SIn no particular order – the 19 most stylish movies of the 2000s. Spoiler alert: four of them feature Tilda Swinton. Also, for timeless style cues – check out this evergreen list of the MOST STYLISH MOVIES EVER (spoiler alert for that one: more than one features Faye Dunaway)
- MELANCHOLIA (2011)
Lars Von Trier’s apocalyptic masterpiece about love, family and mental health features a cast that was BORN to be dressed: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsburg, Alexander Skarsgaard. The narrative takes us from the most dressed up times (a truly epic wedding sequence, matched only by maybe Deer Hunter in cinema history) to the most casual times (the morning after, waiting languidly for the world to end), but always on point.
- STOKER (2013)
In what proved to be the ultimate anti-ingenue movie of the year, the stone cold cast of Mia Wasikowska (as India Stoker), Nicole Kidman (as her newly widowed Mother) and Matthew Goode (as Uncle Charlie) also wear some of the most polished, pared down separates you’ll see anywhere, and not just on the big screen. From perfect prim blouses, to waists that seem unnaturally small for an era of (presumably) no girdles involved to all of Charlie’s perfectly fit good bad boy sweaters, it is dangerous dressing, done with great measure. But lets face it, in the end, it all comes down to shoes. They are the key. (From our 2013 round-up)
- I AM LOVE (2009)
Luca Guadagnino has such an eye for connecting fashion to emotion (there are three of his movies on this list and it took A LOT of restraint for there to not be four), and it all started with this: Tilda Swinton stars as Anna, a Russian emigree that married into a prominent family in Rome, who has a sexual awakening in the arms of one of her sons friends. The movie starts with her flawlessly in Jil Sander (and making an early case for the headband comeback) and as her life falls a little more apart, her wardrobe becomes softer, less structured, but all the more beguiling. The collaboration between Swinton, Guadagnino and Raf Simmons on the costumes here is possibly one of the most underrated style moments of the century.
- THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014)
With Royal Tenenbaums belonging to the last century (1999), the obvious choice for the obvious filmmaker to have on this list was The Grand Budapest Hotel. Working with Oscar winning costume designer Milena Canonero (who got her start with Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange, and has since sprinkled her magic on a number of Anderson and Sofia Coppola iconic projects) he sets the Grand Hotel scene in partnership with some of his favorite brands: Miuccia Prada devised a spectacular 21-piece luggage set for Tilda Swinton’s character and Fendi provided furs. The style Easter eggs are so abundant that playing “spot the iconic Italian designs” could be a fun drinking game for a certain kind of party.
- THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY (2015)
The year’s probably sexiest film (and the lesbian movie everyone should have been talking about WAY before Carol, which came out the same year) is also one of the most stylish. Once again, fashion is used as a weapon: of seduction, of control, of role play, and much like the characters’ motivations, often to surprising effect. (from our 2015 round up). Get ready to want to stock up on some serious capes after this:
- ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (2013)
Jim Jarmusch has two films on this list and while one of them (Patterson) is deeply understated, the miracle of Only Lovers Left Alive is its pure gothic, romantic over-the-topness. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston saunter across the screen as the ultimate baroque rock-stars, eating blood popsicles, lounging on centuries old afghans and in general, making a very strong case for immortality chic.
- GREAT BEAUTY (2014)
Paolo Sorentino’s masterpiece is a slice of the Dolce Vita for the 2000s. Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday this poem of a movie sees him looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. All the while looking immaculate. This video clip from his 65th birthday party is probably my favorite “best dressed short” within a film, ever:
- LOVE WITCH (2016)
Anna Biller is almost a movie genre onto herself: funny, sharp, deeply weird, and saturated to the gills. Her 2016 masterclass of comedy horror is all that, and then some more – and the costumes never lose step with the originality of film making we’re experiencing.
- KNIFE + HEART (2018)
Paris, Summer of 1979 is a pretty good place to start for a very stylish film. Add to it: a setting in the world of gay porn, Vanessa Paradis as a lead, and a great noir mystery surrounding it all, and the result is Brian De Palma meets Almodovar in all its garish, PVC beauty.
- THE TRIBE (2014)
This movie about deaf, Ukrainian kid gangsters made entirely without dialogue is a MAJOR weekend ruiner of a movie (if you thought you had it tough as a teenager, you have no idea). But! It also features some of the most prescient style depictions of youth fashion and all that it is supposed to do (project identity, toughness, a sense of belonging) in the vein of Kids or La Heine, so much so that it beat out The Bling Ring and Spring Breakers on this list, in this particular subcategory. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you about the tears.
