Film is apparently nowhere near as sartorially influential as it once was, or so says a recent story in the New York Times. Yes, there’s the Avatar influence–from 3-D presentations and jungle-set fashion editorials to vibrant color palettes–but the connection between the two mediums isn’t as strong as it once was. “In previous decades the symbiotic relationship between Hollywood and Seventh Avenue was largely the product of strenuous marketing,” says the NYT, going on to argue that now fashion is pretty ambivalent towards the big screen, and looks towards television and new media for inspiration.
Something the NYT leaves out, which I find central to answering the question, is turnover. If designers are turning around four collections or more a year and fast fashion is knocking all of those styles off just as fast, it’s no wonder that citing a single film as influence for an entire collection no longer works. The plague of fashion and the Millennial alike is that everything has been done before. So referencing a period piece or basing an entire collection around ‘Belle du Jour’ would just feel dated. This is why the 70s look like the 70s, and anything after the Millenium is a hodgepodge of everything that came before. Look to FW10 for instance: dominant references revolved around the 90s (circa both ‘Clueless’ and ‘The Craft’), while Dries Van Noten went back to the 50s and Rochas opted for a slightly more recent 60s-inspired show.
Besides, film is typically about reflecting a ‘real life’ image of something contemporary or vintage; or, in the case of ‘Avatar,’ envisioning an entirely new world. But fashion, should it fall too far down the rabbit hole of imagination, runs the risk of becoming irrelevant. At the end of the day it has to be wearable… which is exactly why Na’vi approved loin cloths and blue body paint stand no chance of coming into style.