Books about Oscar’s Best Looks

It is award seasons and the grand dame of them all, the Oscars, will air this Sunday.  I love movies and I love fashion.  Put stellar style in an amazing movie is the perfect combination.  What would Gone with the Wind be without Scarlett’s velvet curtain dress?  Can anyone wear a white halter dress and not feel they are channeling Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch?  Did anyone really understand the power of a LBD before Audrey had Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  Don’t get me started on the library shenanigans that resulted from that flimsy green dress in Atonement.  Great films make great fashion and great fashion make movies memorable.  Along with the red carpet, I always look forward to the Oscar for Costume Design.  If you share my cinemaphile and fashionista obsession, you NEED the following books in your library.  File them under fashion, history or movies, just make sure you own them.


The Looks of Love:  50 Moments in Fashion that Inspired RomanceThe Looks of Love Pretty Page Turner Review

I originally bought this book for the fashion, but the more I read, the more I noticed the references to my favorite movies or TV shows.  It shouldn’t have come as a surprise as Hal Rubenstein is the founding member and editor of Instyle Magazine, the best magazine dedicated to star style. From the importance of the trench coat in Casablanca, the wardrobe of Renee Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair remake (one of my ABSOLUTE favorites) and the importance of Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain sartorial style merging with his signature athletic dance style, this is a book about fashion for movie lovers.  So many times, I screamed ‘yes, amen’ out loud to one of Hal’s statements.  Hal is my brother from a very fashionable other mother.



FilmCraft Pretty Page Turner Book ReviewFilm Craft: Costume Design 

Probably meant for people who want to pursue a career in Costume Design, this is a master class with 16 of the leading, often multiple award-winning, Costume Designers.  They share the art of the craft with nuts-and-bolts information.  How to work with a budget, how to develop a character based on the wardrobe.  I have no desire to be a Costume Designer, but I am a fashion geek and a movie lover, so I was interested to see how notes on a page and bolts of fabric become the living, fleshed out characters I enjoy.  Only for the intensely geeky.



Edith Head Pretty Page Turner book ReviewEdith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood’s Greatest Costume Designer 

Earning 35 Oscar nominations and 400 film credits, Edith Head is the mind responsible for the looks of our most iconic films.  Access to the Edith Head Archives of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences opens the door on never before seen sketches, test shots and collaborations created for the likes of Bette, Audrey and Liz. The names and the looks are legendary, forever frozen in cellulose fashion and movie history.



Creating an Illusion Pretty Page Turner Oscar book reviewCreating the Illusion

Turner Classic Movies is branded as the definitive resource for the greatest movies of all time. It engages, entertains, and enlightens to show how the entire spectrum of classic movies, movie history, and movie-making touches us all and influences how we think and live today.  You must know a book documenting the history of fashion in film from this cinema powerhouse would be the definitive history of fashion in film.  Spanning more than 100 years, learn the stories of the most iconic sartorial moments on the screen from the most famous and infamous heads of costumes.  From black and white films, the first ‘talkies’ into the HD future, this compilation is a Hollywood yearbook of fashion information.


Fashion in Film Pretty Page Turner Oscar Book ReviewFashion in Film

Released just last fall, Christopher Laverty  (fashion writer of the superb Clothes on Film) explores the history of fashion elevating the narrative and influencing pop culture.    Putting the importance of the fashion designer equal to the actor and director, Laverty teaches us how what we see on film can become the touchstone for a new way of dressing.  Ralph Lauren made every woman appreciate the effortless chic of a masculine uniform by dressing Diane Keaton in Annie Hall and Givenchy’s black dress on Audrey Hepburn introduced us to the workhorse of any chic wardrobe.