Costumes are extremely important in films. They can help tell us about the characters we are watching and even hint at themes in the film. In some cases costumes can even steal films, right from under the noses of actors, writers and directors - hence 'costume drama' films and television shows, where the costumes are a selling point in themselves, to be awed and drooled over.
I want to look at a variety of costumes, but today I'm looking at dresses - the ones I've liked the most, and which I think are the most visually striking.
So in no particular order, here are five of my favourites.
1] Audrey Hepburn's gown from Funny Face
A Funny Face is musical film all about the fashion world that stars Audrey Hepburn as a bookshop owner who becomes a model. All her Paris costumes were designed by Hubert de Givenchy, who had also designed all her Paris costumes in Sabrina, and he created a whole series of beautiful dresses and outfits for the film. The short skirted wedding dress she wears at the end for example, seems to have become a classic, based on the amount of images I found of it online.
However, out of all the Paris costumes my favourite dress is this gown with a floral polka dot like pattern. She looks so elegant in the long skirt, and the pattern is pretty, but not
overwhelming. In the film, she wears the dress with several accessories, including a light blue silk cape and gloves. This gown even looks good soaked, as Hepburn proves in this funny scene with Fred Astaire!
2] Daenerys Targaryen's blue dress from Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is an epic piece of television. It's story is huge and fully of interesting characters, but it also has amazing production values. Seriously, stop and actually look at the sets, the locations and the costumes that have been created for this show, because it's incredible - and one of my favourite examples is the blue dress Daenery's wears whilst staying in the city of Qarth. The costume department seemed to create a whole style of dress for this luxurious city, with alot of the women's dresses employing the gorgeous gold cut-out bands that are used to hold up the dress and as belts - as shown in Daenery's dress above.
Of course my favourite is Daenery's, it is floaty and exotic looking, yet at the same time it looks almost medieval, which is in keeping with the rest of the show. Certainly it is one of the most unforgettable costumes a character of Game of Thrones has ever worn!
3] The Black Swan dress from Black Swan
Ballet costumes in real life are beautifully designed and the film dresses in Black Swan, designed by Amy Westcott, were no exception. I have looked back at the white swan dress too, which is fantastic, but I still think the black swan costume beats it. Why? Honestly it's partly because that eye make-up just makes the whole effect pop! But the dress is still incredible, its edgier and sharper than the white swan dress, and look at that crown, it looks like its made of shards of glass and diamonds! Check the dress out in action...
4] Romana II's Edwardian dress from Shada, Doctor Who
Romana is one of my favourite companions in Doctor Who, and I always liked her vintage style of dress. However, out of all her costumes I've honestly only seen this dress in a few pictures and clips. To be fair though, it didn't get much screen time anyway. The Doctor Who episode the actress wore this dress in was only half shot due to strikes at BBC.
Nonetheless the outfit, even in this picture, is striking. I do believe it is a dress, though the difference in patterns from the top and skirt could been its a combo. However, I'm still happy to bend the rules a little and put it in my list. The white lacy top and bright red belt, with that lovely the fruity, flowery hat altogether look classy, vintage and elegant.
5] The Queen's peacock dress and Snow White's orange and blue dress from Mirror, Mirror
Okay, a little bit a cheat here! Firstly, of course this is two dresses, and second I have not seen the film. Though, given that costumes are meant to reflect the character, I should be able to have a good guess at what the characters are like from their clothes.
Anyway, the reason I include these on my list is because, frankly these dresses sold the film to me. I mean Mirror, Mirror looks like an amazing in the trailers anyway, the designers have really created an extravagant, shimmering fairytale world, but the costumes are what really stand out.
Strangely, I can't decide which costume I like best, or if I even like either of them. Orange and blue? And those ruffs? And yet, it looks incredible. It works, somehow. The bright colours and interesting shapes just feel fun, and perhaps that's the point. The trailer sells the film as full of fun and humour, so it is not surprising that the clothes reflect this.
The Queen's dress is more conventional, I'd say. It's not hugely subtle, hell its a red peacock dress complete with a peacock tail collar - it practically yells 'vain' and 'evil'! Perhaps that's what makes these dresses so good, they are so big and crazy and yet so much fun. The red peacock dress doesn't suggest a really dark menacing Queen, it's a bit big and a little silly, like the villain herself.
Check out the trailer and see if you think these dresses sell to you, as much as it did me.