Film and fashion have gone hand in hand years before Wintour started using actresses on the cover of Vogue instead of models. In fact, films focusing purely on fashion – not treating it as a pretty side order – are emerging now more so than ever before. Take ‘Coco Before Chanel’, dramatised biography of the deity herself, and documentary ‘The September Issue’, that follows the influential ice queen around the halls of Vogue.
I’ve meticulously (more or less) hand-picked a selection of some of my favourite ‘fashion films’ – not all orthodox, but absolutely justified with dozens of screen shots. Time well spent.
500 Days of Summer – Summer & Tom
One of my absolute favourite films, good wardrobe or non. Summer’s wardrobe is all pretty summer dresses, high-waisted silhouettes and hair ribbons; Tom sticks to sweater vests, skinny ties and indie-boy T-shirts. Beautifully angsty (and Zooey’s sixties-ish hair is a dream).
Empire Records – Corey & Gina
The NINETIES! Liv Tyler stomps around in big, lace-up boots, and all the girls wear flippy mini skirts and crop tops. A Canadian guy I met at the Solstice (Stonehenge, anyone?) recommended I watch this after I told him I worked at a record store. No regrets whatsoever; errs on just the right side of slightly-grungey.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Lorelei & Dorothy
A classic, with good reason. Harks back to a day when girls didn’t leave the house without gloves, hat or lipstick. A lot of love for the overshadowed Jane Russell, who recently passed away (did you know she starred in a bra advert in her late fifties?! Respect).
Factory Girl – Edie Sedgwick
Sienna beautifully plays the heavy eyelinered, chandelier-earringed Edie, who tragically ends up a little ‘heroin-chic’. Nevertheless, a gorgeous film that studies Studio 54’s It-girl and perfectly explains Warhol’s obsession with his elfin muse. Sad but so, so sixties.
Fantastic Mr Fox – everyone
Bear with me here. The detail gone into the suits, the tweed, the stripy pyjamas and printed tea-dresses…! Perfect British-eccentricity, hopefully entirely as Dahl intended it. I’ve never seen such well dressed, well tailored animals. Fauna meets fashion.
Lolita – Lolita
If only for the iconic poster and the boom it must have made in novelty sunglasses sales. Whoever made a film out of Lolita…and whoever made it slightly stylish, even if I do feel slighty guilty for saying so (she’s sixteen! Playing a fourteen year old!) This is the earlier version (1962), which I hear isn’t as true to the book as the 1997 production, but just as American-picket-fence-pretty.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Holly
Could hardly skip this one – another favourite of mine, and I’m obviously not the only one. Ignoring all the Givenchy gowns, pearls and cigarette holders, there are two fashion-moments I love in this film. Firstly: Holly’s night attire. I wear old club promotion T shirts and short shorts; Golightly goes for an oversized tuxedo shirt, tassled ear plugs and a sequinned sleeping mask. However, she thankfully tones it down to a classic trench for that lost-my-cat-and-it’s-raining scene. Sweet and simple.
Corpse Bride – Bride & general cast
When I was fourteen, I dressed up as ‘the Corpse Bride’ for Hallowe’en. This involved spare net curtains and, surprisingly, just didn’t look that good. Still, I loved the ethereality of that dress, as well as the drama of the Victorian style wardrobes, with corsets galore. Kate Middleton, eat your pretty Duchess heart out.
Fight Club – Marla Singer
While everyone’s beating the pulp out of each other in this film, no one noticed that Marla is doing what all the hip kids are doing now – rummaging around in thrift shops for vintage finds: second hand bridesmaid frocks teamed with ultimate bedhead and a cigarette hanging from her lips. So very rock ‘n’ roll.
Black Swan – Nina
The perfect fashion film to end on. Recent awards ceremony stormer, Black Swan is a beautiful combination of high-fashion performance pieces (mainly, of course, from the Rodarte sisters) and dancewear-casuals that triggered trends for ballet style shoots and high street pieces worldwide. I wish Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis WERE a couple. Just think how beautiful their babies would be.