Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hooray for Hollywood

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let's give thanks for the gift of imagination and the craft of realization. From amazing blockbusters to independent zingers, the movies have given us food for thought for over a hundred years.

Herewith follows a selection of the best fashion movies ever to grace a dimly lit room. This is a personal list, of course. I've been disappointed in some and may not have seen your personal favorites, but here goes (in no particular order).

Fashion films fall in three catagories:
1) Amazing costumes that may or may not be historically accurate and/or influence your wardrobe but are a treat nonetheless
2) Trend-setters whose looks were responsible for influencing the ways we were and are
3) The business of fashion (be it creating or reporting).

> The Boyfriend— if the 20s really looked this good I will rue being born forty years to late.
The original "boyfriend" look
> Gone With the Wind— Scarlett's character is so defined by wardrobe choices, from the innocent barbecue party dress to the widow's weeds she wore in name only. And who could forget that green velvet dress aka the drapes?
Whatever do you mean by drapes?
> Marie Antoinette (the Sofia Coppola version)— Despite (or maybe because of) the anachronistic sound track, this is a romp in girl-land dress-up.
Let them eat...
>Barry Lyndon— That 18th century again
No words needed
> Out of Africa— Two great actors, one beautiful continent
Meryl + Robert + Ralph: three is not a crowd

> Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn version)— I've written before that I once paused throughout a VHS tape of Sabrina to sketch all Audrey's looks in order to replicate them. They are pretty much still wearable.
And this is only the "before"...
> Bonnie and Clyde— What girl didn't want a beret, pullover sweater and pencil skirt (not to mention Warren Beatty) after seeing Faye Dunaway in hers?
Bonnie Miss Bonnie
> Pretty Woman— Dress like a dressed-up hooker? Yes, please
Still looking pretty
> Grey Gardens— Edie Beale as trend-setter? She was royalty before the Tenenbaums. And proof that if you believe in yourself the world will too.
If you've got mink, wear it!
> Annie Hall— Inspires millions to this day, inspired itself no doubt by Katharine Hepburn
Annie Hall wins a hall pass
> The Best of Everything— Not often mentioned on the lists, but we actually dressed like this. Working girls aspiring to look chic in our Ohrbach's knock-offs
Hoping for the best
> Love Story— And who didn't wear a knitted cloche in homage? Methinks Ryan O'Neal is a great accessory in a fashionable movie (see Barry Lyndon).
Ali McGraw with two accessories
> Breathless (original version)— Cut off your hair! Wear a white t-shirt! Move to France! Forget what actually happens in the plot.
A breath of fresh chic

> The Women (original version)— The technicolor fashion show at the end of the black and white film is the whipped cream and cherry. A movie about women and for women (hence the fashion show)
Sundae best
> Funny Face— Audrey! Fred Astaire! New York! Paris! Givenchy! Gershwin! Think pink!
And Dovima!
> The Devil Wears Prada— Surprisingly accurate portrayal of life at Conde Nast (except for the part where our heroine takes home clothes from the sittings closet). Meryl Streep never looked better.
Devilishly delicious
> Valentino: The Last Emperor— What begins as a voyeuristic peek into another world ends up a sympathetic portrayal of a passionate genius— and a love story.
It's good to be the emperor
> The September Issue— The real star is Grace Coddington, probably the only woman in the world to stand up to Anna Wintour...
...and make Anna smile
> Unzipped— The business of fashion is life-changing and serious stuff, even if you are the delightful Isaac Mizrahi.
In fashion all the world's a stage
>Bill Cunningham New York— A love letter to fashion, Bill and New York City rolled into one
My three loves
>Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel— The latest release on the list and last but not least. Without saying as much, Diana Vreeland states the case for Life=Fashion and Fashion=Life, math I can certainly understand. You'll wish you knew her.
My favorite professor
Thanks to Durell Godfrey for suggesting this feast. By the way, Netflix will be open Thanksgiving day.


  1. Some I've seen, some I haven't but this post makes me want to watch them all again!

  2. i agree with every choice, and if you did one of these for fabulous hair, i would nominate the boy friend one more time for the great ( late) roger thompson's hair for twiggy.
    thanks for the idea credit- never expected to see my name up there with annie hall, dovima, and ali!
    bill cunningham we have already done- hoho

  3. want to add:chariots of fire and brideshead revisited for clothes i would kill for!!!!! and two for the road for a whole lot of clothes i would not be caught dead in, but which are of a time, and should be remembered...

  4. then there is the movie about YSL.

  5. I love your list and now I'm wanting to do a businessoffashionfest this afternoon!

    I'll admit that I've never seen "The Best of Everything" but that is soon to be fixed.