Alissa’s Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

Alissa’s Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!
By Alissa LeClair

Once again I’ve returned for a style critique of movies released in 2011.  While the red carpet premieres never looked better, there were certainly some stand-out movies moments, thanks to style-savvy actresses like Anne Hathaway, Reese Witherspoon, Michelle Williams, and Sarah Jessica Parker.  Even though some of my selections might not have been the most well-received films of the year, they definitely caught the eye of the fashion world in one way or another.  Some honorable mentions go to Bridesmaids for Rose Byrne’s over-the-top high-fashion wardrobe for her character Helen, the sweet and casual everyday looks worn by Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson in Something Borrowed, as well as breakout star Felicity Jones’ college girl looks as a British student who falls in love with an American in Like Crazy.

Agree or disagree if you like, but here are my top 10:

One Day 610x197 Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

10. One Day

For Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway to age over a 20-year period in One Day, there’s a lot to consider in terms of her costumes. Hathaway is of course no stranger to make-unders, what with her famous roles in The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada.  However in playing Emma, an English writer, we see a range of styles in the quirky and sweet looks worn by the college graduate, and there’s a more thoughtfulness to the character’s elegance as she ages. Her self-confidence and life experience are worn on her very fashionable sleeves as she’s older.  The audience gains a sense of the control that she has over her life which is reflected in the development of a more becoming woman with less fussy hairstyles.  Costumes from the film were even featured at the ArcLight Hollywood Museum in August.

9. I Don’t Know How She Does It

I Dont Know How She Does It 610x474 Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

It seems like any time Sarah Jessica Parker is in a movie, the whole fashion industry takes notice. After all, she is the quintessential fashion icon for this generation of actresses, with of course, some help from her days playing Carrie Bradshaw in Sex & the City. However, I Don’t Know How She Does It begs the question of how working mothers balance their relationships and responsibilities to both their jobs and family. It seems like Parker’s character, Kate, puts together everyday work wear and basics of her wardrobe like neutral blazers, skirt suits, and blouses without trying to look overdone, but still very professional, especially since she’s at the corporate level. In addition, co-stars like Christina Hendricks, Busy Phillips, and Olivia Munn make for a fun collection of fashionable eye candy for these characters based in the bustle of New York City.

 8. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I

The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

I am not a fan of the The Twilight Saga, but it was hard to miss all the buzz going around about the mystery behind Bella’s wedding gown in Breaking Dawn Part I. While Kristen Stewart herself finally found her footing on the red carpet as a trend-setter, her character’s nuptials to vampire Edward were the talk of the town for some time, especially when designers like Monique Lhuillier, Erin Featherston, Prabal Gurung, and Reem Acra (pictured above)were sharing their vision for what Bella should wear on her special day. Finally, it was a design by Carolina Herrera that made the cut, no pun intended.

There was even a rumor circulation that the final Herrera dress that was selected was inspired by the highly-lauded white gown that Pippa Middleton wore at her sister, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding to Prince William.

7. The Muppets Movie

The Muppets Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

For those of you who missed The Muppets bandwagon, well then you also missed a newly made over Miss Piggy, whose couture collection for the film and press tour included looks by Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, Brian Atwood, and countless others.  The porcine puppet has been in the business for such a long time and has never looked better.  If you missed the superstar’s photo spread in In Style magazine, click here to check out my article on it, as well as the stunning and stylish shots.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that Amy Adams is an adorable recreation of everything we loved about the 50s in every scene too!

 6. The Rum Diary

The Rum Diary 610x405 Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

 For 2010’s Top 10 Most Stylish Films list, I included Inception on that list because it was hard to deny how good Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the rest of the mostly-male cast looked.  This year, I’m happy to show respect to the costumes for The Rum Diary, especially seeing how crisp, summery, and appropriate for the period in which the film took place.  Costume designer Colleen Atwood (Nine, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White & the Huntsman) spoke with LuckyMag and this of the costumes worn by Johnny Depp, “His character has a slightly Midwestern meets southern style that is very American and not at all European. His clothes are fairly stiff, but they kind of wilt in the heat, so it feels more relaxed. His stuff was all made out of this ’60s cotton. I found enough of it to make all of his trousers and suits. I was able to find some authentic fabrics for his clothes which helped him get into the feeling of the period.

In addition, it was hard not to notice how stunning up-and-comer Amber Heard looked in the movie.  Atwood explains, “I love the old Irving Penn photographs from that period. The world that I surrounded Amber with was a huge contrast to her because it was more of the Eisenhower ’50s and she was sort of the future: a bit cleaner, chicer lines, more modern. I loved that everyone was sweaty and wilted except her and few of the extremely wealthy people that had constant AC. She’s stunning, and she wears clothes exceptionally well, so it was a treat to get to dress her.

 5. Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants 610x317 Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

Moviegoers didn’t embrace the film version Water for Elephants like they did the novel by Sara Gruen, however the film’s costumers for circus performer Marlena, played by Reese Witherspoon, made major some headlines.  The 1930s-inspired costumes, designed by Jacqueline West (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network) channel a glamorous and new definition of retro chic for Witherspoon’s character.  As a performer, each look had to be a little extra special and all lines of the gowns had to be seamlessly executed.

Reese was lovely, collaborative and game about wearing all the very slinky and revealing performance costumes and the very bare thirties gowns and had the perfect body to make them all look alluring. We watched thirties films together and she studied the film goddesses of the era and really got the body language down perfectly,” West told Real Style Network during an interview.

4. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo didn’t get its claim to fame because of the wardrobe, since the current movie in theaters starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig was based on Steig Larsson’s series of novels.  However, when stills of the American film version began to hit the web, the fashion world heard an outcry for androgynous pieces like distressed denim, embellished leather, and destroyed hoodies.

Costume designer Trish Summerville recently debuted a collaboration with Swedish retailer H&M to create a 30-piece collection inspired by Mara’s portrayal of Lisbeth Salander, and the character‘s wardrobe.  During an interview with In Style, Summerville revealed, “I wanted the collection to have authentic pieces that you want to wear on a daily basis… I wanted pieces you feel you can layer and are comfortable in, but also when you put them on you feel either a little bit tough or a little bit chic.”

3. The Help

The Help 610x200 Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

Another novel-to-film adaptation that turned into a spectacle of style was Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.  The movie starred Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, and Bryce Dallas Howard in a flurry of floral dresses, hats, and pastels.  Costumer designer Sharen Davis (Dreamgirls) added the Southern flair to each character with a some inspiration from, “Vogue from the 1960s for inspiration, but it was too sophisticated, so I ended up getting my ideas from Seventeen magazine. It still had that innocent girlie look and lollipop color palette,” according to an interview with The Hollywood Reprter.

In addition, Davis breaks down her points of view for each character with, “Skeeter’s look is different from the other girls because she’s career-minded. I kept her in straight skirts and subtle prints… Hilly wears really bright colors and bold prints because she always has to be seen… Celia’s clothes are more fitted and feminine. She does her best to look like Marilyn Monroe.

 2. Midnight in Paris

Midnight In Paris 610x296 Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

This was a movie that I didn’t get a chance to see, but really wanted to because every time Woody Allen makes a movie, you know you’re in for something different and special.  In the case of Midnight in Paris, a film about a frustrated writer, played by Owen Wilson, who “escapes nightly to the twenties and mingles with the great expatriates of that golden age: Luis Buñuel, Man Ray, Picasso, the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, countless flappers and a matador or two… Ernest Hemingway… Salvador Dalí,” according to Esquire.

However the transformation of fashion takes place in that “the film is so stylish because these people were stylish. And they were stylish because they weren’t faking it. They were iconoclasts and innovators and true artists, and their spirit was reflected in what they wore. It’s the same mechanism that has turned Woody Allen himself into an unlikely style icon.” This is also due to the credit of costume designer, Sonia Grande (It‘s Complicated, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) who recreates a bold and enduring character in the Jazz Age itself with every drop-waisted dress, pocket scarf, and the sheer magic of celebrating what we still love about the Jazz Age.

Not to mention that the movie’s leading ladies, Marion Cotillard and Rachel McAdams are both refreshing and effortless touches of past and present.

1. My Week with Marilyn

My Week with Marilyn 610x250 Alissas Top 10 Most Stylish Films of 2011!!

I think it’s no surprise that My Week with Marilyn is my number one selection for most stylish movie of 2011.  Marilyn Monroe is such a timeless icon of style, and we still see her influence in some way or another as the next young Hollywood ingénue steps onto a red carpet.  Simon Curtis’ depiction of Monroe, based on the novel The Prince, The Showgirl, & Me by Colin Clark, provides a rich glimpse into the troubles Monroe faced while filming The Prince & The Showgirl in England in 1957, opposite co-star and director Sir Laurence Olivier.

Of course seeing the movie’s star Michelle Williams reincarnate Monroe in glittering gowns, tight-fitting suits, and classic summer dresses, we’re instantly brought back to the stunning actress who made a seemingly innocent white pleated halter dress a standard of pop culture.  As you may have read from my review, costume designer Jill Taylor brought every aspect of Monroe’s legendary style to life, including the glamorous, tight-fitting gowns and classic all-American button down shirt and pencil skirt ensembles. In addition, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, and Dominic Cooper all portray different levels of style for men of the time.  Redmayne is the youthful romantic, Branagh is the serious actor, and Cooper is the American playboy / businessman.

In an interview with In Style, Taylor also explained the differences in having to dress Williams as Monroe, as well as co-stars Julia Ormond who played Vivien Leigh and Dame Judi Dench who played Dame Sybil Thorndike, both British actresses whose style reflect the times and culture. Taylor said, “That was one of the things I wanted to highlight in the film, and with the guys as well. There was a different style, there were different fabrics used. We had not long been out of rationing in this country, after World War 2, so did not have as much as the American. Vivien Leigh is probably not the best example because she had things made in France and was exquisitely dressed but in terms of your average person, or your average British film star, it was a very different style.

What do we have to look forward to next year?  Well for one, Anne Hathaway and Marion Cotillard will surely be on the list since they are the leading female forces against an impressive and dominantly male cast in The Dark Knight Rises.  For some more eye candy for the female readers, Daniel Craig returns as James Bond himself in the latest installment of the 007 films, Skyfall, in November.  Also, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is currently filming in Australia, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan.  In addition, there’s Emma Stone’s turn as the bleach blonde Gwen Stacy opposite Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man.

What do you think of this list? Do you agree or disagree?  Did I leave a movie out? Who were your favorites? If you’re wondering what I had to say about last year’s films, check out my Top 10 Most Stylish Movies of 2010 here!