Best Fictional Films for Style Inspiration – Personal Favorites

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As I have mentioned in Bio, I am, without a doubt, one of the biggest movie geeks I know. It doesn’t really come as a surprise since I studied cinema at USC (which has one of the best film schools in the world). I tend to view films from a more analytical perspective (I know, sounds pretentious…). But today I am just going to pile up a list of my favorite films that have amazing fashion pieces and left me in awe. Hopefully, they will inspire you in some way too 🙂 .

Funny Face (1957)

Watching Funny Face was like flipping through a 50s high-end fashion magazine. Playing a NYC bookstore frump turned Parisian fashion model, Audrey Hepburn spellbinded us with her sweet nature and glamorous exterior. Her personal couturier Givenchy designed a series of couture gowns and outfits for her to wear in a variety of Parisian scenes which gave us one of the very first looks at Haute Couture on the silver screen.

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“Take the picture! Take the picture!”
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Givenchy bridal gown – beginning of tea-length wedding dresses

The crazy dance scene featured the turtleneck, sleek black pixie pants, and foot-friendly loafers which successfully captured the emerging beatnik-style zeitgeist. Even in the simplest outfits, Hepburn never failed to dazzle us with her elegance and signature elfin beauty. I guess that she just possessed the “bozazz”.

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It’s okay to kick my legs high cuz I’m wearing really chic pants.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Casting Audrey Hepburn as a “socialite” (code for high-class prostitute) seemed like a bizarre idea but I’d have to say that she nailed it. She played an incredibly chic and playful character with a quirky sense of humor and alluring idiosyncrasy , yet extremely sorrowful vulnerability. And the movie debuted with the most iconic fashion image in history – Givenchy’s long black gown with the demi-lune cut-out at the back, accessorized by the over-the-top costume pearls.

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The iconic look

Hepburn wore sunglasses most of the time in the film because they had prescribed lenses and Miss Golightly apparently did not like wearing glasses. But a pair of Ray-Bans that flatter your face shape would add chicness to anything else you wear, wouldn’t they? And the film showcased the trench, turtleneck, oversize button-downs, and ballet flats which are definitely all wardrobe essentials.

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Hangovers are best hidden behind a huge pair of sunglasses
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Miss Holly Golightly teaches us the more important things in life – Sleep and Alcohol

Almost Famous (2000)

While celebrating the age of rock and roll and ’70s counterculture with this awesome picture, Cameron Crowe provided us a feast for our eyes with a lookbook of the raddest pieces of the 70s. Penny Lane’s burly shearling coat is the iconic 70s look. People still dress like her for Halloween as well as in daily life. Some of our other favorite items – aviators, crop tops, frilly dresses, flared jeans, faded band t-shirts – were seen throughout the film. And all the characters presented undoubtedly the perfect examples of the most wearable vintage looks.

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Interrelation of pop culture and fashion
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Fairuza Balk in her rainbow vest inspired by Janis Joplin
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Oh, the 70s…

Malena (2000)

When I watched the film for the first time at 14, I was shocked by Monica Bellucci’s beauty! To this day, I still am. At the age of 52, she looks absolutely stunning! In Malena, playing a war widow during WWII, Bellucci showed her effortlessly chic style with the rotating billowy floral print dresses and tailored 40s silhouettes. The outfits perfectly complemented her ethereal elegance and ultra-feminine temperament.

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First look of Malena
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Cigarettes – a girl’s best accessories

The Dreamers (2003)

This is oddly one of my favorite films by Bernardo Bertolucci despite the fact that some say it is just two hours of really attractive people talking about pretentious films while smoking, and having really weird sex. (Wait, that actually sounds pretty awesome.) Anyways, Eva Green impressed us by encapsulating the style of a broody Parisienne in the 60s with a wardrobe of crushed velvet dresses, romantic florals, and of course—berets.

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Humans are either fascinated or repulsed by others’ nonconformity.
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It’s a dangerous game you play there, darling.
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Like I care…

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

I became obsessed with the movie after I watched it for the first time at the age of 13. I did not get the main point of the film at all which is: Go after your dream regardless what others say and do not afraid to take chances. I was so mesmerized by the Cinderella storyline and glamorous outfits that I took an oath that one day I will be just as skinny and chic as everyone in the movie. As I’m munching on a piece of baguette with raisin walnut cream cheese, I can’t help but think: “Am I there yet…?” LOL.

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Three of my favorite looks in the film

Nevertheless, there were so many beautiful outfits in the movie and Andy’s style was a perfect example for someone with a slightly bigger frame. As a 5’7 Asian girl with a closet overflowed with classic black and white pieces, I can only say: “I bow to you, Patricia Field (costume designer for The Devil Wears Prada)”.

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Miranda Priestly – what every girl in fashion aspires to be and every girl’s worst nightmare, but being admired and feared at the same time is what’s important, isn’t it?
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Revelation of Andy Sachs after sleeping with her longtime idol

Stay tuned, lovelies! I’ll be back (in my Terminator voice).

