With Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby opening the Cannes Film Festival today, we have fashionable lit on the mind. Costumes are among the many challenges – or potential opportunities – of bringing a book to life on the silver screen. With the help of Hollywood’s best designers, though, these 10 films have become fashion royalty. Now serving as sources of style inspiration for fashion’s elite the world over, the film adaptations of these books have transformed their literature counterparts into verifiable style darlings.
1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote
No list of stylish books would be complete without a nod to Audrey Hepburn in the film adaptation of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. With her high bun, string of pearls, and oversized sunglasses, Hepburn’s understated look has become the final word on classic style.
2. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
The recent adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is a fashion force to be reckoned with. Few were surprised when the flick won Best Costume Design in 2012, as Keira Knightley was hard to ignore in off-the-shoulder, bordeaux gowns and lux fur coats with caps to boot.
3. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Few films have generated as much costume buzz as Baz Luhrman’s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The costumes, all Prada originals, are 1920’s fantasies of delicate beading, fringe, and embellished headpieces galore. With star Carey Mulligan covering this month’s Vogue, it’s fair to say that the fashion world is enamored.
4. The Life and Times of Cleopatra, by Carlo Maria Franzero
As one of the most expensive films of all time, Cleopatra, based on The Life and Times of Cleopatra by Carlo Maria Franzero, is a study in gilded details, drapery, and figure flattering cuts. Leave it to La Liz to bring a 2,000-year-old political figure to the forefront of fashion, spawning copycats like Kim Kardashian in a 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games has given way to an all-time top grossing film franchise, starring the face of Dior, Jennifer Lawrence. In fact, the allure of crafting lead character Katniss’ iconic “Girl on Fire” look was so high that designers from Christian Siriano to Charlotte Ronson offered up sketches of their own interpretations.
6. The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides
Starring Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett, this film, based on Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel by the same name, is an incredibly dark story of four young sisters. The cinematographic result could easily be mistaken for a Rodarte campaign, featuring a twisted take on innocent style.
7. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
In another Baz Luhrman adaptation, Romeo + Juliet, we see Claire Danes officially break onto the fashion scene as a 1990s version of Juliet. Serving as inspiration for future campaigns, including Wildfox’s Fall 2012 lookbook, this romantic take on grunge stole the hearts of fashion’s finest.
8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
Where would we be without those ruby slippers? Originally silver in L. Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland’s shoes in the film adaptation are – to put it lightly – iconic. In 2008, 19 designers, from Diane von Furstenberg to Manolo Blahnik, actually designed modern interpretations for the 70th anniversary of the film.
9. Atonement, by Ian McEwan
In 2007, Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement was made into a film, again starring the ever-stylish Keira Knightley. Deemed the “Best Film Costume of All Time” by InStyle readers, the emerald-hued gown that Knightley sports in the story’s pivotal scene is now a piece of fashion history.
10. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
The inspiration for countless whimsical films, Lewis Carroll’s classic book came to fashion fruition in Tim Burton’s 2010 take. The costumes were created by Colleen Atwood, earning her an Oscar for her designs. That year, window displays and fashion spin-offs weren’t immune to Burton’s Wonderland, and even Donatella Versace admitted that her collection had been inspired by the tale.
What’s your pick for most stylish book? Tell us in the comments below!
Written by Annie Wazer, Marketing Coordinator for real-time trend insights company Stylitics. Annie can often be found wearing leather leggings and has never met a cup of coffee she didn’t like.