern day womenswear trends that reinvent themselves time and time again. Think slinky, silky underwear as outerwear, drop-waisted flapper dresses and embellished headwear. In the 2013 remake, Catherine Martin rallied her many fashion industry contacts to pull off Baz Luhrmann’s big screen adaptation. Miuccia Prada designed 40 dresses, Brooks Brother supplied 1,200 suits, while Tiffany & Co. designed the diamond 1920s-inspired headpieces worn by Carey Mulligan’s Daisy – resulting in a truly remarkable visual fashion feast.
Eve Brannon, Fashion Editor