Whether in classic movies or period films, fashion is everywhere. You don’t have to be a fashion expert to admire the beauty of movie costumes. I have seen so many films in my lifetime and I can already pinpoint a few of my favourite fashion pieces from a whole array of modern and classic films. From Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Moulin Rouge, here are my Top 10 Movie Fashion choices:
1. Marie Antoinette (2006)
Designer: Milena Canonero
Director: Sofia Coppola
Commentary: I loved everything about this dress, from the gorgeous styling to the impeccable design, it really brought out the majesty of a royal queen. Not only did Kirsten Dunst look incredibly entrancing in it, but the folding and cutting of it was neatly done. I liked the fabric the designer chose; it wasn’t too thick and there were layers to it. Adding a mix of fur and satin gave it an extra, elegant touch. There was something modern about this dress for some reason, like it could’ve been worn in the recent years or something. The costume overall looks stunning and unique, and the rose petals gave a fresh air to it.
2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Designer: Holly Golightly
Director: Blake Edwards
Commentary: This sexy, classic and regal gown still stands out in my mind after all these years. Audrey Hepburn looked absolutely graceful in it and everything from the hairstyling to the accessories were just right for the wardrobe. I like how the black dress is coupled with a beautiful pearl necklace and diamond earrings. The tiara looked so neatly displayed in her hair and of course, who can forget the over sized sunglasses and cigarette in her hand. They fit together like magic! And last but not least, the long sleeves really gave her a royal presence.
3. Atonement (2007)
Designer: Jacqueline Durran
Director: Joe Wright
Commentary: Talk about divine. The designer really went for a lavish look in this emerald green dress that Keira Knightley wore so well in the movie. I’m not crazy about her hairstyle but everything else fell into place. The green silk design was tastefully done. I like how the dress is not too tight as to bewilder the main character’s stature. Most of all, what stood out the most for me was the back. It wasn’t too revealing and yet it was attracting enough to allure the audience. To me, it looked very much like a Vera Wang design because of its simplicity.
4. Titanic (1997)
Designer: Deborah L. Scott
Director: James Cameron
Commentary: Who can forget the red lacy dress that Rose wore to the evening gala with Jack in Titanic? This is probably one of my favourite all-time movie fashion pieces. What was so special about it was that the colour really grabbed my attention. The black lace on top of the red gown gave it an extra pop and the way Kate Winslet moved in it really captured the essence of the dress’s flavor. It was elegant and at the same time, fun and flirty.
5. Moulin Rouge (2001)
Designer: Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Commentary: I loved all of the wardrobe in this film, but I especially liked Satine’s red gown. It looked so classy and stylish at the same time. I could see this being worn to a costume ball or something. It fit Nicole Kidman’s figure so well and it caught my attention the first time I saw her wear it. It was simple and elegant. I liked the V-pattern down her chest and the curls in her hair were amazing. But it was the last outfit that was the most striking, and that was the white Hindi dress that got to me. The jewellery in her hair and the jaw-dropping gorgeous necklace that made her look to die for.
6. House of Flying Daggers (2004)
Designer: Emi Wada
Director: Zhang Yimou
Commentary: This is one of the few foreign films that had some good fashion taste in my opinion. I thought the blue dress Ziyi Zhang wore was absolutely incredible. It looked like it belonged in an ancient fairytale. The pieces of jewellery in hair and her makeup in the film was top notch. She didn’t do anything special with her hair but there as air of grace in the way she carried herself. She has a slender body so the tight dress did her wonders. And patterns on her dress were really detailed.
7. Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Designer: Colleen Atwood
Director: Tim Burton
Commentary: When I first saw this film, I was floored by the brilliant art direction and costume design. I especially liked the blue dress that Alice famously wore. It was so pretty and artistic, with a touch of Renaissance feel to it. I really like pastel colours and Mia Wasikowska looked glamorous in this sky blue dress. The ruffles in the front and the V-strap around her neck really suited her and her hair looked amazing all throughout the film. All in all, I enjoyed the fashion choices the designer made in this movie.
8. Black Swan (2010)
Designer: Amy Westcott
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Commentary: Now I don’t know much about ballet costumes, but the fashion in this film was just outstanding. You don’t have to a professional ballet dancer or even a choreographer to appreciate the beauty of art. I loved the intricate designs of each of the pieces Natalie Portman wore in the film. My favourite costume was the white Swan Lake dress. It was so captivating and there was an aura of innocence to it. It had a soothing, calming look to it and the hair decoration magnificently matched the dress. I also liked the black Swan Lake dress, for it gave me a mysterious vibe and it had a bit of an enigma to it.
9. Gia (1998)
Designer: Robert Turturice
Director: Michael Cristofer
Commentary: This is probably one of my favourite dresses that Angelina Jolie has ever worn in a film. I just adore her whole ensemble in the picture. From her hair to her lips, everything just flowed together. She looks so graceful in the white glittery dress with the leafy earrings. The long white sleeves were a nice touch and the tulle strips matched the bodice. The dress was free-flowing and seamlessly made.
10. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Designer: Colleen Atwood
Commentary: Now I don’t usually like period costumes but this was an exception. I thought the Japanese gown that Sayuri wore to the dance performance was the most beautiful. I liked her makeup, hair and umbrella choice for a prop. The fact that she had on 9-inch heels and could still dance on a stage–I have no idea how she did it. Anyway, there were definitely some wonderful fashion pieces in this film, and each was artfully crafted. The costume designer really did her research.
11. Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Designer: Alexandra Byrne
Director: Joel Schumacher
Commentary: One additional costume I like is the Don Juan dress that Emma Rossum wore in Phantom of the Opera. I like the black corset and the pulled down sleeves that really showcased Emmy’s wide shoulders. She looked gorgeous in the dress. The flowers in her was a great touch and the wardrobe really outlined her figure. Her skin is terrific in this movie and she looked astoundingly beautiful overall.
And there you have my Top 10 Movie Fashion choices. I’ve never realized how much of an impact fashion makes in films but one thing I know for sure is that they really play an integral part in the overall effect of a movie. They are like the icing to the cake when it comes to film making. If you can’t entertain your viewers visually, you can’t make them sit through an entire movie with just a good script. After all, it’s the wardrobe that makes the words pop off the page. And it’s those images that stay with you after you leave the theatre.