Sashay! Shantay! Our Top 10 Fashion Movies
Fashion and Hollywood are so interwoven, you can’t have one without the other. From the brilliant costume designers (who shaped the way we dressed for decades to come) to documentaries (that profiled the icons who defined the runways), these movies will never go out of style.
1. Annie Hall
In the same era that brought us disco, hot pants and go-go boots, Diane Keaton bucked all the trends and used her personal wardrobe to create the look of the free-spirited Annie Hall. The movie was perfectly timed to capture the continuing women’s liberation movement, fans were instantly won over by the androgynous look. And it made a long-lasting impact—to this day, designers are still sending models down the runaway in menswear-inspired clothing.
2. Bill Cunningham New York
Before street style bloggers were a dime a dozen, there was Bill Cunningham, who has been photographing the every day fashion parade since the ’70s. The surprisingly humble octogenarian genuinely loves fashion—he practically eats and breathes it, there is so little else in his life—and is fascinated by what people wear. He is also genuinely happy, doing the one thing that he loves all day, every day—except for a short break on Sundays to attend mass.
3. Coco Before Chanel
The always-enchanting Audrey Tatou is brilliant as the straight-talking, game-changing designer whose name is synonymous with chic. Before Coco freed women from the corset and convinced the world to wear pearls and No. 5, she was an orphan who sang in bars and designed a few hats to get by. The movie doesn’t sentimentalize the designer’s path success, instead it portrays the hard work and dedication that came before becoming one of the most influential people in the world—in any industry.
Is there a movie that had more of an impact on the way we dressed? Jennifer Beals stars as a welder/exotic dancer with ambitions to become a professional dancer, and somehow suddenly everyone wanted to copy her smoldering look. The masses immediately donned leg warmers, men’s undershirts, oversized jackets and, of course, off-the-shoulder sweatshirts. And so the ’80s were born.
5. Funny Face
We probably don’t need to say more than these two words: Audrey Hepburn—but of course we will. Hepburn’s role in the movie is based on the life of Suzy Parker—the first model to make over $100,000 a year and the legendary Richard Avedon’s muse. A dashing Fred Astaire takes on the Avedon character, and none other than Kay Thompson (the Eloise author) brings to life the Diana Vreeland-esque fashion editor. From New York to Paris, the picture brims with the excitement and creativity of the industry. It comes as no surprise that Avedon himself consulted on the movie.
6. Rear Window
Who could forget the stunning Grace Kelley and her fashion editor character’s rather shocking (for the time) Mark Cross overnight case, completely packed with a single negligee. But there was also a whole wardrobe designed by 8-time Oscar-winner Edith Head—an evening dress “fresh from the Paris plane,” a classic green suit and the most perfect pillbox hat. Heck, even James Stewart is pretty dapper in those pajamas.
7. The Devil Wears Prada
A million girls would have killed for Anne Hathaway’s wardrobe in this (barely) fictional expose of the fashion magazine industry. Thank Patricia Field for that—the former Sex and the City costume designer pulled about $1 million worth of clothing from over 100 fashion designers to outfit the cast. With the exception of Valentino, however, most designers shied away from appearing in the movie lest they upset the real-life fashion icon the plot was rumored to be based on—the renowned head of Vogue, Anna Wintour. The movie digs into the mistreatment of assistants in the dog-eat-dog world of high fashion, but also does a decent job of showcasing how editors deliver the fantasy of fashion to readers month after month.
8. The September Issue
Anna Wintour is such a fashion powerhouse, she has to make two appearances on this list. This time she’s at the center of a documentary, a behind-the-scenes look at Wintour and her staff producing the notoriously thick, most highly anticipated issue of Vogue of the year. Seeing the ultimate tastemaker at work is a treat, Wintour’s word is gold not only in the office, but in the industry. She doesn’t just report on fashion, she actually defines it.
9. Valentino: The Last Emperor
The man who dressed Jackie Kennedy and defined haute couture for decades is seen in this documentary at the end of his career, his company being taken over and his name, instead of attached to the hand-sewn gowns he so lovingly created, is now threatened to be slapped on sunglasses and belt buckles. Watch it to witness the end of an era, before fast fashion and outlet malls took over our closets.
Ben Stiller might’ve made a mockery of the male modeling industry with his portrayal of the dimwitted Zoolander, but the world was forever impacted by Blue Steel. Facebook duckface is a tragedy that persists to this day.
Now that you’ve gotten all dressed up—take a few things off with our list of the top semi-nude movies.