Current Issue #488

Costume Drama: Taking Fashion Advice from Film

Costume Drama: Taking Fashion Advice from Film

It’s often we look at the runway for the latest trends and most covetable items (yes – we still want those Gucci loafers) but this month we look at the most desirable fashion seen on the big screen (with a notable mention to Stranger Things on the smaller screen).

The clothing we see in film and on TV can be as desirable and inspiring as what is seen on the runway. Think back to 2007 – Keira Knightley’s emerald green silk dress in Atonement – designed by well-respected costume designer Jacqueline Durran (Pride & Prejudice, Anna Karenina). The silk evening dress is easily one of the most recognisable items of clothing in film from the last decade.

No doubt a number of us have googled “where can I find a dress that looks like the green one in Atonement?” The demand for the dress sparked a number of ‘look for less’ copies – that perfect shade of green, and cut that was reminiscent of the time, but at the same time still feels current.


In A Bigger Splash – the latest film from Luca Guadagnino starring Tilda Swinton as a rock star who essentially remains silent throughout majority of the film – almost lets the clothing do the talking for her – in looks that were exclusively designed by Raf Simons during his time at Dior.

Guadagnino enlisted Giulia Piersanti as the lead costume designer – who was formerly of Fendi and Balenciaga – to collaborate with Raf Simons. The approach to Swinton’s nostalgic wardrobe is refreshing and elegant. Taking cues from Ingrid Bergman in Roberto Rossellini’s film Journey to Italy, Swinton swans around Italy in the most enviable resort wear. Think flowing shirt dresses, wide-brimmed straw hats, luxurious tailoring and just showing the right amount of skin – it’s the perfect inspiration for this year’s summer wardrobe.


Exquisite costuming can also be seen in the recent Australian film The Dressmaker, which transports Parisian couture into 1950s outback Australia. Created by costume designers Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson, the duo has created a luxurious and visual narrative throughout the film with impeccable tailoring seen on Kate Winslet and Sarah Snook.

Cinched-in waists and old Hollywood glamour (celebrating the female figure) stand out in the stark and dry setting of the Australian landscape. Costumes from the film can be seen in a new exhibition that is on display at Ayers House Museum until December 11.


Lastly, we couldn’t look at costume on screen without recognising one of the biggest shows of recent times – Stranger Things. With a huge hit of nostalgia with its soundtrack, filming and styling – which shines on underestimated character Nancy Wheeler (played by Natalia Dyer). Nancy – who could be the queen of layering – showcases the perfect ‘80s preppy wardrobe which you can easily see worn in 2016.


Throughout the series you see Nancy transform from an innocent school student to a tough teenage heroine. Her wardrobe features knit sweaters, pale pink shirts, and then moves to shearling jackets and more practical weapon-wielding outerwear later in the series but you’ll find no spoilers here.


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