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Thoughts on this for a course?

I taught a fashion & film course last year and surprised myself at how interesting the topic was while introducing college freshmen to 20th Century movies. It was a great success!

My criteria was that the film had to made IN the era ABOUT the era so current day fashion could be assessed. Students used a fashion history book as a guide for comparison. I did 8 movies for 8 decades starting in the Teens ( boy! were they hard to choose!) - however when I got to the 40s I just could not pick so I had a list of 8 films and broke my students into groups. I started with DH Griffiths "The New York Hat" (on you tube) and went through to Annie Hall. I didn't touch costume designers too much as I had to stay focused. But what rich terrain!

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Way cool!  Was there anything especially unusual, or surprising, the class discovered?  Were there particular movies that really captured the essence of the time?

I'm guessing each character in an individual film would dress according to her role, but still within the fashion of the period. (The Women (1939), for example)

Did you look at films that spawned a trend, or that had a noticeable influence on fashion?  You looked at Annie Hall, which was a craze for a while, as I remember.  There were also Bonnie and Clyde, and somewhat, The Great Gatsby, although those were period films.  Were there others? 

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13 hours ago, Pastiche said:

Way cool!  Was there anything especially unusual, or surprising, the class discovered?  Were there particular movies that really captured the essence of the time?

I'm guessing each character in an individual film would dress according to her role, but still within the fashion of the period. (The Women (1939), for example)

Did you look at films that spawned a trend, or that had a noticeable influence on fashion?  You looked at Annie Hall, which was a craze for a while, as I remember.  There were also Bonnie and Clyde, and somewhat, The Great Gatsby, although those were period films.  Were there others? 

The first thing that was a wonderful surprise was that I managed to have 18 year olds fall in love with "old" movies! One even said, "I was dreading having to watch a silent film but I loved it so much!" The movie was "IT" with Clara Bow.

Yes- each movie was distinct in its ability to challenge or support a current trend of the 20th century decade we explored. And YES - Letty Lynton and The Women were my choices for the 30s. Bonnie & Clyde, Cabaret (one of the biggest fashion trendsetters ever) and The Great Gatsby did not count because their stories were of a different time period which then makes for a period  "costume" and not current day styling. I teach fashion history and this was important to me.

Thank you so much for your interest!

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