The Fashion of the Screen

There is nothing I enjoy more than admiring fashion in my favorite movies and television shows. Many people, from illustrators to designers and costumers, work on the iconic looks we see in our favorite films and television programs. 

I personally favor the more daring, gothic pieces of female-led stories. Here are a few of my favorite looks and the characters who wore them.

One of my favorite directors is Tim Burton, who often works with esteemed movie costume designer Colleen Atwood on his most wild films. A cult favorite film of mine is Dark Shadows (2012), a campy vampire flick that features some iconic gothic and 1970s inspired outfits. 

Eva Green in Dark Shadows

The look pictured here is particularly stunning, worn by Angelique Bouchard, the central villainess to the plot. Played by the beautiful Eva Green, this black tulle-and-lace evening gown is symbolic of both her roots in witchcraft and eventual madness. 

As the climax of the film progresses, the more unhinged the character becomes and her lovely gown unravels.

In an airier look, there is no screen heroine more glamorous than Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby (2013). Fashion is a central trait and flaw of the character’s tragically materialistic life. 

Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby

My personal favorite of her many looks is this dusty lilac and silver combination, dripping with gems and adornments of the 1920s. Carey Mulligan is the perfect balance of flapper girl and disillusioned housewife, and her costumes highlight her wistfulness and elegance. 

Clothing is especially meaningful in this film adaptation, as it symbolizes the American greed and emptiness that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about in the original novel.

In more modern times, I’ve found that romantic comedies consistently deliver on fantastic costumes that inspire trends for years to come. 

Lana Condor in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

A surprisingly powerful example of this is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018), in which shy teenager Lara Jean flaunts her stylish prowess. The film is fairly recent, yet has been the subject of many articles that scrutinize its fashion-forward looks for younger generations. 

I myself love Lara Jean’s preppier, schoolgirl looks, such as this one featuring a plaid skirt, a Peter Pan collar, an oversized sweater, and brightly colored knee socks. Even her love interest Peter Kavinsky comments on her impeccable style in the film.

The fashion in these movies and other famous films inspire trends and styles in retail stores across the world.