10 to See: films that inspired fashion

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT • MUST WATCH


Here’s a list of great films, because a good old-fashioned human recommendation is always better than personalised online recommendations.


Artistic influences, contemporary or not, have always inspired the work of creatives. In fashion, creative references hold an extremely important role in fashion design and publications. For instance, Karl Lagerfeld is known for his passion for knowledge and research; indeed, he famously has a massive collection of publications stacked from floor to ceiling. He once said “Don’t ask me where I found it, but I find everything” when speaking to Jo Ellison, Fashion Editor of FT, about the 18th-century Japanese botanic print which had acted as his inspiration for the closing looks at Fendi AW16. 

The interplay between fashion and film is also a long-celebrated dynamic, and fashion editors, photographers and designers tend to reference some of cinema's most iconic costume strategies. Certain movies have provided inspiration for designers' collections far more frequently than others. 

So, here’s a list of great films, from renowned award-winners to lesser-known gems, that have had a significant impact on fashion.


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PARIS, TEXAS

1984

by WIM WENDERS

A disheveled man who wanders out of the desert, Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) seems to have no idea who he is. When a stranger manages to contact his brother, Walt (Dean Stockwell), Travis is awkwardly reunited with his sibling. Travis has been missing for years, and his presence unsettles Walt and his family, which also includes Travis's own son, Hunter (Hunter Carson). Soon Travis must confront his wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinski), and try to put his life back together.


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Grey Gardens

2009

Michael Sucsy

Based on a true story about a daughter and mother, both named Edith Bouvier Beale. Their story came to light in a 1975 documentary which captured the reclusive pair's life in a decaying 28-room mansion in exclusive East Hampton, which they had hardly left for 50 years. The documentary of Beale women is as good as the movie. Watch the movie first, then dig into the 1975 documentary to get to know about them better!


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Blade Runner

1982

RIDLEY SCOTT

Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced by the police Boss (M. Emmet Walsh) to continue his old job as Replicant Hunter. His assignment: eliminate four escaped Replicants from the colonies who have returned to Earth. Before starting the job, Deckard goes to the Tyrell Corporation and he meets Rachel (Sean Young), a Replicant girl he falls in love with.


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Chunking Express

(1995)

WONG KAR-WAI

Wong Kar-Wai is the king director praised by the fashion industry. Not better than ‘In the Mood For Love’ and ‘2046’, but Chungking Express is also very capturing and flowing. 1994 Hong Kong drama film written and directed by Wong Kar-Wai. The film consists of two stories told in sequence, each about a lovesick Hong Kong policeman mulling over his relationship with a woman.


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Drive

2011

Nicolas Winding Refn

Driver (Ryan Gosling) is a skilled Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Though he projects an icy exterior, lately he's been warming up to a pretty neighbour named Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son, Benicio (Kaden Leos). When Irene's husband gets out of jail, he enlists Driver's help in a million-dollar heist. The job goes horribly wrong, and Driver must risk his life to protect Irene and Benicio from the vengeful masterminds behind the robbery.

Do you remember the Asian inspired satin bomber jackets of the 2010s? The jacket Ryan Gosling was wearing became an iconic product as soon as the film was released. Almost the whole fashion industry created a product in the similar style of what he was wearing in the movie.


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The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover

1989

Peter Greenway

When churlish mobster Albert Spica (Michael Gambon) acquires an upscale French restaurant in London, he dines there nightly, effectively scaring off the clientele with his bad manners. His wife, Georgina (Helen Mirren), is especially disgusted by him, and soon begins an affair with another restaurant guest, Michael (Alan Howard). Despite their efforts to keep it a secret, however, Spica finds out about their trysts, and he plans to exact a terrible revenge.

One of the most beautiful movies ever made. The colours change in each room: exteriors in blue, dining in red, kitchen in green, bathroom in white, exteriors in blue. Helen Mirren is giving a great performance, and film costume design is by Jean Paul Gaultier.


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Raise the Red Lantern

1992

Zhang Yimou

Teenage Songlian (Gong Li), whose family has been devastated by the recent death of her father, becomes the third concubine of wealthy Master Chen (Ma Jingwu). She soon discovers that behind the palatial luxury of life in the master's house, she and her fellow concubines, Zhuoyan (Cao Cuifeng) and Meishan (He Caifei), are pitted against each other in a struggle for his affections. The situation inevitably leads to deception, jealous rages and the revelation of each other's darkest secrets.


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The Royal Tenenbaums

2001

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson’s masterpiece. One of the movies that has influenced many creative projects through its distinct visual style and quirky characters. Especially Margot Tenenbaum played by Gwyneth Paltrow that have been referenced in many fashion editorials.

Royal Tenenbaum and his wife Etheline had three children and then they separated. All three children are extraordinary --- all geniuses. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster. Most of this was generally considered to be their father's fault. "The Royal Tenenbaums" is the story of the family's sudden, unexpected reunion one recent winter.


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Fahrenheit 451

1966

François Truffaut

Adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel about a future society that has banned all reading material and the job of the firemen is to keep the fires at 451 degrees: the temperature that paper burns. A fireman begins to re-think his job when he meets a book-loving girl.


Lola

1981

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Another beautifully constructed movie through its cinematography.

Von Bohm (Armin Mueller-Stahl) comes to a city in West Germany to be the new head of building inspection. He is intent on following the letter of the law, even with rapid development and extensive construction activity. Gradually, he becomes enamored with Mary-Louise (Barbara Sukowa), but does not know she is "Lola," a singer at a brothel, until he arrives for an inspection there. Von Bohm also doesn't realize that she is also involved with a rival, the developer Schukert (Mario Adorf).

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