The best costumes in film of all time part one

There are hundreds of iconic and much-loved costumes in film, whether it’s from a period-drama, a Hollywood classic, a musical or a modern-day favourite – there are so many it’s difficult to narrow them down to just a few … so here’s On Screen Fashion’s part one of the best costumes in film of all time.

One: The Seven Year Itch

I don’t think there’s anybody in the entire world that isn’t familiar with this costume … probably the most iconic costume in the film industry. The beautiful blonde bombshell herself Marilyn Monroe is in an ivory cocktail dress and in this particular scene, standing above a subway in New York which is also classed as one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. The style of this dress was popular in the 1950s and 1960s with the design being very revealing due to the halter neck, plunging neckline and pleated skirt which meant the legs, arms, shoulders and back were bare. The dress was designed by costume designer William Travilla and last year sold for $5.6 million at auction.

Two: Moulin Rouge

Nicole Kidman starring as Satine in romantic jukebox-musical Moulin Rouge wears this stunning costume while working her job as a cabaret actress/dancer at a night club. The silver rhinestone covered bodice has a black rhinestone covered bow tie  with silver star detail on her hips, fringe detail also on her hips and fringe detail dipped at the back. The top hat is made from black beaver-skin (dislike!) with black braid around the brim alongside silver diamantes. Costume designer Catherine Martin wanted the clothing to communicate the feeling of the late 19th century/early 20th century while also interpreting the looks for a modern audience. All of the dancers costumes are very different due to inspiration being taken from buckets upon buckets of research from divas of the ’40s and ’50s.

Three. Atonement

Keira Knightley’s green dress has actually been described as the best film costume of all time in a poll conducted by Sky Movies and In Style magazine. Although I disagree with this title, it is undoubtedly a beautiful costume and one of the best costumes of all time. The dress was hand-made by costume designer Jacqueline Durran and the emerald-green colour was specifically chosen to represent temptation and to coincide with this novel extract it is adapted from – “As she pulled it on she approved of the firm caress of the bias cut through the silk of her petticoat, and she felt sleekly impregnable, slippery and secure; it was a mermaid who rose to meet her in her own full-length mirror.” Director Joe Wright worked alongside Jacqueline to make sure that the dress was true to the book and this dress was produced which is made from green silk and flows as she walks as if she were underwater. There are actually three different dresses in the film, all of the same cut and design yet the shades of green are altered slightly to reflect Cecelia’s (Keira Knightly) emotion which meant over 100 yards of white silk was dyed in order to create the desired effects.

Four: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

If a costume could incorporate simplicity, chic and elegance into one it would be this one worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1960’s romantic comedy, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She’s made the LBD or little black dress a fashion staple in every women’s wardrobe and all these years on, this dress alongside her glamorous accessories is very much an iconic costume in film history. The slim, basic black dress was designed by French aristocrat Hubert de Givenchy, or more commonly known as Givenchy which has become a timeless piece. The sleeveless satin sheath evening gown is floor length with a fitted bodice embellishment at the back with a distinctive cut-out and the skirt slightly gathered. The dress is very classic and the finest example of British glamour – it isn’t too revealing due to the length of the dress and the elbow-length black gloves yet with the shoulders on show it showcases definitive femininity.

Five: Elizabeth: The Golden Age

There is a clear transformation from the first Elizabeth film which is shown in the way that Cate Blanchett is draped in very different costumes. It’s 27 years later, around 1585 and she’s become a powerful, confident monarch who has very obviously had a journey in the way that she presents herself. Not focusing on historical history, the director Shekhar Kapur wanted the colours to be very different from the first Elizabeth film – he wanted them much lighter and feminine, highlighting the emotional journey with Elizabeth wearing blue, the colour of yearning yet not traditionally associated with England. Costume designer Alexandra Byrne got her inspiration from both research of the Elizabethan period and modern fashion designers such as Vivienne Westwood. The extraordinary scale of the skirt is deliberate, it’s to distinguish the space around her – you are not to be physically close to the queen therefore the skirt of the dress was much a much harder corset shape during public occasions.

To be continued …


The best of Joan Holloway (Mad Men week)

“You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl” – Joan.

Hey everyone … guess what? Mad Men is back tomorrow (25th March) so I felt it was necessary for me to do a Mad Men-esque week for you, amongst other movie news of course.

What better way to start Mad Men week off than to talk about the first lady that pops into your head when you hear those two words – Joan Holloway … obviously!

Played by Christina Hendricks, she’s the red-head Marilyn Monroe equivalent, feisty, honest and has a body to die for – it’s refreshing to see men (in the show and in real life) swoon over Joan as she’s a very curvy woman and proves to be a definition of beauty.

So let’s get to it. Time to delve into (some) of the best Joan Holloway costumes.

This is the ultimate Joan Holloway dress. This fuchsia pink sheath dress is the perfect fit for her hour-glass figure and is extremely sexy without showing off too much. The dress is nipped in at the waist while the cap-sleeves and high neckline  help emphasize the upper-half – my favourite outfit of hers.

Another flattering outfit, Janie Bryant definitely knows what she’s doing, she’s a costume design goddess! The rusty coral-brown wrap dress highlights Joan’s tiny waist – the design of the dress has the same effect as a waist-belt would.  The matching shoes and bag with the subtle jewellery, including Joan’s signature brooch makes for a classic outfit for a day at the office.

This is in fact Christina Hendrick’s favourite outfit of Joan’s and I can see why – it’s lovely. The bold purple and pink colours combined completely sums up Joan’s fiery personality and show’s ‘Red’ (Joan’s nickname) at her best. Again, another fitted dress to show off her curvaceous figure and the pink sash with brooch in place gives off a very smart yet feminine vibe.

She wears skirts too! Here, Joan wears a polyester coral-red blouse and high-waisted tweed skirt which looks more office-attire-like but still remains very classy. Her signature gold pen necklace is the appropriate length for her outfit choice and the golden watch and earrings add that extra womanly touch.

What’s your favourite Joan Holloway outfit?

%d bloggers like this: