Fashion on Film – the most-loved fashion movies you need to watch

As many of us have been staying in a lot more over the past year or two, we’ve been watching more movies and TV shows than we used to. However, as we look forward to getting out and about a bit more, our attention is turning back towards all things fashion, from jewellery and accessories to summer outfits and casual comfies.

Our long-neglected wardrobes have suffered a year or more’s inattention as we’ve opted for simple practical-wear, well-suited for staying home. So, what better way to revive our passion for fashion than binge-watching the best fashion films out there?

To help you plan your next big movie night, we’ve delved into the data to find the very best fashion films. We’ve looked at critics’ scores, audience reviews, box office takings and search volumes to identify which fashion films are the cream of the crop.

So, grab your favourite cinema snacks and settle in for a sartorial extravaganza that will give you all the inspiration you need for your next wardrobe overhaul.

The top ten fashion films

The results are in! Having measured an extensive list of movies that revolve around fashion, models, brilliant outfits or just clothing in general, we can present the ten best fashion films to add to your watchlist. Check out the results below.

  1. Cruella                                                                        Film Score: 8.10

The number one fashion film in 2021 is Cruella, which achieved an overall film score of 8.10. Newly released this year, Cruella is a brilliant reimagining of the classic villain from 101 Dalmatians and features a brilliant cast that do this film proud. Emma Stone’s performance as the titular character is phenomenal, and her wardrobe is literally to die for.

  1. Pretty Woman                                                            Film Score: 7.35

In second place, with an impressive score of 7.35, is Pretty Woman. This absolute classic should inspire anyone to reimagine their entire wardrobe, just as the lead character Vivian does in order to impress the business associates of Edward Lewis, who hired her to play the role of his girlfriend at corporate events.

  1. Mean Girls                                                                 Film Score: 6.83

Mean Girls is a legendary film and has been hugely influential in many people’s teenage years, both for its fashion sense and its take on the cliquey atmosphere found in many high schools. Let this teen fashion flick inspire you to dress your own way, and not be pressured by the opinions of others who would dictate your own dress sense. This film has earned its third-place spot and score of 6.83.

The top 10 critics’ picks

Having looked at each film’s overall score, we wanted to take a closer look at some of the individual factors investigated in this review. Here, we’re looking only at critics’ scores from movie review website Rotten Tomatoes.

1 . Crazy Rich Asians                                   Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 91

Crazy Rich Asians is all about high society in Singapore, where status and wealth are everything, and what better way to show off your status than with some truly remarkable outfits and high-end fashion? Filled with romance and scandals, this hit movie has a critics’ score of 91, tying it for first place as the critics’ top pick.

2. Phantom Thread                                      Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 91

Phantom Thread is also tied as the number on critics’ choice, with the highest average critics’ score of 91. This historical drama is set in 1950s London and revolves around renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his relationship with love interest Alma. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds, this film is more than a simple fashion flick and offers a depth of plot to complement the 1950s costumes and beautiful dresses that Reynolds creates.

3 . Breakfast At Tiffany’s                              Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 89

One of the most iconic films ever made, Breakfast At Tiffany’s takes third place with a score of 89. Starring Audrey Hepburn as the lead character Holly Golightly, a young cafe society girl with mobster connections, this romantic comedy is one of the most stylish movies of the 20th century and is well worth a watch for any budding fashionista.

Audience favourites

It’s only fair that if the critics get a say, then so should the audience. We’ve taken down the IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes audience scores for each film, finding the average for each, to reveal which movies were the most popular amongst cinema-goers and movie-watchers in general.

  1. Cruella                                                            Average Audience Score: 8.55

Cruella is the audience favourite, receiving an exceptionally high score of 8.55. This movie’s new take on a familiar character has been a hit with fans, who have flocked to catch a glimpse of the extravagant outfits worn by Emma Stone’s Cruella.

  1. Breakfast At Tiffany’s                                   Average Audience Score: 8.35

Breakfast At Tiffany’s also takes second place for audience ratings, with a score of 8.35. We just can’t get enough of the delightful Audrey Hepburn and her dazzling outfit changes. This is a film to watch and watch again; a classic in every sense.

