Films have been the most enduring entertainment for the masses and the most successful dissemination method for new fashion trends since the 20th-century. Film stars disseminate the latest trends, and their personal styles influence the spectacular wardrobes of the films in which they appear.
With the advent of the digital revolution, the media’s power to sell fashion has gone full-scale, opening the doors to everyone and allowing the film’s fashion influence to grow globally. People’s interest in the fashion industry as a whole – with the sense of glitter surrounding it and the influential people who manage it – has been recognised by the film industry. Using a book-based film release to showcase clothes has the advantage of not only letting viewers see the garments up close and from multiple angles at the same time, but also of displaying the clothes – and the lifestyle and persona that appears to be intrinsic to them – in a more stylised and successful manner.
Let’s look at some of those films that have helped inspire the men’s fashion world.
The film Quadrophenia, directed by Franc Roddam and starring Ray Winstone and Leslie Ash, follows the story of Jimmy the Mod, who abandons his work as a mailroom lad in favour of drug-taking, dancing and brawling with the Brighton Rockers. Parkas, leather jackets and slim suits abound in this picture, which is regarded as one of the most sartorially influential of all time.
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The Great Gatsby
Whether you dwell in the north or the south, Gatsby’s blazing ’20s summer style can put any man to shame (it’s time to ditch the cargo shorts, gentlemen!). Gatsby was always dressed to the nines in the days before air conditioning. The gentlemen even went for boater caps and tie pins for the perfect finishing touches! Both Gatsbys provide wonderful inspiration, whether you choose Robert Redford’s 1974 version or Leonardo DiCaprio‘s more current Baz Luhrmann masterpiece.
There is a murder plot in this flick, but who cares? Its style – and, secondarily, Giorgio Moroder’s music – has left an indelible imprint on pop culture. To begin with, its wardrobe revolutionised 1980s suiting by offering a more relaxed, expansive fit with padded shoulders, lower-positioned lapels, and, yes, pleats. It’s as far from Wall Street smarm as you can go, considering the arc men’s suiting has taken over the decade. Still, it fits – and its subtle devil-may-care appeal – is an influence that has wormed its way back into men’s wardrobes over the past year.
Beyond the era, the movie updated the casual suit from its polyester-based leisure days of the 1970s to a lighter-weight, occasionally linen-based garment that hangs a little but fits in all the right places. Simply said, American Gigolo defined both evening and workplace clothing for the next ten years, establishing Armani as a global brand.
A Single Man
Colin Firth plays a professor dealing with losing a loved one in Tom Ford’s directorial debut, A Single Man. Throughout the film, Firth wears a perfect brown suit with a white oxford shirt, tie bar and thick black glasses. Firth gives the term “everyday suit” a whole new meaning, showing us how to wear a suit and make it appear effortless using vintage 60s flair and a classic suit template.
Dolemite Is My Name
With its full-throttle embrace of 1970s fashion, Eddie Murphy’s film had men grabbing bright suits and paisley shirts. Dolemite is My Name, like designer Dapper Dan’s work with Gucci, keeps the jazzy trends under control. The film is replete with metropolitan suits in vibrant colours and quirky designs, matched with equally ornate shirts and, of course, matching bell-bottoms.
Film and fashion have long been inextricably linked. When we watch films, we are often influenced by the leading men and try to imitate their manner. These movie aesthetics have influenced a slew of clothing designers (take a look at most menswear staples, which classic Hollywood films have inspired). Trends are resurrecting in a new way thanks to some of our favourite motion flicks, whether it’s bringing back a distinctive 70s look or experimenting with alternative textiles for guys.
The society in which we live, and the specific setting that we live in, may have an impact on us. The people we hang out with, the places we go, and the surroundings affect how we act and dress. There’s no doubt that films and other forms of mass media have a considerable influence in shaping people’s opinions and even our dress sense.