H IS FOR HOLLYWOOD
BY: RYAN HAMMEL
COVER ART: JULIANNA LUKACS
H is for Hollywood: the ultimate fashion hub, where all our inspiration and icons originate. Think Tom Cruise’s Ray-Bans in Top Gun, Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Alicia Silverstone’s plaid schoolgirl outfit in Clueless, or Leighton Meester’s headbands in Gossip Girl. These iconic looks not only define their characters, but create an allure and demand for the outfits and accessories themselves. At the end of the day, though, it's difficult to believe that Sarah Jessica Parker isn't the one actually pairing Manolo Blahnkik pumps with designer dresses. Indeed, behind the screens are the real style masterminds: the costume designers.
“If you let me make fashion the fifth character on this show, people will watch it just for the clothes,” said Pretty Little Liars costume director, Mandi Line, in an interview with the New York Times. With the abundance of streaming services at our disposal —and in turn, the rise of binge-watching culture — films, television shows, and the celebrities that are associated with them have become a primary access point for exposure to the work of costume designers. When I asked several friends who love fashion as much as I do about their greatest style inspirations, their answers ranged from Rachel Green from Friends, Olivia Pope from Scandal, and, of course, Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. Unsurprisingly, those same friends' favorite shows were the ones that featured the same fashion icons they had previously mentioned; so, Mandi Line had the magic formula.
At the height of any new movie or popular show, fans can take advantage of the opportunity to create Instagram accounts to showcase featured clothing items. Take “And Just Like That,” the SATC reboot, for example: @justlikethatcloset already has 106k followers, making it easy for followers of the show to find every dress, shoe and bag worn by the iconic characters in the show. Who wouldn’t want direct access to the ins and outs of Carrie Bradshaw’s infamous wardrobe?
The work of costume designers tends to slip through the cracks in the fashion narratives we write — but it is important to remember that Hollywood fashion influence would be nowhere without the costume designers creativity, visions, tastes, and skills.