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Velvet Goldmine Todd Haynes Bowie Iggy Pop Christian Bale
Velvet Goldmine, 1998

Ten ridiculously stylish cult movies to watch when Elf just won’t cut it

From Velvet Goldmine and Liquid Sky, to Jawbreaker and Boiling Point

It’s Christmas. You have been woken up for the fourth day in a row to the sound of every member of your family arguing over who gets to use the shower first. You go downstairs, head straight to the fridge and pour yourself your first glass of many (many) proseccos. You eat so many roast potatoes you can feel your soul departing your body. You finish off your third bottle of wine and put on a feel-good Christmas movie. Love Actually? The Holiday? Elf? Absolutely fucking not. 

To aid you in the holiday season, we’ve picked out ten of the most stylish films to sack your family off for, because Lord knows we’ll all need a break at some point. From Trainspotting and The Fifth Element, to Pulp Fiction and The Matrix, check them out below.

JAWBREAKER (1999)

Besides having a cameo from Marilyn Manson (iconic imagery here), Jawbreaker is worth watching mostly for the outfits. Perfectly capturing the 90s style that everyone has been obsessing over, what better time to sink some Baileys and watch Rose McGowan strut through a high school corridor wearing a tight red midi dress and matching cardi.

Read our article unpicking the film’s iconic style here.

TRAINSPOTTING (1996)

Not the cheeriest of films to watch on Christmas day, we know, but from a fashion angle, it’s a must. Influencing contemporary designers including Gosha Rubchinskiy and Demna Gvasalia, heroin chic may be a thing of the past but the style of Danny Boyle’s ode to a disillusioned youth should not be forgotten.

Read our interview with the film’s costume designer here.

BOILING POINT (1990)

Directed by Takeshi Kitano, Boiling Point was a continuation of the filmmaker’s relationship with Yohji Yamamoto. Styling a number of his films, the pair harnessed a cult following for their ability to couple casual fashion with violent storylines. With this film following the lives of two baseball players whose coach is threatened by the yakuza, the fashion is kept notably minimal, with its most recognisable outfit being a Hawaiian-styled shirt worn with a slouchy pin-stripped suit.

Read more about the other cult Kitano films costumed by the legendary Japanese designer here

PULP FICTION (1994)

From Chanel shoes and paisley print bandeaus, to speed racer tee-shirts and Western ties, Pulp Fiction’s style is as chaotic and enchanting as its storyline. With countless other fashion moments dotted throughout, read our interview with film’s costume designer Betsy Heimann here

ORLANDO (1992)

With Tilda Swinton in the lead role, Orlando is based on the Virginia Woolf book about a genderqueer time-travelling protagonist. A cult classic, the book has recently been reimagined as an Opera with costumes designed by Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo, and will also be one of the central themes of the 2020 Met exhibition.

Read more on the style-defining film here and understand how the cult classic may be interpreted for next years Met Ball. 

VELVET GOLDMINE (1998)

“I want to turn every gay person straight, and every straight person gay,” were the words of Todd Haynes when he made the film Velvet Goldmine. Based on the life of David Bowie, the movie is a tribute to the hedonistic 1970s era of glam-rock. Featuring Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, the film is outfitted by award-winning costume designer Sandy Powell, who has created a feast for the eyes in the form of emblazoned kimonos, sequined catsuits, and colourful feather bowers.

Read more about the stylistic legacy of the film here.     

THE MATRIX (1999)

If you’ve been paying any attention at all these past few years, you would have noticed the costumes in The Matrix have inspired everyone from Bella Hadid and Rihanna, to Prada to Balenciaga.

This Christmas, dust off those tiny black specs, don your pleather trench coat, and plug into the mainframe to find out more about why the style of the late 90s film feels so relevant today

LIQUID SKY (1982)

A visually compelling journey through the underbelly of the New York fashion scene, this 80s post-punk cult film has had a lasting legacy on popular culture, from its outrageous make-up to its ostentatious costumes.

Find out more here through our interview with the iconic film’s director.   

THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997)

A fashion journey through time and space, this 1997 sci-fi classic features costumes from Jean-Paul Gaultier. Do we need to say anything more?

Take a look back at our deep dive into the film’s most iconic looks, here

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1976)

Inspiring everyone from the likes of Raf Simons and Alexander McQueen, to Sofia Coppola and Rodarte, this hazy romantic film is one of fashion’s favourites. Whack on one of those Midsommar-inspired dresses you bought this summer, eat some strawberries, and pretend you are lounging around in the Australian countryside. And while you are there, read of our exploration on why the film has influenced so many fashion greats.