The season of beachwear and long, hot evenings is rolling in which means it’s time to fold away the knitwear in favour of lighter, brighter garb. We’ve put together a serious schooling in summer style, brought to you by the big screen’s most stylish get-ups.
The Talented Mr Ripley
Anthony Minghella’s 1999 adaptation of The Talented Mr Ripley (based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith) takes you on a chilling journey through Italy’s Ischia, with the kind of blood-drenched murder-mystery plot that keeps you at nail-biting tension. But aside from all the sinister goings-on, some the film’s most eye-catching moments are down to the truly dreamy vacation-on-the-Mediterranean wardrobe. Set in the sun-drenched climes of southern Italy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Matt Damon (in all their flawless, radiant youth) sport the most heavenly Riviera-ready resort-wear. Think trust-fund baby meets Euro-chic, it’s positively envy-inducing.
Gwyneth’s role as the elegant, all-American Marge Sherwood sees a phenomenal array of knotted linen shirts, ‘50s high-waist bikinis, Alice bands and patterned A-line skirts; A.K.A the embodiment of the perfect summer. Everything about her style screams good taste, and it’s also surprisingly easy to mimic…
To Catch A Thief
Another gorgeously stylish film set in the Mediterranean Riviera, Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief (1955) is everything you would expect from a lavishly romantic 50’s flick, with Grace Kelly as the leading role.
The costumes were designed by the infamous Edith Head, who put together a gorgeous array of evening dresses and wide-brimmed hats. One beach look we are absolutely swooning over is Kelly’s pale yellow one-piece, matching turban and white rimmed cat-eye sunglasses. I’m calling for a bring-back of the turban – what’s a better way to appease out-of-control beach hair and the hot summer sun?!
27 years on and that ‘90s uptown-girl style still hasn’t expired. From Julia Robert’s iconic ‘Vivian’ dress to that throw-back of a shopping ‘revenge outfit’ (“Big mistake. Big. HUGE”), Garry Marshall’s modern Cinderella-story is everything you need for your summer wardrobe inspiration.
We might be past shoulder pads, perms and awkwardly-hanging short suits (or are we? This is fashion after all…) but nothing screams summer style icon more than Robert’s day-at-the-polo polka dot dress. Matching white gloves, white toe-capped court shoes and the most adorable straw hat make for one of film’s most remembered looks. It’s very Princess Diana and couldn’t be more apt for the Spring Racing Season.
Before Vivian gets all ‘My Fair Lady’ on us, she manages to turn the humble white shirt into one hell of a ‘come-hither’ look. Knotted at the waist and buttoned-down halfway – there’s nothing quite as sexy as laidback cool.
Béatrice Dalle in Jean-Jacques’ Betty Blue (1986) is the quintessential passionate French heroine. But if the tempestuous seductress isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of sexy summer tomboy inspiration to reference.
A simple apron is transformed into a sexy sundress, and in one scene, Betty fixes up her summer beach house wearing a pair of paint-splattered, denim overalls. If you really want to turn heads, there’s an off-the-shoulder flame red dress that puts even Brigitte Bardot to shame.
Amidst our current love affair with 90’s revival, Tarantino’s True Romance (1993) couldn’t be more ‘en vogue.’ Fashion’s favourite pair to reference, Clarence and Alabama (played by Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette) take us on a rollercoaster ride of their misadventures with stacks of 90’s fashion inspo to boot. Faded denim, Converse All Stars and cowboy boots galore, it’s two hours of ‘add-to-cart’ brilliance.
A couple of favourite looks:
Alabama’s off-the-shoulder, sheer blue ‘bardot-top’ (named after miss Brigitte herself) partnered with a pair of gloriously garish pink leopard-print pants. What the 90s. I would copy this look right down to the turquoise-framed sunglasses and bubblegum print box bag – which is, I reckon, very Prada and very now.
Nothing sings summer more than a Hawaiian shirt. Clarence’s red version is exactly the type you’d find in your local charity shop, and there hasn’t been a shortage of them on recent designer runways either. No longer the go-to get up for the seedy, post-40s-on-holiday type, the Hawaiian shirt is everything you need for the perfect beach cover-up.
Alabama’s pony-print mini-skirt must also get a special mention – teamed with a pair of blue cowboy boots, does it get any more all-American? We’ll take a cheeseburger and a convertible to match, please.
Feel inspired to change-up your summer wardrobe? Comment your favourite look below!