When you're not working from your new home office, spring cleaning like mad, or honing your cooking and baking skills during this self-isolation period, you're probably also catching up on all the films and shows you've been dying to see but didn't have the time for once upon a time. And while there are a ton of exciting new releases (Hello, Tiger King and Little Fires Everywhere) if you're an avid fan of fashion, you should consider adding a few Oscar-winning movies for best costume design to your current queue.
Oscar season isn't just exciting fashion-wise for the celebrity red carpet looks; There are also the achievements in wardrobe design to consider. For example, 2020's winner, Little Women, had everyone pining to pair wrap sweaters with voluminous skirts. And while the majority of movies that took home the statue are period pieces (several specifically from the Victorian period), this category actually offers a wealth of fashion inspiration across different cultures and eras — everything from Ben-Hur's tunics and robes to Mad Max: Fury Road's futuristic, apocalyptic garb.
Another benefit of scanning the list of Best-Costume-Design-winning films, starting from 1949, is that you'll find ones you've probably never heard of — not just the usual cult-classic faves (although Clueless and Breakfast at Tiffany's literally never get old). Need help narrowing it down? Ahead, find 10 especially stunning award winners that span a variety of decades and styles. So next time you want a little eye candy, consider starting here.
Celebrated designer Mark Bridges (whose impressive body of work includes Boogie Nights, Silver Lining's Playbook, and two 2019 faves, Joker and A Marriage Story), took home the award in 2018 for Paul Thomas Anderson's drama centered around a dressmaker who stitches hidden messages into his couture creations.
In 2007, Milena Canonero won the Oscar for her work in Sofia Coppola's frothy, modernized take on the life of France's most iconic (and doomed) queen. Much like the character she plays, Kirsten Dunst's wardrobe in the movie is pure decadence.
West Side Story
There are probably a millions reasons to watch (or re-watch, as the case may be) this 1961 classic musical: The songs, the love-story-for-the-ages, the quintessential lines, and of course Natalie Wood's great beauty, to name just a few. But the wardrobe alone, designed by Irene Sharaff, demands a viewing ASAP.
The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert
Before Ru Paul's Drag Race, there was this campy Australian comedy about drag queens. From the memorable flip-flop dress to the feathered headdresses, designer Lizzy Gardiner's wardrobe was one of the main reasons this 1994 flick is still so beloved.
Memoirs Of A Geisha
Colleen Atwood, who's also responsible for the costume design of other Oscar winners like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Chicago, took home the statue in 2006 for this jaw-droppingly beautiful film set in 1920s Japan.
Baz Luhrmann's 2002 colorful, theatrical musical is a full-on spectacle (much like the show the characters put on) — and a big part of that is the wardrobe, designed by Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie. Think turn-of-the-century France, with top hats, sparkly corsets, and of course, can-can skirts.
Mark Bridges took home the Oscar again in 2011 for his work in this black-and-white silent film, set in the late 1920s. If the flapper era is one of your favorite times for fashion, you won't want to skip this one.
Shakespeare In Love
British costume designer Sandy Powell has actually earned three Oscars for her work (other wins were for The Aviator and The Young Victoria), but it was this iconic 1998 film — which put Gwyneth Paltrow on the map — that might be most memorable for its rich period costumes.
My Fair Lady
The always-elegant Audrey Hepburn starred as Eliza Doolittle in this 1964 classic. And her wardrobe, designed by Cecil Beaton (who also won for Gigi in 1958) is one of the main reasons to fall in love with the iconic character — besides the accent, of course.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson is known for his immaculate art direction and attention to detail — which of course extends to the wardrobe of his quirky characters. In 2014, Milena Canonero once again grabbed the statuette for her flawless costume design for this saturated, stylish film.
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