There are some films that, while not "about" fashion, are made all the more interesting by the clothes the characters wear. In movies, the clothes certainly make the man -- or woman -- more authentic. The right clothes on the right character enhance the way an actor disappears into his or her role; they say things about the character that can't be communicated through words.
There are movies I love to watch over and over again, just as much for the story the clothes tell as the story the script plots out. Come awards season, I am as excited to see who wins for "Best Costume Design" as I am for "Best Picture." The best costume category was added to the Academy Awards in 1948, and was divided into subcategories for black-and-white and color; the categories were merged into one "Best Costume Design" award in 1967.
I spent some quality time with the Internet the other day, compiling a list of my favorite clothes to watch, and I have listed them by the movie they star in.
5. Rear Window Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly star in what is arguably Hitchcock's greatest suspense film. Kelly's character, Lisa Fremont, is a model, so naturally her wardrobe is beautiful; Stewart plays the entire movie in his PJs, as his character L.B. Jeffries is confined to his apartment with a broken leg. Because the entire movie takes place in one location -- Jeffries's apartment building -- the styling of all the characters that Jeffries views through his camera lens tells the story of everyday life.
4. Pretty in Pink
Molly Ringwald plays quirky outsider Andie Walsh, who has a flair for '80s fashion that even her peers don't appreciate. Annie Potts plays Andie's older, equally quirky friend Fiona and they share a penchant for the dramatic when it comes to clothes and accessories. The fashion fun isn't limited to the female cast -- Jon Cryer's Duckie, whose character is a blend of '50s greaser and '80s glam rock.
3. Roman Holiday
Princess Ann, as played by Audrey Hepburn and styled by Edith Head, sports one adorable outfit after another. Head's instinct for what a princess wears -- for a gala or Roman hijinks--is spot-on. Head won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White, for this 1953 film.
2. Annie Hall
Love it or hate it, Diane Keaton's own fashion sensibility -- a mixture of prim femininity and soft masculinity -- inspired the look for her title character's wardrobe. The movie is considered a landmark moment for Ralph Lauren, who designed costumes for Keaton and Woody Allen for the film. Contemporary actresses like Sienna Miller have reinterpreted "Annie Hall" fashion -- vests, ties, men's shirts -- in a more skin-revealing way than Keaton.
1. Breakfast at Tiffany's
It's the ultimate little black dress: Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy. She was the designer's muse, so how can she not look fabulous in every frame? Every time I glimpse Holly at the Tiffany's window -- the pearls draped just-so above the intricate back of her LBD -- I understand again the power of a simple piece of clothing.
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Honorable Mention: Pretty Woman
The shopping sequence alone is brilliant! Vivian's clothes are a subplot unto themselves.