There are few films or shows that inspire me immediately to change my look.
Everyone once in awhile I watch certain films or shows and get an itching, uncontrollable urge to exude a style or a character. Sometimes it’s an entire outfit, sometimes it’s a makeup look, and sometimes it’s an air.
Without further ado, a list:
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953, Howard Hawks)
If you haven’t seen this classic Marilyn Monroe (not to be reductive) film, you really should, because it’s quite funny and just purely entertaining.
It’s about two showgirls, Lorelai Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell), who are dead set on marrying millionaires to slide into a comfortable lifestyle. The only issue is Lorelai has got a real addiction to diamonds. Oh, and there’s that pesky thing called love that, of course, our characters find themselves entangled in.
What’s iconic here, besides the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and the amazing costuming, are the freaking nails on Jane Russell.
Every time I watch this movie I end up painting my nails red and willing them to grow as talon-like and amazing as hers. I can’t stop looking.
I mean, wait until you see those nails in action. You’ll have already booked a manicure.
Au bout de souffle (“Breathless”, Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
Besides being the classic nouveau vague film of the sixties (so it’s a big deal to film-types), Breathless has some excellent costuming. Hardly surprising, it’s french.
It’s a bit of a double whammy for me: you’ve got Jean Seberg as Patricia and you’ve got Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel. They’re both killing the game with iconic sixties french style and all with that air of “I don’t care” !
Above you can see our dear Patricia in a Dior New Look-esque dress, but she made it chic and modern with that pixie haircut and cat-eye glasses. She spends a lot of the film in and out of clothes (again, it’s french) but always makes whatever she has on cooler because of her haircut and a flick of eyeliner.
As for Michel, well a picture is worth a thousand words.
The problem is, I’m a writer and I’m certain I’ll go over a thousand words here anyway. Michel’s a bad guy, but he dresses as great as Humphrey Bogart minus being as old as Bogart and plus having sweet abs.
I can’t say I’m not tempted to toss on one of Michel’s hats and roam the streets with a cigarette hanging so far out of my mouth that it’s tempting fate.
Too bad I haven’t got a death wish.
Funny Face (1957, Stanley Donen)
This is my favorite Audrey Hepburn film and I don’t know why. It just is.
I am specifically inspired by Jo, Audrey’s character, pre-fashion transformation. Fred Astaire and a fashion magazine editor-in-chief discover Jo in her Greenwich Village bookstore after they do a shoot there. They offer to bring her to Paris and dress her all up, but Jo only wants to go because a certain group of French philosophers over there are her current obsession.
Pre-fashion Jo is a cerebral, snobby, and bookish type who kills the all black clothes game and somehow reinvents the classics. She’s book-chic. I love it.
That hair too. Iconic. Short bangs, but enough for updos. This isn’t Roman Holiday anymore, kids. This is Funny Face and Audrey has some new looks to serve.
Especially in the scene where Jo finally finds her philosopher hero and does some weird dance clad in all black. Daily inspiration, honestly.
The Nanny (1993-99)
The nineties were weird. Not all designs were fabulous, many were stains on the pages of history. But I’ll be damned before I say Fran Drescher didn’t kill the game.
Most of my style inspiration is classic, focused on menswear, but Drescher’s carefully crafted pizzazz stirs the embers of this stone cold heart.
She wore Lacroix to Moschino to Valentino to Fendi to Betsy Johnson to Chanel to Gautier to Mugler to Anna Sui. And even if you find the runway looks (like this extremely helpful blog that I owe this part of the post to) that she wore, you’ll find she and her stylist twisted them into something the nanny would wear and also something entirely new.
After watching the nanny I bust out the color and start mixing patterns, certainly tossing on something with a pop of texture too.
Begin Again (2013, John Carney)
I’ll be honest. I don’t think this movie is that good. It’s just not for me.
Keira Knightley’s menswear though? Incandescent. Truly inspiring.
It’s as if she raided a thrift store but also her grandparent’s closets and somehow landed in the 21st century, as she looks like she might be in the wrong one.
There are times when her costuming gets a little flat for me, like when she has on some of the cotton sundresses that just look “eh” on her.
With the high-waisted linen pants, however, we’ve hit on something really quite good.
Miracle Aligner (The Last Shadow Puppets)
With this “film inspiration” I am cheating a bit. It’s a music video. But it’s one of my favorites, it’s insanely strange, and the vibe is something I’m here for.
Give it a look see:
Or if you’re pressed for time, here are some photos.
After I saw this video, I just wanted to be an Italian asshole. I wanted to exude the unearned confidence of a man in a suit on the street. Some messy, unbrushed hair, a loose suit, and a devil-may-care attitude. My god! How chic! It’s essentially Saint Laurent’s le smoking all over again.
Perhaps you need to watch something new to rev up your engines of style again and why not begin here? Besides the fact that I have excellent taste (eyebrow waggles), I’ve given you lots of options in incremental time commitments: a short music video to television shows to movies.
Bisous, painting her nails red,