Top 5 most recognizable dresses in cinema

Friday, January 18, 2013

Every little piece of clothing worn in a movie is considered as costume. Some are elaborate while others are casual. They are all used to tell a story and communicate aspects of the character’s personality. Actors once suited up in costume leave their personalities behind and bring the character in the script to life on screen.

For a few films the fashion lingers a lot longer than the actual script. The costumes that jump out and place a stamp on our minds remain for a lifetime. There are many such instances but in this article we’ll look five of the most recognizable dresses in cinema.

Marilyn Monroe - The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The giggling image of Marilyn Monroe as she stands over a subway grate in a white halter dress from William Travilla will forever be stamped in the minds of generations past and those to come. A halter dress that was worn more than sixty years still makes an impression today because of the way it looked on Ms. Monroe.

While the design and fabric used served to emphasize the hips and the cleavage the dress itself was immortalized by the director’s decision to have the star stand over a subway grate close to Grand Central station and use the draft of an incoming training to lift the skirt. Due to the crowds at the scene had to be reshot in a studio.

Movie posters used this enticing image to capture audience attention and increase the interest in the movie. That image still remains as strong today with copies of the dress being sold at popular auction sites. There is also countless merchandise with this image that still sells today.

Keira Knightley - Atonement (2007)

A new generation of movie goers has in a recent poll voted Keira Knightley’s dress worn in the Atonement as the greatest costume movie has ever seen. They chose the green satin halter gown in favor of other iconic dresses like those worn by Marilyn Monroe and Scarlett O Hara. The wonderful satin fabric gathered wonderfully at Keira’s waist and ended in a long train.

The costume designed by Jacqueline Durran was made under the directions of the director Joe Wright who insisted on a green dress. The deep jewel tones of the dress were accomplished through the use three different sheer fabrics in varying shades of green.

Audrey Hepburn - Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly may have inspired the term little black dress. Designed by Hubert de Givenchy the dress was the perfect complement to Audrey’s slim frame and provided the ideal frame for her beautiful face. The dress was worn with long black gloves and five rows of jewels.

This gown has been judged a few times as the greatest female dress on film. The original dress had a slit that was too high for film so the lower half was altered by Edith Head. The original dress which was hand-stitched sits in Givenchy's private archive, one copy remains on display in the Museum of Film and the other copy was auctioned at Christies.

Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Enshrouded in a heavy brocade fabric Elizabeth (played by Cate Blanchett) is lord (ahem Lady) of the Court. With heavily powdered white face and egret plumes the whole look comes together creating a 19th century look that will forever stay in our minds.

Designed by Alexandra Byrne who has been known for his golden ages revivals in costume the dresses really helps to take us back into that period.

Vivien Leigh - Gone With the Wind (1939)

Last but by no means the least is the red velvet come hither robe worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. In the dialogue she might have been saying no with her lips but her dress with the scooped out neckline and clinched waist was beckoning Clark Butler to come.

A lot of period research went into the making of the dress designed by Walter Plunkett. The sultry palette and rich textures of the fabric showed up well in screen and makes it one of the most memorable dresses today.

What are some of your most memorable movie dresses?

Guest Post By: Kole for Discount Fabric

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