The Most Iconic Movie Fashion Moments (Part 1)
Updated: Sep 6
Movies are big business, and we all have our favourites. A good movie can actually cross boundaries of culture and society and really shape or change we way we see the world. Movies make us laugh, smile, hide and cry. A great movie can totally change our mood and bring friends and family together. We can be transported hundreds or thousands of years into the past or the future, to other worlds and planets.
One of the most crucial factors in movie making is costume, every single actor and extra in every scene must be carefully styled and designed to create a believable world no matter the era or location. The costumes of our leading ladies can take months if not years to design and create, but can also become legendary and instantly recognisable for many generations to come.
There have been so many moments in film history where a particular outfit or wardrobe has come to define a film or performer and really stayed with an audience long after the credits have rolled. I struggled to condense my list of favourites but finally I’ve chosen my Top Ten iconic fashion moments from the silver screen. These are so good that I’ve split my list in half, part one today and part two coming next week! Disclaimer - these are in no particular order, I’ll let you decide that one!
1. Audrey Hepburn - Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone other than Audrey Hepburn playing the iconic role of Holly Golightly, but she wasn’t actually the author‘s choice. When Truman Capote sold the rights of his book to Paramount, he had actually envisaged Marilyn Monroe for the role. However, her acting coach Paula Strasberg thought that playing a call girl would be damaging for Monroe’s image and she was swiftly dropped from production. Audrey Hepburn was thrilled to step in and play a slightly grittier part than her usual innocent princess or nun typecast. Throw in the incredible wardrobe designed by Givenchy, and we have one of the most iconic movie fashion looks in history.
2. Molly Ringwald - Pretty in Pink (1986)
This might not be everyone’s first thought when it comes to a prom dress, and even Molly herself wanted a more traditional fitted bodice and full skirt style for the role at first. But her character Andie would never has wanted to confirm to the popular styles of her peers, she marched to her own drum. Her family would not have been able to afford an expensive glamorous dress and in the film she constructs this from her friend Iowa’s dress and one that her father gave to her. The result is this incredible alternative cold shoulder dress in pink polka dots and lace, courtesy of costume designer Marilyn Vance.
3. Grace Kelly - Rear Window (1954)
There were three main looks for Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont in Rear Window - dressy, casual and tailored. This film was touched by the magical hands of Edith Head, without question the most famous and accredited film costumer of all time. For this stunning ‘fresh from Paris’ dress she completely encapsulated the Dior New Look style of the era. The full calf-length skirt was layered in tulle and chiffon with a cinched waist and deep cut black top, the spray branch pattern at the hip adding that extra bit of flair and glamour. This is one of the most emulated styles in movie history and I think we can all see why.
4. Alicia Silverstone - Clueless (1995)
As a 90s teen, there’s no way I could have compiled this list without Cher Horowitz! When Amy Heckerling was creating this coming of age teen movie, she knew that costume would be an integral part of both the feel and comedy of the movie. Along with costume designer Mona May, they visited high schools to see what teenagers were actually wearing but were disappointed to find it was all mainly grunge and masculine vibes. Heckerling wanted an uber girly and glamorous aesthetic and she knew that characters Cher and Dionne would look to the runways of the world for their fashpiration. Their sheer brilliance came up with the legendary plaid mini skirt suits, finished with over the knee socks. Two decades later, this fashion is still being discovered and emulated by teenagers and it will always have a special place in my heart.
5. Julia Roberts - Pretty Woman (1990)
It’s no surprise that the super talented Marilyn Vance was also responsible for the costume design on Pretty Woman. From street walking to the boutiques of Rodeo Drive, Vivian Ward had some incredible outfits! But it was her stunning nod to the 50s in this brown polka dot dress that really got fashion loving hearts fluttering. This beautiful sun-dress was worn to a polo match in the film, paired with a wide brimmed hat, cream gloves and of course matching shoes for a look that is still as beautiful today. In 2019 Roberts’ cinematic and real life collided as she wore the same polka dots in the form of a two piece trouser and top suit when she attended the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic. We love a nod to the past, as she looked as fresh faced as she did in the original 90s movie.
I have five more beautiful, memorable fashion looks from the world of film to bring to you next week, so make sure you are subscribed to our mailing list to get notifications for new blog posts. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it!
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