Fashion in Film

My style has always been a strange one for as much as I love the simplistic style of the Scandinavians and adore the polka dresses of the French, I somehow sneak in metallic gold jackets and red cowboy boots. Rock n Roll is, as a cliche might go, the music love of my life, therefore the likes of Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury and Debbie Harry have always had me in admiration, plus can you ever go wrong imitating Bruce Springsteen in a pair of worn out levi’s and a plain white tee? I think not.

Fashion in Film… I know what you’re thinking, Vertigo, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, To Catch a Thief.  I like you awe at Edith Head’s work, her attention to detail is next to none and she’s incomparable beyond belief, it’s because of this I have to mention her in the films that have inspired me but this is more a post introducing you to the easy going styles I love as apposed to ball gowns and diamonds.

So here it is, the top 4 films that have (and always will) inspire me.

Bonnie and Clyde:


Thief, murderer, criminal. The real Bonnie Parker a symbol of rebellion, photographed during the 1930’s styling a beret could never have guessed the legacy she would later leave behind in fashion. However armed with a gun, silk holder might I add, it was Faye Dunaway who graced our screens in 1967, where we were engrossed by the cinematic experience that was, Bonnie and Clyde. A classic look of glamour and elegance completely went against the fashion of the 60’s, where Mick Jagger was swanning around in a velvet Ossie Clark jumpsuit and mini skirts reigned, Dunaway brought us a feminine take on masculine a look that is today, loved by the likes of Caroline de Maigret, Victoria Beckham and the Oslen Twins.

This is first on my list for a reason. Theodora Van Runkle, the woman behind Faye Dunaways iconic look, in my eyes is one of the greats when it comes to film costume design. In a 1989 interview, Runkle said that “Faye thought I didn’t care how she looked … Faye thought I was trying to make her look ugly.” But as production went on and the craze of Bonnie and Clyde grew, Faye herself told WWD in 67′ “The clothes are divine, they’re masculine styles but in a feminine way” and so grew the films influence not only in the film world, but even more so in the world of fashion.

Berets down the Dior catwalk, pencil skirts at Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein show, Bonnie and Clyde’s lasting impact on fashion is epic and not one to be forgotten any time soon, if ever. For those who have watched Bonnie and Clyde (if you haven’t may I strongly suggest you add it to your to-do list) it’s difficult to forget the silk scarves, knit wear and the haircut. It was the latter that inspired me to drastically cut my long blonde locks off in favour of a cooler, sharper look. It would be unfair however if I did not mention the handsomely dressed Clyde, suit clade, complete with a fedora who despite his villainous nature oozes confidence and determination. Although we’re aware that during the real reign of Bonnie & Clyde things weren’t nearly as beautiful as Arthur Penn leads us to believe, it’s easy when watching the 67′ film version to see why we fall so deeply in love with this old American folklore.

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“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 suppose to swoon? I don’t think so”. I repeat, word for word as I watch, yet again Clueless.

Cher Horowitz has inspired many, MANY outfits over the past 20 years and will continue to do so, is there anybody that doesn’t love Clueless? More often than not my sixth form ensemblements were if not inspired by, completely stolen from Cher herself. My favourite look being the pinstripe blazer and beret, a timeless classic perfect for scheming. I look back at times like these in my style ruts and wonder where between the exams, breakdowns and constant nagging from teachers, I found the time to get up and make an effort with my look. A certain skirt suit I bought from ASOS during a free period in which I should, no doubt, have been doing more important work was inspired by Tia’s look when telling Cher she was a “virgin who can’t drive”. As a massive checkered suit enthusiast, it should come as no surprise that Cher’s iconic yellow checked blazer and skirt became a massive hit with me, so much so that next halloween I shall be channeling my inner Horowitz, sadly without Paul Rudd by my side.

Not forgetting Dionne who like Cher served us look after look, my favourite? White knee high socks and a red velvet dress, yes pl-uuu-ease! Despite their outfits being perfectly complete on their own, together they created iconic film fashion for a lifetime. Is it shallow to say this film resinates with me deeply? Certainly not.

Here are just a few of my favourite Clueless looks:

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The Great Gatsby:

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” my favourite quote from the entirety of this incredible book. My second favourite, (losing out only to J.M Barries, Peter Pan) book of all time. Hopeful, heartbreaking and most of all dreamy.

It was only when Baz Luhrmann brought my dreams to life in The Great Gatsby (2013) that I realised how beautiful it really could be. It was this then that inspired me, for absolutely no reason at all to purchase my very own Great Gatsby dress, red & gold, dripping in embellishment and also, sadly, never worn.

Since the very day I discovered the “roaring twenties” I have been obsessed ever since. Though we know different, it feels to me that this time was consumed by a dreamy hue of electric feeling, that beautiful clothing and elegance were of far more importance than anything else. Champagne on tap, crystal glasses and libraries as big as our very houses, The Great Gatsby is the incredibly elaborate reality of my dreams.

Catherine Martin brought this film to life with it’s embellished and scintillating costumes, complete with pearls, diamonds and lashings of charm. Although I must say it wasn’t just Daisy’s cotton dresses and a very progressive Jordan in a backless, floor length evening gown that persuaded me to fall in love with the style aspect as a whole in this film, it was Gatsby; The Great Gatsby himself, in his pink linen, pinstripe suit and off white three piece complete with a stripe mustard tie. Gatsby belonged amongst the beautiful gardens and chandelier ballrooms, Leonardo DiCaprio brought to life this character in such a way that Gatsby, once a figment of our imagination, is now an idolised character who for many, we feel deeply for.

The fashion in this film was undoubtably going to be beautiful with Catherine Martin working alongside Muicci Prada and Brooks Brothers to create such vivacious pieces, but it is not only that. It is through this film that we see how fashion speaks to us, speaks through us and shows others who we are without uttering a word.

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Rear Window:

It was during a film lesson that I first watched Rear Window. My teacher at the time adored Hitchcock thus anything created by him was of magic to her, but it wasn’t until I saw Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Fremont that Edith Head became more than just a designer to me – but in fact my favourite.

Edith Head’s sketches and plans for Rear Window are an art form in themselves. It wasn’t until Grace Kelly walked on screen, oozing elegance and sophistication in that pale green skirt suit combined with red lipstick, dripping in pearls, that we realised just how much. Although this film is a thriller and arguably a love story, the costumes worn just simply can’t be forgotten due to their striking nature contrasting with how casually Lisa Carol Fremont wears them. Grace Kelly is a prominent character throughout and not just through her dialogue but through the costumes she wears, it’s this that makes us aware of what an important role designers have in the authenticity of a film and how they force us to see it as another world and not just imaginary.

It was certainly this film that led me to divulge into the work of Edith Head and just how she has changed the fashion industry through film. Head herself said that “couture has copied my things for years … claiming theirs were the original ideas”. Though the way she dressed others were extravagant, she wore only beige, black or white, believing that staples were the true way to build a wardrobe and that wearable apparel was above all, the most important in creating your own authentic style. Though there are many beautiful items out there, I hope I eventually follow in the footsteps (if only one or two) of this truly stylish woman and build a wardrobe worthy of Head approval.

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