Top 10: Most Iconic Fashion Moments in Film

(Written for Tongue in Chic)

So, the costumes from the movie Black Swan are on display at the Museum Of Contemporary Art, Rodarte: States of Matter exhibition, and we couldn’t help but get excited about it. The tutus from Black Swan are absolutely, undoubtedly the most stunning ballet outfits I’ve ever laid my eyes on and it’s all thanks to the talented Mulleavy sisters.

All the awe and admiration of Rodarte’s tutus got us thinking about how costumes and designers can immediately make you relate to a particular film – so iconic that one look at the costume or designer will immediately make you think of the film. We decided to put all our thoughts into one post to share with you – our Top 10 Most Iconic Fashion Moments in Film, shared in non-chonological order.

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1. The Sexy White Dress
As seen in: The Seven Year Itch (1955) 

Marilyn Monroe is undoubtedly one of the most famous and sexy woman of all time and the one picture that comes to many people’s minds when they think of her is the scene in The Seven Year Itch. Created by William Travilla, one of the most acclaimed costume designers in Hollywood during that century, the pleated halter dress, inspired by the folds in Greek robes, is to this day, the ultimate white sexy dress.

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2. Boyfriend Style
As seen in: Annie Hall (1977)

If I were to ask whether you’ve heard of Ralph Lauren, I think you would probably scoff and say, “Who DOESN’T know him?!” Well before he made history by dressing Diane Keaton for Annie Hall, he was just a budding designer trying to work his way to the top.

Diane Keaton was Woody Allen’s quirky, eponymous leading lady in Annie Hall and she stole the show with her oversized menswear, sporting her signature look of cheeky, yet sleek androgynous style. Ralph Lauren’s style became a ’70s sensation and caused women to embrace the androgynous-chic look. So, in case you ever wondered where the boyfriend jacket and waistcoats came from, you need only think of this movie and a designer named Ralph.

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3. Ray-Ban Wayfarers
As seen in: Blues Brothers (1980) and Twilight (2008)

In the 1970s, Ray-Ban was suffering a downhill swerve from their ‘hey day’ in the ’50s and ’60s but all that changed when The Blues Brothers was released in 1980. Sales rocketed with the exposure of the Ray-Ban Wayfarers in the movie sported by the leads John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd and prompted Ray-Ban to sign a deal to place their wares in movies and television shows. Since then, the classic frames have appeared in Risky BusinessMiami ViceMoonlighting and The Breakfast Club – any popular movie in the 80s basically.

Sales of the Wayfarers went downhill in the 1990s though it remained the choice of young hipster celebrities like Chloe Sevigny and Kirsten Dunst. However thanks to a little movie called Twilight, Ray-Ban has enjoyed a steady revival of the Wayfarers as seen on heartthrob, Robert Pattinson aka Edward ‘Dazzle’ Cullen. Perhaps you might have heard of this flick?

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4. The Ruby Shoes
As seen in: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

When you look at any pair of red shoes, what movie immediate comes to mind? Yep, you’ve got it – The Wizard of Oz. That famous sparkly ruby shoe is possibly the most iconic heel in the history of film, so iconic and famous in fact that they are one of the most expensive shoes in the world, costing a whopping $666,000! Would you pay that price for it? I know I couldn’t, so you can find out how to make your own onehow!

To emphasise the importance of Dorothy’s ruby slipper, for The Wizard of Oz‘s 70th Anniversary, Hong Kong shoe boutique,  On Pedder partnered with Warner Brothers to commission the most trendy fashion designers to create their own interpretation of the famous red shoe and this is what they came up with! Designers included Alexander McQueen, Giuseppi Zanotti, Christian Louboutin, Pierre Hardy, Bruno Frisoni, Marni, Erickson Beamon, Stella McCartney and Azzedine ALaia.

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5. The LBD
As seen in: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Everyone knows this film. Even if you haven’t watched it you must have heard of it and secretly wished to be Audrey Hepburn in this movie (I know I have).

