This is an occasional series highlighting historical movie and TV costumes that best represent the decade they were produced in. They may or may not be the most historically accurate, but we think these costumes stand out as icons of when they were made. Comment with your faves, and watch the blog for the next decade we review!
Song Without End – 1960
Costumes by Jean Louis
There have been several films over the last century that have dealt with the complicated love lives of Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, George Sand, and Countess Marie D’Agoult, and this is yet another one of them. This time, it focuses on Liszt’s affair with Russian princess Carolyne (played by Capucine) and all the drama and tragedy that it causes in their respective personal lives. It’s well worth watching the film for the costumes alone, which are gorgeous, even if they’re highly inflected by the late-1950s silhouette.
El Cid – 1961
Costumes by Veniero Colasanti and John Moore
The use of polyester stretch knit was off the charts, but there’s no denying that Sophia Loren made for a striking Doña Ximena. Charlton Heston had to compete with her bullet bra for anyone’s attention.
The Leopard – 1963
Costumes by Piero Tosi and Umberto Tirelli
In a word: Fabulous. The costumes are some of the best of this era to appear on film, with very little modern-day intrusion in the overall silhouette. The makeup, however, does verge on the trends at the time, but it’s at least drastically toned down so as not to be too big of a distraction.
Cleopatra – 1963
Costumes by Irene Sharaff, Vittorio Nino Novarese, and Renié
This is probably THE film that people think of when they think of Liz Taylor. The costumes are off-the-charts lavish and highly influenced by the current fashion trends at the time, but whatever, it works. And Liz gets all the credit for really putting winged eyeliner on the map — after this point, you start to see dramatic cat-eye makeup pretty much everywhere in fashion and film.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown – 1964
Costumes by Morton Haack
Debbie Reynolds’ take on Titanic survivor Molly Brown was a tad manic for my tastes, but there’s no question that this film is a classic as far as costuming goes.
My Fair Lady – 1964
Costumes by Cecil Beaton
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I nearly forgot to include this film on this list. Thankfully, I saved myself from the outraged comments that would no doubt be left in my wake for neglecting to mention the masterpieces that are Cecil Beaton’s designs for Audrey Hepburn. I still think Eliza should have ditched Henry at the end of the film, but hey, at least she got a lot of fabulous dresses, right?
The Sound of Music – 1965
Costumes by Dorothy Jeakins
I never was a big fan of the musical, but there’s no denying the fact that The Sound of Music brought us several iconic movie costumes. Especially anything the Baroness wears.
Doctor Zhivago – 1965
Costumes by Phyllis Dalton
I will admit that I’ve never watched Doctor Zhivago, since film adaptations of Russian novels tend to depress me. That said, the costumes designed by Phyllis Dalton are front-and-center in my mind when I think of the film.
A Man for All Seasons – 1966
Costumes by Joan Bridge and Elizabeth Haffenden
Confession Time: I’ve tried to watch A Man for all Seasons many times over the years but I just can’t seem to get all the way through. It’s dry, but Robert Shaw is pretty dreamy as Henry VIII, so I keep trying.
Bonnie and Clyde – 1967
Costumes by Theadora van Runkle
Not my personal favorite, but leaving Bonnie and Clyde off this list would be ignoring the cultural impact this film had on its time, particularly fashion-wise. The “1920s” fashion in the film is almost indistinguishable from the 1960s fashion you’d find in Vogue magazine. My mom admits that she based a lot of her personal style in the late-1960s after this film.
Camelot – 1967
Costumes by John Truscott
Pure fantasy, but beautiful. Like watching someone’s dream of the middle ages.
The Lion in Winter – 1968
Costumes by Margaret Furse
Every time I watch this movie, all I want to do is yell at the other actors to shut up, because Katharine Hepburn is the only thing I need. It’s her film and everyone else is just chewing the scenery in it. The costumes aren’t all that spectacular, but again, who cares? Katharine Hepburn, bitches.
Funny Girl – 1968
Costumes by Irene Sharaff
Funny Girl kicked the whole trend of period Barbara Streisand vehicles that looked nothing like the era in which they were allegedly set. That said, Barbara is stunning and wears clothes like nobody’s business, so it’s easy to overlook the fact that there’s absolutely NOTHING vaguely 19-teens about the designs.
Anne of the Thousand Days – 1969
Costumes by Margaret Furse
MY FAVORITE ANNE BOLEYN FILM EVER. ALL OTHER ANNE BOLEYNS ARE INFERIOR. GENEVIEVE BUJOLD 4 LYFE.
Hello Dolly – 1969
Costumes by Irene Sharraf
See: Funny Girl (above). At least this film does a better job of paying lip service to the 1890s.
What’s your favorite iconic historical movie costume of the 1960s? What would you add to the list?