We all have iconic movie and TV scenes that remind us of a certain era of fashion, but did you ever stop to consider the impact that fashion has in iconic scenes? In this article, we will take a look at fashion in iconic film and TV scenes and how it has played a role in the lasting legacy of these cinematic moments.
1. Setting the Stage- Fashion in Iconic Film and TV Scenes
When talking about iconic film and TV scenes, fashion plays an important role. It is a way to set the stage, to create atmosphere and to develop characters. It is a crucial component for director and costume designers, who use it to tell a story, draw attention to certain aspects of the scene or to simply give an extra shine to a memorable scene.
The costume design of a movie or TV show is a masterful art. It takes an understanding of the characters and the context of the scene to come up with the most visually pleasing combination of fabric, pattern and colors. A good costume designer will make sure every character is represented with the right clothing style, paying attention to detailing and accessories in order to best capture the type of person he or she is playing in the movie.
Many of these famous scenes have become iconic due to their amazing fashion sense. From Thelma and Louise’s chic cowboy hats to Carrie Bradshaw’s revolutionary wardrobe in Sex and the City; Either movies or TV shows, fashion has been part of the script since the beginning of cinema, making a huge contribution to the storytelling technique.
To name a few icons of film and TV fashion, there’s:
- Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
- Joan Cusack’s and Molly Ringwald’s attire in Sixteen Candles
- Jackie O’s classic look in The Interpreter
- Karen Walker’s outrageous styles in Will & Grace
- Rick Grimes’ leather acts in The Walking Dead
The list keeps going on and on, with either more modern or classic examples. But one thing is for sure: without fashion, these scenes would certainly not be as iconic or memorable.
Without the costume designers, these iconic scenes would not exist. From the all-time fashion icon Edith Head to TV’s ultimate go-to designer Patricia Field, these costume geniuses set the stage for fashion to enter the movies and create an artistic impact on the characters. They have certainly given a new role to fashion across film and TV.
2. The Impact of Costume Design
Costumes Play a Major Role in Storytelling
A costume designer’s job is far more than the creation of outfits – it’s a vital role in setting the mood and tone of a scene. By understanding the characters, plot and context of the scene, a costume designer can help bring the story to life, and evoke strong emotions in the audience. It’s not just what characters wear, but also the colors, shapes and fabrics used that convey important messages and help tell the story.
In many iconic films and TV shows, costume design has played a key role in their success. The outfits worn by characters help to shape audience perception of the characters and help to emphasize key elements of the plot. Here are a few of the standout examples of costume design’s lasting impact on popular culture.
- Mamma Mia – As a classic jukebox musical, with ABBA at its helm, Mamma Mia is famous for its bold, bright, retro costumes. These fun, flamboyant outfits help to bring the story to life and create a unique atmosphere that audiences love.
- Mildred Pierce – This Film noir classic showcased the iconic 1940s style – smart tailored suits, beautifully printed tea dresses, and glamorous accessories. The costumes were a critical part of bringing the story to life, and gave the audience a sense of the era.
- Game of Thrones – This epic HBO series has some of the most intricate and detailed costume design ever produced, with intricate details and luxurious fabrics. The costumes are intricately designed for each character, to reflect their status, history and background.
- The Great Gatsby - Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of the classic novel created a beautiful and decadent 1920s aesthetic. The costume design featured a range of period pieces from shimmering sequins to delicate embroidery.
It’s clear that costume design has the power to elevate a film or TV show to iconic status, and to influence viewers for years to come. Costume designers use their creative skill to create powerful visuals in every scene, so it’s no wonder that costume design has such an impact on popular culture.
3. Understanding the Actor’s Role
When it comes to iconic film and TV scenes, the actor’s role is fundamental to its success. The way they portray the characters, capture the emotion of the scene and ad-lib when necessary, all play a part when it comes to evoking a real and lasting memory.
To understand the actor’s role, it’s important to gain an in-depth knowledge of the characters – what motivates them, their fears and insecurities, and their backstory. All of these factors go a long way in creating an improvised, believable performance between two or more actors.
Once you have a deeper understanding of the characters, you can begin to consider the style of the scene itself and how it will bring out the best in the cast. Let’s take fashion as an example:
- Fundamentals – It’s important to get the basics down before attempting to style any characters. Take a look at the script, research the time period and characters, and assess the environment.
- Logistics – How will the costumes be used in the scene? Will they require multiple changes or be used in different settings? Consider any practicalities that might be required for filming.
