Summer’s here and you know what that means… countdown! For no reason other than the fact that everyone loves a good top-5 list, we here at M.I.S.S bring you one of epic summer proportions, the Top 5 fashion-friendly musical biopics (whew, what a mouthful!). Read on to find out our five favorite flicks that chronicle the lives, times, and fashions of some of music’s biggest legends.
#5: Lady Sings the Blues – The “Supreme Diva”, Miss Diana Ross, starred in this 1972 flick which chronicled the embittered life of jazz legend Billie Holiday. With a gut-wrenching performance from Miss Ross, the film recreated Billie’s personal struggles to a tee, at the same time showcasing her unforgettable songs about love and heartbreak. Costuming for the film was done by legendary designer Bob Mackie, who also did the costuming for Barbara Streisand’s Funny Girl. The dresses were crafted with painstaking detail and every ruffled hem recreated the 1920s elegance and sex appeal that Billie was so famous for. Of course, accessories were a big part of Billie’s look and translated well to the film – check out the clip below for her signature wide-brimmed hat, and if you watch the film you’ll get a glimpse of the infamous flower that was always perched in Billie’s hair.
#4: La Vie En Rose – Another tragic female singer flick, this 2007 Oscar winner star beauty Marion Cotillard as the influential French songstress Edith Piaf. Capturing Piaf’s rise to fame and bouts with depression, the film’s costuming department had the unique challenging of creating looks that spanned several decades. Edith’s post-Wartime wardrobe of the 1930s, her younger years, consisted of playful sailor suits, elegant menswear, and the Charlie Chaplin-esque bow ties that were the norm for the fashionable women of the period. As Edith transitions from the early days of her singing career to the heights of stardom, circa WWII, the film makes a point to show her adopting the signature simple black frock that would become her staple. As Edith – and Marion Cotillard, (with the help of some amazing makeup wizards) ages, the frock remains the same. Tired and true, who can’t relate to Piaf’s heartache and need for the perfect LBD!
#3: Sid and Nancy – Apparently, women aren’t the only ones who suffer downfalls! One viewing of this 1986 film is all you need to see that men are just as dramatically tragic. Sid and Nancy follows Sex Pistol frontman Sid Vicious’ descent into heroin and the resulting burtal murder of his American girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Sounds dreadful, but its a musical! The fashion is gritty and accurately reflects the reality of the 70s punk scene. Spungen’s hair is nothing less than a plantinum blonde masterpiece, the perfect match for Sid’s spiked leather jacket. His jeans are ripped and uber tight, and the bare chest and punked-out jewelery are as Sex Pistols as can be. Peep the clip below of Gary Oldman singing his little heroine-laced heart out, and take notice of his vintage punk look, especially the white blazer!
#2: Notorious – This recent blockbuster doesn’t even need an introduction, a simple “Represent, Baby Baby!” is all that’s needed. The story of the man, the myth, and the fashion icon who “stays Coogi down to the socks”, Notorious does a great job of capturing the burgeoning “ghettofab” look of the period. From B.I.G’s Timbs and sweatsuits, to his infamous bowler hats, pinstriped suits, cascading furs and canes, this flick definitely reps the ghettofab steez that BIG made famous.
And drumroll please….
#1: Selena – If you haven’t yet caught this 1997 classic, I shudder to think what you’ve been doing with your life in the meantime! Jenny from the Block gives an honest portrayal of slain Tejano music superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez, and garnered a Golden Globe nod for her work. The film takes us on a journey in Southern Texas as we watch Selena grow from a child performing at local fairs, to a full-bodied woman trying to get her father to accept her fashion choices, in particular one skimpy bustier! Selena’s interest in fashion becomes a major plot point in the film, as we watch her open her own boutique. Her day-to-day style channeled a gentler version of the Chola-look popular at the time (think deep red lips, belly-baring shirts, and huge hoops, Selena rocked it all!), while her on-stage looks mirrored the sexy appeal of popular mainstream divas of the 90s such as Janet Jackson and Madonna who favored high-waisted pants, cropped belly-baring boxy jean jackets or boleros, and the infamous pointy (and otherwise non-pointy) bustiers. Check out the scene of Selena unveiling her sequined bra on stage for the first time below, and rent this movie for a summer night with the girls if you aren’t already a super fan!
Well M.I.S.S readers, we’ve come to the end of our star-studded musical countdown. Hopefully you’ve got the beat in you, and your DVD player now, and be sure to leave a comment letting us know your favorite musical biopics!
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