SOME OF THE MOST STYLISH FILMS OF ALL TIME

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A scene from Sex and The City. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

2020 will go down in history as the year the world was quarantined. While many countries have been able to slow the spread of the virus, the United States is still showing alarming new cases every day. In fact, as of of July 8th, the U.S. had a whopping total of  3 million cases, attributed to states reopening too quickly, hosting super-spreader events (Trump rallies), and people ignoring social distancing protocols and refusing to wear masks.

For those of us who have been taking the virus’ spread seriously, you have no doubt been spending some of your at-home time binge-watching. If so, we’d like to add some of the most fashion-centric films and series’ to your list. In alphabetical order:

A Single Man (2009)

A scene from A Single Man. (Photo Credit: Rex/Shutterstock)

It’s no surprise that A Single Man would be on our list of most fashionable films. The movie was directed by non other than Tom Ford (the brilliant fashion designer and head of the CFDA). The all-star cast includes Colin Firth as George Falconer, the film’s conflicted university professor lead, Julianne Moore as his best friend, Nicholas Hoult as his student, Matthew Goode as his ex-boyfriend and supermodel Jon Kortajarena as a rent boy. Ford’s debut film merges the worlds of fashion and film in impeccable Sixties style. Everything from Falconer’s perfectly tailored suits to Julianne Moore’s incredible hair, makeup and dresses are perfection.

American Gigolo (1980)

A scene from American Gigolo. (Photo Credit: Rex/Shutterstock)

American Gigolo, starring Richard Gere, singlehandedly changed the way men dressed in the early Eighties. The film put a new,  fresh, talented, Italian designer on the map, Giorgio Armani. Armani’s softly tailored suits captured the essence of the decade. At the same time the film was released, Armani launched his international ready-to-wear line.

Annie Hall (1977)

A scene from Annie Hall. (Photo Credit: United Artists)

Diane Keaton became a fashion icon in her role as Annie in Woody Allen’s film, Annie Hall.  Her 70s vintage-store look continues to inspire everyone, from Kate Moss to Hedi Slimane (most notably his first collection at Saint Laurent).  At a time when women were wearing sexy, Halston-inspired fashion, Annie Hall challenged the fashion norm with her menswear tailored pieces consisting of waistcoats, floppy hats, round glasses and patterned ties. While Ralph Lauren supplied many of the clothes for the movie, he based Annie Hall’s look on Keaton’s own “eclectic” style, which she still continues today.

Atomic Blonde (2017)

A scene from Atomic Bomb. (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures)

Typically, spy-thrillers movies are not very fashion-forward, but in Atomic Blond, Charlize Theron’s looks are every fashionista’s dream. Costume designer Cindy Evans, decked out MI6 spy Lorraine, in vintage Dior, Burberry trenches, Galliano vinyl coats, Stuart Weitzman boots and Margiela suits.

Barbarella (1968)

Jane Fonda as Barbarella. (Photo Credit: Snap/ Shutterstock)

Jane Fonda starred in the sci-fi cult classic Barbarella. Her character was a government agent who traveled from planet to planet to keep the world safe, but her wardrobe was far more interesting than the movie plot. She wore go-go boots and metallic bodysuits inspired by the designs of Paco Rabanne. Her wardrobe was truly out-of-this-world.

Blow Up (1966)

A scene from Blow Up. (Photo Credit: MGM/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up is a must see for anyone who is obsessed with MOD fashion and Swinging London. The film’s main character is a popular fashion photographer whose life takes a dramatic turn when he unknowingly photographs a murder in the park. This contemporary film is filled with plenty of photo shoots and party scenes, as well as appearances from Jane Birkin and Veruschka. Blow Up captures the glitz and seediness of the Sixties.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

A scene from Bonnie and Clyde. (Photo Credit: Austin Chronicals)

Crime never looked so good as when Faye Dunaway, in Bonnie and Clyde, was fashion perfection. The murderous criminal and her hunky sidekick, Warren Beatty, were oh so chic. He in his tipped fedora and she in her slinky midi skirts, sexy knitted sweaters, silk printed scarves, chic windowpane checkered suits and stylish berets.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

A scene from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Chanel always said, every woman must have a little black dress hanging in their closet, and other than hers, the other most iconic little black dress of all time is the one created by Hubert de Givenchy and worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening of the 1961 romantic comedy film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Sarah Hodgson, a film specialist at Christie’s has been quoted as saying. “This is one of the most famous black dresses in the world—an iconic piece of cinematic history.” Not only is Audrey Hepburn a style icon for all ages, but is delightfully charming in her role as Holly Golightly.

