Fashion in Film: Metropolis

One of the astoundingly beautiful ensembles in Metropolis features tiered panniers, a sheer, draped shawl, and, to top it off, a tricorn hat!

Not every film is fashionable, but every now and then, I’ll see something so stylishly inspirational in those beams of light streaming onto my screen that I just have to share! Cue my latest fashion-in-film obsession, Metropolis, a 1927 German silent film about a futuristic urban dystopia.

In Metropolis, the divide between the elites and working class is dramatically played out in their dress. While the workers toil in plain, shapeless uniforms, director Fritz Lang adorned his upper class with looks influenced by the decadence of the twenties and 18th century, with Poiret-silhouettes, panniers, headpieces, and beading galore!

Due to the age of the film, much of the original footage has been lost. Still, there are still hours of gorgeous shots, like the close-up above, which depicts a socialite’s makeup – thin crescent eyebrows and a Kewpie doll pout. Also, how fascinating is her headpiece?

(Do you think  Marie Antoinette be jealous of Lang’s modern take on the pannier, or completely abhor them?)

Metropolis may be a silent film, but you’ll find that its style speaks volumes. Sure, Lang was a little off with his vision of fashion in the future, but, who knows, it’s probably only a matter of time before Marc Jacobs sends a pannier down the catwalks!

What are your favorite fashionable films?

About Julianne

Julie is a modern day Renaissance woman and die-hard bloody mary enthusiast. When she’s not sprinkling magic fairy dust onto ModCloth’s social media channels, you can find her eclectic point of view on food, fashion, music, and DIY documented here!

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  1. Sarita 04/15/2011 at 4:13 pm #

    I LOVE this film for its visual affects and the political message.

  2. Minnie 04/15/2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Another great film for it’s fashion is Audrey Hepburn’s “Sabrina” with a wonderful series of 50’s looks. This movie even won an award for best clothing design!

  3. Katharine Ellis Tapley 04/15/2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Sarita: Yes. Totally.

    Minnie: You just named my favorite fashion in a movie ever.

  4. Jessica 04/15/2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I love this film! I got to see it performed with an orchestra and it was fabulous. I’d never thought of it as a fashion film before, but the fashion truly does help get the political messages across.

  5. lindsay 04/15/2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Theiry Mugler and Dolce & Gabbana have both paid tribute to this film in past collections.

  6. Julie 04/15/2011 at 11:34 pm #

    I love this film because I’m an Architecture student, and because of the fashion too of course 🙂

  7. Kate Z. (ModCloth) 04/16/2011 at 2:34 am #

    Great film – I also saw it with a live orchestra. It was magnificent! Also, I found one of my favorite quotes in Metropolis: “The mediator between the head and the hands must be the heart.”

    One of my fave movies for the fashion is Crybaby. Love the kitschy ’50s looks!

  8. Abby 04/16/2011 at 10:40 am #

    This is one of my favourite films! So beautiful!

  9. Richard (ModCloth) 04/18/2011 at 1:05 pm #

    This movie is absolutely stunning, especially considering when it was made. And Kate, that’s always been a fave quote of mine, too!

    My favorite films for fashion tend to be westerns ; ) Also, check out Blade Runner and City of Lost Children for their wonderful retro-futuristic garb.

  10. Lauren Morgan 04/18/2011 at 7:48 pm #

    I do love the fashion in the film! But my favorite probably would have to be “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” Everything Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell wear is fantastic!

  11. Meredith 04/18/2011 at 8:39 pm #

    How can you talk about fashion in “Metropolis” without talking about glittery pasties?!

  12. Beatrice 04/19/2011 at 3:29 am #

    Dream Wife with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant. Her hats in that one is just fantastic. And i wish I owned every single dress she wears:)

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