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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Style Note

    On Saturday, in the midst of the Garment District, a crowd of young, old, and fashionable (or lack thereof) assembled at Stony Brook Manhattan to hear a variety of speakers talk about fashion in film.

    The symposium turned out to be quite the event — practically every seat was taken, and the trays of sushi and skewered chicken that were served for lunch were gone in the blink of an eye. But beyond the talks and the implications they held, it was hard not to leave from the event with a sense of astonishment to the impact fashion in film.

    Before you go out and rent “Streetcar Named Desire” or pull out the ever-classic “American Gigilo,” it might be worth your while to think about the styles that came out of the movies, and how they have held on through the years. Armani suits became a cult favorite after “Gigilo” and runways immediately following the movie captured the dynamic change in the viewpoint of menswear. But lesser known is the lasting effect of style from “Desire.”

    Though one may not realize it, the t-shirt phenomenon was probably started by Brando himself. The famous scenes where his shirt effortlessly tucked into his pants, the creases of the shirt worn in under the sleeves (the designer hand-creased it), and the cut of the sleeves showing off his strong biceps, were the start of a lasting trend, a fashion cult that has yet to stop. We are constantly of the hunt for the perfect tee, and now we know why.

    In addition to the realization of the styles that have spurned from the silver screen, the symposium, which was created by E. Ann Kaplan, founder of the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook, drew attention to the symbiotic relationship of designers and film.

    Designers turn to films for inspiration — “Marie Antoinette” being the perfect example, and also the subject of a lecture from the event. Immediately following the production of the film, designers took note, producing perfume ads, like Viktor and Rolf’s Flower Bomb, to clothing ads like Juicy Couture, to perhaps the most beautiful editorials that Vogue has ever produced — Kirsten Dunst at the Palace of Versailles, wearing outfits inspired by and made for the film.

    But don’t be fooled. The magic of Hollywood depends on fashion as much as fashion depends on it. Many famous designers get their start as designers for films. In addition to Armani and his suits for Richard Gere, very few people had heard of Manolo Blahnik until “Sex and the City” put him on the screen. Now Manolo is on a first name basis with a huge part of the developed world.

    Films depend on clothing to show what dialogue cannot — fashion is the perfect medium to do by, and judging by the relationship they have with each other, it’s hard to see how one could succeed without the other.

    So while we may not run around in haute couture gowns and where poufs that symbolize our current state of affairs (a voting poll miniaturized on your head, anyone?), fashion and film have both gained from each other, and thus have influenced us. Don’t believe it? Then try explaining why we still think Armani makes the best suits, Manolo’s are a girl’s favorite shoe, and why we are still on the hunt for that perfect t-shirt.

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