Another 5 Movies that Defined Fashion

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face 1957, American classic movie, Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in a comedy musical

In my first list of 5 movies I named ones from 1960s and 80s. This time I include movies made in the 30s and the 50s in addition to the other two decades mentioned before. I picked these films not just for their leading female roles’ wardrobes but also for the strong characters in these roles. To truly look good, I believe, one should start with having an good personality.

#5 Funny Face (1957)

Although the storyline of this movie evolves around fashion, but it isn’t the only reason “Funny Face” is on this list. Played by Audrey Hepburn, Jo Stockton, a bookshop clerk with no interest in fashion but her books gets spotted by a magazine editor and a fashion photographer (played by Kay Thompson and Fred Astaire respectively) as the new face for their upcoming issue. There was one outfit that stood out among all the usual hats, gloves and dresses worn by Audrey Hepburn’s character- her black turtle-neck top and skinny trousers. In this smart outfit, her character performs a choreographed and lively dance for a scene in an underground night club of Paris. This outfit signifies the intellectual side of Jo Stockton who’d rather ditch fashion for culture.

Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde, Warren Beaty in Bonnie and Clyde, American outlaws, Great Depression

Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde, Warren Beaty in Bonnie and Clyde, Gene Hackman, American outlaws, Great Depression, bank robbery

#4 Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Based on the infamous and legendary Bonnie Parker (Fay Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty), whose life of crime had earned them sensational local headlines and an unmerciful end in execution by no less than 50 bullets while driving in a car attempting to outrun the law. This movie tells a story of love between two young people who were as much as in love with each other as with the romantic idea of being outlaws on the run. Faye Dunaway steals a lot of scenes with her portrayal of the feisty yet naïve Bonnie Parker in “Bonnie and Clyde.” Her wardrobes were designed and coordinated in typical 20s and 30s style, a time when women no longer confined to their homes. Her knee-length skirts and drop-waist dresses present the antithesis to the cumbersome outfits of earlier times that exaggerate the female form.

Breathless (1960), Jean-Luc Godard, À bout de souffle, Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo, French New Wave, nouvelle vague

Breathless (1960), Jean-Luc Godard, À bout de souffle, Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo, French New Wave, nouvelle vague

#3 Breathless (À bout de souffle, 1960)

This French classic was one of the films that marked the beginning of New Wave (Nouvelle Vague) and its main character Patricia became an fashion icon of her time. Played by American actress Jean Segberg, director Jean-Luc Godard portrays Patricia as a tomboyish girl coming of age. In the film, she is seen wearing a man’s fedora hat that she took from Michel (the boyfriend played by Jean-Paul Belmondo) paired with a stripped shirt that is still very much in fashion today. Her short hairstyle was the epitome of cool and later seen on Twiggy and Mia Farrow.

Working Girl (1988), Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, office in the 1980s, American movie from the 80s

Working Girl (1988), Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, office in the 1980s, American movie from the 80s

#2 Working Girl (1988)

This romantic comedy is about an ambitious young woman (played by Melanie Griffith) working taneciouely to realize her dream of becoming a business executive. Her character’s outfits in very scene gives us the epitome of 80s fashion, from the big and artfully moussed hair to jackets and business suits with large shoulder pads that dare to compete with  Joan Crawford’s. The most popular trend this movie helped start was wearing business suits with white socks and sneakers. It was emblematic of women who takes matters into her own hands, who’s always ready to do the necessary legwork.

Grand Hotel (1932), American classic movie, Old Hollywood, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo

Grand Hotel (1932), American classic movie, Old Hollywood, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo

#1 Grand Hotel (1932)

“Grand Hotel” is a golden Hollywood classic with an all-star leading ensemble that included Lionel and John Barrymore, Greta Garbo, and Joan Crawford. In reality, the country was amid suffering from the Great Depression of devastating economic downfall, this film with its sumptuous décor and beautiful actors must have provided a much desired escape. In this film, Joan Crawford plays the stenographer who’s looking for her new boss in the hotel when he turns to be a scoundrel she threatened to quit. In the balcony scene with John Barrymore who plays the Baron, Joan Crawford’s character is seen wearing an elegant black dress and a matching hat. With an open collar in a white sheer silky fabric, there adds a touch of elegance and a hint of coquettishness. Confined to her hotel bedroom, Greta Garbo plays a ballet dancer who’s in a bout of depression and self-doubt. Despite the aloofness of Greta Garbo’s character, her silk and chiffon nightgowns with sewn in shimmery beads make her irresistible to John Barrymore’s character. The immaculate styles of both men and woman in “Grand Hotel” make me wish people still dressed this way today.

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