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Five Fabulously Stylish Summer Movies

August has arrived, and Instagram informs us that the fashion flock has headed to Hydra, Montauk and Ibiza. Yet, as i-D Fashion Features Editor Anders Christian Madsen reports, London designers are hard at work, as are many of our most diligent friends and colleagues. So in case your seaside retreat comes with a gloomy day or two - or you can’t make your escape in the first place - we’ve prepared a marathon of the most inspiring vacation flicks. Full of romance, drama, hijinks, and amazing looks, these movies are guaranteed to transport you straight into a 60s style bikini and sarong, rum swizzle in hand and Jean-Paul Belmondo in tow.

Text Becca Endicott
Film still from Pierrot Le Fou by Jean-Luc Godard

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  • THAT red one-piece swimsuit in Bonjour Tristesse

    The Story: Inspired by Francoise Sagan’s book of the same name, this 58 film follows the tale of a girl called Cecile, played by the ever-chic Jean Seberg. She’s a party girl with a dark side on the French Riviera, until her father acquires an authoritarian fiancee who threatens to spoil the fun. Alongside her father’s young mistress, Cecile works to break up the relationship and secure her carefree lifestyle, no matter the consequences.

    The Style: Because it was filmed in the late 50s, the fashion in this movie sits between Dior’s ultra-femme New Look, and the sleeker, more angular silhouettes that would become popular in the 60s. It’s a whirl of hourglass-shaped party dresses and square-necked swimsuits, as well as tomboyish, oversized button-downs. Mlle. Seberg wears her signature pixie tres court to great effect, accentuated with perfect shades.

  • Double the Style in Two for the Road

    The Story: Married couple Mark and Jo, played by Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn, take a tense road trip through the South of France in this 67 gem. As they travel, they recall, in no particular order, other trips they’ve taken through the area at high and low points in their relationship.

    The Style: Any movie featuring Audrey Hepburn is bound to be a stylish affair, and this is no exception. Because the movie takes place over twelve years, we are treated to a wide diversity of styles, from outlandish space-age gear to wildly bouffant ‘dos to sweetly casual cigarette trousers paired with a red sweater. Naturally, they are often at the beach, wearing covetable swim gear, but the film veers just as often towards a decidedly more “Twiggy” look, including sequins, buckets of eye make-up, and shoulder-length earrings.

  • Baby’s Got Back in Dirty Dancing

    The Story: Familiar and beloved to almost anyone who came of age in the 80s or 90s, Dirty Dancing is a rom-com classic. It takes place in the early 60s at a family camp in the Catskills, where recent high school graduate Baby, played by Jennifer Grey, learns how to dirty dance from the camp’s instructor Johnny, played by a very muscular Patrick Swayze. Needless to say, it’s the time of their lives.

    The Style: While the 80s make their mark here via an action montage set to “Hungry Eyes,” the fashion is true to the early 60s setting. Baby rocks bright-white Keds, high-waisted denim, boyish crop tops, and a ton of athletic dancewear not at all out of line with the contemporary sportif trend during practice, and switches to nipped-in, swingy chiffon dresses on stage. Swayze, meanwhile, remains loyal to his look: back-combed pompadour and high-waisted trousers paired with a muscle tee, an open-necked shirt, or (often) nothing at all.

  • The New Wave Goes Criminally Chic in Pierrot le Fou

    The Story: This Jean-Luc Godard classic features New Wave muses Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina as Ferdinand “Pierrot” and Marianne, a young French couple that are not so much on holiday as they are on the lam. After Pierrot decides to leave his wife and run away with Marianne, the pair find themselves in hot water with some mobsters, embark on a slapstick crime spree, and eventually go to ground in the French Riviera, where they lead a Robert Louis Stevenson-type existence (with an added note of existential despair) before an abrupt and discomfiting return to the real world.

    The Style: While the subject matter of this movie can be downright dark, the aesthetic is all about bright, primary colours. Belmondo reps for menswear in pale blue linen suits, navy fisherman sweaters, and an impressive collection of hats. Karina, meanwhile, walks seaside in a (very contemporary) clinging slip dress, sticks a toe in the surf in a candy-striped romper, and models a camouflage cap. And we can’t forget her patriotic turn driving their getaway car: attired in red, white, and blue, and topped with a jaunty sailor’s hat, she resembles nothing so much as the French flag.


  • Go On a Punk Pilgrimage in Mystery Train

    The Story: This Jim Jarmusch-directed vehicle is a tri-partite film following the stories of three different groups of foreign visitors traveling through the same hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. “Far from Yokohama” tells the story of a Japanese couple making a pilgrimage to Elvis’ native city, “A Ghost” follows an Italian widow bringing her husband’s coffin home for burial, and “Lost in Space” is about an Englishman (played by Joe Strummer) trying to get over a fresh breakup.

    The Style: While the whole 1989 movie is stylish in its Jarmusch-y way, the fashion that really matters here is in “Far from Yokohama.” Mitsuko and Jun, the teenaged couple in this part of the film, are a slick pair of punks. Mitsuko is fully decked out in a DIY tee, combat boots, biker jacket, and silver lipstick. Jun, meanwhile, is like some kind of latter-day greaser, complete with wide lapels, sharp suit jacket, bad attitude, and an ode-to-Elvis quiff. Totally badasses. And, as a side note, a big shout-out to the enormous hairbow on the lady who gave the tours at the Elvis Museum.