- Exploration – Using sketches, swatches, and fabric samples, explore your options and see what might look best on the characters within the scene.
- Practicality – Don’t forget practicality when it comes to styling characters. Does the script allow for items that are uncomfortable or impractical for everyday use?
In summary, in iconic films and TV scenes is essential for not only capturing the emotion of the scene but also allowing the audience to feel connected to the characters. By paying attention to the fundamentals, logistics, exploration, and practicality, as well as the character backgrounds, you create a style that leaves a strong and memorable impact.
4. Costumes Help to Establish Character
Costumes play a vital role in establishing a character, creating impactful and durable impressions that stay in viewers’ minds for years. Iconic films and TV shows partner with costume designers, who create the looks that make a lasting impact. From Buffy to Joker, these luxurious and often intricate costumes have become a part of pop culture and an integral part of storytelling. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how costumes add to the character and story:
- Gossip Girl: The iconic Upper East Side look of the characters was tailored and designed to perfection, establishing the characters’ class and status.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Funky yet fashionable, Buffy’s costumes were practical and well-suited to the stakes at hand. Her signature red leather coat was iconic, and her costume became her armor.
- Sex and the City: As the show rose to popularity, the featured fashion of the four leading ladies skyrocketed too. From Carrie’s unusual style to Samantha’s luxurious choices, the costumes added to each character’s individual story.
- The Joker: His signature suit reflects the chaos and destruction that is his story and life. The bright green hair, steel-colored vest, and purple gloves serve to present the character as a statement without words.
Costumes express character and set the tone for the story. The costumes act in harmony with the narrative, magnifying the emotions and atmosphere. This subtle but powerful element of movie-magic has served to carve out not only characters but iconic looks in our minds.
5. Fashion for All Genres
When it comes to iconic fashion from TV shows and films, there’s no shortage of breathtaking, unforgettable ideas that span all genres. Fashion can tell a story all on its own, and few things do that better than a scene from a beloved classic. Here are some best-dressed moments that made the cut:
- Cher Horowitz, Clueless – A quirky valley girl with a knack for designer labels, Cher captured teen style in the 90s perfectly with her playful combinations. From tartan mini skirts and crop tops to her go-to yellow plaid outfit, Cher became an ultimate icon.
- Jon Snow, Game of Thrones – Cloaked in furs, leather, and chainmail, Jon Snow’s understated looks smelled of masculinity, strength, and high-born something. He was adorned in various shades of black, grey, and brown, highlighting the gravity of his character.
- Auntie Mame, Auntie Mame – This snappy dresser from the 50s lived up to her reputation, experimenting with haute couture like no other. Her outrageous and glamorous looks were shown to be just as rebellious as she was in seeking pleasure in life.
The range of characters is vast and so is the variety of iconic looks, especially in the era of streaming shows and film. In the past several decades, countless on-screen characters have made a splash with their clothing choices, inhabiting different time periods, cultural backgrounds, and more. From exhilarating period pieces to poignant real-life representations, fashion still plays a huge role in telling stories — stories of power, rebellion, and all-around sartorial style.
6. Iconic Fashion Moments in Pop Culture
From the unforgettable couture gowns donned by the ladies in Gossip Girl, to Monica’s washed denim skirts in Friends, fashion in film and television has always played an essential role in popular culture with iconic scenes. Here are just a few times when fashion helped shape memorable moments from film and television.
1. La La Land’s Vintage Music Montage
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s heart-fluttering musical number is as much of a feast for the eyes as it is for the ears. From Emma Stone’s luxe vintage dresses to Ryan Gosling’s sharp burgundy suit, the costumes perfectly capture the story’s nostalgia.
2. Romy and Michele’s ’80s Outfits
In this cult classic, Mia Sorvino and Mira Sorvino play off each other in perfectextravagant ’80s style in every scene. From their giant shoulder pads to their floralprinted biker shorts, ’90s fashion doesn’t get much better than this.
3. Molly’s Epic Closet in The Devil Wears Prada
Anne Hathaway plays a crisp and polished assistant to Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, but when she goes to visit her boss’s closet, she is utterly overwhelmed by her fashion fantasies. From sparkling evening gowns to ultrachic summer wear, there is no denying the film’s powerful influence on fashion.
4. Carrie’s Rummage Sale in Sex & The City
From the outset, the show Sex And The City embraced designer labels and Carrie’s budget shopping was always considered a great source of fashion inspiration. In one of the most memorable episodes from the series, Carrie goes to a rummage sale and is able to find the ultimate outfit: a black lace Halston shift dress.
