Stylewise_Movies_article.jpgTime and time again, I’ve watched runway shows on FTV or live during Philippine Fashion Week, and I’ve been reminded of something I saw in a movie. A glittering, drop-waist dress—Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago. A boxy, wide-leg suit—Cate Blanchett in The Aviator. An all-black, all-leather look—Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix (or Michelle Pfeifer as Catwoman).

I’ve always found that fashion and films have a symbiotic relationship of sorts. Designers propose what’s “in” for a particular season, and those trends are reflected in movie fashion. Then, the flipside: a well-dressed character in a memorable film captures the public eye, and soon, catwalks and store windows are teeming with similar styles.

That’s why I love a good, stylish watch. It could be a rom-com about the fashion world, a designer documentary, or a non-fashion flick whose cast just happens to be impeccably arrayed. Whatever the genre, a trailer’s glimpse of beautiful costuming is all it takes to tantalize my ticket-buying reflex.

I remember when The Devil Wears Prada had just been released, and I trooped to the cinema with a bunch of college girlfriends to see what all the fuss was about. Boy, did we have a field day. During that overwhelming montage of Anne Hathaway’s spectacular wardrobe—set to Madonna’s “Vogue,” no less—we sighed, squealed, and sank deep into our seats in a mixture of envy and approval.

“I love that,” whispered one of the girls, when Anne emerged from behind a taxi in a white coat and beret. “That is so me,” declared another, when the heroine pitched an off-shoulder sweater over a white buttondown. A third (possibly me) simply murmured OMGs every time a new look was revealed.

In other words, for people who love fashion, a stunning wardrobe is just another element that makes a film worth watching. Fashion may not be the star of the show, but it’s certainly something you’ll remember, even if you can’t recall the protagonist’s name.

There are, of course, the basics—The Devil Wears Prada, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and all three movies about Chanel. But there are also the unexpected gems—the suspense-thrillers and murder-mysteries and period projects that cause quite a sensation in the fashion world. They reel you in with an exciting plot and star-studded cast and leave you itching for more after you’ve seen what the leads are wearing.

So here’s a little film anthology I’ve put together: below, in alphabetical order, find 20 movies that no fashion fan should miss. Some are comedies, others are documentaries, and others have nothing to do with fashion but serve as style inspirations anyway. I know I’m leaving out a few, but this list pays homage to my favorites.

Which are yours?

(Photo of Mia Farrow from The Great Gatsby courtesy of Paramount Pictures; photo of Audrey Hepburn from Funny Face courtesy of Paramount Pictures; photo of Kirsten Dunst from Marie Antoinette courtesy of Columbia Pictures.)

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