Happy Sunday to you all and welcome back to the blog! Last week I brought you Part 1 of my iconic movie fashion moments and I’m back this week with five more absolute corkers! This part 2 has some amazing looks from the fifties right through to the noughties so without further ado let’s get straight into it...
1. Madonna - Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
When it comes to iconic eighties fashion, there isn’t really anyone who does it better than Madonna, and this absolutely classic 80s film really epitomises her style of the time. In pre-production there were actually several other big names in talks for the role of Susan including Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Melanie Griffith, but it was the biggest female pop star on the planet who bagged the role in the end. It is rumoured that costumer designer Santo Loquasto sought inspiration for Susan’s wardrobe from Madonna’s own personal clothing collection which actually comes as no surprise. The character had all the DGAF energy and cropped, blinged out ensembles of Madonna’s 80s persona and we lapped it up. Lace gloves, hair bows, oversized shirts and statement jewellery make up some of the fabulous mish-mash fashion. This created one of the most iconic Madonna looks that is still emulated at 80s nights and fancy dress parties all over the world.
2. Marilyn Monroe - The Seven Year Itch (1955)
From one hugely iconic blonde to another, as we travel back to arguably the biggest icon of them all- 50s glamour puss Marilyn Monroe. The Seven Year Itch gave us one of the biggest moments in both fashion and movie history thanks to the costume designer William Travilla. He had previously worked with Marilyn on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire and really understood her figure and character beautifully. In this film, he created some truly amazing looks including a white full length sequin number that looks as contemporary now as it did originally. There was also a body hugging tiger print dress that appeared in a fantasy sequence in Richard’s apartment. But it was the the ivory halter-neck swing dress with billowing pleated skirt that would become Monroe’s most famous look. As she stood on a New York subway vent, the gust or of blew up her skirt and history was made. The scene was originally filmed on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, the crowds were huge and the Marilyn mania was intense. In the end, they had to re-shoot on the Hollywood film lot as there was just too much cheering, whistling and hollering from the original recording. It’s a look we all love and even the favourite of Travilla himself, he released an off the rack version from his fashion line in the 1980s.
3. Kiera Knightly - Atonement (2007)
Atonement is a sweeping English drama set in the 1930s starring Keira Knightly, so costuming was bound to be striking and utterly beautiful. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran was takes to create something super special for this particular scene, by director Joe Wright. He had stipulated that there needed to be movement in the dress, it should be green and backless and of course that it was to be worn on the hottest day of the year. Finding the perfect shade of green for this iconic dress was no mean feat, the costume team collated hundreds of fabric samples, layering various hues until eventually Joe was happy that this particular tone matched his visualisation. This was then taken to a fabric dyer and the white silk was expertly dyed to create the exact vivid tone required. The dress is heavily influenced by the long bias cut glamour of the era, but has a definite modern feel. The fitted hip was inspired by Chanel and the beautiful cinematography of the film against a hazy summer backdrop is truly breathtaking. I have no doubt that this will remain an iconic movie fashion moment for many more years to come.
4. Jennifer Beals - Flashdance (1983)
Flashdance offered us a whole host of dancewear costuming, making these casual and practical styles sexier and more appealing than ever before. Most famously, Jennifer Beals’ character wore this grey fleece cotton raglan sleeve sweatshirt ripped and falling seductively off the shoulder. Add a pair of red stilettos and one amazing pair of legs and you have an iconic look that’s almost as recognisable as Irene Cara’s accompanying smash hit song. Beal claims that this infamous look was stumbled upon by accident when she shrunk her sweater in the wash and removed the collar to fit it over her head. However, costume designer Michael Kaplan maintains that the entire concept came from his observation of dancers creating customised baggy clothing for their rehearsals. Either way, it’s a look that is still emulated today but teenagers who may never even have watched the film!
5. Uma Thurman - Pulp Fiction (1994)
The character of Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction is iconic as it is, but her scene dancing the twist with Vincent (John Travolta) is one of the most famous dance scene in movie history. Her husband was a big boss and had plenty of money, so she could easily have worn a flashy designer gown for her night out with Vincent. But this outfit goes way deeper than that. She is barred from interacting with any men so when she is able to go out she wants to show them all that she can be a Reservoir Dog like them. This was the initial concept for cutting edge costume designer Betsy Heimann and she wanted to make it even more fashion. She gave the crisp white shirt a bigger collar and bigger cuffs and fitted to more to Thurman’s figure. But Uma’s almost 6-foot stature meant that the black trousers were a little too short. Betsy recalls that there just wasn’t enough budget for couture trousers so she decided to make a statement and cut them shorter, bringing back the pedal pusher style in a really modern way. The outfit was finished with gold Chanel pumps for that little detail of wealth and extravagance. Teamed with her short black bob, this look is immediately recognisable and will forever be associated with this amazing cult movie.
So there we have it, we have reached the end of our journey through some incredible fashion moments from the silver screen. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out Part 1 from last week too!
As always, I love to hear from you so drop a comment here or on our socials and let me know what your favourites are from my Top Ten and of course any contenders that you would have included. And of course, join me next week for a whole new vintage fashion blog post.
Until next time
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