Film Inspiration: Winter Partywear

So Christmas and New Year’s might have passed but it’s never too late for parties – I know some people have back to work “New Year” parties right now. I’ve already shared with you my ideas for Christmas parties in 2015, but I don’t think there’s any harm in planning ahead, for the next glamorous winter party – in fact, I actually chose and bought my dress for the last Christmas party in July! After all, what’s cool about winter is, your outfit can be warm or lighter – as long as you’ve got a decent coat to keep you warm on your way to the venue!

That’s why winter is the absolute best time of the year for partywear. I’ve also recently had a couple of readers ask for ideas for glamorous, feminine, fun party outfit ideas. I was thinking about that when spoke to one of my friends over the holidays. She’s a bit of a film buff, and we had some time to chat about fashion in film over coffee and cake. All this inspired today’s post – a look into the fashion of two amazing old films, to inspire the search for the quintessential party outfit for this winter season. Remember when I used to post about film fashion inspiration (a long time ago! And here’s one more!)?!

Image Source: 


A fab film about gambling, crime and Las Vegas, Casino came out in 1995 but it’s set in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I remember catching a glimpse of it on the telly when I was a kid and falling in love with Sharon Stone’s outfits. They were so sparkly, so glamorous, so elegant and detailed at the same time.

Image Source:

The film stars Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone, as gambler and mobster Ace Rothstein and his wife, Ginger McKenna. They share a passion of money and luxury. They are also both terribly greedy. Let’s not stray from the topic, though, which is Stone’s to-die-for outfits. As the film transitions from the ‘70s to the ‘80s, we see a series of impeccably-styled expensive outfits full of glam and glitz. From sequin dresses to bodysuits in silk and oh-so-many furs, Ginger embodies an icon of style, extravagance and luxury. Sharon Stone changes 40 costumes in this film. She has a wardrobe fit for a Vegas Queen and that’s exactly what she is. Wikipedia tells me that her role was based on Geri Rosenthal, a Las Vegas showgirl. Out of the whole lot of forty, this dress is probably my favourite:


This stunning white and gold sequined gown apparently weighs 45 pounds. I especially love the colourful collar and neckline which combined with Sharon Stone’s 60s hair and makeup takes the look to the next level.

Don’t forget, casino fashion is very much in style now, after Karl Lagerfeld’s casino fashion show for Chanel. I did a little research online and found a great list of films – from Casablanca to Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen and so many in between – that were inspired by casinos and the gambling culture. They naturally all feature stunning outfits which can serve as amazing inspiration for your partywear, especially if the party is casino themed like my previous two Christmas parties have been (2014 here and 2013 here). I’m in love with this navy sequined gown – oh, to have somewhere to wear that right now!

Later in Casino you get a chance to see ‘80s fashion done right, with Sharon Stone sporting a short, glamorous haircut typical of the era and shiny suits and dresses that scream “powerful woman”. I’d also like to remind you of this gem of a dress, which probably says “rich and ruthless” more than anything else I’ve seen:

Source: Everett Collection

I just saw an interview with the costume designer for Casino on Vice too. Her name is Rita Ryack and she describes costume-making is storytelling, because every little detail of the outfit has plot-significant importance. In any case, Sharon Stone won a Golden Globe for her performance in Casino. While I don’t doubt the magnitude of her acting, to me it’s her wardrobe that steals the show!

Rear Window

My second pick comes from an altogether different era. It’s clearly more romantic but still amazingly chic and sexy. You know I love retro of many eras, but it was said friend who reminded me of this specific dazzling gown. The film is Rear Window, a Hitchcock classic from 1954 and the lady is Grace Kelly, who famously became a real-life princess (of Monaco!) a couple of years after it was released. This Hollywood star was a great fashion icon but in this film she’s the absolute image of style, elegance and fittingly grace.

You can’t say “Old Hollywood Glam” without thinking of Grace Kelly, and especially not without this dress:

Source: Cari Homemaker

It’s a pretty much perfect evening gown featuring a V-neck front and back and a graphic detail of a branch of leaves right below the waistline. It’s also impeccably styled, with a classic, simple row of pearls around the neck, a white chiffon shawl, white satin gloves and laced black heels. Even today, this image conveys class and femininity. I also think this shape is especially flattering for all sizes, and would showcase the corsets I’ve been making very nicely. You know I’m a sucker for a tiny waist!

This awesome dress was designed by Paramount films’ Edith Head and actually won her an Oscar. In fact it seems that this lady has 35 Oscar nominations under her belt, including eight wins in total! You can view a stunning slideshow of her work on NY Mag.

This design is so timeless and so amazing that there’s even a Barbie doll wearing it – the Rear Window Grace Kelly doll, released in 2011. Now that’s a little something for the wishlist, although as a collector’s item it’s quite pricey.

Here’s the costume designer’s sketch for the gown which is itself brilliant artwork:

Caption: Edith Head’s sketch for the gown >> Source: Lisa’s History Room

In Rear Window, Grace Kelly plays a fashion consultant and socialite who’s the girlfriend of professional photographer Jeff Jefferies (James Stewart). Her tasteful wardrobe choices reflect her profession and showcase the best that ‘50s high fashion had and still has to offer.

While writing this post I also found out that the Hermès bag we call the Kelly bag was named as such exactly because the Hollywood actress famously used it in her private life but also in her movies. As Lisa Fremont, Grace Kelly also carries a brown leather Kelly bag:

Source: Channing in the City

Of course, Rear Window features even more excellent outfits worn by Grace Kelly; it’s just that the black-and-white evening gown is the most appropriate one for the purposes of this post. The film is also brilliant and I definitely recommend it.

I know these two choices seem like opposites but I think it’s a good idea to turn to different places for inspiration, especially when you’re just brainstorming or window shopping, as I am for now *sigh*. Happy shopping!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.