10 of our favourite iconic movie dresses

10 of our favourite iconic movie dresses

Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)

All the way back to the 1940s for our first pick who is none other than Rita Hayworth who plays the sexy pin-up Gilda in the eponymous film. Hayworth was no stranger to statement dresses but this strapless black satin gown with matching elbow length gloves was ultimately the look that launched Hayworth’s career. Satin is a fabric we absolutely adore here at Favourbrook thanks to its glossy finish and beautifully elegant drape.

BRIDGITTE DRESS BLACK CONNAUGHT SILK AND WOOL

BRIDGITTE DRESS BLACK
CONNAUGHT SILK AND WOOL

SERENA CIRCLE DRESS BLACK SILK GEORGETTE

SERENA CIRCLE DRESS
BLACK SILK GEORGETTE


Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

No iconic dress list worthy of the title could possibly omit Marilyn Monroe in what is probably her most famous look. Singing “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” Monroe appears in the 1953 flick Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in the hottest of hot pink strapless evening gowns with matching gloves (perhaps a nod to Rita Hayworth’s outfit in Gilda?) The fact that she is dripped with diamonds only accentuates the impact of the gown, but set against the scarlet toned backdrop, the look launched bold pink dresses into the stratosphere. It’s such a bold, extravagant and cheeky colour, perfectly befitting Monroe herself.


Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (1955)

If there was ever an actress who looked as amazing off-screen as on it, it was Grace Kelly. In one of our all-time favourite films To Catch a Thief co-starring Cary Grant, Kelly plays a wealthy heiress holidaying in the South of France. So of course she has cleverly packed with her a white strapless chiffon evening gown that is magnificently floaty in the skirt and impossibly sculpted in the bodice. Kelly’s thick wavy blonde bob and a jaw-dropping diamond necklace help to deliver one of the most stunning and timeless cinematic looks we’ve ever seen.


Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface (1983)

The menswear in Scarface deserved an article in itself, but for all it’s machismo and Miami vice, Michelle Pfeiffer steals the show as Elvira Hancock in her Halston-esque teal evening dress, Slinky to the point of being barely there and with a plunging neckline and cross back, the dress designed by Patricia Norris was a seminal moment for minimalism in fashion and a welcome reminder that sometimes, simple really is best. It’s why many of our silk evening dresses are pared-back and bereft of bells and whistles. True elegance rarely requires any embellishments.

JOSEPHINE DRESS COBALT SILK SHANUTNG

JOSEPHINE DRESS COBALT
SILK SHANTUNG

JOSEPHINE DRESS NAVY REVERSE PLAIN SHANTUNG

JOSEPHINE DRESS NAVY
REVERSE PLAIN SHANTUNG


Julie Christie, Shampoo (1975)

One of the most interesting things about the dress that Julie Christie wore in the 1975 hit film Shampoo is that it is most recognisable from the back rather than the front, despite how photogenic Christie might be! That’s because the floor-length sequined evening dress created by John Bates is all about that epic scooped back. True, you’d need a svelte figure like Christie to pull it off (both Kate Moss and Nicole Kidman have worn replicas in the past), but you can’t fault it for seductiveness and all-round glamour.


Audrey Hepburn, Two for the Road (1967)

When you think style and Audrey Hepburn, the films that immediately come to mind are of course Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961 and Funny Face in 1957. But we’d argue that peak Hepburn style actually occurred in the 1967 comedy Two For The Road. The entire wardrobe is brilliant, all the way from her stripy bikini to Mary Quant mini-dresses. But it’s a space-age Paco Rabanne disc dress that wins first prize, perfectly encapsulating the exciting modernism of the late 60s.


Diana Ross, Mahogany (1975)

Diana Ross is no stranger to scene-stealing dresses but the embellished kimono-sleeve gown she wears as Tracy Chambers in Mahogany has to be up there as one of her most memorable. Ross pulls it off with sassy, confident aplomb, perhaps because she apparently created it herself with the assistance of the costume designer. We love the effect of the kimono sleeves and have this season created our own kimono jackets in two silk chiffon styles with floral embellishments, both of which make for stunning lightweight jackets atop evening dresses.

KIMONO COAT OLIVE STANLEY EMBROIDERED SILK CHIFFON

KIMONO COAT OLIVE STANLEY
EMBROIDERED SILK CHIFFON

KIMONO COAT BLUE CARRICK SILK DEVORE CHIFFON

KIMONO COAT BLUE CARRICK
SILK DEVORE CHIFFON


Demi Moore, Indecent Proposal (1993)

Dangerously sexy 90s glamour and a bob cut so sharp it must have been done with a laser - it can only mean Demi Moore in the 1993 blockbuster Indecent Proposal co-starring Woody Harrelson and Robert Redford. As great as the trio were, it’s Moore’s dress that really wows - designed by Thierry Mugler, it’s his signature graphic neckline that performs all of the magic. The dress actually popped up on 1stdibs.com not that long ago but was quickly snapped up for a cool £5550.


Maggie Cheung, In the Mood for Love (2000)

Wong Kar-wai’s films are cinematic masterpieces, shot beautifully with a magnificently rich colour spectrum. His best is perhaps In The Mood for Love, which stars Maggie Cheung and surely one of the most vast wardrobes of any modern actress, Costume designer William Chang more than 20 different cheongsams - a close-fitting dress that originated in 1920s Shanghai. We could have picked any one of them for this list, but finally decided upon the rose-strewn version simply because we adore floral motifs at Favourbrook.

POPPY DRESS DEWBERRY PAGET CREPE DE CHINE

POPPY DRESS DEWBERRY
PAGET CREPE DE CHINE

LOUISA DRESS OLIVE STANLEY EMBROIDERED SILK GEORGETTE

LOUISA DRESS OLIVE STANLEY
EMBROIDERED SILK GEORGETTE


Lauren Bacall, To Have and Have Not (1944)

To sign off our top 10 dresses, we go back to where we started, in the 1940s. This time it’s the stunning Lauren Bacall with her cheekbones carved out of alabaster, wearing a silky black peekaboo gown with power shoulders in To Have and Have Not. The scene we particularly adore finds Bacall leaning against a piano in a smoke-filled bar, singing ‘How Little We Know’, but in fact her wardrobe throughout the entire film is a masterclass in feminine tailoring. If you have never seen it, put it on your list!

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