So often, people separate the arts and forget about fashion. Art they say is a serious topic, fashion is not. Whilst I can see where they’re coming from to a certain extent (everyone remember the neon tutu era of the early 2000’s? Yeah…) the fashionable is just as important as any art form. In fact, it’s because of fashion that trends begin and so many paintings from the Renaissance or books from the Romantic period have been retained for cherishing today.
Particularly in the representation of fashion and film, the importance of fusing together different creative outlets to create clothing to die for should not be underrated. Here are some of my personal favourite representations of fashion from the silver screen:
1. Breakfast At Tiffany’s
An all time classic, where effortless beauty is personified in the guise of Audrey Hepburn. I don’t think anyone has ever come away from watching that and not thinking that the simplest touches of style can make any story better. Afterall, if you’re going to live in something all day you at least want to look good.
It’s a tale of how love, appearence and personality are a complex web of things. Sometimes that transformation into the person you wanted to be isn’t always quite what you expect. Make sure to grab the tissue box and your pet cat before the ending.
2. The Devil Wears Prada
It’s the movie that makes everyone want to work for Vogue magazine or have someone as fabulous as Meryl Streep for their boss. The Devil Wears Prada, the film adaptation of the bestselling novel, captures the gritty reality beyond the glamour that exists in the fashion world. A world where the reality is be top of the food chain in order to survive and do that by remaining simultaneously cold and creative.
The character of Andy is one I think everyone can relate to. She wants to do well and she values her family and friends, but at the same time when opportunity comes knocking she finds it really easy to fall into the trap of dismissing what everyone else is saying and pursuing only what she thinks is best for her career. It mixes the fashionable with the personal; To what extent does success shape our life? Does it matter so long as we look fabulous?
3. Coco Before Chanel
Audrey Tautou is the epitome of all things graceful and enlightening. In this biography on the infamous fashion designer, Chanel, she brings so much to a historical figure who it would be easy to dis-regard and leave in the history books regarding her success in the world of design.
Escaping into the world of the long gone is perhaps one of the most remarkable elements of film, this example being no exception. It makes me long for evening dresses just as much as it makes me thankful that forward thinking women such as Chanel made it possible to wear trousers without getting stared at like a headless chicken!
4. She’s The Man
An absolutely brilliant take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Viola Hastings and her attempt to reach the football finals by dressing up as her brother are a prime example of why fashion is such an important element of every day life. Through the re-construction of her identity, it becomes apparent just how performative the nature of gender is.
Fashion is an ongoing part of the conversation surrounding gender and having the freedom to wear what we want and behave how we wish should be normative no matter the societal expectation. All of these films hold that message in common. The fashionable is ironically not what everyone is wearing or saying or doing. Fashion is being the first to think of something that takes the world by storm before they even realise you’re lightning.