Futuristic Fashion Moments in Film

As Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology is set to open, we take a look at films that have explored fashion futurism


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Trinity, the female lead in sci-fi trilogy The Matrix, had a penchant for PVC bodysuits. Costume designer Kym Barrett noted that in close-up shots, where Trinity didn’t have to be moving, they used patent leather for extra richness on film. Picture / Still

Directed by William Klein, the 1966 film Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? offered a satirical and exaggerated snapshot of fashion in the mid-sixties. The costumes are highly graphic, including the opening scene filled with dresses crafted entirely out of sheet metal. Picture / Still

Effie Trinket’s costumes in The Hunger Games saga are nothing less than outlandish. Costume designer Judianna Makovsky worked on the four films, and referenced John Galliano, Schiaparelli and Alexander McQueen. Picture / Still

In 1968 film Barbarella, leading lady Jane Fonda wore costumes by designer of the moment Paco Rabanne. Chain mail, PVC and hard plastics featured heavily in the skimpy looks. Picture / Still

The twisted costumes in neo-noir film Blade Runner were designed by Michael Kaplan, with the subversive suiting inspired by the tailoring of the late 1930s and early 40s. Picture / Still

Jean Paul Gaultier famously worked on the costumes for The Fifth Element. The 1996 film stars Milla Jovovich, whose character Leeloo sports looks that take bondage dressing to a new level. Picture / Still

Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film A Clockwork Orange creates a bold dystopia. This was costume designer Milena Canonero’s breakout film – she unified the menacing gang of “droogs” in all-white get ups, further twisted by suspenders and sporting cups worn over top of pants. Picture / Still

The costumes in 1995 film Tank Girl were designed by Arianne Phillips, a celebrity stylist who has dressed the likes of Madonna and Courtney Love. Gwen Stefani’s early look has a striking resemblance to that of protagonist Rebecca Buck. Picture / Still

Jodie Foster played Delacourt in 2013 sci-fi thriller Elysium. Her wardrobe, designed by Giorgio Armani, was filled with sculptural power suits, updated using fabrics with hi-tech luminosity. Picture / Still

The costumes for the original 80s Mad Max were designed by Clare Morrison. The first film was produced on a tight budget; meaning costumes were a mash up of pieces from local S&M stores, old football pads and junk. Picture / Still


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