Oscar Winning Fashion Icons
By: Nicola Barden | Published Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 10:16 PM | Updated Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 10:16 PM
The Academy Awards is the major fashion event of the year, not only for the excitement of who will win the coveted gold statue that will take their career to the next level, but for the show-stopping numbers that will be seen on the red carpet. Movies and fashion make a fabulous couple. Away from the flashing cameras, the hard work has all been done, and screen icons have been made. Natalie Portman will forever be a classic image of a dark, over-worked ballerina, just as actresses before her have remained frozen in time where their characters’ visual statement, from the way they lived, the emotions they evoked and most importantly, the clothes they wore, are embedded in most people’s memories for years after their Oscar season is over.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Everyone knows the familiar image of a chic Audrey Hepburn staring into the Tiffany’s window in the wee hours of the morning dressed in a simple black evening dress, big pearl necklace and dark shades. From that very first scene a legend was born, and both Holly Golightly and Hepburn forever became associated with simple elegance.
Today, the little black dress, or lbd, has been revamped and refreshed, as the one item every woman must possess. No matter what your personal style is a simple black dress can take you in anywhere. From classy, to sexy, to demure, it’s a staple piece of clothing that continues to give.
A modern fan of this look and a fashion legend in her own right is Miss Victoria Beckham. She added a few black numbers to her Spring Summer 2011 collection, which is surprising for the time of year that’s in it. French Connection have really embraced the black dress in all forms this season, with cotton, bodycon, satin and jersey there’s sure to be something there to bring out the Holly Golightly in all of us!
Everyone loves a bit of Diane Keaton, but her most memorable role came in 1977 as Woody Allen’s love interest, Annie Hall. Unlike Hepburn, this style icon is unconventional and unexpected. Keaton’s character pushed boundaries, rejecting the 1970’s glam look and embracing the quirky masculine style that it girls like Alexa Chung and Agyness Deyn continue to champion today.
This look is about shirts, men’s ties, baggy trousers and bowler hats. The key ingredient is confidence. On the outside this isn’t a very sexy look. It’s baggy and masculine. But what you lose in sexy you gain in quirky originality. The added confidence is the only way to demonstrate you’re comfortable enough with your sexuality that you can wear something so playful and fun. It requires the ability to dare to be different.
Way before Black Swan, and even before Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, the 1983 Oscar winning dance movie about a young girl working as a construction worker by day and a dancer by night came out and unleashed a trend for leg warmers, leggings, leotards, and baggy sweaters on the world. Fueled by the power and promotion of the newly-emerging dominance of MTV, the dancing, the music and the costumes became massively popular. The main character, Alex Owens, played by Jessica Beal, was the envy of every young girl with her perfect dancer’s body and effortlessly cool and comfortable style. The movie continues to inspire fashion trends with Carrie Bradshaw wearing the female tux in Sex and the City II, and American Apparel basing their style on such dance-inspired ensembles.
Melanie Griffin showed the world the power of a great outfit when she transformed herself from tacky secretary to high-powered business woman in the 1980’s classic Working Girl. It was the female version of Wall Street and made Melanie Griffin a style icon for every ambitious, hard-working, fashion conscious woman. The power suit continues to play a major part in the lives of the working woman. This season it’s all about the trouser suit, with wide legs and boyfriend blazers in whites and nudes, as per Stella McCartney. Although we have left the big frizzy hair behind, for now, the message remains the same - I’m a powerful woman who can work as hard as any man and still look fabulous. Harrison Ford’s character summarized the allure of her business look when he described her as “the first woman I've seen at one of these things that dresses like a woman, not like a woman thinks a man would dress if he was a woman.” The key is to keep that bit of femininity while looking sharp at the same time.
Taking inspiration from the 1940’s and 50’s, 2001’s Moulin Rouge exploded into cinemas in a burst of color, music and beauty. Nicole Kidman dazzled as a burlesque dancer in array of rich and sultry costumes. This was followed up by the Lady Marmalade music video where Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Maya and Pink also embraced the look, making fishnets, corsets, feathers and long gloves all the rage.
The costumes and sets made the movie as visually delightful as its soundtrack and began Nicole Kidman’s winning streak of perfect performances, allowing her to step out of Tom Cruise’s shadow and become a sexy, empowered woman and fashion icon. A massively hyped Chanel No.5 ad campaign followed and she has become a symbol of female sexuality. It’s not a look that I would encourage anyone to embrace on a daily basis but Agent Provocateur do elegant corsets, robes and underwear to match Nicole’s Moulin Rouge numbers.