Fashion in film need not be limited to movies about the fashion industry alone. Both classic and contemporary films feature wardrobes worthy of their own accolades. With the 2014 Oscars approaching this weekend and persisting talk around “American Hustle’s” period costumes, it is time to take a look back through movie history to revisit some classic (and some possibly forgotten) fashion moments.
1. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Blake Edwards (1961)
Acknowledged as a cinema classic, Audrey Hepburn’s pairing of a signature little black dress and matching sunglasses has proven itself timelessly chic. Her hairstyles have also had countless imitators and made frequent comebacks, from attendees at Hollywood events to costume wigs on Halloween.
2. “8 ½,” Federico Fellini (1963)
This list could be redone solely with Fellini movies. Similar to Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” (1960), the women of “8 ½” display a love of luxurious clothing, particularly in the form of dresses and coats. Marcello Mastroianni epitomizes suave in a black suit and is probably the only man who can pull off wearing sunglasses regardless of the time of day.
3. “Blow-Up,” Michelangelo Antonioni (1966)
WIth a film centered around the life of a fashion photographer, it would be surprising if “Blow-Up” didn’t exude style. Actor David Hemmings’ starring role is full of low-key cool as he sports an expertly rumpled and unbuttoned oxford shirt, while Vanessa Redgrave complements with her simple yet alluring attire.
4. “Bonnie and Clyde,” Arthur Penn (1967)
Outlaws haven’t looked this stylish since the movie’s premiere over forty years ago, although maybe “Spring Breakers” (2012) challenges. Both Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway display conservatively chic outfits, with Dunaway’s tight sweater and knee-length skirt a particular standout.
5. “Annie Hall,” Woody Allen (1977)
Another iconic instance of women’s style, Diane Keaton’s tie and khakis have been imitated and reinterpreted for decades. Put aside Woody Allen’s current negative media attention for a brief moment in order to look back and enjoy Keaton’s performance and smart wardrobe choices.
6. “Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott (1982)
A sci-fi classic, the costumes in the movie hold up well to the test of time. Even though it was first released in the ’80s, the clothing hardly seems dated. Pay special attention to Rachael’s (Sean Young) fur coat and elaborately-twisted updo.
7. “Heathers,” Michael Lehman (1988)
It doesn’t get more ‘80s than this—double-breasted plaid blazers with shoulder pads, and Christian Slater’s classic trench coat. Purposely tacky, the costumes are as hilariously over-the-top as the film’s dark humor.
8. “Trainspotting,” Danny Boyle (1996)
What stylish heroin addicts. “Trainspotting” even uses its subjects’ clothes to portray their attitude. From battered suits to skinny jeans, these deadbeats stay fashion-forward.
9. “The Royal Tenenbaums,” Wes Anderson (2001)
Despite your opinion of Wes Anderson’s style (I am personally a critic, and will debate his merits any day), Margot Tenenbaum’s (Gwyneth Paltrow) style has been revered by at least a generation of indie kids. Her impossibly straight blonde bob, raccoon eyeliner, possibly ironic Lacoste dress and huge fur coat exemplify “I don’t care” in the most carefully constructed way.
10. “Black Swan,” Darren Aronofsky (2010)
Say what you want about the plot, the aesthetic of this movie is quite appealing. The constant contrast of black with white permeates all aspects of the film and Natalie Portman’s ballet costumes exemplify the contrast best.
Sam Del Rowe is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com