16 movies with great fashion –and none are *The Devil Wears Prada!
Too cold to go out? Here is a list of movies (or in the case of the High Fidelity a series) that have some of the best fashion in fiction and we genuinely like the storylines as well. They’re in no particular order, all are available somewhere online. *no TDWP because 1. If you’re reading this you’ve already seen it and 2. Honestly? Despite the subject matter we find the fashion underwhelming –cerulean blue sweater notwithstanding.
Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (Qui êtes-vous Polly Maggoo)
It is a satirical arthouse mockumentary spoofing the fashion world and its excesses. Elegant, scathing humor ties together the various strands of this alternately glamorous and grotesque portrait of American in Paris Polly Maggoo, an Alice in Wonderland supermodel who becomes the pinup plaything of media hounds and the fragmented fantasy of haunted Prince Igor. Directed by Richard Klein, noted fashion photographer. (1966)
Crazy Rich Asians -the 2010s
A romantic comedy where a young woman discovers that her fiance’s family is uber-wealthy? You know the fashion will be served with a Capital F. From Dolce and Gabbana to Valentino, well dressed doesn’t even begin to describe the characters in this film.
All female cast: Rhianna, Akwafina, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson and Anne Hathaway. With a heist during the MET Gala and a cameo by Anna Wintour? Enough said. But if you need more then check out this article about the queer subtext. (2018)
Licorice Pizza -The ’70s of Southern California
The story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley in 1973. We are just a little bit obsessed with this film. Not a lot happens but we couldn’t stop watching. And it feels insanely authentically early ’70s California. Director Paul Anderson was meticulous in the details and took inspiration from these photos of Rick Mack (2021)
Cruella -’70s London via Disney
Emma Stone as a fashion designer in punk London? Yes please! Our favorite villainess cruises along to a 70s-inspired soundtrack that consists of The Clash, Blondie, and Ike & Tina Turner with fabulous fashion at every turn. (2021)
A neo-noir psychological thriller directed by Tom Ford and starring Amy Adams. The plot follows an art gallery owner as she reads the new novel written by her first husband and begins to see the similarities between it and their former relationship. No the clothes aren’t by Tom Ford but by costume designer Arianne Phillips. Still the glamour and decadence is worthy of a Ford film –as well as the upscale art dealer Adams plays.
House of Gucci
We were dying to see this film by Ridley Scott starring Lady Gaga. Then the reviews came and they weren’t all pretty. We decided to see it anyways for the fashion. And ended up really enjoying the movie as well.
High Fidelity – the ‘90s
High Fidelity stars Zoë Kravitz in a gender-switched adaptation of Nick Hornby’s bestselling book, playing a record store owner, Rob, who is suffering over a bad breakup. You may have seen the original movie, but the Hulu remake with Kravitz is everything, starting with her black leather coat (a staple piece for Rob). The majority of the clothes from the show are thrifted and some are taken right from Kravitz’s closet, but all create an effortlessly cool and modern look. (2020)
Mahogany -the ‘70s
Both the star and costume designer of the film, Diana Ross (as Tracy) gives us some incredibly glamorous looks in Mahogany. From a struggling fashion student, to her life as a runway model, she is presented as a style icon. And the push and pull between the glamour of fashion and the passion for activism that Tracy struggles with are still relatable. (1975)
Heathers -the ‘80s
A black comedy about a high-school clique that includes 3 girls named Heather, it starred ’90s icons Winona Ryder and Shannon Doherty before they were well known.
It’s the ultimate pre-cursor to films like Clueless and Mean Girls and fashion is major in Heathers. Watch the movie and then read this analysis if you want to go deeper. In the ’80s the only thing bigger than the shoulder pads were the bangs. but nonetheless iconic and absolutely killer 😉
Pretty In Pink – the ’80s
John Hughes movies were everything to teens in the ’80s and Pretty in Pink was no exception. “It girl” of the day Molly Ringwald stars as Andie Walsh– the original upcycler in this story of love and social cliques in high school. Her thrifted finds transformed into original statement pieces (that prom dress!) is creatively bold. And we can’t forget totally cool record store boss Iona with her drastically changing style, and of course Duckie’s quirky wear-it-all approach. The ’80s were not minimalistic, but the style was a lot of fun. (1986)
Almost Famous –the ’70s
The wardrobe in this film brings us right back to the ‘70s. Penny Lane’s hippie chic style is hard to forget, especially the shearling coat she is just about always wearing. However, Penny Lane is not the only band-aid to drop serious looks for the band. (2000)
Desperately Seeking Susan -the ‘80s
This one defines the look of the ’80s New York. Bold colors, leggings, blazers, black lace and a TON of accessories are what make up the outfits throughout this movie. Madonna plays the role of a relaxed ultra cool girl who brings the best funkiness when it comes to her looks. (1985)
Funny Face -the ‘50s
A fashion show of a film. Dresses designed by Hubert de Givenchy give Jo (Audrey Hepburn) the elegance to transform from regular bookseller to the face of an American fashion magazine. Famous looks from the film include: the all black look, the red dress with white gloves, and the wedding dress.
Smithereens – late ‘70s early ‘80s NYC
I fell in love with this film about 30 seconds into it when Wren stole a pair of checkered print oval sunglasses right out of a woman’s hands. Wren is trying to make it in the NYC punk scene and she is confident enough to try. Always dressed fearlessly, we get to watch her take on the city in various makeshift looks- how does she so effortlessly rock that hot pink tie and vest decorated with pins!? And fun fact: the director of this film, Susan Seidelman also directed Desperately Seeking Susan. (1982)
Empire Records -the ‘90s
Full disclosure: some of us thought Singles or Reality Bites personified the ’90s more than this film. But since this post is about fashion we let this one stand. Plus Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger! It’s definitely 90’s fashion: Corey’s plaid miniskirt, cropped sweater, and combat boots. Gina’s cardigan, a-line mini, and clogs. And I know I will never get over Debra’s totally epic shaved head with her baggy pants, tight tank and chains. (1995)
Cry Baby -the ‘50s
Cry-Baby is a musical romantic comedy film written and directed by John Waters. The film stars Johnny Depp as 1950s teen rebel “Cry-Baby” Wade Walker. The styling is wonderful and we find two types, the “outsiders”, follow a rockabilly style, with biker jackets, jeans, boots, and impossible hairstyles; and the “posh”, who follow an Ivy League style, wearing chino pants, shirts, cardigans and loafers. (1990)