Iconic Fashion Moments
Costume is one of the many tools of the film industry used to create the feeling of believability and immerse audiences in a storyline. Talented designers put careful consideration and thought into each piece of clothing in order to convince the audience that the character could have simply picked it out of their own wardrobe. Costumes help to tell the story, but in some cases the costumes steal the show and become as iconic as the movies themselves. Think Judy Garland’s gingham number in The Wizard of Oz, or Cher’s Calvin Klein slip in Clueless.
woman with drive has taken a walk down memory lane to share the most iconic dresses in cinema and the people and stories behind them.
Possibly the most iconic “Little Black Dress” of all time, the dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s instantly steals the show. The dress was designed for Hepburn by close friend Hubert de Givenchy, but the original versions of the dress exposed too much leg, so the studio employed iconic costume designer Edith Head to redesign the skirt. The longer length does not take away from the elegance and chicness of the dress that epitomizes Holly Golightly’s waif character.
One of the original Givenchy designs was auctioned off in 2006 for almost one million dollars- even though it never actually appeared in the film!
Rat Pack darling Molly Ringwald was the poster girl for 80’s fashion, frequently seen sporting high waisted leggings, bowler hats, layered cardigans and leg warmers in many of her films. But by far the most iconic outfit was Andie Walsh’s customized hot pink polka dot prom dress in the final scenes of Pretty in Pink, designed by Marilyn Vance. While Ringwald hated the dress, Vance insisted that it was exactly what the character would wear.
Another of Vance’s triumphs was Julia Roberts’ opera dress in Pretty Woman. While the stunning off-the-shoulder red dress could be easily mistaken for a design from Dior or Givenchy, it is an haute couture piece hand stitched by Marilyn Vance. Vance designed, created and styled every piece of clothing in the film (except for Julia Roberts second most iconic outfit- that tie) and fought executives to make the dress in red instead of the requested black. Vance says that every year she receives requests from men who want the dress made in their wives measurement, “almost always from Texas. Who knows why!” she said.
One of the classic fashion moment from recent times, has to be Kiera Knightly’s green silk dress in Atonement. Firstly, few women could carry such a slinky silk number anyway, but Knightly has cemented this dress in history. The floor-length backless green 1940s inspired gown was designed by Jacqueline Durran. Several copies of the exact dress were made for filming, as the filmmakers feared the dress might get damaged during the scene where James McAvoy pins Knightly against a bookshelf.
And of course, who can forget that dress from that scene? Worn by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, the billowing white halter neck dress that flew up as she stood over the subway gate has become one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. Costume designer William Travilla was employed by 20th Century Fox and designed costumes for Marilyn on eight films (the pair was even rumored to have had a brief affair). The dress was designed to accentuate Marilyn’s infamous curves and is credited for taking her from starlet to goddess. In 2011, the fabulous frock fetched an incredible $4.6 million at auction; let’s hope whoever bought it doesn’t have a partner that checks their credit card!
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