How Films Have Inspired Fashion
Film has an uncanny ability to capture a decade in its clearest glory: some of the silver screen’s most dazzling costume departments have woven modern sensibilities with the classics of the past. Without access to thousands of pounds worth of resources and hidden gems, emulating a particular film’s costume design can feel like a daunting task. Lucky for you, we’ve analysed four films spanning multiple decades, in order to help dreamers pull inspiration from the best. Read the guide below for advice on how to imitate your favourite film’s aesthetic, with a little help from the Hippie Shake!
(1998) dir. Todd Haynes
In 1998, a strange new film hit the cinemas. Telling the story of a rockstar swallowed by fame, Velvet Goldmine was like no other. With post-Trainspotting Ewan McGregor, pre-fame Christian Bale, and the inimitable Toni Colette, it seemed destined for success. While the film struggled with the box office and critics alike, twenty-five years on, its legacy has proven itself in the form of Sandy Powell’s iconic costume design, resonating with the youth of today the way Haynes originally envisioned.
Powell fell in love with Velvet Goldmine as soon as she heard of its production. Briefed with the phrase “Bowie-esque”, she jumped at the chance to incorporate a glam rock-inspired edge intertwined with period dress. Nowhere is this best exemplified by the costume Brian Slade wears in his music video for “The Ballad of Maxwell Demon”. Decked in a space-age brocade tailcoat, skin-tight disco breeches, and knee-high purple platforms, there is no better demonstration of the diversity of glam rock fashion.
A good rifle through some second-hand shops will reveal the brocade jacket of your dreams - a more casual silhouette can be dressed up or down for the occasion. In keeping with the blending of period fashion, you can never go wrong with a white blouse: dagger collar or Edwardian embellishment, you’re free to choose. Style with mini-skirts or colourful flares to incorporate a contemporary element. For the perfect pair of glam rock platforms, vintage shops will be your calling for knee-high shockers and ankle boots alike. The daredevil in you will love the Genevieve Gogo Boots, while those wanting something more classic should go for the show-stealing Suzie Q Retro Stripe Platform Boots. Other pieces to capture the colourful daredevil in you are the All Together Now Patchwork Jacket and skirt paired with the Teal Let The Good Times Roll Ruffle Blouse.
(2000) dir. Cameron Crowe
Semi-autobiographical Almost Famous told the highly anticipated story of a music journalist in 1973, whose task of interviewing America’s most famous rock band is accompanied by the ever-beautiful Penny Lane. Self-identifying as a “Band Aid” rather than a groupie, her journey of liberation is supplanted by a filmstar wardrobe of eclectic 00s-does-70s gems. The woman behind the magic - Betsy Heimann, whose unrivalled work also appears in Pulp
Fiction - drew inspiration from rockers of the ‘70s and the glitzy glamour of the ‘20s and ‘30s alike. Its imaginative blend of decades and style icons makes the fashion of Almost Famous practically begging for a modern revival.
Heimann’s most prominent design for the film was Penny Lane’s fur-trim coat: so ubiquitous is the image that “Penny Lane coat” is an acceptable synonym for such a garment. It was specially handmade for the film, crafted to epitomise Penny’s confidence and autonomy. To own a piece of this magic for yourself, look for embroidery, paisley, velvet, feathers and fur trim. We think Penny would adore The Hippie Shake’s aptly-named Breaking Hearts Embroidered Penny Lane Coats, complete with faux-suede and psychedelic embroidery. She’s such an inspiration to vintage fashion lovers alike; the Penny Lane Floral Embroidered Boots speak for themselves. Pair together for a loving homage to music’s favourite fictional groupie.One of Almost Famous’s defining qualities is its portrayal of the fictional Zeppelin-esque rockstars, Stillwater. What is men’s fashion if it isn’t cool and audacious? To achieve Heimann’s “rock ‘n’ roll cowboy” look, go for colourful ringer T-shirts and denim flares or bootcut jeans. This classic mode of mens’ dress is guaranteed to make a colourful statement while staying true to its roots. Why not try the Santa Fe Shirt from the Hippie Shake’s men’s collection to add something bold to your look? The style’s androgynous elements go perfectly with the Little Girl Blue Floral Embroidered Denim Flared Jeans, paired with one of our Ringer T-Shirts.
(1970) dir. Donal Cammel, Nicholas Roeg
In 1970, Performance was the most shocking thing on Mick Jagger’s resume - which is saying a lot. A widely circulated rumour that the wife of a Warner Bros. executive vomited from shock during a test screening only stoked the flames of the controversy. Fifty years later, its marrying of organised crime and London bohemians is remembered more favourably as a cult classic, for its boundary-pushing examination into identity. Fortunately for us, part of its allure lies in the time capsule of fashion it left behind. Starring it-girl Anita Pallenberg alongside Jagger, it’s almost too good to be true.Jagger is dressed up in a number of late ‘60s/early ‘70s staples, exemplified by glittering ascot scarves, ornate brass jewellery, and striped silk blouses. His character - reclusive ex-rockstar Turner - was designed with the ghosts of the Swinging Sixties in mind, decked out in the remnants of a passing decade as it transitioned into the grittier 1970s. Think fabrics like lurex, silk, and velvet, with darker colours like black and burgundy paired with moodier jewel tones. The versatility of his costume design sees foundational pieces like a black turtleneck paired with a statement skinny scarf and inky blue eyeshadow, able to be dressed up or down as you like. Go with a Little Sadie Skinny Scarf to wear as an ascot or accessory, while the Break On Through Gold Flower Chain Belt for a true Jagger-esque edge. Other pieces to rock in true Jagger style are is the Like a Rolling Stone Striped Suit and Let The Good Times Roll Ruffle Blouse.
Released in West Germany, 1972, Petra von Kant quickly became a staple of European cinema. Its ex-theatre storyline followed the titular Petra’s emotional codependency and claustrophobic narcissism, with an all-female cast portraying those unlucky enough to fall into her grasp. Filmed mostly in the confines of Petra’s own bedroom, the filmmakers had to find other ways to convey her state of mind, choosing to fashion an array of hairstyles and clothing to give us an insight. There’s a reason why you can’t go five minutes on a Petra von Kant think piece without someone raving about its timelessly elegant costume design…
Jewellery is an important motif of the film: intricate necklace and epaulette designs show Petra’s progression of self-using white pearls and red gems. Any vintage lover’s wardrobe is incomplete without a string of pearls, be they thrifted or expensive originals. Brass jewellery in particular features strongly, paired with gold eyeshadow and ruby lipstick for a look reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour.
Feathers are frequently seen on the hems and sleeves of Petra’s clothing, echoing a 1930s old-money aesthetic. Her silver silk dress coat with a brown feather trim remains one of her more eye-catching pieces and can be updated for a modern revival style with ease. Look for brighter pastel colours reminiscent of the ‘70s and a structured silhouette for a coat to die for! But why stop at outerwear?The Hippie Shake’s Lady Madonna Bralette and The Here Comes The Sun Cloud Print mini Skirt combine the soft feminine glamour of Petra von Kant with a contemporary vintage sensibility.
Finding the right match for a timeless vintage favourite is never easy. With more than sixty years' worth of silhouettes, fabrics, cut patterns and designs, the choice can appear overwhelming at times. With the right inspiration from a myriad of fashion icons, help from the swathes of secondhand clothing shops, and the evergreen styles of the Hippie Shake, you can live your retro Hollywood dreams with ease.