Clueless (1995)

A scene from Clueless. (Photo Credit: Paramount/ Kobal/Shutterstock)

While the grunge movement was in full swing in the mid-nineties (think oversized flannel shirts, baggy jeans and Doc Martens boots), who would have thought a film about a group of fashion loving girls in a mix of designer/thrift store schoolgirl looks designed by Mona May, would become a cult-classic film of the decade in Clueless, a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel, Emma. Most notable were character Cher’s  checked two-piece mini suit (played by Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne Davenport’s  white thigh-high length stockings (played by Stacey Dash). The menswear was also on point as well, with Christian’s 50s-inspired looks (played by Justin Walker).

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

A scene from Crazy Rich Asians. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Crazy Rich Asians is a fictional story, based on the book by Kevin Kwan, about the lavish lifestyles of some of Asia’s wealthiest families. This $30 million-budget film made lots of waves in 2018 with costumes by designer Mary E Vogt. It was Hollywood’s first Asian cast film since The Joy Luck Club (1993) and grossed $238.5 million worldwide, becoming the sixth-highest-grossing romantic comedy on record in the U.S.-Canada domestic market. This blockbuster featured some major couture moments—from the Swarovski-encrusted wedding dress worn by Araminta Lee (played by Sonoya Mizuno) to the vintage looks donned by the film’s most stylish woman, Astrid Leong (played by Gemma Chan). This film is pure fashion candy for the eyes.

Funny Face (1957)

A scene from Funny Face. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Yet another Audrey Hepburn film makes it on our most fashionable film list. In Funny Face, Hepburn is transformed from a mousey sales assistant in a Greenwich Village alternative bookshop to a supermodel in Paris. It’s no surprise that a film about fashion magazines would have a sensational wardrobe.

Fred Astaire, who plays photographer Dick Avery, is a template of post-war American style (think penny loafers and baggy chinos), timeless looks that are still relevant today. Meanwhile, fashion editor Maggie Prescott (played by Kay Thompson) mimics a Diana Vreeland-style editor-in-chief, full of glamour and sophistication. But the true sartorial icon of the film is Hepburn, as each of her costumes were designed by her good friend Hubert Givenchy, all modeled against the backdrop of  Parisian landmarks, from the Louvre to the Jardin des Tuileries.

Mahogany (1975)

Diana Ross plays Tracy Chambers in Mahogany. (Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard)

Diana Ross stars as Tracy Chambers in the film Mahogany (fun fact…Ross also served as the film’s costume designer). Chambers is a struggling fashion design student who becomes a world famous fashion designer. The movie is a perfect reflection of the decade’s excess and over-the-top glamour. Ross’ character is the picture of extremes: voluminous hair, mile-long lashes, big feathers, and bigger furs. It’s a maximalists dream.

Ocean’s Eight (2018)

A scene from Ocean’s Eight. (Photo Credit: Daily Mail)

Ocean’s Eight is a smart, action film with an all-female cast, starring Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, and Anne Hathaway. Costume designer Sarah Edwards worked with several designers, including Alberta Ferretti, Zac Posen and Jonathan Simkhai, to create custom looks for the all-female ensemble. The story takes place in New York City and the plot is centered on a massive jewelry heist at the annual Met Gala (the fashion event of the year), so naturally the film was packed with cameos from stars like Kim Kardashian West, Serena Williams, Gigi Hadid and Dakota Fanning clad in designer looks. A Who’s Who in fashion.

