Regardless of one’s perspective on the cinematic world, assuming the reader is a fashion lover (which is presumed due to their presence here), there are certain movies that demand their attention.
These may include enlightening documentaries chronicling a designer’s initial collection as the creative leader of a prestigious fashion brand, satirical comedies that poke fun at the fashion industry (like “Zoolander”), or timeless classics that exhibit impeccable style and craftsmanship.
Best Fashion Movies Of All Time
#1 Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Theodore Van Runkle, the costume designer, crafted Bonnie Parker’s iconic style for Faye Dunaway. This included incorporating tweed, Norfolk jackets, and V-neck sweaters, which served as predecessors to today’s menswear-inspired trends. To complete the look, Bonnie’s beret became the accessory of the moment. Interestingly, in the French village shops where these hats originated, sales skyrocketed from 5,000 to 12,000 per week.
#2 Breathless (1960)
Whether consciously aware or not, fashionable women such as Alexa Chung and Jeanne Damas draw inspiration from Jean Luc Godard’s diverse range of muses. One notable example is Jean Seberg in Breathless, where she portrays a character that is both stunning, complex, and impeccably dressed.
#3 Blow Up (1966)
The cult classic masterpiece by Antinioni revolves around a fashion photographer who stumbles upon a gruesome murder while shooting in a London park. The ’60s costumes truly shine, Vanessa Redgrave embodies the essence of a mod-era supermodel, and Jane Birkin makes a captivating cameo as ‘The Brunette’. It is an exceptional work that captivates viewers.
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#4 Zoolander (2001)
For those seeking a comedy with a touch of flair, Zoolander deserves a spot on their watchlist. This film cleverly satirizes the fashion industry while showcasing the talents of esteemed actors and fashionable costumes from the early 2000s. Its distinctiveness has solidified its status as a cult classic since its release.
#5 In the Mood for Love (2000)
Wong Kar-wai presents a mesmerizing portrayal of two neighbors in 1960s Hong Kong, who find solace in each other due to their spouses’ shared infidelity. The film showcases impeccably crafted period costumes, ranging from Tony Leung’s perfectly tailored suits to Maggie Cheung’s captivating patterned cheongsams. It is astounding to imagine that such elegance coexists in a world where sweatpants are prevalent.
#6 High Society (1956)
Any reference to Grace Kelly typically brings to mind the phrase “classic beauty”. Helen Rose, the designer who won an Oscar, created the exquisitely elegant outfits for what would become the star’s final on-screen role (Rose also designed Kelly’s wedding dress when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco that same year). Each fold and movement of Kelly’s wardrobe in this delightful romantic comedy is flawless. From the ethereal blue organza dress for a party to a pristine white swimsuit, she exudes a regal air.
#7 Funny Face (1967)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s becomes a clear choice as the movie showcases the iconic style of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Her little black dress, strands of pearls, and oversized sunglasses are nothing short of legendary. However, for a burst of sartorial exuberance, one should also consider Funny Face, the predecessor to Tiffany’s. In this film, Hepburn portrays a waifish bookseller-turned-fashion icon, effortlessly flaunting both couture gowns and sporty crop tops. Funny Face seamlessly blends Hollywood and the fashion industry, much like Hepburn herself.
#8 Breathless (1961)
Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal debut feature, which heralded a new era in filmmaking and has since become emblematic of the French New Wave, remains impervious to the passage of time and any attempts at imitation. In this captivating film, Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo portray Patricia and Michel, a charmingly innocent yet purposeful duo. Patricia, an American-in-Paris with a pixie haircut, effortlessly embodies French style with her cigarette pants and crisp striped dresses, all while playfully engaging her French beau, Michel, in language lessons and channeling the spirit of Humphrey Bogart.
These movies offer a glimpse into the past, from the glamour of 1960s couture to the relevant satirical comedy found in Zoolander. Not only are they enjoyable to watch for their story and style, but they each have something essential to say about fashion itself: it can be eccentric, meaningful, rebellious, or simply timelessly beautiful.