From Screen to Runway: Focus’ Fashionable Films

From Phantom Thread to Brokeback Mountain, five movies with lasting style

In Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, high fashion is front and center in its story of legendary dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Alma (Vicky Krieps), the woman who slowly unravels his perfectly designed life. With sumptuous gowns created by costume designer Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread meticulously recreates the haute couture world of post-war London. But fashion also permeates the film's flawless form and composition. Woodcock’s impeccable style and attention to detail mirror, as The Wrap notes, “Anderson’s own skill at hand-crafting exquisitely conflicting interior and external worlds.”

To celebrate the release of Phantom Thread, we highlight other Focus films whose distinct fashion sensibility continued long after the movie ended. From The Beguiled’s Civil War costumes to Brokeback Mountain’s cowboy chic, here are films whose sense of style walked off the screen and right onto the runway. 

Get tickets for Phantom Thread now.

Official trailer for Phantom Thread

The Beguiled’s perfectly fashionable Civil War look

Sofia Coppola’s films have always been trendsetters, be it showcasing Scarlett Johansson’s see-through umbrella and pink wig in Lost in Translation or Hollywood’s hipster scene in Somewhere. But for Coppola's Civil War thriller The Beguiled, costume designer Stacey Battat created a fashion furor with her period costumes. Eschewing historically darker clothing, Battat designed “diaphanous, light, romantic and mossy” outfits, following Coppola’s directive that the characters “feel like ghosts who had been left behind.” Created for a period more than a century-and-half ago, the film’s dresses capture the mood of today as well. “Modern interpretations of these dresses are everywhere apparent, from Vilshenko’s Victoriana to Rosie Assoulin’s white ruffles, Simone Rocha’s eyelet symphony to Needle & Thread’s baby rosebuds,” reports Vogue.  

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The ghostly gowns of The Beguiled

Atonement’s green dress is a masterpiece

Fashion abounds in Joe Wright’s Atonement. From its luxuriant summer party outfits to its stiff and sturdy World War II uniforms, Atonement captures history with its costumes. The emerald green dress that Celia Tallis (Keira Knightley) wears in her romantic tryst with Robbie (James McAvoy), however, went beyond history to have a life of its own.  The dress was voted by Sky Movies and the readers of In Style Magazine as the Best Costume of All Time, beating out iconic films looks like Marilyn Monroe’s air-lifted white halter piece from The Seven Year Itch or Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy gown from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran who designed the slinky bareback gown recently told Entertainment Weekly, “it’s surprised me that people still remember it.” What stunned her even more was that admirers were paying more than $30,000 for a replica of it. 

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Keira Knightley's immortal dress in Atonement 

Moonrise Kingdom’s nostalgic uniforms

Moonrise Kingdom's costumes, especially the outfits for his young leads, really struck a chord with fashionistas. Sites from College Fashion to to The Full Figured Chest compiled essential shopping lists to recreate either Suzy’s smart style or Sam’s Khaki chic. For the film, costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone mixed and matched an array of 60s trends to keep everything familiar but never too specific. While the young lovers took the spotlight, other characters’ get-ups proved just as memorable. Esquire listed Bob Balaban’s Narrator with his “cherry-red coat, complimentary green hat, and, in the perfect finishing touch, bright-white scarf” as one of one Anderson’s “Most Stylish Characters.”  

The look of love in Moonrise Kingdom

Anna Karenina, from imperial Russia to local mall

For the luxurious gowns of Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina, costume designer Jacqueline Durran wedded the couture silhouette of legendary designers like Balenciaga and Dior to traditional Russian garb.  Her bold reinterpretation of period clothing––in addition to winning her an Academy Award––inspired Banana Republic to create an Anna Karenina clothing line. Durran collaborated with the retailer's creative director Simon Kneen to create a 56-piece limited edition that modernized the look while alluding to the film’s sumptuous style. “The fur cossack hats on the mannequins are actually scarves––pieces like that are functional for cold weather but beautiful to wear," explained Kneen to The Hollywood Reporter

Get Anna Karenina now on iTunes or at Amazon.

The lasting appeal of Anna Karenina's style

Brokeback Mountain’s classic Western wear

Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain captured the American imagination. Its powerful romance between two Wyoming sheepherders, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), was reimagined in a hundred different ways, from magazine covers to fan fiction to an opera. Costume Designer Marit Allen’s iconic costumes, many inspired by Richard Avedon’s photographs of the American West, spoke to fans and fashion designers alike. When denim and plaid shirts started popping up on international runaways, the department store Selfridges’ David Walker-Smith acknowledged, “It’s been quite a while since a film has had such an impact on menswear.” For designers Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2, "The iconic cowboy depicts the perfect image of masculinity." 

Brokeback Mountain's all American look

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