Sex And The City (2008)

A scene from Sex and The City. (Photo Credit: Brides)

Sarah Jessica Parker became a fashion icon overnight when she played the beloved fashion-obsessed character Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO Series Sex and The City, where fashion stylist, costume designer and fashion designer Patricia Field gave the film its cache. The series brought designer names such as Manolo Blahnik, Dior, and John Galliano to the masses. The series was so popular that HBO made two Sex And The City movies for fans of the show. While the movies didn’t have the same spark as the series did, there were plenty of jaw-dropping fashion moments thanks to Patricia Field, from the infamous Vivienne Westwood wedding dress to the whimsical Louis Vuitton bag.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

A scene from The Devil Wears Prada. (Photo Credit: Huffington Post)

The Devil Wears Prada is fictional tale of a bright-eyed journalist who happens to land a job at Runway magazine as Miranda Priestly’s assistant.  Meryl Streep gives an Oscar-nominated performance as Miranda Priestly, a thinly veiled caricature of Anna Wintour and her fashion looks were editor-in-chief worthy. Andie (played by Anne Hathaway) starts off as a frumpy writer with no interest in fashion, only to become a fashion plate wearing head-to-toe, oh-so-2000s Chanel ensembles and a chic black Audrey Hepburn-inspired gown to the Met Gala scene. Patricia Field won an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design for this film.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

A scene from The Great Gatsby. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerelad and is considered by many literary critics to be one of the greatest novels ever written. The fictional story, based in the early 1920s, comes to life in all its decadence and glamour under the brilliant director Baz Luhrmann. The all-star cast included Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. To bring his sumptuous vision to life, Lurhmann enlisted Miuccia Prada to collaborate with costume designer Catherine Martin on a whopping 40 costumes. While Prada insisted “it was not about glamour for me,” her designs epitomized the opulence of the film. Daisy Buchanan sports flapper gowns, delicate lingerie-like dresses and plenty of jewelry from delicate elongated pearls to jeweled hair clips on her perfectly blond bob-cut.  As for the gentlemen, they wore dashing tuxedos, Spector shoes and plenty of Brooks Brothers-inspired looks. The film was a visual masterpiece in evey way.

The Millionairess (1960)

A scene from The Millionairess. (Photo Credit: Ullstein Bild Dtl.)

The Millionairess stars Italian beauty Sophia Loren who is on the hunt for love. The wealthy beauty’s wardrobe is filled with plenty of figure-enhancing gowns and fantastical hats designed by French couturier Pierre Balmain .

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

A scene from The Royal Tenenbaums. (Photo Credit: The Dissolve)

Who can ever forget Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance as Margot Tenenbaum in Wes Anderson’s film, The Royal Tenenbaums. Margot Tenenbaum’s style can only be described as rich girl gone rough, as she carries her signature Hermès ‘Birkin’ in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Margot has long been a style icon of the fashion industry and was clearly the inspiration behind Alessandro Michele’s debut Gucci 2015 collection, with its pastel polo shirts, oversized glasses and furs.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

A scene from The Talented Mr. Ripley. (Photo Credit: Miramaz)

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological thriller starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow in the lead roles. The film takes place on the Italian Riviera and the colors and scenery of the film are breathtaking. While Gwyneth looks beautiful in the film, the real fashion stars are Matt and Jude. Their wardrobe is quintessential Fifties Ivy League prep, sporting slim dark suits, buttoned-up long-sleeve polo jumpers and billowing, colorful shirts on the beach. This movie is considered as one of the finest wardrobes in cinematic history and was put together by Ann Roth, a celebrated costume designer for both stage and screen.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

A scene from The Thomas Crown Affair. (Photo Credit: Rex/ Shutterstock)

The original film starred Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown, living a life of luxury as a millionaire businessman, sportsman and thief and Faye Dunaway as an insurance adjuster who attempts to catch the rich playboy who she thinks is responsible. McQueen is probably the most dapper criminal on film (thanks to costume designer Theadora Van Runkle) as he transitions from rebel to menswear icon, wearing perfectly cut three-piece suits and gold Patek Philippe watch. The dashing thief even drives around in a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow! Spoiler alert…in the end, Crown wins. After all, when you look this good you can get away with anything.

Do you have a fav fashion film? Let us know.

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Antonia Sardone

Antonia Sardone

Antonia Sardone is a new contributor to the University of Fashion. She is also a freelance fashion consultant, stylist and writer. Antonia Sardone graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Advertising Communications, Marketing and Fashion Journalism. She is an industry veteran having worked for WWD for over fifteen years and has strong relationships with designers worldwide. Today, Antonia Sardone continues to write reviews for WWD as well as work with many contemporary designers on a variety of projects from helping to re-launch their websites to writing their brand books. She enjoys raising her children to be creative individuals, as well as styling, writing and traveling.