The iconic Givenchy dress that Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany‘s has been cited as being one of the most iconic items of clothing in the history of the twentieth century and named the best female screen outfit of all time in many film polls. Any doubt then that the Givenchy number is possibly the most famous Little Black Dress of all time?

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6. Wild Colourful Hair
As seen in: Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004) and Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)

Bright mermaid style hair has always been seen as a mark of the bonkers but nowadays, you see a lot more bright coloured hair wondering around streets. So either mermaids are real and can transform their tail into legs and are walking amongst us or just that wild colourful hair is becoming a craze and I’m gonna guess it’s the latter.

Colourful hair was a prominent character trait on Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind in 2004, Natalie Portman donned a pink wig in Closer, and in recent film history, Scott Pilgrim vs the World. And since then, seen on many celebrities, models, actresses and more. I think the bright pink hair is pretty hot! And I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid…

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7. Lycra, Skin Tight Pants and Catsuits
As seen in: Grease (1978)

The unforgettable, iconic black catsuit as worn by the famous Sandra Dee – of course, one of the biggest trends in the 1950s always tends to end up coming back into fashion in some shape or form. Either as skinny leather-like jeans, shiny disco leggings, catsuits, you name it; and what does it always remind you of? Summer loving by way of Grease!

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8. The Emerald Green Dress
As seen in: Atonement (2007)

I remember watching the Atonement movie based on the novel by Ian McEwan and immediately falling in love with the characters played by Keira Knightley and James McAvoy and of course, the unforgettable green dress worn by the stunning Knightley.

A scene that sticks out to me like a sore thumb was her running through the halls of that beautiful house, the dress, created by costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, draping elegantly along the floor. The gorgeous green piece was voted ‘Best Costume of All Time’ by Sky Movies and readers of In Style, what do you think?

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9. The Bob Haircut
As seen in: Pulp Fiction (1994) and Léon
: The Professional (1994)

The bob haircut has been in and out of fashion ever since before World War I; but in 1994 with the release of Pulp Fiction and Léon: The Professional, the bob became a definitive cultural icon.

Thanks to the highly identifiable Mia Wallace, Uma Thurman’s character in Pulp Fiction,  as well as Mathilda, a 12 year old Natalie Portman, in  Léon, the bob fed to the height of the fashion and has remained so ever since.

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10. Heart Sunglasses
As seen in: Lolita (1962)

Ever wondered where heart-shaped sunglasses came from and why they stand as a symbol of young sexuality? Simply take a look at the poster for the 1962 film, Lolita. The dubious relationship between an adult and a precocious teen is at the heart of the film and the heart-shaped sunglasses stands as an icon of this tale.

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It was hard to pin-point a favourite fashion moment in the entire Sex and the Cityfranchise, given that it spans six seasons, and two full-length feature films. After much deliberation though, we settled on this. Allow us to include an afterthought in this top 10 feature

Manolo Blahnik Shoes
As seen in: Sex and The City

As mentioned in our previous posts, Top 10: Fashion Influential TV Series and Top 10: The Best Fashion FilmsSex and The City is a cultural juggernaut that has done wonders in advancing fashion and style in everyday culture. Not just for the stunning clothes but for the exposure of designers in particular shoe designers, such as Manolo Blahnik.

We daresay Carrie Bradshaw’s eternal love affiar with shoes made the man an international icon, even he doesn’t share the fanfare. Blahnik has been quoted as saying he gets “sick” because of the attention he has received from the show. “The taxi drivers recognise me now. It becomes too much and I don’t feel comfortable”.

This is in due part to the fifth star of Sex and the City – a stunning royal blue satin custom-made pump, detailed with a gorgeous crystal brooch. This isn’t the first time a pair of shoes has stolen the spotlight in Sex and the City either, remember the strappy, feathered pair of Jimmy Choos that Carrie loses on a ferry in season three?

We hope you enjoyed our picks for this top 10. Agree/disagree/think we’re off the rocker? Tell us your picks in the comments below!

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