Fashion

45 iconic fashion films, from Roman Holiday to Bonnie and Clyde

Film has the capacity to make not just a star of its leading women, but a fashion icon too. From Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly to Julia Roberts and Keira Knightley, via Mia Farrow and Catherine Deneuve, some of Hollywood's most successful stars owe a lot to their on-screen style.

But what of the stories behind these inspiring and award-winning wardrobes?

Whether you're a cinephile or fashion fan, brush up on your trivia with our favourite iconic looks from the movies - each paired with a fun and interesting fact about the style on show in the film.

What's your favourite fashionable film? Is there a big screen style icon we've overlooked? Share your views in the comments section below.

  • La Dolce Vita

    The image of Anita Ekberg emerging from the Trevi fountain in a black dress is one of the most memorable scenes in film history.

    FACT: Few knew how much La Dolce Vita was inspired by fashion - director Fellini claimed that Balenciaga's sack dress, with its dramatic silhouette (which flutters like Anita's black ballgown), inspired the film.

  • Love Story

    It may have erred on the schmaltzy side, but Love Story was redeemed by Ali Macgraw's preppy wardrobe of woolly bobble hats, pea coats and stripey college attire.

    FACT: This film's fashion icon status was cemented when designer Calvin Klein stated "she [Ali] exemplified this great American style”.

  • Annie Hall

    The eccentric, menswear-inspired outfits in Annie Hall - vintage men's clothing, baggy trousers and fedora hats - caught on, with pantsuits and men's clothing becoming a major trend for women after the film's release.

    FACT: Many of the items worn in the film actually came from Diane Keaton's own wardrobe.

  • Atonement

    This emerald green silk dress from the infamous library scene in Atonement sparked high street copycats the world over, and also contributed to costume designer Jacqueline Durran being nominated for an Academy Award.

    FACT: Whilst Durran lost out on the Academy Award, the dress was voted the best costume of all time by Sky Movies.

  • Roman Holiday

    Breakfast at Tiffany's may be the Audrey Hepburn film most often cited as people's favourite, but her chic fifties outfits in Roman Holiday are just as iconic - think skipping around Rome in a dirndl skirt and espadrilles.

    FACT: The film inspired a true fashion fairytale - at the end of production, Paramount gave Audrey the entire wardrobe from the film, including her hats, shoes, handbags and jewellery.

  • Blade Runner

    What to wear on the streets of LA in 2019? A fur coat and pompadour haircut, obviously. Ridley Scott's Blade Runner became a cult hit for the weird and wonderful costumes - a mix of the futuristic and film noir.

    FACT: Despite a tense atmosphere on set (thanks to director Ridley Scott) actress Sean Young (pictured) had "fond memories" of costume designer Charles Knode, who let her keep this fur coat after the film wrapped. He then went on to create the costumes for Braveheart.

  • Barbarella

    Jane Fonda's futristic costumes summed up the sixities style - kitsch, playful and more than a little sex kitten-ish.

    FACT: The costumes in Barbarella are credited to the legendary sixties designer Paco Rabanne, though most were actually created by Jacques Fonteray, and influenced by Jean-Claude Forest, who originally created the character.

  • Belle De Jour

    As a sexually-frustrated housewife who turns to prostitution for satisfaction, Catherine Deneuve's wardrobe in Belle Du Jour was sixties-prim with a dash of sexuality - think figure-hugging pencil skirts, silk blouses and stiletto heels.

    FACT: Yves Saint Laurent was hired to design the wardrobe for Deneuve in the Buñuel film, and the pair developed a lifelong friendship - so much so that Deneuve insisted on wearing his designs in her future films.

  • Now, Voyager

    Probably one of the most famous film makeover scenes of all time, Now, Voyager sees Charlotte Vale (pictured, played by Bette Davis) step off a cruise ship, transformed from a dowdy spinster with underplucked eyebrows, to a complete glamour-puss.

    FACT: Shoe designer Manolo Blahnik was so taken aback by this scene he created a whole collection inspired by Charlotte's 'spectator shoes' in the 1970s.

  • Bonnie and Clyde

    Stealing money has never looked this stylish. Although set in the 1930s, the Bonnie's wardrobe has a seventies feel, with its berets, tweed and fine knits.

    FACT: Kate Moss and the Mulleavy sisters of designer label Rodarte have named Bonnie and Clyde as their favourite film.

