A century of style in the movies

The films that define the past 100 years of fashion

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As Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ opens in cinemas (with flapper dresses by Prada and diamonds by Tiffany), we look back at a century of movies whose clothes have managed to capture the style of a whole decade.

  • The 1920s

    The Great Gatsby (1974)

    ‘The Great Gatsby’ barely scratched the surface of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1920s-set novel, but Mia Farrow and Robert Redford dazzled in wardrobes of white which symbolised their fabulous wealth – real people couldn’t wear these clothes for five minutes. An unknown menswear designer by the name of Ralph Lauren suited up Robert Redford and the male actors.

    Read the Time Out review of 'The Great Gatsby'

    The 1920s
  • The 1930s

    Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

    There has barely been a fashion designer since who hasn’t put out a ‘Bonnie and Clyde’-inspired collection (it’s Kate Moss’s favourite film). In this tale of two 1930s outlaws in love, Faye Dunaway enjoys a killer fashion moment in those Left-Bank-chic-meets-dust-bowl-Texas berets and pencil skirts.

    Read the Time Out review of 'Bonnie and Clyde'

    The 1930s
  • The 1940s

    Now, Voyager (1942)

    Decades before Ally Sheedy made the transformation from basket case to pretty girl in ‘The Breakfast Club’, Bette Davis got there first. In the melodrama ‘Now, Voyager’, Davis played frumpy spinster Charlotte Vale who discovers her self-worth when she finds her fashion mojo.

    Read the Time Out review of 'Now, Voyager'

    The 1940s
  • The 1950s 

    Sabrina (1954)

    Audrey Hepburn’s first collaboration with the designer Hubert de Givenchy. Hepburn played Sabrina, who leaves for France as a chauffeur’s daughter and returns as a très chic mademoiselle. Givenchy later admitted that he only agreed to see Miss Hepburn at his atelier because he mistakenly thought he would be meeting Katharine, not Audrey.

    Read the Time Out review of 'Sabrina'

    The 1950s 
  • The 1960s

    Breathless (1960)

    Le sigh. Jean-Luc Godard changed cinema with ‘Breathless’. And Jean Seberg, playing an American exchange student in love with a hoodlum, inspired a million Breton striped sweaters with her start-of-the-’60s rebellious chic. No costume designer is credited on the film – Godard encouraged his actors to wear their own clothes on set.

    Read the Time Out review of 'Breathless'

    The 1960s
  • The 1970s

    Annie Hall (1977)

    When it was released women rushed out to copy the ‘Annie Hall’ look – men’s shirts and boy’s tailoring. What they didn’t know was that Annie’s kooky cool came straight out of Diane Keaton’s own wardrobe. Woody Allen had to fight the costume lady to let her dress as she pleased.

    Read the Time Out review of 'Annie Hall'

    The 1970s
  • The 1980s

    Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

    With a bonkers-silly plotline involving mistaken identity, the mob and a case of amnesia, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ is no masterpiece. But Madonna’s scrappy, vintage-shop style is a fashion tour de force. The film was shot before ‘Like a Virgin’ made Her Madgeness an overnight star. At the time she was just a cool kid on New York’s downtown music scene.

    Read the Time Out review of 'Desperately Seeking Susan'

    The 1980s
  • The 1990s

    Clueless (1995)

    ‘This is an Alaïa!’ pleads Alicia Silverstone as the dizzy Beverly Hills high-schooler Cher to the man who’s robbing her at knifepoint. ‘[He’s] like a totally important designer.’ Cher’s knee socks, mini skirt and matchy-matchy look makes ‘Clueless’ a ’90s style time capsule.

    Read the Time Out review of 'Clueless'

    The 1990s
  • The 2000s

    Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

    Wes Anderson was on to a winner when he dressed rascally Mr Fox in a spiffily shrunken brown corduroy suit in the stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story. Anderson had his tailor in New York send the fabric samples, and designed Mr Fox’s wardrobe himself.

    Read the Time Out review of 'Fantastic Mr Fox'

    The 2000s

The 1920s

The Great Gatsby (1974)

‘The Great Gatsby’ barely scratched the surface of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1920s-set novel, but Mia Farrow and Robert Redford dazzled in wardrobes of white which symbolised their fabulous wealth – real people couldn’t wear these clothes for five minutes. An unknown menswear designer by the name of Ralph Lauren suited up Robert Redford and the male actors.

Read the Time Out review of 'The Great Gatsby'


Users say

Read about 'The Great Gatsby'

  • Rated as: 3/5

What Luhrmann makes intoxicating is a sense of place – the houses, the rooms, the city, the roads – and the sense that all this is unfolding in a bubble like some mad fable. Where he falters is in persuading us that these are real, breathing folk whose experiences and destinies can move us. It’s the age-old page-to-screen issue: we’re witnessing all this from the outside in, rather than the inside out.

More about 'The Great Gatsby'