6 Fashion Collections Inspired by Film

Fashion designers have long borrowed from the themes, settings and costumes of their favorite films when designing collections, some more directly than others.
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Fashion designers have long borrowed from the themes, settings and costumes of their favorite films when designing collections, some more directly than others.

Fashion designers have long looked to film for inspiration. But how does a designer make a movie reference his or her own? Splatter a shot of Ursula from "The Little Mermaid" on a sweatshirt? Oh no! But that’s exactly what Bobby Abley did for his first solo spring 2015 collection in London. Still, there are many designers -- the talented Mr. Thom Browne, the devilish Miuccia Prada -- who use elements from familiar cinematic experiences to enhance the power of their presentations. That’s it for explanation. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" / Thom Browne Fall 2014 

A look from Thom Browne’s fall 2014 show and a costume from "Hunger Game: Catching Fire" bear a striking resemblance. Photo: Lionsgate, Imaxtree

A look from Thom Browne’s fall 2014 show and a costume from "Hunger Game: Catching Fire" bear a striking resemblance. Photo: Lionsgate, Imaxtree

The dystopian fable "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" was released three months before Thom Browne showed his fall 2014 collection, and it must have instantly caught the designer's eye. That's perhaps not surprising -- Trish Summerville's costumes for the film got a great deal of media attention leading up to its debut, and Browne's shows have often played on dark themes of violence and female empowerment (or lack thereof).

"The Little Mermaid"/Bobby Abley Spring 2015 

Ursula smiles on a Bobby Abley sweatshirt featured in his spring 2015 show in London. Photos: Disney/Imaxtree

Ursula smiles on a Bobby Abley sweatshirt featured in his spring 2015 show in London. Photos: Disney/Imaxtree

When MAN finalist Bobby Abley showed smirking Disney icons on neoprene-y sweatshirts, I had to grin as well. There’s not much thought behind this kind of fast fashion, but all praise to Albey for flagrantly displaying his Disney fanboy side.

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" / Anna Sui Fall 2014 

A look from Anna Sui’s fall 2014 outing in New York had the visceral color palette of a Wes Anderson film. Photos: Fox Searchlight/Imaxtree

A look from Anna Sui’s fall 2014 outing in New York had the visceral color palette of a Wes Anderson film. Photos: Fox Searchlight/Imaxtree

A Wes Anderson movie is a feast for the eyes, one so mouthwatering you’ll want to lick the screen. Which is why countless designers admire the director and study his palette if they’re craving rich, edible hues for the season.

"Valley of the Dolls" / Dsquared2 Fall 2014 

A Valley of the Dolls2: Amanda Welsh escorted by two Dsquared2 nurses. Photos: 20th Century Fox/Imaxtree

A Valley of the Dolls2: Amanda Welsh escorted by two Dsquared2 nurses. Photos: 20th Century Fox/Imaxtree

Dsquared2 finds most of its fun in fashion detours: tiki bars, psych wards, artists’ studios, high school proms… show sets that tend to hint-hint, wink-wink at a film or a time period, or at least provide a context to help portray a collection's message. It was Mark Robson’s "Valley of the Dolls" that appeared to influence Dean and Dan Caten’s fall 2014 Dsquared2 show, which burst with sex symbols.

"Muholland Drive" / Prada Fall 2013 

Amanda Murphy looking very much like Rita (Laura Harring) in "Muholland Drive" at Prada’s fall 2013 catwalk show in Milan. Photos: Universal/Imaxtree

Amanda Murphy looking very much like Rita (Laura Harring) in "Muholland Drive" at Prada’s fall 2013 catwalk show in Milan. Photos: Universal/Imaxtree

A few months ago, I loaned a friend my copy of "Muholland Drive," David Lynch’s intoxicating film, and her “How the f*ck could you like that?” response still doesn’t surprise me. In fact, many people despised that movie. The New York Observer called it “a moronic and incoherent piece of garbage.” But the fashion pantheon loves Lynch, a director who isn’t afraid to trade clarity for cerebral chaos. His movies are like those vivid dreams we all have and don’t quite understand but can’t wait to tell everyone about the next day -- similar, in fact, to Prada's fall 2013 show, with its cryptic set and eerie score that oozed mystery.

"Vertigo" / Ralph Lauren Fall 2014 

Sasha Luss doing her best Kim Novak at RalphLauren’s fall 2014 runway show in New York. Photos: Paramount/Imaxtree

Sasha Luss doing her best Kim Novak at RalphLauren’s fall 2014 runway show in New York. Photos: Paramount/Imaxtree

"Vertigo," much like fashion, is a film about romantic obsession. And that’s exactly what was on Ralph Lauren’s mind for his fall 2014 show, which used a gray palette to paint images of mysterious Hitchcock blondes, looking as if they just emerged from the San Francisco fog.