What classic films have made an indelible impact on the world of fashion?
Hollywood and fashion are inextricably intertwined. From its birth, the film industry has been obsessed with fashion–both on-screen and off–with moviegoers demanding to be transported to a magical place where everyone is gorgeous and fashionable. With all that influence, movies have played a major role in the world of fashion by contributing to trends and by helping to change fashion mores.
There have been many iconic classic films– too many to list them all here–but some do stand out for their lasting impact on the fashion world. These are the classic films that you can check on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or wherever you watch films.
Most Iconic & Fashionable Classic Films
- “Morocco” – 1930
Starring Marlene Dietrich, “Morocco” was a romantic drama about a cabaret singer and a love affair gone awry. The film was quite scandalous for its time because of the frank nature of some of the scenes–most notably when Dietrich performs in a man’s suit and kisses another woman. The film and Dietrich herself were so trendsetting that it is now commonplace for women’s fashions to incorporate menswear. In part, we have Marlene Dietrich to thank for that.
- “The Philadelphia Story” -1940
“The Philadelphia Story” starred the inscrutable Katharine Hepburn, who played a Main Line Philadelphia socialite with a wardrobe to match her wealth and status. Memorable glamorous moments from costume designer Adrian Adolph Greenberg include a toga-inspired bathing suit coverup, another Grecian-inspired engagement gown, and plenty of pencil skirts and smart suits. This film defined 1940s fashion trends–at least for those with disposable income!
- “Gilda” – 1946
Rita Hayworth stars as a sultry femme fatale singer in 1946’s “Gilda.” This film noir is riveting and full of intrigue, so much so that it might make you forget about the stunning costumes, but not really. Each ensemble is more glamorous than the last, but the piece de resistance is a black strapless satin gown created by costume designer Jean Louis.
- “Rear Window” – 1954
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, “Rear Window” starred Grace Kelly as a socialite. The renowned Hollywood costume designer Edith Head was the creator of Kelly’s wardrobe for this film. The most iconic look was a black and white dress featuring a deep off-the-shoulder “V” neckline and a Dior “New Look” skirt of chiffon tulle. Hitchcock’s genius was in the details and this dress, as well as the other fashions in the film, all had those little touches of genius.
- “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” – 1953
“Gentleman Prefer Blondes” starred Marilyn Monroe and featured one of the most instantly recognizable dresses from movie history–the shocking pink gown from the Marilyn’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” musical number. The satin strapless dress featured a straight neckline, bare arms and a big bow on the back. It was accessorized with long matching gloves, lots of diamonds, and has often been imitated, most notably in Madonna’s “Material Girl” video.
- “Seven Year Itch” – 1955
Another Marilyn Monroe film, the “Seven Year Itch” was a 1950s style rom-com. Most remembered for featuring the well-known white halter dress designed by William Travilla, a costume designer who dressed Marilyn Monroe in eight of her films. She famously penned a note to him that said, “Billy Dear, please dress me forever. I love you, Marilyn.”
- “Sabrina” – 1957
“Sabrina” starred the ingenue Audrey Hepburn in a coming of age story about a young girl who comes back from France a new woman with a new wardrobe to match. Hepburn forged a relationship with designer Hubert de Givenchy, who was just starting out at the time, and her wardrobe was part Givenchy and part Edith Head. The two standout looks are both simple, yet with a subtle sophistication that will come to define Hepburn’s style. They included a black cocktail dress with ties at the shoulders, and a stunning black and white embroidered ball gown.
- “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” – 1961
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was another Audrey Hepburn film with Givenchy and Edith Head collaborating. The most important look was the black gown accessorized with a tiara, a beaded bib necklace, and long black gloves, and which was originally designed by Givenchy and altered for the film by Edith Head.
So, did we miss any important classic films? What do you think are the most fashionable classic films?
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