Top 5 movie costumes that tell a story
- Published:12th Dec 2016
Ever heard of narrative fashion!? Well, this is what we will explore today. We want to focus on pieces that were an integral story element; without them, the movies would have been totally different. Come in and join for some story statement pieces and vintage style fashion curiosities from the world of movies.
Madonna´s Jimi Hendrix leather Jacket
We cannot ignore the glorious 1980s when it comes to fashion in movies; and I’m talking here about, “Desperately Seeking Susan”. Allegedly the director cast a young singer called Madonna because of her own personal thrift shop style she was showcasing on the streets of New York in those days. It goes without saying that all her wardrobe in that movie was naturally cool but only one style became her statement piece and told its very own story: The khaki-green metallic leather jacket. Reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, it tells the story of the character´s rebellion and her aimless drifting through a 1980s New York. Oh, and it came with a lot of nice details: brash black and gold swirling pattern on the lapels and cuffs, with a red-gold brocade pyramid under an eye. When Susan goes missing in the movie, it is actually this unique jacket people are looking for. So, here´s our advice: Wear something totally unique and people will have an easier time finding you if you go missing. Really. Some trivia: the thrift store where the two Susans’ go shopping actually was there – it was called "Love Saves the Day" and was located in Greenwich Village, NYC.
Rosemary´s Trouser Suit
Remember Rosemary´s Baby? Well, the baby wasn´t seen in the movie but Rosemary played by Mia Farrow was…and her style was amazing! Rosemary’s wardrobe was in line with Farrow´s own sixties look, featuring plenty of vintage style fashion including A-line dresses and playful peter pan collars. One piece that stood out and told its very own story was the red chiffon trouser suit she wore early in the movie. On the one side, it is poor Rosemary´s desperate attempt to show independence and strength with all those occultists around her. On the other hand, there is an angel-like innocence in the style´s shape and its satanic dark red colour foreshadows the devilish things to come. On a side note; costumier Anthea Sylbert shortened the hemlines of Rosemary´s wardrobe during the story to symbolise Rosemary´s attempt to gain more independence in vain. Some trivia again: her tomboyish haircut was created by London´s very own Vidal Sassoon. But as we know, that didn´t help either to keep the dark forces away. Poor Rosemary.
Mrs. Robinson´s Leopard Coat
Not sure if that is a bit controversial in red we don’t want to offend anyone… Ever thought of seducing an innocent college student?! Well, if he looks like the young Dustin Hoffmann you might be tempted... For a step-by-step instruction on how to do it, watch Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. Just kidding, Unforgettable though is Mrs Robinson´s trademark leopard print coat. It tells the story of a predator who goes on a hunt for her prey… and poor Benjamin it is. And, yes, she actually wore leopard print underwear in this movie as well. Here´s to you, Mrs. Robinson!
Mila´s Steam Punk Bodysuit
High fashion meets science fiction meets steampunk in 1997 classic The Fifth Element. Not sure who taught orange-haired Mila Jovovich this obscure alien language but her bondage-style bodysuit was definitely designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier himself. This statement piece tells the story of an alien girl who is unaware of her sexuality and physical perfection but the styles likewise stresses her hard punk edge. Then again with its almost baby-like clothing elements this piece gives a glimpse at her childlike naivety. All at the same time. Gaultier took inspiration from his contemporary underwear and outerwear styles and blends them perfectly. Oh, and he allegedly designed and produced more than a thousand different costumes for that movie… which is like 10 collections! Maximum respect from our side, Jean-Paul!
Keira´s Dream in Emerald Green
Still sad when you think back at watching Atonement for the first time?! Yes, so are we. To mitigate the pain we rather think back at Cecilia´s (played by Keira Knightley of course) stunning 1930s evening dress that comes in this extremely shiny emerald green. If there´s perfection in fashion then this style comes damn close. The colour green is an unusual choice for a dress and was chosen by the director himself to make viewers uncomfortable. This statement piece tells the story of an enigmatic character who is driven by temptation and is ultimately doomed to failure. Apart from her times as nurse, Knightley only wears variations of green in this movie, which makes the costume design unsettling and mysterious at the same time. Oh, and this stunner was just recently voted “Best Costume of all Time” by, uh, Sky Movies. Really.
That´s it for today. I hope we could entertain you. Next time you see a movie maybe you want to analyse the symbolism of the costumes a bit further and see if they tell a story themselves. Or maybe not. Maybe you just want to enjoy the movie instead!
If you liked reading this check out our other blog on Statement pieces in film!
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