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Fashion in Film: From the Silver Screen to High Street

When people watch movies, they usually pay the most attention to the plot, the actors and the iTunes-topping soundtracks. And while there may be an academy award for costume design, many people tend not to notice how the fashion in films can transform into their day-to-day street style.

Hit movies like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Spectre alongside television shows such as Mad Men have been highly influential in the realm of fashion in recent years.

“I think movie fashion is typically much more eccentric than the ordinary person would wear,” said Sydney Foy (COM ’19).

While this may seem true, it comes down to the differentiation between costume design and wardrobe.

The Hunger Games trilogy is the perfect example of this. Capitol fashion may seem more runway than everyday wear—partially thanks to the pieces Alexander McQueen lent to the Hunger Games’ costume designer Trish Summerville. But lead character Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, had a more utilitarian style with braids to boot, something that inspired and influenced merchandisers and bloggers alike.

Chantal Fernandez, an editor at Fashionista, wrote a piece titled “A Complete Breakdown Of The Costumes In The Final ‘Hunger Games’ Movie.” She gives credit to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay costume designers known as Kurt and Bart.

“Fashion is as utilitarian as the bunkers are,” Fernandez said in her piece. “And there seems to be an infinite supply of cargo pocket-covered jumpsuits for every man, woman and child.”

It is clear that after the movie’s release sparked the rise in military-inspired style. Military jackets, cargo pockets, army green and earthy colors trickled into mainstream stores like H&M and Urban Outfitters.

Mockingjay is not the only film whose costumes left a visible impact. The suits and styles of the infamous James Bond did the same.

Spectre, the latest in the Bond series, features suits that are out of this world. Bond, played by hunky actor Daniel Craig, looked as put together as ever and the fashion world took notice.

Some suits don’t seem to flatter the muscular image that follows Bond and his spy missions, so the costume director had to specifically choose suits with materials that played up the actor’s body type.

“Most of Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall and Spectre have narrow notched lapels that make Craig’s chest look larger,” said The Suits of James Bond blog in their analysis of the film.

But Bond doesn’t only wear suits; he can also been seen in many slim fitting sweater and sports coats that somehow make his casual style still feel ultra classy and mysterious. Bond wears a number of envy-inducing designers throughout Spectre that keep men wishing they could be as dashing as 007.

“I’m a firm believer that the things we see in movies and TV have a huge impact on the trends that envelop our society,” said Massimo D’Emilia (COM ’17), a film and TV major. “[I was studying] in London when Spectre came out and all I wanted to do was put on a nice a suit, head to a pub and order a martini. Had that martini been stirred rather than shaken, I would’ve been forced to send it back and request another.”

Perhaps one of the most noticeable TV influences on mainstream fashion was the popularity of AMC’s hit series Mad Men. Set in the 1950s, the show was a massive period piece featuring accurate and authentic styles from the ’50s and ’60s.

According to Forbes Magazine, “the influence that Mad Men has over today’s fashion trends is more palpable than ever.”

Lead character Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, became known for his clean-cut suits and suave style. Magazines such as GQ and Esquire featured Mad Men inspired editorials and content, and Banana Republic even released a 65-piece Mad Men inspired collection. The pieces feed off the show’s use of lace car coats and pleated skirts as well as the classic pointy-toe heels.

Mad Men served as more than just inspiration; the TV show became a direct influence on the fashion world. A year after Mad Men premiered, J. Crew released their new slim-cut Ludlow suit.

Frank Muytjens, J.Crew’s head menswear designer, told Quartz Magazine that Mad Men affected pop culture and “had an impact on what types of clothes some of our customers started to lean towards.”

The Hunger Games trilogy and Mad Men have both come to an end, and the hunt for the new James Bond continues, but it is clear that their iconic style inspiration lives on through fashion.

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