- BLACK PANTHER (2018)
While I subscribe to the somewhat unpopular opinion that Black Panther was, in fact, a little boring, it truly is the only superhero movie ever made to be so thrilling from a fashion perspective I am willing to not think about anything else really. Ruth E. Carter blends historic influences to predict a style future that none of us were quite ready for and the results are breathtaking. The fact that the cast is studded with some of the fiercest style icons alive these days (Lupita! Angela! Michael!) is just a cherry on top.
- A SINGLE MAN (2009)
One of the caveats I gave myself before I started this list is that there would be no movies ABOUT fashion in it – after all, it is kind of easy to make an iconic fashion film if it is ABOUT a fashion icon (see Coco Before Chanel, Dior and I). A Single Man is directed by a fashion designer (Tom Ford, who also made the underrated and very stylish Nocturnal Animals next) but is a beautiful, sad, Christopher Isherwood inspired film about regular people, living regular lives of deep devastation. Colin Firth can wear a suit like no one’s business (see Kingsman and everything else he’s ever done) and Julianne Moore makes despair look like a great accessory. Nicholas Hoult, aside from Armie and Timothee in Call Me By Your Name, is a queer dreamboat to end all queer dreamboats.
- A BIGGER SPLASH (2015)
Another Guadagnino masterpiece (part 2 of 3 in this list) this remake of a French thriller-of-manners features Tilda Swinton at her most Bowie-esque resting her vocal cords in the Mediterannean surrounded by current and former lovers. The costumes, done again in collaboration with Raf Simmons (this time at Dior) are the movie’s biggest unbilled stars, with each character almost a microcosm of their own. Breathtaking.
- MARIE ANTOINETTE (2006)
Marie Antoinette is probably the Sofia Coppola movie you have not seen since it first came out (providing you were around for that) – it got ok reviews, never really struck a chord with the RIGHT audience, and sort of went away. But, truly, it is one of the great coming-of-age teen movies, that just so happens to be set on the French royal court. Kirsten Dunst (who, after Tilda, has the most movies on this list as an actress) captures the glee (and tragedy) of youth through fashion in a way that feels thoroughly modern, and the color/texture game is some of the best ever committed to screen. Watch this movie like you’d watch The Breakfast Club – as a glorified music video where every emotion is amplified through fashion and pop music, and appreciate it in a whole new light.
- PATERSON (2016)
Paterson is a small movie (by Jim Jarmusch) about a small life of a small town bus driver and poet (played by Adam Driver in early stages of post-Girls career, already showing us that he IS a national treasure) and his painter and fashion designer wife (Godshifteh Faharani) and it is to be savored, visually and emotionally, second by second.
- IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000)
Never mind the 2000s, this Kar Wai Wong masterpiece about star crossed love, is possibly the most stylish movies of all time. It is also one of the best movies of all time. Watch this sequence set to Nat King Cole’s Spanish version of “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” and tell me you don’t agree.
- DRIVE (2011)
The movie that changed men’s approach to satin jackets and driving gloves forever.
- LAURENCE ANYWAYS (2012)
Xavier Dolan is as original of a voice as we could hope to find in this century. From Heartbeats to Mommy and Mathias and Maxime, he puts a true auteur stamp on everything he does (and does so with the abandon of the truly young and truly confident, because his whole oeuvre so far has been done in his 20s). When he was 23 he made this almost-three-hours-long decade spanning epic about a relationship between Laurence (played by Melvile Poupaud in a career making role) and Fred (Suzanne Clement) during the decade that Laurence changes their gender. While the film is not perfect (what movie is?), the 90s style and energy are unparalleled.
- CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (2017)
I left the final Guadagnino for last. There is so much to love about this film but we’re here to talk about fashion: from Elio’s Mother’s safari chic vacation wear, to Marzia’s little summer dresses – the women definitely hold their own, but it is Elio and Oliver’s casual wear that steals the show. A question: has there ever been a person better suited to wear bermuda shorts than Armie Hammer? (the correct answer is: no, there hasn’t). Watch this summer disco sequence and instantly think of investing in some tube socks as if they were the most desirable, covet-able item you can ever own. That’s how good looking this movie is.
Some honorable mentions: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Suspiria, Inherent Vice, If Beale Street Could Talk, Heartbeats, Black Swan, An Education, Brooklyn, Clouds of Sils Maria, Heartbreaker, A Fantastic Woman, Personal Shopper, Shame, Moulin Rouge!, Eyes of My Mother, Broken English, Damsels in Distress, Sorry To Bother You (best accessories prize for sure), American Hustle, Nocturnal Animals, Baby Driver, John Wick, The Handmaiden, Atomic Blonde, Carol, Atonement, Frances Ha, La La Land, Thoroughbreds
We missed something? TELL US! (plus, keep an eye on the rest of the amazing end-of-decade round-ups on BYT)