  • And God Created Woman

    In Brigitte Bardot's breakout film, And God Created Woman, she was styled as the ultimate sex kitten by legendary coutourier Pierre Balmain.

    FACT: This iconic scene, where she dances provacatively in a split skirt, led to the film being condemned by the Catholic League of Decency.

  • Casino

    Sharon Stone won an Oscar for her role in Casino as Ginger, the devious wife of high rolling gambler, but it was her flashy, sequinned Las Vegas wardrobe that stole the show.

    FACT: The costume budget for the film was $1 million, and Sharon had 40 costume changes. The white and gold dress pictured weighed a whopping 45 pounds.

  • Clueless

    With their Alaia mini-dresses, matchy-matchy suits, knee-length socks and walk-in wardrobes, who didn't want to dress like Cher and Dionne during the 90s?

    FACT: There are 53 different kinds of plaid used in Clueless, seven of which are worn by Cher, and twelve by other major characters.

  • Cleopatra

    Elizabeth Taylor's striking wardrobe for the film Cleopatra didn't just inspire clothing, but also accessories and even make-up trends - notably Alexander McQueen's autumn/winter 2007 collection.

    FACT: Taylor's wardrobe costs were a big contributor to the film's record-breaking budget - costing $194,800 and including a dress made from 24-carat gold cloth, it was the highest ever for a single screen actor.

  • The Great Gatsby

    The Great Gatsby perfectly captured the flapper style of the Jazz Age, with the character Daisy (played by Mia Farrow) dressed almost exclusively in white. The film went on to win the Oscar for Best Costume Design.

    FACT: Luckily the 1920s style was drop-waisted - Farrow was pregnant during the shooting and the film had to be shot wearing loose, flowing dresses.

  • Desire

    One of Marlene Dietrich's most iconic film looks can be seen in Desire. This fur-lined dressing gown was created by designer Travis Banton, who did her first movie costumes at Paramount.

    FACT: Banton was credited with creating the "Dietrich style" - a heady mix of exotic glamour, androgynous pieces, and lots of leg.

  • Grey Gardens

    The documentary about the eccentric Beale family was as memorable for the fashion as the quirky mother-daughter relationship. Little Edie (pictured) said she dressed "for combat" in old fur coats and with scarves wrapped around her head.

    FACT: Little Edie's kooky style was evident at the premier of the film - she wore her red dress backwards, with the zip down the front.

  • Heathers

    How to dress if you're in a the cool girl clique in a cult 1980s high school movie? In bright, padded blazers, clashing plaids, multi-coloured tights and lots of scrunchies, of course.

    FACT: A retro hair accessory, the scrunchy also signifies a turning point in the film when Heather Duke (played by Shannen Doherty) takes her old rival's red scrunchie and wears it, making the statement that she is now the most powerful Heather in the group.

  • The Outlaw

    Jane Russells' chest is often jokingly referred to as the star of The Outlaw. But did you know director Howard Hughes created a breathrough in bra science to ensure Russell's chest looked its best? He had designers create a seamless underwire brassiere, leaving no visible support lines underneath Russell's skimpy shirts. But Russell later said she did not wear the contraption during filming because it was too uncomfortable.

    FACT: Brassiere or no, The Outlaw was still contraversail, and was withdrawn from cinemas when the censorship department of The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America ruled that the film had broken too many decency code, even though Hughes had purposefully cut 37 scenes in which he felt Russell's breasts were overemphasized.

  • Breathless

    From her gamine pixie haircut to a wardrobe of breton tops, chinos and ballet flats, Jean Seberg's look in French New Wave film Breathless has now become iconic - and often copied.

    FACT: There was no costume designer or official costumes for the movie - director Jean-Luc Godard encouraged actors to wear their own clothing and make choices they thought appropriate for each character.

  • Mildred Pierce

    Joan Crawford was always known for her strong-shouldered look, a style that was displayed to perfection in Mildred Pierce.

    FACT: During filming, director Michael Curtiz fought with the actress over her wardrobe. She was told to buy clothes "off the rack" to look like a working mother. But Joan refused to look dowdy, and had her own dressmaker fit the waists and pad out the shoulders.

  • A Single Man

    With fashion designer Tom Ford as the director the wardrobe for A Single Man was always going to wow. He asked legendary Hollywood stylist Arianne Phillips to do the costumes - with Julianne Moore's monochrome house dress the standout piece.

    FACT: Phillips has als designed movie outfits for Madonna and Cameron Diaz.

