Today TMC showed Rebel Without a Cause. I had thousands of channels at my disposal, but when a good film comes on, I just can’t pass it up. I called to my 20 year old sister who was making lunch in the kitchen and asked her if she’d ever seen a James Dean film. After she replied “no,” I got the idea to make a list of the films that have had iconic fashion moments and that still inspire fashion designers today. Everyone should watch these movies, they have come to define our American culture after all!
When coming up with my list of most memorable fashion in film, it seems that the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s has dominated the era of great style, great designers, and great moments.
So what are the most beautiful fashion films? Here’s a list of 12 great films with greater fashion moments (in no particular order).
1. A Single Man — With fashion designer Tom Ford as the director, A Single Man was bound to be heavily influenced by fashion. And guess what? He didn’t disappoint. From the saturated images to the crisp white button downs, Tom Ford is meticulous about color and style. For a first time film maker, he not only impressed but surpassed everyone’s expectations. After watching the movie you wonder why a man wouldn’t wear anything but a Tom Ford suit!
2. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)–The movie that made James Dean an icon. The troubled story of three teenagers searching for a greater meaning in their life has become a story that outlasted the 1950s. The famous line when Jimmy Stark cries out to his parents, “you’re tearing me apart!” is a line that most teenagers can relate to regardless of the decade they grew up in. But what is most remembered is James Dean’s rebellious outfit: jeans, a white tee, and his red jacket. You can’t get much cooler than that! An outfit that symbolizes his inner rebellion.
3. Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s– Every movie Audrey Hepburn is in is worthy of being on this list. Designers like Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy saw film as an opportunity of dressing Hepburn in beautiful clothes making film her own personal runway. Making a “cinderella transformation” turning from an ordinary “funny faced” girl to a sophisticated posh woman, Audrey Hepburn shows that clothes do not make the person brings out the inner confidence of any women.
4. Rear Window–My first inkling when I saw Lisa Fredmont (Grace Kelly) strut into Jeff’s (Jimmy Stewart) apartment in a dress with a black bodice and a white tulle full skirt, I was sure Dior had designed the costumes for the movie. His “New Look” collection had debuted just weeks before. To my surprise, it was none other than legendary iconic costume designer Edith Head who was responsible for such elegant ensembles. Whether it be a daytime suit or silk negligee, all five pieces will grab your utmost attention in detail, color, and the overall grace that Grace Kelly exhibits.
5. To Catch A Thief — It would be unfair to include Rear Window without acknowledging Edith Head’s continued work in dressing Grace Kelly for Alfred Hitchock films. Grace Kelly continues to enamor audiences with such stunning outfits. The simplicity of Edith Head’s design is complimented by the acute attention to detail.
6. Annie Hall– Well La-Di-Da La-Di-Da, Annie Hall in menswear heated up the screen by making it sexy to don a pair of jeans and a flannel. It’s not just a film that broke almost every mold of how a Hollywood film should be made (i.e speaking directly to the camera, and the famous balcony screen), but the fashion was just as taboo. Diane Keaton (as Annie Hall) menswear revolutionized and catalyzed a change in mainstream culture that is still prevalent today. I currently sit in my flannel button up and corduroys while I write this post to you. So thank you Annie Hall for making it acceptable and sexy to wear man’s clothing.
7. Atonement– Although it did not win an Oscar for Best Costume Design, Atonement was nominated for the category. With roles like The Dutchess and Pride & Prejudice, Atonement seems more modern for Knightley, but there is no denying that films that take place in the past is where Knightley feels most in her element. And to really cement Atonement as a film with great fashion, Kiera Knightley posed for numerous magazines wearing that famous green dress, which further marks its place in film fashion history.
8. An English Patient–Another movie centered around World War II, An English Patient captures audiences not only by its flashback sequences and a riveting love story, but through the beautiful safari clothing–crisp white tops with beautifully-made khaki jackets and earth-toned pants. The English Patient won the Oscar for Best Costume Design in 1996.
9. Blow-Up–In London during the Swinging Sixties of sexual liberation and freedom of expression, a photographer takes a beautiful model to a desolate park and believes he witnessed a murder. With mod sixties dresses and Twiggy inspired looks,Blow Up is full of great fashion moments and Italian director Antonioni is credited with making the thin model as muse.
10. La Dolce Vita– You may not think there is anything sweet about La Dolce Vita after watching it, but the clothes sure look good. A film about the temptations of a rich and famous life takes Marcello (played by Marcello Mastroianni) into a life of cheating, lying, and deceiving resulting in an incomplete quest for happiness and love. However winning costume designer, Piero Gherardi, makes sure everyone looks fabulous, making it hard to resist a life of such superficiality. La Dolce Vita is also a cultural movie–full of Alfa Romeos, vespas, Latin Lovers and most importantly the fitted Italian made suit with the skinny black tie that remains a timeless suit.