In need of some visual inspiration? Check out these exquisitely outfitted films, documentaries and series available for streaming on Netflix now.
Sofia Coppola’s historical drama “Marie Antoinette” takes a look at the life of the controversial queen herself in the years leading up to the French Revolution. As the case with most of Coppola’s work, the film was praised for its elaborate aesthetics—costumier Milena Canonero won an Academy Award for her decadent Rococo gowns and accessories, which included shoes by Manolo Blahnik and hundreds of wigs by Rocchetti & Rocchetti.
The First Monday in May
“The First Monday in May” marks one of the most important dates for fashion insiders: the Met Gala, an annual fundraising benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. This documentary, directed by Andrew Rossi, follows Anna Wintour and chief curator Andrew Bolton as they navigate a year’s worth of preparations—and setbacks—for the Costume Institute’s 2015 exhibition, “China: Through the Looking Glass.” The film also features revealing interviews with Wintour regarding her reputation and daily life.
Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell (she’s won for her work on “Shakespeare in Love,” “The Aviator” and “The Young Victoria”) outfitted leading women Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in “Carol,” an adaptation of the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith. Directed by Todd Haynes, the film follows the relationship of two women, Carol Aird and Therese Belivet, during the 1950s, when gay romance was socially unacceptable. For Blanchett’s wardrobe, Powell used vintage clothing from the period, jewelry from Van Cleef & Arpels and shoes from Ferragamo (made from original 1940s and 50s patterns).
A modern twist on novel “Les Liasons dangereuses,” cult classic “Cruel Intentions” is set among pampered New York City teenagers instead of 18th-century France. Despite its mixed reception, the film’s costumes are universally regarded as cleverly encapsulating late 90s chic. From Sarah Michelle Gellar’s underwear-as-outerwear to Ryan Philippe’s minimalist Prada separates, costume designer Denise Wingate hit a sartorial home run.
Another cult classic, “Heathers” stars 90s it-girl Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer, a popular high schooler who turns to the dark side as she becomes infatuated with Christian Slater’s J.D., a rebellious outcast. Designer Rudy Dillon perfectly evoked popularity politics and status with her broad-shouldered outerwear (the uniform of choice for the popular “Heathers”) and kitschy accessories.
Directed by Albert Maysles of “Grey Gardens” fame, “Iris” follows another utterly idiosyncratic woman with legendary style. Iris Apfel, now 96 years old, is a former textile mogul and interior designer who took part in restoration work at the White House for nine presidents including Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton. Throughout her life, she’s been recognized for her unique style that mixes artisanal, non-Western garments she’s collected during her travels with piled-high statement jewelry and her signature oversized glasses. We should all take note of Apfel’s mantra: “I don’t have any rules, I dress the way I please and I do what I please and I do everything for my good.”
A no-brainer when it comes to Netflix’s best-costumed offerings, “Mad Men” seamlessly moves through the 60s and 70s, with its costumes and decor following suit. From the home to the office and everything in between, costume designer Janie Bryant gets every period detail right. Highlights include Peggy Olson’s (played by Elizabeth Moss) stylish transformation, Megan Draper’s (Jessica Paré), glamorous nighttime looks and Sally Draper’s (Kiernan Shipka) evolution from girl to grownup.