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Ahh, London! One of the most glamorous cities in the world. It is a fashion capital, after all. Not to mention the fact that the British capital is also one of the most beautiful destinations out there, making it even more of a utopia for those who haven't been here. Or for those who've seen London in the movies. It's no secret that many movies have featured this city as its backdrop, from modern comedies to romantic period pieces. Among them, here are the ones that have the best wardrobes, further emphasizing the British sense of style.
My Fair Lady (1964)
The 1964 film adaptation of the hit musical, 'My Fair Lady,' was a turning point of sorts in Audrey Hepburn's career. A beloved Cinderella-like story of how an overconfident noble Englishman transforms a cockney-accented street mouse into the epitome of the British aristocracy, it was also one of the most fashionable movies at the time. Costume designer Cecil Beaton even won the Oscar for Best in Costume Design for his lavish dresses, sparkling gowns, and opulent looks in the movie. The most famous of which is Hepburn's iconic black and white lace number that she wore at the Ascot Racecourse scene.
Source: Paramount Movies YouTube Channel
'Risque' doesn't even begin to describe the 1966 film, 'Alfie.' Starring the legendary Michael Caine in one of his earlier roles, it tells the story of a cheeky womanizer in 1960s London who, after a series of passionate and romantic trysts, starts to question his lifestyle. At the time, the British capital and the entire fashion world were in a revolution. It was at this time that the skirts became shorter, silhouettes became more daring, The Beatles, who had a few stylish influences of their own, were on top of the world, and the youthquake was taking over pop culture. Although the movie featured adults—as well as adult themes!—many of those notable fashion changes were reflected here.
Source: Paramount Movies Digital YouTube Channel
Although 'Scandal,' starring Joanne Whalley, John Hurt, and Ian McKellan, premiered in 1989, the period piece itself was set in 1960s London. Just like 'Alfie' (which actually premiered in the 1960s), this film featured the tidal waves of fashion changes at the time. Most notably, the protagonist, Christine Keeler, displays a wardrobe full of mini dresses, short skirts, and the like. If you'd go to any London vintage store right now, you'd see these styles in a heartbeat. The 'Swingin' Sixties' were perfectly reflected in her skin-tight silhouettes, leg-baring frocks, and unapologetically sexy attitude that shook the country's Conservative Party at its core. If only what happened in the movie were the real-life events of the actual scandal.
Source: HD Retro Trailers YouTube Channel
Grand mansions, wafting dresses, and vintage-style curls. The 2007 film, 'Atonement,' was 'Downton Abbey' even before it premiered in 2011. Starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, and Saoirse Ronan, it's the kind of British period film that's always a hit during awards season. And lo and behold, it received a ton of nominations including, of course, Best Costume Design for Jacqueline Durran, the movie's costume designer. Thanks to her vision of flowing fancy frocks and strict British tailored suits, the 1930s UK was revived on screen. And who could ever forget Keira Knightley in her beautifully draped green evening dress? Or how McAvoy passionately ripped it during their love scene?
Source: Screen Bites YouTube Channel
The Edge of Love (2008)
From the late 2000s to the early 2010s, Keira Knighelty was the queen of British period films. One of her most notable works was the 2008 film, 'The Edge of Love,' in which she co-starred with Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy, and Matthew Rhys. Set in the 1940s nightclub scene, particularly during the horrific London Blitz that happened from 1940 to 1941, the film is a treasure trove of old-school British style. Think warm knitwear in neutral tones, floral frocks that looked as dainty as ever, and, of course, that signature English tailoring.
Source: LionsgateFilmsUK YouTube Channel
An Education (2009)
Although the 2009 film, 'An Education,' was set in 1960s London, it didn't have that 'Swingin' Sixties' wardrobe featured in the previously mentioned film. On the contrary, since the film is set in 1961 where classic British elegance was still the name of the game. For the most part, the lead star Carey Mulligan wore elegant dresses that looked straight out of Paris haute couture houses, further detailing her coming-of-age as it was contrasted against her school uniform. Her leading man, Peter Sarsgaard, on the other hand, donned classic suits, likely made by the best men's tailors in London.
Source: Sony Pictures Classics YouTube Channel
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)
While 'Sex And The City' was the pinnacle of fashion in American TV, across the pond, viewers went gaga for the outrageous looks in 'Absolutely Fabulous.' This dark comedy hit instantly became a cult classic, especially to fashion fans who loved the clothes featured on the show. So imagine their joy when the iconic duo, Edina & Patsy, returned to rile things up in the London fashion scene yet again. This time, it was on the big screen in the 2016 comedy film, 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.' The film didn't just feature British designer clothing, but the actual designers behind them also made cameos as well!
Source: Searchlight Pictures UK YouTube Channel
Phantom Thread (2017)
Who would've ever thought that the great Daniel Day-Lewis would consider a fashion film to be his final run on the big screen? The 2017 film, 'Phantom Thread,' was one of the big hits of the year. Of course, the actor's riveting performance caught everyone's attention. But for those who are keen on fashion couldn't help but indulge in the classic couture creations featured in the film. After all, the movie's premise was all about the twisted love story between a grand couturier and his muse. The stunning ballgowns were simply the icing on this dramatic and heart wrenching cake!
Source: Focus Features YouTube Channel
If the designers, luxury brands, and outrageous trends still don't prove just how much of an authority London is in the fashion world, perhaps these fashion-filled films will convince you of the British capital's impact on style over the years!
Snuggle up in your luxury home and enjoy these amazingly fabulous films set in London! You'll have a better appreciation for the city afterward!