5. Rachel and Monica’s Flower Power Suits
In Friends, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Monica (Courteney Cox) have always been renowned for their impeccable fashion sense and their flower power suits are no exception. Accessorized with plenty of chunky jewelry and hair accessories, the duo were ahead of their time and managed to strike the perfect balance between girly and corporate.
6. Frey’s Wedding Dress in Titanic
We all remember Kate Winslet’s beautifulheart-stopping wedding dress in Titanic, but it was Frey (Gloria Stuart) who was the true fashion star of the film. Her character wore a striking off-the-shoulder ivory lace dress with a scalloped bodice and an intricate train.
From classic period pieces to groundbreaking sitcoms, film and television have always had a knack for injecting a flair of style into the scenes that we can’t help but remember.
7. The Ever-Evolving Costuming in Media
From classic Hollywood movies to the latest challenging dramas, costume design has an ever-evolving role. From high budget blockbusters to indie budget works, fashion in film and television scenes is an integral part of the narrative. Here are some examples that demonstrate the power of costuming.
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s – The Little Black Dress – A classic little black dress is an iconic piece that can be dressed up or down. Audrey Hepburn’s iconic look in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s reinforced this item’s popularity. It has become a staple in many women’s wardrobes ever since.
- The Big Lebowski – The Rug – To spruce up the living room of the titular character, the design team chose an ornate Persian rug with pink and red highlights. This “piece of art” nearly stole the film and inspired a cult-like following.
- Ocean’s Eleven – The Threesome – To create a more casual and complimentary look for The Rat Pack, costume designer Jeffrey Kurland used a combination of suits, slacks, and white shirts. This iconic look – known as the threesome – inspired future generations of costuming.
- Mad Men – The Suave Suit – Another example of iconic costuming is the suave Don Draper suit in Mad Men. The slick and tailored, 3-piece suit embodies modern style and speaks volumes about wealth and power.
Whether through classic Hollywood cinema or edgy independent films, costuming in film and television scenes plays a significant role in both the narrative and culture. When it comes to fashion, film and television have a powerful influence on what people will wear.
8. Embracing the Power of Fashion in Media
From unforgettable movie scenes to boundary-breaking TV episodes, fashion has always played a key role in media that leaves an unforgettable legacy. When iconic actors strut their stuff down the red carpet, donning glamorous pieces, packed with personality and pizzazz, they are setting the trends for fashion-lovers like never before. But their sartorial choices–whether outlandish or classic–are more than just adding to the plotline or serving as eye-candy, they are reflections of characters’ moods and underlying messages. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable fashion moments that have defined an era.
- The Princess Diaries (2001) – When Anne Hathaway’s shy and unassuming character, Mia, undergoes a transformation into a regal princess, it’s done with the help of a striking cobalt-blue gown. Symbolizing her power and newfound confidence, the dress was an ode to feminine strength and beauty.
- Gossip Girl (2007–2012) – The Upper East Side elites’ wardrobes were the envy of fashionistas everywhere, featuring classic Chanel, coveted Christian Louboutin shoes and a myriad of other designer pieces in every episode. From Blair Waldorf’s signature headbands and Serena van der Woodsen’s effortless elegance, the show brought cool back to the big screen.
- The Devil Wears Prada (2006) – Miranda Priestly’s status as one of the fiercest female characters has become cemented in cinematic history. Her iconic work attire–constructed from simple but tailored garments–exemplified how a structured wardrobe can make a powerful statement in any workplace.
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – When discussing fashion icons of the silver screen, one cannot forget the elegant Audrey Hepburn. When she stepped out in her gossamer white gown and gloves, dripping in diamonds and singing ‘Moon River,’ making that little black dress her own, she cemented her status as a trendsetter.
When we consider how elements of styleヿcommunications of emotions: joy, despair, and anticipation– film and TV shows provide us with a deeper understanding of the humanity behind the characters. Fashion in media not only has the potential to influence our own wardrobe choices, it also provides us with archives of the fashion trends defining the periods in which these shows were released.
From classic silhouettes to extravagant designs, Media is where fashion is at―and it’s here to stay.
We hope that this article has sparked conversation around the role that fashion plays in iconic film and television scenes. Hopefully, this look into the past can serve as motivation for creating fashion statements in the thrilling present and future! See you next time!