Movie style is a very subjective thing: Is it about runway-anointed fashion or everyday, character-driven looks? Painstakingly capturing a moment in history, or creating the most fantastical visions possible? Mid-century glam or teddy bear tracksuits? The great thing about the entries on this list is that it can be all of these things, everywhere, all at once. Here are the movies with the most memorable fashion moments of the year.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther Wakanda Forever
Credit: Annette Brown/Marvel Studios
Costume designer Ruth E. Carter won a history-making Oscar for 2018’s Black Panther, and her work is even more breathtaking in Wakanda Forever. The glory is in the details, from the intricate beading and sweeping silhouettes of the royal family’s garb, to the stunning headdresses that undulate like sea creatures on the denizens of Talokan. “You would put a costume in the water, and it would automatically look like ballet,” Carter told EW.
Don’t Worry Darling
Don’t Worry Darling
Credit: Merrick Morton/Warner Bros.
Sure, the mid-century costumes in Olivia Wilde’s dystopian thriller are gorgeous — but it’s the underlying subversiveness of the looks that make them memorable. How better to skewer the male gaze than to double down on the the nipped-in waists, candy-colored fabrics. and bedroom hair? “This is really about gender roles and about a time when there were these societal expectations,” costume designer Arianne Phillips said to EW. “That idea of the perfect wife, mother, lover, who has to be all things.”
Credit: Universal Pictures
The characters’ outfits in Jordan Peele’s Nope may look casually eclectic — band tees, high-waist jeans, trucker hats, Western-inspired accessories — but every detail was thoroughly sourced, curated, and intentional. “Every costume means many things,” said costume designer Alex Bovaird, who played with the idea of “arch Americana, but subverted.” The result? Hyper-specific looks that are exhilaratingly of the moment.
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
MRS HARRIS GOES TO PARIS sitting, from left: Lambert Wilson, Lesley Manville, Guilaine Londez, Dorottya Ilosvai, standing: Alba Baptista
Credit: David Lukacs/Focus Features /Courtesy Everett Collection
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a lovely, lilting tale about a widowed housecleaner (a luminous Lesley Manville) in 1950s London who takes her life savings to Paris for the sole purpose of procuring a Dior dress, meticulously designed to her exact measurements. The period details are just as carefully executed by Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan, but the result is anything but stuffy: The unapologetic delight her character takes in indulging in fashion mirrors the viewer’s — and the film’s parade of couture pieces are stunning in any era.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc
Credit: John Wilson/Netflix
Murder. Mayhem. Man scarves. Clothing can be crucial in building a character, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the new, aggressively tropical installment of the Knives Out franchise, where the space between someone’s outward appearance and their true selves can provide key clues. “I felt like it could go to an absolutely new, exciting place where I didn’t have to be married to anything except Benoit Blanc, and even he is completely different,” costume designer Jenny Eagen told EW.
Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in ‘Blonde’
It’s a tall order, creating costumes for a movie about one of the most iconic women of all time, Marilyn Monroe (played by Ana de Armas). How do you do justice to looks — the pink Gentlemen Prefer Blondes gown, that white Seven Year Itch halter dress — that audiences have seen so many times before? But Blonde costume designer Jennifer Johnson got it right, landing such a perfect balance between obsessive verisimilitude and naturalism that you often can’t tell where de Armas ends and the icon begins.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Everything Everywhere All at Once, Stephanie Hsu
Pretty much every look in Everything Everywhere All at Once deserves its own entry, from the Hollywood movie-premiere evening wear that sheaths Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) in an alternate universe, to the fanny-pack-and-khakis ensemble that Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) rocks in the real world. But it’s Stephanie Hsu’s maximalist villain Jobu that gives the film sartorial juice: Elvis jumpsuits, goddess gowns, teddy bear tracksuits, and tartan explosions — expertly crafted by costume designer Shirley Kurata — that perfectly capture her character’s chaos and innermost feelings.
Luckiest Girl Alive
Luckiest Girl Alive. Mila Kunis as Ani in Luckiest Girl Alive. Cr. Sabrina Lantos/Netflix © 2022.
Credit: Sabrina Lantos/Netflix
Everything about Ani Fanelli (Mila Kunis) is sharp, from her stilettos and impeccably tailored black dresses to her relentless New York-media-world ambition. It’s the former (as envisioned by costume designer Alix Friedberg) that telegraphs where her true priorities lie, even as she seems to take more domestic-leaning steps in her personal life. But as the film reaches its cathartic conclusion, her clothes convey a hopeful message when it comes to surviving trauma: The future needn’t stay dark.
Margot Robbie plays Nellie LaRoy and Diego Calva plays Manny Torres in Babylon from Paramount Pictures.
Credit: Scott Garfield/Paramount
In an early scene in Damien Chazelle’s dizzying ode to 1920s Hollywood, Margot Robbie‘s Nellie LaRoy captivates the crowd at a debaucherous party — no easy feat given that it’s basically a drug-fueled orgy. But as she dances wildly in a scanty, red, glorified scarf (by costume designer Mary Zophres) that somehow manages to stay on, she conveys her character’s origins, tenaciousness, talent, and appeal without saying a single word.
Austin Butler in Elvis
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Another instance of an icon’s icon-ness potentially getting in the way of an absorbing performance. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen in Baz Luhrman’s Elvis — though the costumes (by Oscar-winning costume designer Catherine Martin) are familiar, they’re not exact re-creations, a characteristic they share with Austin Butler‘s mesmerizing interpretation of the legendary singer. “Clothes change the way that you feel for any character that you play, but never more so than with him,” Butler told EW. “When you’re in leather pants, you feel a lot different than when you’re in flowy ’50s pants.”