x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

From big screen to high street

How some big-screen looks could inspire looks on the runways and wardrobes for 2012.

THE TAILORED DRESS Strut from the office to dinner and turn heads in a fitted tailored dress. Complete with some court shoes and leather gloves for a real 1950s glam injection. Reiss has some amazing styles at the moment.
THE TAILORED DRESS Strut from the office to dinner and turn heads in a fitted tailored dress. Complete with some court shoes and leather gloves for a real 1950s glam injection. Reiss has some amazing styles at the moment.

Any fan of the television series Mad Men or Sex and the City will tell you that the clothes form a major part of the show's appeal. The popularity of Carrie Bradshaw's huge corsage brooches, floral motifs and vintage looks means they are just as likely to be seen hanging from the rails on the high street as they are on screen.

Media and popular culture have the power to spur fashion trends, and a hit film or TV series often becomes the birthplace for launching screen icons and a fashion trend following. The US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) global box office of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in 2010 not only revealed the commercial potential of fairy tales, but also whetted the appetite for charm bracelets, pendants, belts, stripey socks and other "Alice in Fashionland" items that were high-street hits that year.

This year offers two twists on the Snow White story: Lily Collins and Julia Roberts star in Mirror Mirror, featuring gloriously over-the-top theatrical costumes, and Snow White & the Huntsman with Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron offers a darker medieval take. Fashion influences from both films are tipped to have a sway over designers, fashion editors and ultimately, the high street.

Film inspiring fashion can be traced back to the golden age of Hollywood when women looked to movie stars for fashion tips.

"When Helen Rose designed the costumes for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1958, she did a retail version of the Elizabeth Taylor chiffon cocktail dress that sold quite mildly until the film was released and it was a best-seller for three years," says Sandra Halliday, editor-in-chief of Worth Global Style Network (WGSN), a trend and style consultancy. "When 'real world' designers have been involved in movies since, that has been less likely to happen, but street fashion does feel the effects - just think of Giorgio Armani and American Gigolo."

Now, thanks to new technology and social media, high-street designers can spot trends much more easily and recreate catwalk designs quickly and cheaply for the mainstream market.

"Couture designers will draw inspiration from everywhere for their collections, whereas for the high street it is important for fast fashion collections to reflect what is happening within popular culture now," says Ainsley Mackney, head of design for Creative Design Industries in the UK, a company that designs for the high-street outlet New Look. "The transition can be very fast in quick-response production locations such as Turkey and Romania. Some styles can be designed, made and shipped in as little as a few weeks."

The UK high-street buyer Rachel Law points to examples such as the 2010 film Black Swan featuring Natalie Portman. Retailer demand for recreating the look was huge.

"Brands such as Forever 21 and Zara flooded their stores very quickly with feather skirts and ballerina silhouette-style dresses that followed nude and 'tutu' pink colour palettes," Law says. "Black lace detailing also became a huge trend at that time reflecting the darker side of the Black Swan character."

But it's not only popular culture that can spur fashion trends. Ideas for newness also go hand-in-hand with other factors such as brand names, advertising and celebrity endorsement. Sometimes an influential film just happens to coincide with a direction in fashion and the look takes off. Popular culture will therefore magnify a trend if the trend is already in its embryonic phase.

"Bonnie and Clyde in the 1960s was a perfect example, but in the 1970s, although the Gatsby look was heavily pushed, it wasn't as much of an influence on real fashion as people expected," says Halliday. "Interestingly though, The Great Gatsby remake this year does happen to coincide with what designers sent out onto the catwalks for Spring/Summer 2012 and so the association will obviously be made by commentators, even though drop-waist dresses were being thought about by trend forecasters like WGSN a couple of years ago and by designers at least a year ago."

The key is obviously in the timing as well as in retailers producing a coordinated range and clever marketing.

"New films generate excitement at the big film festivals - Sundance, Cannes, Venice and Toronto - and fashion magazines are quick to pick up on any potential style influencers," Halliday says. "As the hype builds, coupled with the film's promotional trail of premieres and interviews, retailers may pick up on the trend as well, and if the look happens to be a big catwalk story at the same time, everything falls into place."

So, with many blockbuster films and hit TV shows heading onto our screens this year, what will be your film inspiration for 2012? Mackney and Halliday sum up the situation.

"I think that yet another Twilight film, Breaking Dawn, having been released at the end of 2011 means we will see a resurge in the dark, gothic mystical trend for 2012. My Week with Marilyn also released in 2011 and the new Margaret Thatcher movie will see a return to true ladylike dressing, meaning Forties and Fifties in style, with a nod to heritage tweed," says Mackney.

And for Halliday?

"Baz Luhrmann's remake of The Great Gatsby is going to be huge, and the Twenties trend has already been seen on the Spring/Summer 2012 catwalks and red carpet. We wouldn't be surprised if this glamorous eveningwear trend continued into Autumn/Winter 2012-2013, as the sumptuous fabrics, embellishments and jewel-like colours probably suit the Autumn/Winter season even more. The Oscar-tipped movie The Artist is another great source of inspiration for this trend; the black-and-white silent movie is an ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood.

"The much-hyped new Batman film - The Dark Knight Rises - features Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, and her skin-tight leather ensemble might inspire pieces for Autumn/Winter 2012-2013. The Hunger Game is predicted to be the new Twilight, and Katniss Evergreen's (aka Jennifer Lawrence) post-apocalyptic wardrobe - leather jackets and hooded anoraks, pants and hunting boots in dark browns and greens, accessorised with a bow and arrow and braided hair - might inspire the youth market."