Looking to movies for fashion trends

June 12, 1991|By Robin D. Givhan and Pat Morgan | Robin D. Givhan and Pat Morgan,Knight-Ridder

Ever since "American Gigolo" proved that real men wear Armani, trendoids have been drawing fashion inspiration from the silver screen.

"Out of Africa" gave us safari style and sent shoppers swarming to Banana Republic. "Amadeus' " legacy was romantic poet shirts. "The Untouchables" brought back gangster chic and proved that even the bad guys sometimes wear Armani.

And unfortunately, "Saturday Night Fever" somehow made us think white suits and open-neck black shirts were suave. We hope all of you know better by now.

More recent attempts to influence our sartorial statements -- "Dick Tracy," for instance -- have been less successful. Somehow, yellow trench coats and fedoras never made it out of the theater.

But even if the era of films dictating wholesale fashion direction has passed, trend-trackers still look to movies for inspiration.

In that spirit, we examine summer's most talked-about releases for their trend-starting potential. Our rating system is based on that supreme doyenne of trendiness, Madonna. The more Madonnas, the better.

"THELMA AND LOUISE" -- It's hard to go wrong with Thunderbird convertibles, Grace Kelly head wraps, and cat-eye sunglasses. And while we're at it, if we have to have crime, we prefer politically correct outlaws who have good manners, good hearts and good sex.

"SOAPDISH" -- Cleavage is in. We had hoped the "Dynasty" look died with the television show, but costume designer Nolan Miller, who outfitted the Carrington clan, seems determined to revive sexy power suits, shoulder pads and glitzy sequins and rhinestones.

"TRUTH OR DARE" -- Madonna may be overexposed -- we've done our share to make sure of that -- but she still inspires hundreds of trendoids. We predict a rise in Vichy water stock. Conical bras, sexy lingerie and religious symbols are old hat to the Material Girl but still haven't reached the mainstream saturation level. And we may see lots of black men with bleached-blond Ollie hair.

"ROBIN HOOD" -- Another cinematic vote for a criminal with a conscience. But we're not sure how many men can pull off Kevin Costner's swashbuckling style. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio may do more for corkscrew curls than Shirley Temple ever dreamed possible.

"WHAT ABOUT BOB?" -- The movie's quiet rise as a box-office bullet and Bill Murray's enduring charm indicate that goldfish necklaces may become the geek accessory of the season.

"BACKDRAFT" -- Despite Billy Baldwin's bare bottom and the allure of men in uniform, there's not much fashion inspiration here.

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