Friday, October 19, 2012

The Top 5 Films That Have Influenced Fashion

Culture is created. Fashion is an aspect of culture. So…can a film be a culture creator and set fashion trends from its time of release?

Absolutely!Not every film is able to do this, but once in a while a film and a particular film character will come along which will trigger something in society for people to want to dress like and aspire to be them.
How does this happen? Well, for one, the character and actor playing the character need to be likable so that people feel like they can relate to them and want to strive to be like them. The closest a regular member of society can come to being like this character is to dress like them. All you need is a few dollars and a clothing store.

This will also happen when there is a need for a new fashion for a particular group of people in society. However, the people are not aware that there is a need for a new trend. Only the creators know this and it is for them to prove to the public that they really need it!

So let’s have a look at the top five films which have influenced fashion over the years. We’ll start at five and work our way to one!

5. Flashdance (1983)

So when you think of the 1980’s, what type of fashion do you think of?

Chances are you have thought of big hair with scrunchies, fluoro clothing, over-sized sweatshirts and leggings. It was all about combining the look of going out with looking like you are going to go to the gym. Flashdance did a lot to influence this fashion statement.

Although we may think that this look is totally daggy now and is only appropriate at retro discos, dressing as though you were Jennifer Beals was the way to be back in the early 80’s. The look was fresh and represented that of the healthy and athletic. Beals played a girl working two jobs to try and get into ballet school and was the type of character girls could relate to. She was striving to make her dreams a reality, and everybody loves a feel good film involving music and dancing.

The look was one which wasn’t unusual if you were a dancer, but suddenly this fashion was for every girl who was hip and cool. It’s hard to understand now why this look was so popular back in 1983, but fashion comes full circle so I am sure this will all happen again.

4. It Happened One Night (1934)

If you ask me, not enough people these days even really know who Clark Gable was. He wasn’t known as The King during his career for nothing. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. He had a stellar career and this film, It Happened One Night, was the film that won him his one and only Academy Award.

So being such an incredible Hollywood star, it is not a surprise that one of his characters had the ability to influence fashion.  In one scene in It Happened One Night, Gable’s character, Peter and Claudette Colbert’s Ellie are sharing a room when Peter proceeds to show Ellie how a man undresses. To everyone’s shock, Peter was not wearing an undershirt, which was an absolute shock to every man.

Therefore, undershirt sales dropped dramatically as Clark Gable was seen on screen not wearing an undershirt and was no longer seen as fashionable.  The power of The King.

However, the truth is that Gable and the film makers never meant to make a fashion statement by not including an undershirt. There were just too many layers for Gable to script while getting the timing of his lines in sync with his actions.

3. Annie Hall (1977)

Woody Allen may not be the most fashionable person out there, but Diane Keaton’s wardrobe in his film Annie Hall, earns the film third place in our list of films that have been most fashionably influential.

The fashion in Annie Hall broke down the barriers between male and female clothing that had previously stood. Instead of sticking to the usual protocol of the female being chased after in a film as being feminine and dressing in skirts and dresses, Diane Keaton’s wardrobe consisted largely of men’s clothing such as slacks, suspenders, ties and business shirts.

The concept of women wearing pant suits instead of dresses and skirts in the 1970’s wasn’t a new one, as Katharine Hepburn preferred her “power” suits in the 1930’s and 40’s than the dresses her fellow female actors wore. What Annie Hall did for this look was show that a woman can still be seen as desirable and sexy in clothes other than those traditionally used to attract the opposite sex, as Annie Hall is the female lead and in a romantic relationship.

It broke down the barriers of what clothes are seen are masculine and feminine and made men’s clothes fashionable also for women.

2. Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Here’s an easy one. What does the name James Dean bring to mind?

He was the Hollywood heart throb with the bad boy look who died young. That bad boy look of his was made famous by Rebel Without A Cause. His leather jacket over a white t-shirt and jeans made a huge fashion statement for teenagers and the look gave the impression of looking like a rebel, but not having to be one.

In all fairness, Marlon Brando was actually the first actor to wear such an ensemble as a motorcyclist in the film The Wild One, which was made two years before Rebel Without A Cause. However, it was Dean who made this look popular amongst young adults. In the film, Dean’s Jim Stark is the rebel and the outcast in his new high school. His look sets him apart from his fellow students who are wearing football jackets or suits, as Sal Mineo’s John wears.

Dean continued to wear this fashion outside his breakthrough film role and his untimely death in a motor accident added to his image of the rebel who lived dangerously. Being a rebel suddenly became cool and the fashion of the jacket, t-shirt and jeans became a symbol of what you were or were trying to be.

1.       Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Finally, the film which takes out our number one spot is Breakfast At Tiffanys.

So much about this film influenced fashion. It also helped that the lead role was played  byperhaps the most fashionable film star of all time, Audrey Hepburn. The image of her as Holly Golightly in the little black dress is a universal symbol of fashion and woman everywhere strive to match the classiness of this legendary character.

The main part of Breakfast At Tiffany’s that influenced fashion was the it enforced the idea that every woman must have a little black dress. This is still in play today. You can never go wrong with a little black dress. In the film, Holly Golightly is a nobody country girl until she comes to the city and becomes a highly sought after woman on the A list. This gives you the impression that the clothes she wears changes her whole persona. This is what every girl wants, to put on clothes that make her into a different woman. The little black dress is for every occasion and always looks good.

Holly’s accessories of the big sunglasses and pearls, plus the slick, high bun in her hair all became fashionable accessories to have after Breakfast At Tiffany’s. And as if the brand name of Tiffany’s wasn’t already prestigious enough, the name will forever be associated with this film and fashion itself.

So there you have it. The top five films which have influenced fashion over the years. The recurring theme we can see is that all these trends are set by characters and actors which the general public look up to and admire, but also can relate to. Fashion is a part of culture and movies are a great influencer of this culture.

Sources
The Internet Movie Database
Keep It Chic
Dr Macro's High Quality Movie Scans
Coolspotters
Filmzoid
Entertainment Weekly


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