"Fashion and film used to feed off each other." So says Eugenia Paulicelli, curator of the exhibit Fashion + Film: The 1960s Revisited (which opens at the CUNY Graduate Center next week) in today's New York Times. So what happened?
The Times' Ruth La Ferla points out that decades ago, movies had "an influence so powerful it drove merchants and garment makers to rush line-for-line knockoffs into production." Flicks like Belle De Jour, Bonnie and Clyde, Annie Hall, Out Of Africa and Saturday Night Fever inspired designers and ignited trends. True, Jean Paul Gaultier showed some Avatar-inspired designs in January, and the March issue of Vogue includes a 10-page Avatar-esque shoot (see image above). But why haven't movies had much impact on fashion lately? (Besides, say, a frenzy over New Moon hoodies? )
BlackBook's Alisa Gould-Simon has an idea:
If designers are turning around four collections or more a year and fast fashion is knocking all of those styles off just as fast, it's no wonder that citing a single film as influence for an entire collection no longer works. The plague of fashion and the Millennial alike is that everything has been done before. So referencing a period piece or basing an entire collection around ‘Belle du Jour' would just feel dated. This is why the 70s look like the 70s, and anything after the Millenium is a hodgepodge of everything that came before.
In some ways, film and fashion are similar: more mass-produced, with shelf life shorter than ever and turnover faster than ever. But in both film and fashion, the classics stick around. Every other season or so, you'll see "Hitchcock blondes" on the runway, or Greta Garbo gowns.
The March issue of Bazaar taps into this classic film/classic fashion theme with a Bonnie And Clyde-inspired shoot:
And the editors took the idea one step further: They put together a fashion story in which the shots recreate scenes from the films of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar.
It's interesting that though there are iconic fashion pieces from films — Dorothy's ruby slippers; Marlon Brando's leather jacket; Cher's plaid skirts in Clueless — none are recent, current or immediate. (Although Donatella Versace claims she watched Tron when designing her recent collection, and Alice In Wonderland's being marketed at Hot Topic.) These days, people are more likely to be inspired to wear things they see on TV, like Mad Men and Gossip Girl. But maybe that's just a return to the "classics" as well: What's more timeless than a structured shift dress like Joan's or a preppy headband like Blair's?