  1. Blow-Up                                                         Average Audience Score: 8

Blow-Up takes third place for audience scores, as it did for critics’, with a score of 8. This shows that the mystery of the film is not so high-brow as to lose itself on the audience. This is a thriller that keeps the audience in suspense, urging the protagonist on to unravel the secrets that he unwittingly exposed on film.

Highest Earning Fashion Films

Another way of determining a film’s success is the box office takings. We’ve taken the global box office figure for each movie and adjusted it for inflation to compare them based on 2021 values. This allows us to rank each film on equal grounds, identifying the biggest commercial successes.

  1. Pretty Woman                        Box Office Adjusted Revenue: $963,317,746

Pretty Woman is the fashion film that did the best at the box office, raking in over $463 million in 1990, which would be worth just over $963 million today. The commercial success of this movie shows that movie-going audiences just couldn’t get enough of this rags-to-riches love affair.

  1. Sex and the City                    Box Office Adjusted Revenue: $528,450,214

Sex and the City is the second biggest commercial success in the world of fashion on film, taking over $418 million in 2008, which would be worth over $528 million today. This movie’s success can at least in part be attributed to the hugely popular TV show of the same name. The stars of the shows gave excellent performances in this feature film, knowing exactly what their established audience was looking for in a fashion-focused and love-entangled romp that takes them across New York City, L.A. and even Mexico.

  1. The Devil Wears Prada         Box Office Adjusted Revenue: $440,301,313

The Devil Wears Prada is perhaps the most quintessential fashion movie and deserves its podium position. Coming third, this film took $326 million in 2006, which in today’s money would be worth over $440 million. This office-based drama set in the beating heart of the fashion industry is thrilling to behold, with flashes of excellent comedy and stunning outfits to balance the tyrannical presence of Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly.

The most-searched-for fashion films

Our final breakdown of fashion films is done by Google search data. Here we can see which movies have received the highest number of searches in the last twelve months. This helps to highlight which movies are the most popular at this particular moment in time. Take a look to see which fashion movies are currently the most sought after.

  1. Cruella                                                            Annual Search Volume: 1,973,700

Having just come out this year, Cruella is the film everyone is talking about and has dominated the search rankings, with a total search volume of 1,973,700.

  1. Mean Girls                                                     Annual Search Volume: 1,447,000

The classic teen flick Mean Girls came second for total search volume, receiving 1,447,000 searches in the last twelve months. This shows that despite its age, Mean Girls is a movie that should never be overlooked.

  1. Clueless                                                         Annual Search Volume: 1,081,000

Clueless is another classic teen movie from the ’90s and is widely considered one of the best teen flicks of all time, so it’s no wonder that it came third with an impressive search volume of 1,081,000.

Methodology

We wanted to find out which fashion films are the most popular and looked at several different factors to achieve this. First off, we scoured the internet for films about fashion and compiled a comprehensive list to compare against one another.

The first factor we compared them by was their IMDb score, which gave us an idea of how well-received it was by audiences. To complement this score, we looked at the critics’ score for each film on Rotten Tomatoes, giving us a broader view of how well each movie was regarded. We also took down the audience score for each film from Rotten Tomatoes, as this would balance out critics’ opinions against those of the average viewer.

Another factor we looked at to judge each film’s success was their box office takings. Using data from Box Office Mojo, we were able to record each film’s worldwide box office takings. Where this data was not available on Box Office Mojo, we took figures from the Wikipedia page of each film. We then adjusted these box office figures for inflation, allowing us to compare their 2021 values.

Finally, we collected annual global search data from Google Keyword Planner, which allowed us to see how many times each movie was searched for online in the past year. This gave us insight into each film’s current popularity.

We then combined all five factors into a single score, equally weighting the value of each factor. This score was then used to rank the movies and reveal the top ten fashion movies. In addition to this, we revealed the winners of each category so that readers could see which movies performed the best under different criteria.

When collecting the data for this study, if any film did not have data available for any of the five factors it was removed from the running. This was done to keep the study balanced and fair, with all included movies being measured against the same criteria.

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