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Shakespeare and Co. – Where Willy Wonka meets Shakespeare

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I became fascinated with Shakespeare and Co. when I watched the movie Before Sunset in which Julie Delpy got a glimpse of Ethan Hawke at his own book signing at the bookstore. The second day I was in Paris, I went straight to the Rue de Bucherie on the Left Bank, opposite Notre Dame Cathedral, and almost weeped at the sight of Kesey and Ginsberg’s works on the shelves.

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Shakespeare & Company has been a literary institution in Paris since 1951, although its roots lie with bookseller Sylvia Beach in 1919. You might recognize her name; she was close friends with Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein during the riotously fun “Roaring Twenties,” or as the French put it, Les Années Folles. If you’ve seen Midnight in Paris, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

The place is inconspicuous on the outside yet has a unique charm that attracts tens of thousands visitors per year. When you walk in, it feels like a literary utopia where Willy Wonka meets Shakespeare. The walls are decorated with signed title pages and tens of thousands of books are causally piled up on the weather-beaten shelves. It’s like entering a time machine which brings you back to the lost generation.

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Soon after George Whitman opened the bookstore, he started housing several writers at a time, either published or aspiring, and these literary vagabonds came to be known as the Tumbleweeds. “Several million persons have walked in our door like tumbleweeds drifting in the wind,” George wrote in his letter from the editor in the second edition of The Paris Magazine, published by the bookshop in 1984, “and then walked out, their innocence lost, as free citizens of the cosmos.” He believed “we’re all homeless wanderers in a way,” and over the years, Shakespeare & Co. has welcomed wandering writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Anaïs Nin, James Baldwin, Julio Cortázar, Darren Aronofsky, and Dave Eggers.

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This is me in one of my favorite sections – music and film holding a book about one of my favorite directors and screenwriters, Woody;). Photographs are generally prohibited but it was a relatively hidden part of the bookstore.

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Paperbacks line red wooden steps leading upstairs to a “non-commercial” floor: a library in which you could lose yourself, with one rule: books mustn’t leave the premises. Here, as on the ground floor, single mattresses lurk between the shelves, and, in the children’s section, a bunk bed. It’s on these that young authors sleep each night.

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I read one blog post about the bookstore and I am going to end the post with the last paragraph. “As I leave, the western facade of Notre Dame is noisy with tourists. I cross the square, haunted by one of the messages tacked to the mirror. Hand-written by the mother of a 21-year-old bipolar man who killed himself by jumping off Brooklyn Bridge, it read: “I’ve spent the last hour trying to decide if I should end my life. If he could have discovered your bookshop, perhaps he would have survived. I want to thank you for this place and the hope it gives.” Not only does that seem to underline the redemptive power of literature, but also something less tangible: the balm of environment.”

Shakespeare & Company Bookstore

37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
Metro Saint Michel Notre Dame (line 4, RER C and B)
Bus 24 (Stops Notre Dame or Maubert Mutualité) and 47 (Stops Notre Dame or Petit Pont)

Love and Passion @ Rodin Musuem

“I am beautiful, O mortals! Like a dream carved in stone,
And my breast where each one in turn has bruised himself
Is made to inspire in the poet a love
As eternal and silent as matter.” 

– Charles Baudelaire

 

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This delightful gem of a museum felt like a quiet oasis where I could get away from the usual crowds in Paris. I loved wandering in the gardens and discovering statues around each turn. The installation at Rodin Museum is the largest collection focusing on the work of French sculpture Auguste Rodin, as this year marks the hundredth anniversary of his death. Participating museums include the Met and another Philadelphia institution, the Barnes Foundation, among others.

There is a reason why so many museums are working to commemorate Rodin. He’s an unparalleled figure and one of few sculptors whose works are readily recognizable. Rodin’s work is known for its realistic modeling of the human form. He captured truth, depth, and the fluid motion of life in the most unlikely of mediums.

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The exhibition brings out Rodin’s love for “exploring what it means to be human. The figures in the gallery are posed and intertwined:  some spiraling, others flailing and still more arching outward. They show a multiplicity of emotions, such as shame, guilt, adoration, lust, fear and caring, that are possible only through Rodin’s obsession with the human form. The museum’s central gallery has been completely reconfigured with embracing and struggling lovers in marble, plaster, and bronze. The stark nudity, made all the more compelling by the anonymous, suggests unfettered ardor of the female.

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In 1912, Rodin said, “People have often accused me of having made erotic sculptures. I have never made any erotic works. I have never made a sculpture for the sake of the erotic element. Most of the people cannot conceive this because they are unable to conceive what sculpture is because they are forever looking in sculpture for literary and philosophical ideas. Sculpture is the art of forms.” The whole collection tells a hot-blooded story of lust and power and even tenderness. That Rodin was in love with passionate energy becomes abundantly clear. Rodin is sharing with us a catalog of passion. It’s a theme he comes back to again and again and again…