The latest version of The Great Gatsby hits theaters May 10th, and if the fashion world has anything to say about it, we’ll all be bobbing our hair and dressing just like Daisy Buchanan this summer. It’s been a long, LONG time since the fashion industry has rolled out the red carpet for a movie, but they’re doing it for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic in a BIG way, and they’re hoping we’ll all jump on board.
Because for the first time in a long time, a movie has great clothes.
If you look at the 5 highest-grossing movies of the last five years:
- Avatar (2009)
- The Avengers (2012)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
- Skyfall (2012)
- The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
You’ll see that they all deal with fantasy, science fiction, and escape. Escape from the reality of the recession into worlds and characters where the good guy always wins. They’re big on sets and CGI, but low on to-die-for fashion. The only sartorial contender is James Bond, and while always dashing, he doesn’t create a stampede of women running to stores, trying to duplicate his look.
But the fashion industry is hoping that Daisy Buchanan will.
After a lot of buzz, this version of The Great Gatsby began filming in September 2011 and was supposed to hit theaters Christmas 2012. Fashion designers got so excited by the potential that flapper looks started hitting the runway for Spring 2012. Marchesa, Etro, Gucci – the distinct chemise appeared again and again.
Marchesa, Spring 2012
Etro, Spring 2012
Gucci, Spring 2012
Fast forward to today and you’re still seeing the clothes:
Australian Vogue, May 2013
So why is the fashion industry so determined that you should jump on The Great Gatsby bandwagon?
Because great movie fashion sells clothes. It has for a hundred years.
When Pearl White first appeared in a woman’s business suit in the Perils of Pauline serial in 1914, women working in offices around the country decided they needed a business suit, too.
The Perils of Pauline
Was one of the most popular
serials of the Nineteen Teens
Once the fashion industry finished filling the orders and started counting their profits, they realized there was gold in Hollywood. They started cozying up to the film industry and haven’t broken the bond since.
Ever decade has had at least one film outfit that defines the era.
Dancing Mothers (1926)
Dinner at Eight (1933)
Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift
A Place In the Sun (1951)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Annie Hall (1977)
Indecent Proposal (1993)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Each and every one of these outfits sent a stampede of women into stores, trying to replicate them.
The thing is, while there are dozens of dresses that launched trends from the 1930’s to the 1990’s – classic looks from Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Faye Dunaway come to mind – there are only three that have done so since the dawn of the 21st century: Kate Hudson’s yellow dress in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (above), Anne Hathaway’s jacket and boots in The Devil Wears Prada (2006), and Kiera Knightley’s green dress in Atonement (2007).
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
That’s because there ARE no great fashion movies anymore. Hollywood relies on superheroes and CGI to pay the bills. Which is why the fashion industry has to beat the award show red carpets to death – those are the only iconic dresses stars put on these days.
So when a potential fashion movie comes along – in this case The Great Gatsby – the fashion industry is all over it. Ahead of time. They want you to buy these clothes yesterday, because they have numbers to meet and this is how they do it. It will be curious to see if it lives up to the hype.
So should you channel Daisy Buchanan this summer? Well, if dropped waists and simple chemises are your style, go for it. If not, don’t. Better yet, develop your own signature style so whatever you wear becomes iconic in the timeline of your life.
Diana Pemberton-Sikes is an author and image consultant who’s been running the FashionForRealWomen.com website since 2000. Her latest product is Signature Style Blueprint.