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Marie Antoinette (2006)via

Tracing the cult films that inspired fashion week

From Valley of the Dolls to Working Girl, here are eight times style borrowed from cinema at the SS17 shows

Fashion designers have been known to draw inspiration from all manner of places – this season saw them look to the 90s rave scene, 17th century opera and the Moomins. However for these eight labels, it was the silver screen that served as reference points for their SS17 collections. From vintage horror and post-apocalyptic sci-fi to literary adaptations and 80s romcoms, these movies are as idiosyncratic as the collections they inspired. Here’s our eight-point guide to the films behind the fashion of SS17.


This season saw Tudor references creep onto runways, with leg-of-mutton sleeves, quilted velvet and ruffled lace cropping up again and again. At Burberry, it was the 1992 adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s gender-blurring novel Orlando that Christopher Bailey pinpointed as the source of the Elizabethan style motifs that appeared throughout the collection. While copies of the novel were placed on each attendee’s seat, photos of Tilda Swinton’s titular character appeared on mood boards. The result: ruff collars, studded jackets and gigot sleeves.


Having drawn inspiration from Pretty Woman last season, for SS17 Off-White designer Virgil Abloh turned his eye to 80s rom-com Working Girl, where a secretary (Melanie Griffith) takes advantage of her boss (Sigourney Weaver) being absent from work to try and get ahead. With a pre-show nod to the film, the invitation arrived with a business card bearing the name of the film’s cut-throat boss Katherine Parker, before the designer sent his businesswomen down the runway in striped shirts and assymetrical tailored jackets paired with baseball caps and track pants.


Having previously starred in Dior’s campaign film shot at Versailles, Rihanna was inspired by one of the palace’s former residents – Marie Antoinette – for SS17. As a result, there were many commonalities between Sofia Coppola’s interpretation of the life of France’s infamous queen and her second Fenty x Puma collection. As well as sharing similarly saccharine shades of macaron pink, the collection comprised of corsets, camisoles and bustiers trimmed with lace and accessorised with strings of crystals and pearls.


Perennially inspired by Old Hollywood screen sirens and the 50s acting career of her grandmother, this season Fashion East designer Mimi Wade drew inspiration from classic Japanese horror Mothra. The film tracks two doll-sized women who are captured from their ex-nuclear testing island by explorers who put them to work performing as a vaudeville act. Secretly through song, they summon Mothra: the giant dam-busting, plane-destroying moth god of their native island. Translating this to her collection, the wings of Mothra were painted onto one of Wade’s signature leather dresses.


On the run from the hitmen put on Sailor (Nicolas Cage) by his girlfriend Lula’s Mum, Wild at Heart is David Lynch’s cult classic. For SS17, Joseph Altuzarra “wanted to channel the rebellious and youthful spirit” of the film, “inspired by the carefree and fun-loving attitude of… Lula and Sailor”. The resulting collection was “a modern take on romance and kitsch”, complete with fruity motifs, lettuce hems and animal-print trenches.


The usual romantic melancholy of Rick Owens’ moody collections was somewhat up-ended for SS17, with an uplifting collection of frothy tulle dresses and uncharacteristic colour. Owens’ cloud-like dresses evoked those belonging to Jean Harlow’s character in the 1933 feature Dinner At Eight, a film centred on a society dinner party that serves to reveal the secrets of its guests. Fitting, for the enigmatic designer so used to surprising and intriguing with his collections.


For her SS17 collection, another Fashion East-er AV Robertson turned the post-apocalyptic The Day of The Triffids – where humans are blind and being feasted upon by man-eating plants – into dainty vines that wove their way across her collection. Having also taken direction from the 1956 film Forbidden PlanetRobertson was clearly on a roll with her doomsday inspiration.


In the 1966 novel The Valley of The Dolls, author Jacqueline Susann coined “dolls” as a euphemism for pills. Like the novel it was adapted from, the film is an allegory for women’s reliance on stimulants, depressants and sleeping pills, and is likened to a childlike dependence on dolls. Taking these themes to his SS17 collection for Moschino, Jeremy Scott’s models represented walking, talking cut-and-fold paper dolls. The reference to the film was doubled up through pill-printed dresses, blister-pack bags and an entire pill-themed capsule collection released on the night of the ready-to-wear show – even the invitation arrived in ‘prescription’ form.