In celebration of tonight’s Oscars, I have compiled a list of the most uber-fashionable films.
If you’re looking for a list that includes Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina, Funny Face…A.K.A. a whole slew of Audrey Hepburn films, you got the wrong one, baby! Don’t get it twisted, I do looove Audrey. I could never deny her incredible sense of style that completely changed the fashion world, while remaining confident and off-beat.
Butttt….I am more than over those lists that give free style passes to any movie made before the advent of color TV. So, I have come up with a group of movies that is contemporary and interesting, and also pays homage to a wide variety of film genres. Enjoy and lemme know some of your faves!
El Cantante: Now, I did not include this movie just because I am a die-hard J.Lo fan. (There was a time when I owned J.Lo jewelry, watched the movie Enough non-stop and knew all the words to both versions of “I’m Real”). El Cantante epitomizes the glamour of the 1970s and the innate flamboyance of Latin culture. As the character of Puchi Lavoe, Ms. Lopez dons looks that are only a slight dramatization of her real-life ensembles. The prints are abundant, the colors intoxicatingly bright, and fitted silhouettes hug Lopez’s enviable body in nearly every scene. As for Mr. Lopez (*coughcough*) he is consistently stylish in bright tops tempered with slim neutral pants in black or white and more 24K accessories than a Cash-4-Gold infomercial. El Cantante does a superb job of embracing the signature gaudiness of its time period without turning cartoony.
Talented Mr. Ripley: Once you get past Matt Damon’s totally bone-chilling portrayal of Tom Ripley, the clothes emerge as the Best Supporting Actor in this sexy thriller. Gwenyth Paltrow as Marge is the epitome of monied chic in summer-time looks of crisp white shirts and full floral skirts, and cold-weather outfits of leopard-print coats and sleek cocktail dresses. Pretty boys Matt and Jude bounce around Italy in classic ensembles with a bit of a dandy twist- quirky hats, open white shirts and slim pants that just graze the top of sun-kissed ankles. The film’s costume design is so seamless that it just flows into the picturesque Mediterranean background.
The Devil Wears Prada/Sex and the City: The Movie You knew they were coming, so just deal with it! It’s impossible to even utter “fashionable flicks” without discussing Ms. Patricia Field. I swear I could watch these two movies on mute. The display of envy-inducing outfits is the only storyline that I’m interested in. “OMG! Don’t you just love when Carrie’s Alaia belt meets up with Charlotte’s DVF wrapdress for lunch, and then Miranda’s Maggie London dress is discussing business over salads just one table away!” Wait…that’s not how the movie went, huh? Oh, whatever. Mimi_Style, not Mimi_Ebert. And the only part worth watching in Devil is obvi the scene where Anne (as Andi) goes through an Extreme Makeover-like transformation in the streets of NYC! “Move! Those! Chunky (heels)!” Nonetheless, I bow down to the genius of Pat Fields. (Though Shopaholic was a major sartorial let-down. 15 colors in one outfit= Bozo the Clown, not the second coming of Carrie B.)
Paris When it Sizzles: I would be totally crazy to not include at least one Audrey movie, but I decided to choose one that is a less-known, but still merveilleux! The film’s convoluted (and pretty silly) story-line of a spunky secretary helping a playboy director write a movie script in just 3 days allows for a total immersion in the fascinating costumes. As Gabrielle Simpson, Audrey conveys effortless style in clean shift dresses courtesy of (who else?) her right-hand designer Hubert de Givenchy. Combined with understated accessories and classic updos, the frocks’ perfect tailoring and gorgeous pastel color pallette steal the show…and nearly the Eifel Tower itself.
A Perfect Murder: Hold on, y’all! I know that at first glance, A Perfect Murder’s costuming may seem more obsolete 90’s than a Talkboy. Butttt, upon more focused analysis, the film serves as a time capsule for fashion in the late 90’s. Though Gwen’s chunky boots, the minimalistic turtleneck/long skirt combos and even her pixie-cut look horribly dated now, they are a prefect representation of high-style pre-Y2K. This was a time when people truly believed that less was more and CkOne may as well have been the national fragrance. This film is sexy and dark, and will no doubt become a reference for 90’s style in years to come.
What Happens in Vegas: This movie could have been about 2 rats finding love in a NYC sewer for all I know (or care). Honestly, the only thing I could focus on was Cammy D’s totally suicide-inducing ensembles. Frame after frame, it was literal fashion pornography. It may sound a lil naughty, but when it comes to fashion I am willing to get down and dirty. I was totally obsessed with her real gal’s wardrobe full of fitted dresses in shocking colors and adorable ruffled tops paired with TDF denim. And her arsenal of perfect ponytails had me reaching for anything- rubber band, piece of yarn, even SCRUNCHIE!- to mimic the look. I told you I could get messy for this style thing. Though the movie was panned by the critics, who needs a cohesive storyline when the clothes are so fab-u?
Clueless: As an awkward pre-teen, I kept constant vigil at the Cher Horowitz shrine. I prayed every night that I would awaken as goddess Cher- or at the very least her BFF Dionne. I loved everything about this 90’s classic- the sassy teen dialogue, the outrageous amounts of adolescent freedom, the tricked-out cars (Cher’s white Wrangler? So jeal!), but most of all the perfectly over-the-top wardrobes. I dreamed of having my very own big-as-a-Beverly Hills-mansion computer so that I could match my knee socks and mini-skirts before school every morning. I was so pathetically Clueless that I thought trouser socks stretched over my 12-year-old stick legs was stylish. What can I say? I was, like, so totally head over heels, hopelessly in love with Cher. From her outrageous yellow plaid to her more classic white and silver ensemble by “Duh, Calvin Klein!” Cher Horowitz was my first fashion crush. Now, I love Blair and Serena, but true Teen Queens? AS IF!
Carmen Jones: Perhaps I was just way too captivated with Dorothy Dandridge’s knockout looks, because I believe Carmen Jones is one of the most eye-catching films ever. Those slim pencil skirts and slinky tops accentuated her beauty to staggering porpotions, while rich reds, vibrant purples and lush pinks made her glow in every frame. Even while throwing down in the parachute factory, Dot brims with sexy style. The nightclub scene is a feast of 1950s black glamour, as every actress from supporting to extra is bedecked in gorgeous, colorful frocks. And as for the gentlemen, a man in uniform has never looked as sexy as Mr. Harry Belafonte. Though the film’s end is tragic, the dazzling costuming spins a tale of true love.