Lights ! Camera ! Fashion !

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For as long as the two industries have been around, fashion and film have influenced one another. The relationship between the fashion houses, stylists and film has been one that has produced some of the most iconic and distinct looks and created always a stir in the fashion world. Shweta Bhatia finds out more

Films have a knack of not just making a star of their actresses, but turning them into fashion icons too. From Audrey Hepburn to Sarah Jessica Parker, they have all made a big mark in the fashion industry. Films have always been used as a portal to display the latest trends, with designers and stylists having a huge role to play in the final product.

No one can forget Audrey Hepburn’s iconic ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ black gown, which left fashion lovers from around the world, mesmerised. For Hubert de Givency, it was a decision to go simple and elegant with the theme and with that in mind, he brought forward the black sheath dress. The fashion element of the movie was the most talked about aspect all through the 1960s, an element that was mirrored by fashion lovers all over.

From the 30s till the 60s, Edith Head was one of the most lauded costume designers. With a record eight Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, starting with The Heiress (1949) and ending with The Sting (1973), she was also known for having designed uniforms for female members of the U.S Coast Guard. Edith alone was responsible for some one the most head turning trends during her reign.

It has been more than half a century since one of the most stunning fashionistas walked the earth but Marilyn Monroe’s mark on the industry is indelible as an icon of femininity and a fashion visionary. From the pink satin gown she wore in ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ to the white pleated halter dress that billowed around her in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ to the nude, skintight, sequined number she donned to sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ to President John F Kennedy, she created a storm on the fashion scene. Her style statement threw aside the Peter Pan collars, poodle skirts and repressed sexuality of the decade as she embraced her curvaceous figure, highlighted her assets and minimised her flaws. It is Monroe that we should be grateful to for finding lesser-known designers and propelling them to fame by wearing their creations. Before they were household names, she wore Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, carried Louis Vuitton bags and donned Emilio Pucci and Lanvin. And, of course, who can forget the outrageous response, “Chanel No. 5”, when asked what she wore to bed?

In 1985, Madonna’s wacky, thrift store look became the signature style of the era. Layered mesh tops, religious jewellery, cut-off gloves, bangles, leather jackets and ripped tights defined the 80s. The fashion choices of films created a massive impact on trend reports. When Alicia Silverstone wore mini-dresses, matching suits and kneelength socks in ‘Clueless’, the 90s saw the trend appear on streets everywhere.

Then came the TV series that would revolutionise everyday fashion choices. Despite living on a meager columnist’s salary, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, managed to make opulent fur coats a wardrobe mainstay. From the moment she appeared on screen, women everywhere began to bow down to the one that could truly pull off any look and it was Patricia Field, the costume designer, who was responsible for crafting all of Carrie’s iconic looks. Not only did Sarah Jessica Parker take fashion to the next level, she changed the face of high-end brands like Manolo Blahnik, Dior and Chanel. Up until its debut on Sex and the City, the nameplate necklace was just a piece of jewellery, but Carrie Bradshaw made it a covetable item. Without Carrie, women may not have been as brave with fashion as they are today.

Once Nigel gave Andy Sachs a makeover in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, all women wanted was access to the Runway Magazine closet. There was no denying that this film was a feast for fashion lovers. After the movie released, the industry saw women dive headfirst into the world of Prada, Chanel and Jimmy Choo. The best part was, women could choose from different styles, a classic yet glamorous Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep, or edgy yet stylish Andy Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway.

Film and television are a source of learning what’s new and what’s not in the world of fashion. Stylists, who are the musketeers of fashion, invent a look to create a strong visual impact and re-write history. They inspire and influence designers by reinterpreting their creations. Stimulated by the new designs, stylists come up with endless combinations to gain new perspective. As the first ones to apply and adopt new trends, they are in control of sample trafficking to and from designers. The suggestions may be praised or refuted, but their knack for innovation offers them the opportunity to play with fashion, which then result in iconic looks. And as the wheel of style goes round, these looks are something that can be worn any day and look just as fabulous. And this is the stylist’s ultimate goal.