Some films grab us with their storylines or acting, and some grab us with aesthetics. Sometimes, magic happens and the two combine. That’s how we feel about these films. Not only do we love to watch them, but they are some of the most incredible fashion inspiration we’ve ever witnessed. The list for films with memorable fashion is unending, but this group holds a special place in our heart for their uniqueness and lasting impact.
“Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1975) has been one of the most inspirational films for fashion designers since its release. Pete Weir’s masterpiece Edwardian-era film based on a 1900 novel by Joan Lindsey is fashion eye candy. All six girls wear lace and cotton dresses with various ruffles, ribbons and pleats that today’s “cottagecore” fans can only dream about.
“Touki Bouki” (1973) was one of those films that made an impact long after its initial release. The plot isn’t much. “Touki Bouki” revolves around Mory, a young cowherd, and his girlfriend Anta, a student revolutionary. They have one dream: to leave behind the poverty of their homes in the Senegalese capital of Dakar and escape to Paris. But the style in the film is iconic both in ’70s fashion and African tradition.
Cool fashion girls like Alexa Chung take daily outfit inspiration from Jean-Luc Godard’s various muses. The film “Breathless,” which was Godard’s first film, is a source of inspiration for all fashion lovers with Jean Seberg’s character, Patricia, who was beautiful, neurotic and impeccably dressed.
Autumn de Wilde’s remake of “Emma” was only released earlier this year, but it has already made a huge impact in the world of fashion. The characters from Jane Austen’s novel are styled from their head to their toes in perfect fashion. It’s an incredible talent by the costume designer to be able to make virtually every garment as historically accurate to the Regency period, but still enviable to every woman in the 21st century.
Another Godard girl to add to the list: on and off the screen Anna Karina was a style icon, but never more so than in her turn as Marianne Renoir in “Pierrot le Fou.” In this classic film that ventures from the French countryside all the way to the Mediterranean, Anna Karina’s character has a penchant for red, gingham, and after watching this you just might, too.
“Mahogany” not only stars Diana Ross, but she also designed all of the costumes herself. The film gifted us some of Diana Ross’s most iconic looks, including her purple fur sleeve gown and headpiece that you could still totally rock today.
I love Barb as much as the next gal, but this definitely isn’t my favorite film of hers. But the fashion is beyond iconic. She wears so many incredible looks in this movie, both contemporary and period-piece styles. Barbra Streisand plays a kooky young woman who goes to a psychiatrist to cure her smoking. The psychiatrist discovers through hypnosis that she is the reincarnation of a well-born English lady with whom he finds himself falling in love. Cheesy? Sure. But the costumes make the film from start to finish.
Sofia Coppola can do no wrong in my eyes when it comes to filmmaking. But the true star of “Marie Antoinette” is the aesthetics. Coppola knows a thing or two about style, so it makes sense that her films are heavyweights in the costume department. “Marie Antoinette,” with its embellished wigs, ornate fans and dramatic gowns, is possibly her most stylish offering thus far.
Mia Farrow is a style icon no matter what film she is in, but we have a soft spot for “A Dandy in Aspic.” This is essentially a neo-noir Cold War thriller, but the film features some fabulous mod fashions designed by the legendary Pierre Cardin that are worn perfectly by a very young Mia Farrow.
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