A Look Inside Hollywood’s Greatest Costumes

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by Bronte Jagodzinski and Kelly Kanavas

In light of awards seasons wrapping up in just a few weeks, take a look at a few of Hollywood’s all-time most iconic costumes.


Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Few things in this world have the ability to stand the test of time or exude grace like that of the iconic costume worn by Holly Golightly in the 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hubert de Givenchy created not just an outfit for Audrey Hepburn’s character, but an embodiment of refinement and glamour that is neither passé nor obsolete these 52 years later. Rather, this look is one that inspires people through its ability to take a young New York socialite and produce an elegant, sophisticated woman. While most of us may never find ourselves draped in pearls and topped with a tiara by Givenchy himself, this celebrated costume reminds us that an outfit can allow you to be whoever you want to be.


Satine, Moulin Rouge

Catherine Martin, wife of movie director Baz Luhrmann, created a costume that perfectly encapsulates the highly stylized and modern mood of Moulin Rouge in this glitzy ensemble. Through this single outfit worn by Nicole Kidman, Martin captures the sexiness of the film through the revealing nature of the costume, while incorporating elements of a modern day pop star to enhance the numerous pop culture references, all still conveying the qualities true to the traditional style of Moulin Rouge performers. To say that this costume is sexy and powerful is an understatement and simply an injustice to Catherine Martin and Satine, herself.


Annie, Annie Hall

In 1977, quirky girls the world over found a new style icon in Diane Keaton’s bumbling, neurotic and yet impossibly cool Annie Hall. She was not pertly perfect like Audrey Hepburn, or elegantly refined like Grace Kelly – she was real. Costume designer Ruth Morely worked with Keaton herself to create the menswear-inspired look, based in part on Keaton’s very own personal style. And although Annie’s devil-may-care look is still embraced by free spirits to this day (Emma Stone recently declared it “the movie costume I’d most like to wear”) it almost never hit the big screen. According to director Woody Allen in Stig Bjorklund’s Woody Allen on Woody Allen, Morely was initially turned off by Keaton’s style until Allen stepped in to defend his ex-girlfriend, saying, “Leave her. She’s a genius.” Can’t argue with that.


Cecilia, Atonement

Atonement is a very well-made film. But ask anyone his or her favorite part, or what the film is even about, and you’ll get a fairly uniform response – that dress. This emerald-green knockout stole the film – and the hearts of audiences – and was voted Best Movie Costume of All Time by InStyle Magazine and Sky Films just one year after Atonement’s 2007 release. It certainly ranks as the steamiest costume of all time. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, costume designer Jacqueline Durran compares Keira Knightley’s character Cecilia’s look to that of “a beautiful butterfly wilting in the heat,” and says the dress was meant to convey “a feeling of semi-nakedness,” embodying Cecilia’s burgeoning sexuality. Considering the dress’ big moment, the infamous bookcase rendezvous, had us all clambering to renew our library cards, I’d say, “job well done.”

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