the 35 most stylish films of all time

From Clueless to A Clockwork Orange, we choose 35 of the best-looking, beautifully dressed films out there.

by Colin Crummy and i-D Staff
11 June 2015, 2:45pm

1. A Clockwork Orange, 1971
Malcolm McDowell plays mad bastard and head of the Droogs in a derby hat, suspenders and bootboy look that has permeated through pop culture in the 40 years since. Jean Paul Gaultier said the film changed his life; Kylie Minogue did an onstage homage called er, Droogie Nights.

2. Trainspotting, 1996
No 90s student house was complete without a poster of Trainspotting's 'neds' (non educated delinquents) headed by a skinny, wrecked and soaking wet Ewan McGregor. Britpop found its style encapsulated on the big screen.

3. Breathless, 1959
Jean-Luc Godard's early French New Wave film gave every Manic Pixie Dream Girl fantasist the perfect template in Jean Seberg. Her short crop hair, ballet pumps, black pegged pants and Breton stripes, like this classic film, have endured.

4. Stranger Than Paradise, 1984
Textbook stuff for anyone wanting to emulate 80s Lower East Side hipster style. The fact director Jim Jarmusch didn't employ a costume designer helped create the film's grungy, authentic aesthetic.

5. Quadrophenia, 1979
It was Mods against Rockers in one of the iconic style statements of British cinema. Their uniforms of sharp suits, skinny ties and parkas were the original British teen style tribe.

6. Rushmore, 1998
The one where Wes Anderson makes even a school uniform look tight.

7. La Dolce Vita, 1960
More than just that fountain scene, Fellini's masterpiece was inspired by the beauty that masked the moral decay of post-war Italy. Still, all that hedonism looked beautifully debauched.

8. American Gigolo, 1980
Richard Gere played the hustler but American Gigolo really sold the dream of conspicuous consumption in costume designer Giorgio Armani's classy, simple cuts.

9. Reservoir Dogs, 1992
Quentin Tarantino makes the two-piece suit synonymous with a bunch of rogue ex cons. Harvey Keitel's was a gift from Agnes B, the rest were vintage finds.

10. Blow-Up, 1966
Photographer David Bailey's world was the inspiration for this definitive, drugged up vision of Swinging London. It 'put sex into fashion,' according to art historian Colin McDowell.

11. In the Mood for Love, 2000
Kar Wai Wong's highly stylized romantic masterpiece made actress Maggie Cheung's costume changes an integral part of the scene. Her hair took four hours, her exquisite Chinese qipaos were custom made and stole the show.

12. Drive, 2011
A contemporary male style icon was born in Ryan Gosling who, channelling Drive's seriously stylish 80s noir vibes, gave white satin bomber jackets and double denim a good name.

13. A Single Man, 2009
Tom Ford showed how exactly a fashion designer would kit out an entire film--gorgeously, as it turned out.

14. Fight Club, 1999
For rubbishing the idea of Ikea as a style ideal and for giving spornosexuals a ripped-to-shit style icon in shirtless Brad Pitt.

15. Boyz in the Hood, 1991
This coming of age tale set in South Central L.A. marked a new wave of black cinema and helped - with baggy jeans, high waisted trousers and colors that pop - define a hip hop aesthetic that has endured.

16. Kids, 1995
For Kids' 20th anniversary this year, Supreme launched a capsule collection of tees, hoodies and skater wear--testament that Larry Clark film's street style lives as long as its notoriety.

17. Do the Right Thing, 1989
Director Spike Lee wrote of Do the Right Thing's aesthetic: "the look of the film should be bright… almost blinding AFROCENTRIC bright!" It was a look widely copied in pop culture like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

18. La Haine, 1995
Paris style stereotypes implode in this landmark piece of French cinema. Set in the city's banlieues, La Haine's youth gangs wear uniforms of Everlast and hi-tops, inspired more by American hip hop than Parisian catwalks. This year's Girlhood updated a similar scene.

19. Rosemary's Baby, 1868
A late 60s fashion high watermark as Mia Farrow plays it innocent in baby doll dresses, Peter Pan collars and hair by Vidal Sassoon. The style amplified the film's central theme of child like innocence in the face of true horror.

20. The Virgin Suicides, 1999
Sofia Coppola evokes 70s US girlhood in her signature dreamlike style. It's a film that's influenced the director's collaborators like Marc Jacobs and teenage girls themselves - Tavi Gevinson is a major fan.

21. Annie Hall, 1977
Diane Keaton's boyish wardrobe in this Woody Allen Manhattan romance was credited with putting androgyny back on the style map in late 70s America. The look, like the film, is a thing of smart, swoonsome beauty.

22. Withnail & I, 1987
This isn't a film with style you might want to emulate seeing as its about two 'resting' actors who lather on Deep Heat to keep themselves from freezing in a Camden bedsit. But Withnail's lived-in tweed and foppish white shirts have been the stuff of fashion and pop cultural inspiration since, from Margaret Howell to the Libertines.

23. Wall Street, 1987
Blocky suits, padded shoulders and brash colors: the men of Oliver Stone's last 80s classic went on to influence the style of the real wankers, sorry bankers, of Wall Street.

24. Christiane F, 1981
Subtitled We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, this dramatization of real life teen addiction and prostitution in 1970s West Berlin is harrowing stuff but it's also a compelling documentation of the city's youth style, soundtracked by David Bowie.

25. Heathers, 1988
Extreme 80s power dressing hits high school in Heathers, a lesson in how tell your story through color and clothing. Each member of Heathers owns a color according to her social standing while the wider school hierarchy is evoked through the tribal uniforms of mean girls, jocks and spec wearing nerds.

26. Grey Gardens, 1975
A documentary, but one that qualifies on the strength of strange, elegant 'Little' Edie's outfits alone. She made the headscarf her own, even in her hermitic world of a crumbling East Hamptons mansion.

27. Paris is Burning, 1980
Paris is Burning was about style rulebreakers: the disenfranchised young, black and Latinos queer community of Harlem subjugating the fashion and social codes of white, empowered, straight America.

28. Clueless, 1995
Totally buggin' in 53 types of plaid.

29. Blade Runner, 1982
The future looked like a rain soaked hell but a hell we all wanted a slice of, as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner went on to influence everything from architecture to fashion, advertising and design.

30. The Fifth Element, 1997
Gaultier lets mad fashion rip in a film that blasts away dour depictions of the future. Director Luc Besson's instruction to Gaultier on the villain Zorg was simple and typical: 'dandy, nouveau riche, Hitler'.

31. Romeo and Juliet, 1996
Baz Luhrmann shook Shakespeare out with a wildly over saturated color scheme, Latin American iconography and MTV generation editing. Style-wise, it set the twitchy, vibrant pace of youth culture TV since.

32. The Tribe, 2015
In a film about a gang of deaf young criminals in an Ukrainian boarding school told entirely in sign, director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy creates a highly stylized, ever surprising world of visual cues to keep the audience abreast of the story.

33. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988
Pedro Almodovar's breakthrough burst into the international scene in a riot of Mediterranean color and a camp, pop art aesthetic that has defined the Spanish auteur's work since.

34. Laurence Anyways, 2012
New Romantics style envelops Xavier Dolan's transgender story, which unfolds like an epic pop video in the French Canadian writer, director and costume designer's visionary style.

35. Edward Scissorhands, 1990
Tim Burton's creative high point and the moment, the Goth finally had his style date with the big screen. 


Text Colin Crummy

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