Movies As A Muse

Anyone who's seen the documentary Unzipped knows Isaac Mizrahi generously borrowed style ideas from Loretta Young's wardrobe in The Call of the Wild, but he's hardly the only fashion designer to have relied on Hollywood. Here, five other designers reveal which films have influenced their collections of past and present.



"My influence from a film costume designer can change from season to season. The direction we're going right now looks back to dresses by Orry-Kelly for Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot and by Edith Head for Shirley MacLaine and Chita Rivera in Sweet Charity. In Some Like It Hot, the nude beaded dress Orry-Kelly made for the scene in which Marilyn sings is incredible because it makes her look as if she's wearing nothing underneath the beads. It's a racy, sexy dress that makes you think you're seeing more than you really are--I love clothing that emphasizes the contours of the body. Edith Head's Sweet Charity dresses also have a showgirl quality to them, but they're sharper and edgier. They're short, beaded, brightly colored in the dance sequences. In the nightclub sequence, where they're all dancing The Frug, they're dressed in all black with spectacular headpieces, completely chic, super-glamorous. That nightclub sequence is probably my biggest inspiration from films. Maybe because when I was going to Parsons [School of Design], I danced in videos and in nightclubs on weekends to pay for college."

MAX Azria

"Part of the inspiration for my spring BCBG Max Azria collection this year came from the 1992 film Indochine, which starred Catherine Deneuve. Indochine is a beautiful love story set in the 1930s with a distinct French colonial style--the ideal setting for a story involving strong, sensuous clothes. Catherine is the perfect BCBG Max Azria muse because she represents good style and a good attitude and she has worldly sophistication. She looks especially, good in the costumes for Indochine, which were designed by Pierre-Yves Gayraud and Gabriella Pescucci. Her character is well traveled, with a wardrobe that complements her adventurous yet upscale lifestyle. I wanted the collection to be chic but not complicated, with hints of safari influences and a trace of French colonial elements from the '30s and '40s. I introduced mandarin collars, coatdresses and shorter jackets in burlap and silk herringbone and paired them with sheer blouses and layered chiffons to convey a distinctly feminine, tailored feeling."


"Lauren Bacall was so incredibly sexy and feminine, even in a suit. In two of her Warner Bros. movies from the '40s, The Big Sleep [which was costume-designed by Leah Rhodes] and To Have and Have Not [for which Milo Anderson designed Bacall's wardrobe], she wears very well-tailored houndstooth suits. They make her look as sexy as if she were wearing an evening gown. I also loved the hair and makeup styles in both those films, which complemented those great designs. This '40s look inspired my last collection, which paid tribute to those incredible houndstooth suits. I never tire of the look, with all its detail, of the Bogart/Bacall movies--they've always intrigued me. I love the romantic feel of that time."


"For my 1998 ready-to-wear collection, I stole suggestions and emotions from director Luchino Visconti's masterwork, Death in Venice, which was released in 1971. In that film there was beauty and enchantment, poetry and myth, sensuality and elegance. The costumes worn by star Silvana Mangano, which were created by designer Piero Tosi, inspired a collection of light, precious clothes: candid, fluid figures, carved out of delicate embroideries that evoke images that are at once romantic and strong."


"Hollywood and the movies have always played a part in our creative ideas at Custo Barcelona. When I was a teenager, I was amazed when I saw Ridley Scott's science fiction film Blade Runner. It had an enormous influence on my sense of style and what I thought the future would look like. The film, which starred Harrison Ford, Sean Young and Daryl Hannah, gave me a certain vision of the future, how it would look and how lifestyle would probably be multicultural. That vision turned out to be accurate--everything today is multicultural. Over the years my brother, David, who is co-designer of Custo Barcelona, and I have been influenced by this cult classic and its costumes, which were created by Michael Kaplan and Charles Knode, because they combine many cultures. We're always looking for unique ways to combine different fabrics, colors and prints. So I guess you can say Blade Runner has influenced several of our seasons."