5 Films That Made a Major Impact on Fashion

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While there are literally hundreds of fashionable movies like Clueless, Chicago, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s that have inspired the way people dress, fewer have had a direct influence on the runway itself. Typically, it is the runway that dictates cinematic styles, but in the case of these five films that had a major influence on fashion, it was the other way around.


Picnic at Hanging Rock

This Peter Weir-directed Australian film is both dreamy and haunting, evoking a sense of dread as the climax of the film approaches. The mystery of the disappeared schoolgirls at Hanging Rock – a desolate rock formation that serves as a picnic destination for a class of young ladies away at boarding school – lingers thick in the air, driving many in the village to search endlessly for their whereabouts. The movie has managed to capture the interest of dozens of fashion designers, namely for the twee, Victorian-era ensembles that the boarding school classmates wear throughout. Alexander McQueen paid direct homage to the film in one of his best collections for Spring/Summer 2005, while style icon Chloë Sevigny mimicked its style in her collection for Opening Ceremony in 2012. Additionally, Rodarte, Band of Outsiders, and Zimmermann have all revisited the fashions of Picnic at Hanging Rock through several past collections.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Mirko Macari
Photo: Courtesy of Mirko Macari

The Hunger

Long before there was Twilight and True Blood, there was Tony Scott’s 1983 horror film The Hunger. This cult-classic vampire story starred a sultry and severe Catherine Deneuve as a dangerous vampire and a dashing David Bowie as her husband. Many folkloric stories surround the costuming of this film, namely the time its legendary costume director Milena Canonero went all the way to Italy to find the right material to place in the top pocket of Bowie’s beige suit. Meanwhile, Deneuve’s wardrobe was made up entirely of suits by Yves Saint Laurent. Today, the film still serves as inspiration to many designers including Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Roland Mouret, both of whom specifically name-checked The Hunger in their Pre-Fall 2013 and Fall/Winter 2013 collections, respectively.

The Hunger featuring Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Home Video

The Grand Budapest Hotel

It could be argued that almost every Wes Anderson film has been influential in the fashion realm for the very fact that he creates such intricate microcosms with each of his cinematic efforts. From the font and soundtrack down to the way the cuff of a pant is upturned, Anderson leaves no detail untouched. The Grand Budapest Hotel, however, may be his grandest – pardon the pun – effort yet. The eye-popping color palette of the film’s costumes is due in large part to Milena Canonero, who worked with brands like Prada and Fendi to bring the director’s vision to life. The film made such a large impact that Gucci’s new look is owed almost entirely to Anderson’s rarefied aesthetic, a fact that is specifically mentioned in designer Alessandro Michele’s work for Fall/Winter 2015. It also influenced looks from Anna Sui’s Fall/Winter 2014 collection.

Tilda Swinton in the Grand Budapest Hotel
Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Annie Hall

Maybe it’s the fact that the majority of Woody Allen’s best films were released in the 1970s and 1980s, but the legendary filmmaker definitely struggled to make women look good – considering the fashion at the time. In most of his movies, women have beige makeup, frumpy clothes, and terrible, towering hair. Annie Hall, however, is different. The singular actor Diane Keaton made the character of Annie her own, sparking an enormous trend in women wearing tailored menswear, even today! The now-iconic character’s relaxed, casual attitude toward dress codes is still being mined by modern fashion brands – Stella McCartney, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Jill Stuart, and dozens of other major designers have all name-checked Annie Hall throughout the years.

Photo: Courtesy of The Man Repeller

The Great Gatsby

When it comes to excess and glamour, few cultural influences have been so thoroughly scoured as The Great Gatsby. That’s because the titular novel was adapted twice into films, once in the mid-1970s and again in 2013. In the 70s, the costumes from the film were translated into a clothing line by Bloomingdale’s and sold exclusively in stores. When The Great Gatsby was re-booted by Baz Luhrmann in 2013, it sparked a massive return to Jazz Age styles on the runway, influencing everyone from Marchesa and Marc Jacobs to Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren. Prada also uncorked a special costume exhibit at its flagship store in Soho, which celebrated the 40 designs the brand helped create for The Great Gatsby, including Carey Mulligan’s jaw-dropping chandelier frock made from thousands of crystal nuggets.

The Great Gatsby Daisy
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment
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