  • Taxi Driver

    Taxi Driver caused controversy when released for Jodie Foster's character Iris, a Lolita-esque child prostitute dressed in hot pants, floppy hats and platforms. The then 13 year old Foster said at the time, “I spent four hours with a shrink trying to prove I was normal enough to play a hooker. Does that make sense?”

    FACT: To keep the look authentic, Jodie was advised on her wardrobe by an actual young prostitute, who appears in the film.

  • Pretty Woman

    Despite playing a prostitue, many of Julia Roberts' looks from Pretty Woman became iconic - particularly brown polka dot ensemble, complete with hat and matching gloves, from the polo scene.

    FACT: Roberts admitted she kept the dress to keep on eye on her figure - and can still fit into it.

  • Dr Zhivago

    Dr Zhivago elevated Julie Christie to star status, and her breathtaking wardrobe of fur coats, hats and romantic white gowns was used to illustrate social change in a Russia torn apart by war, revolution and ideological upheaval.

    FACT: The film won five Oscars, including Best Costume Design.

  • The African Queen

    Katharine Hepburn's dramamtic Victorian look in The African Queen was designed by Doris Langley Moore, who created the Museum of Costume in Bath. Katharine said that the designer, was "a charmer" and knew just what to wear because she had been brought up in Africa herself. She also said the director was "fascinated" by the underwear Doris brought in.

  • Lolita

    Based on the novel of the same name, Stanley Kuberick's 1962 Lolita adaptation faced controversey with its theme of the sexualisation of a young girl. So powerful wass the story that the term 'Lolita' quickly came into use in relation to grown women adopting a child-like style, and has prompted an entire style movement in Japan.

    FACT: The famous heart-shaped sunglasses that Lolita wears appear only in the publicity photos - she actually wears cat eye sunglasses in the movie.

  • Pandora's Box

    As a silent movie, the costumes in Pandora's Box had to work extra hard. That they did, with star Louise Brooks dazzling in a string of innocent yet sexual outfits (much like her character), designed by Jean Patou.

    FACT: Following the film's release, Brooks' bobbed hairstyle became the widely copied and has since become synonomous with the 1920s.

  • Desperately Seeking Susan

    The director took a chance on Madonna in lead role because of the pop star's personal style. The gamble paid off - Desperately Seeking Susan brought Madonna's signature look to the mainstream in the 1980s, with its eclectic jumble of thrift store finds and wacky accessories.

    FACT: The thrift store where the two Susan's go shopping actually exists - it's called "Love Saves the Day" and is in Greenwich Village in New York City.

  • The Royal Tenenbaums

    Margot's offbeat wardrobe of Lacoste tennis dresses, fur coats, vintage bags and barrattes showed Gwyneth Paltrow in a whole new light in The Royal Tenenbaums.

    FACT: Director Wes Anderson wanted to make the Tenenbaums appear "trapped in the era of their heyday", so made sure all clothes were from the 1970s and characters stayed in the same or similar outfits throughout the movie.

  • The Seven Year Itch

    This infamous shot of Marilyn Monroe's halterneck white dress blowing up around her legs as she stands over a subway grating was originally shot on Manhattan's Lexington Avenue for a scene in The Seven Year Itch. Onlookers whistled and cheered through take after take as Marilyn repeatedly missed her lines - and eventually the scene had to be reshot in a studio.

    FACT: The dress recently sold at auction for $4.6 million.

  • Working Girl

    In Working Girl, Melanie Griffiths plays dowdy employee Tess, who is given a makeover by her power-suit-wearing boss Katherine, played by Signourney Weaver. Weaver paraphrased Coco Chanel in the film, telling Tess, "dress shabbily and they notice the dress; dress impeccably and they notice the woman."

    FACT: Griffiths' character's new look came at a price - the dress Tess borrows from Katharine for the cocktail party cost $6000.

  • Out of Africa

    Meryl Streep's colonial and safari style wardrobe in Out of Africa was effortlessly elegant. Director Stephen Grimes sent the film's costume designer Milena Canonero colour copies of the paintings he did whilst in Kenya in order for her to match the colour palette of the wardrobe to those on-set.

    FACT: Streep ran into a spot of bother on set when a huge beetle crawled into her high-collard shirt, and got trapped during a scene. Like a true professional Streep carried on - then ripped her jacket off after the take.

  • Rosemary's Baby

    Mia Farrow's wardrobe in this 1968 film mirrors the actress's own sixities style, featuring plenty of A-line dresses, Peter Pan collars and eye-popping colours.

