Hollywood and glamour are inextricably intertwined. From the very beginning of the film industry, movies have depicted glamorous and fashionable people. While films about everyday people are made, movie-goers love to be transported to a magical place where everyone is good looking and well-dressed. And this trend has continued from the earliest silent movies to the films of today. Glamour rules.
We thought it was about time we revised these and offer our top 10 of the most glamorous vintage films. Movie glamour is a big inspiration for fashion designers, with films often influencing the designs we see on the runway.
Case in point, the release of The Great Gatsby definitely had an influence on the big 1930s moments that were showcased on the runways of Paris and New York for AW12 and, to some extent, SS13. But, it’s not just the most recent remake of a vintage classic that draws inspiration.
There are films made over eighty years ago which we can still appreciate and which can still spark new collections from today’s designers – and that’s pretty powerful. Hollywood has the ability to transfer the ordinary and mundane into the elegant and sublime with just some simple fabric and thread. It’s actually quite extraordinary.
So, what are the most glamour and fashion-filled Hollywood films of all time?
Here’s a list of the top ten glamorous films…
1. Morocco – 1930
Starring the cool beauty, Marlene Dietrich, Morocco is a romantic drama about cabaret singer, the man she falls in love with, and the complications that arise.
The film was quite scandalous for its time because of the frank nature of some of the scenes – most notably when Dietrich performed in a man’s suit and kissed another woman.
The film and Dietrich were so trendsetting and fashion-forward that they were almost ahead of their time. In fact, it wasn’t until Yves Saint Laurent’s 1966 couture show that society really had to come to terms with women’s clothing having a definite masculine edge to it. Today, it is commonplace for women’s fashion to incorporate menswear.
2. Gone With the Wind – 1939
Gone With the Wind is most well remembered for the emerald green curtain dress, but it’s actually full of gorgeous fashion moments – the Twin Oaks barbecue dress, Scarlett’s wedding dress, the red Ashley Wilkes birthday dress amongst others. Walter Plunkett, a renowned period customer, was the vision behind those iconic movie fashion moments that are still just as glamorous today as they were in 1939.
3. The Philadelphia Story -1940
The Philadelphia Story starred the stunning and inscrutable fashion icon, Katharine Hepburn. Hepburn played Tracey Lord, the Main Line socialite with a wardrobe to match her wealth and status. Memorable glamorous fashion moments, from costume designer Adrian Adolph Greenberg, included a toga-inspired bathing cover-up, another Grecian-inspired engagement gown and plenty of pencil skirts and smart suits.
4. Gilda – 1946
Rita Hayworth starred as the sultry femme fatale in 1946, Gilda. The film was riveting and full of intrigue, so much so that it might make you forget about the stunning costumes but not for long. Each ensemble was more gorgeous and glamorous than the last it really is worth it just to watch this film for the fashions. But, the pièce de résistance was a black strapless and satin gown created by costume designer, Jean Louis.
5. Rear Window – 1954
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window stars Grace Kelly as a wealthy socialite. The renewed Hollywood costume designer, Edith Head, was the creator of Kelly’s wardrobe for this film. The most iconic look is a black and white dress featuring a deep off-the-shoulder “V” neckline and a full skirt of chiffon tulle. Hitchcock’s genius was in knowing when and how to add details and this dress, as well as the other fashions in the film, we’re all about those little details.
Tambour beading is a must dress to get made.
6. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – 1953
Gentleman Prefer Blondes starred Marilyn Monroe and featured one of the most instantly recognisable dresses from movie history – the shocking pink gown from Marilyn’s musical number, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”. The satin and strapless dress featured a straight neckline and was decorated with a big bow on the back. It was accessorised with long matching gloves, lots of diamonds and has often been imitated, most notably in Madonna’s “Material Girl” video.
7. Seven Year Itch – 1955
The Seven-year Itch was a romantic comedy starring Marilyn Monroe. It is most remembered for featuring the most well-known movie dress of all time – the white subway dress. The dress was designed by William Travilla, a costume designer who dressed Marilyn Monroe in 8 of her films.
She famously penned a note to him that said, “Billy Dear, please dress me forever. I love you, Marilyn.”
8. Sabrina – 1957
Sabrina was a romantic comedy starring ingénue, Audrey Hepburn, in a coming of age story about a young girl who comes back from France new women AND with a new wardrobe. Hepburn forged a relationship with Hubert de Givenchy for this film and her wardrobe was part Givenchy and part Edith Head. The two standout looks included a black cocktail dress with a boat beck and a black and white embroidered ball gown.
9. La Dolce Vita – 1960
Fellini’s La Dolce Vita was a feast for the eyes from start to finish, but the star of the show was actress, Anita Ekberg in a black, low-cut sweetheart neckline dress frolicking in the Trevi Fountain. Fellini was said to have been influenced by an Italian designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga for the dress. The film was also inflectional for the Italian menswear that the male actors sported.
10. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – 1961
Breakfast at Tiffany’s was another Audrey Hepburn film in which Givenchy provided all the fashion inspiration. The most important and glamorous look from this film was the black gown that Hepburn wears with a tiara, a beaded bib necklace and long black gloves. The dress was a creation of Givenchy’s and was the perfect embodiment of Hepburn’s and her character’s (Holly Golightly) style. After Marilyn’s pink and white dresses, this dress is probably the most famous movie costume.
So, did we miss any? Which do you think are the most glamorous films and fashions from our list?