Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Fashion in Film: The fading glamour of the onscreen wardrobe

Although this may shock you, Vogue hasn’t actually been around since the dawn of time. In fact, once upon a time viewers used to turn toward the big screen for style inspiration. In previous decades film has been hugely influential in determining the latest trends, and was capable of creating classic looks that to this day have withstood the test of time.

Sadly it seems that this influence has waned. New movies simply do not induce a frantic frenzy to rival that of the timeless motion pictures featured below:

• The Seven Year Itch (1955). The moment Marylin Monroe stepped onto that vent in that dress, the entire image became iconic. Said moment may be unwittingly copied by unlucky girls waiting for the tube.

• Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). This delightful film flew viewers into a whirlwind of sophistication and glamour. From the high-lighted bouffant to that LBD, Audrey Hepburn is still an icon and the epitome of style and elegance.

• Saturday Night Fever (1977). Whereas John Travolta’s gleaming white suit may nowadays only influence sales of Daz, at the time this ensemble created a buying boom.

• Flashdance (1983). Jennifer Beals proved it pays to prance around with portable shower heads. This showstopper screened within the midst of the aerobic-loving 80s, inspiring the trends of collar-less sweaters, colourful leg warmers and leotards.

• Pulp Fiction (1994). Effortlessly cool Uma Therman took to the floor with a blunt bob, crisp white shirt and a barefooted twist which ultimately won over the awed audiences.

• Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Featuring Faye Dunaway, a woman who seemingly possesses an infinite number of berets. As well as an unhealthy interest in criminal activity.

Is globalisation the culprit? We have so much access to fashion now- through magazines, television and the internet, that perhaps we no longer even notice the style within the cinema. Yet there has been an emergence of films that market the fashion presented as an actual reason to see the film. Examples include the glamorous ‘Sex and The City’ films, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, and the heavily stylised ‘A Single Man’. Do all films have to be this obvious to be influential?

There is no point suggesting that celebrities no longer have the power to influence the masses, but perhaps we are more interested to see what they choose to wear in real life, on a day-to-day basis?

Perhaps film stylists aren't taking much risk nowadays? The reason the styles shown above were so popular was because they were fresh and new. But after so many fashion cycles, is anything really new anymore?

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