    FACT: Style also plays a symbolic role in Rosemary's Baby. Costumier Anthea Sylbert shortened Rosemary’s hemlines deliberately during the film as the character gains more and more independence. Her severe hair cut was also an act of rebellion, and was created by legendary hairdresser Vidal Sassoon.

  • The Fifth Element

    Jean Paul Gaultier created the futuristic costumes for sci-fi film The Fifth Element, including the legendary bondage-inspired outfits, donned by supermodel Milla Jovovich.

    FACT: Gaultier designer 954 costumes for the film, and was present on set each day of filming to ensure the outfits were as he envisaged them.

  • Pretty in Pink

    As the title of Pretty in Pink suggests, the pink prom dress created by Molly Ringwald's character Andie is one of the stars of this coming-of-age prom film.

    FACT: The vintage-cum-hand-me-down creation was actually designed by Marilyn Vance, who was behind the wardrobes for all of John Hughes' Brat Pack films.

  • Rear Window

    Although only appearing as a supporting actress, all five of Grace Kelly's costumes in Rear Window are classic Kelly - full-swish skirts, fitted tops, elbow length gloves, pearls and that Hermés bag.

    Paramount's costume designer Edith Head was nominated for 35 Oscars, and won eight times (including for Grace Kelly’s stunning gowns in Rear Window). She also wrote the bestseller How to Dress for Success.

  • Gilda

    In Gilda, Rita Hayworth performs a striptease in a black dress - and it became the most iconic example of a femme fatale in film.

    FACT: The dress was created by American costume designer Jean Louis, who collaborated with Rita on nine films and was responsible for cultivating her glamorous image.

  • The Wizard of Oz

    In the original novel, Dorothy wore silver shoes, but her ruby slippers in the film are now among the most treasured and valuable of film memorabilia.

    FACT: A number of pairs were made for the film (though no one knows exactly how many) and five pairs are known to have survived - one of these was stolen in 2005 and never found again.

  • Grease

    Olivia Newton John's development from 'good Sandy' to 'bad Sandy' in Grease is one of film's most iconic transformations - her character's wholesome 1950s full skirts, fitted sweaters and cheearleader pom-poms were replaced by killer red mules and a skin-tight black catsuit for the infamous final scene.

    FACT: When we say skin-tight, we mean it - Newton John was famously sewn in to the outfit on-set.

  • Gone with the Wind

    The sheer scale of 1939's Gone With The Wind was reflected in the 19th century outfits - over 5,000 individal items of clothing were crated by the film's costume designer, Walter Plunkett.

    FACT: The memorable green dress pictured was made from a pair of old curtains in the film - Scarlett wanted to look perfect for Rhett Butler's return, and show she could still look elegant despite the hardships of the Civil War.

  • Basic Instinct

    Sharon Stone's all-white outift in this unforgettable scene in Basic Instinct was made infamous by her character's absence of underwear.

    FACT: The white dress was created from scratch by costume designer Ellen Mirojnick. Ellen stated in Clothes on Film she wanted to make the character of Catherine look like "the icy blonde, similar to a Hitchcockian character".

  • The Stepford Wives

    Whilst the 2004 remake starring Nicole Kidman featured prim 1950s styling, the original Stepford Wives was 1970s through and through, including high-waisted, wide-leg trousers, tonal colours and free-flowing hair.

    FACT: The supermarket scene, in which lead character Joanna appears to have become 'robotic' like the other wives, could have looked a lot raunchier. Screenwriter Goldman wanted the wives to dress like provocative models, but after Nannette Newman was cast in the lead role, Goldman decided the wives should look dowdier - hence the Victorian-inspired maxi dresses.

  • The Birds

    Hitchcock controlled every aspect of his films, even down to the colour of Tippi Hedren's clothes. He specified she should wear a green dress during the infamous crow chase scene in The Birds, so designer Edith Head created a wardrobe of only blue and green designs throughout the film.

    FACT: In 2009, Mattel released a limited-edition Barbie doll based on the scene in The Birds when Hedren gets attacked to celebrate the films 45th anniversary.

  • Dr No

    Probably the most famous example of swimwear on screen (save Daniel Craig's trunks in Casino Royal) Ursula Andress became the quintiessential Bond Girl when she emerged from the Caribbean sea in that belted bikini in Dr No.

    FACT: The iconic bikini sold for £35,000 at auction in 2001.