7 of the best fashion moments from sofia coppola's films

The director’s vision is more felt in fashion than ever, from the modest prairie dresses in ‘The Virgin Suicides’ to the highly stylized looks in ‘Marie Antoinette.’
Marie Antoinette (film still)
Marie Antoinette (film still)

With each film Sofia Coppola invites us into her surreal, dreamy world, where period pieces are amped up with hip soundtracks and the director’s favorite A-list muses play increasingly complex roles. Cinematic superiority aside, Coppola’s movies feature some of the most iconic fashion moments of the last two decades. Think Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) twirling to New Order in a luxe Victorian ballgown or The Bling Ring posse accessorizing with oversized, rhinestone sunnies and giant iced coffees on their way to rob Lindsay Lohan’s house. Below are a few more of our favorite looks from Coppola’s movies.


"The Virgin Suicides" (film still).

The Lisbon sisters at Homecoming in The Virgin Suicides
Coppola made her directing debut with The Virgin Suicides, a curious tale of five sheltered Midwestern sisters — Cecilia, Lux, Bonnie, Mary, and Therese Lisbon — who all feel imprisoned by their gender and the modest 70s fashions their Catholic mother favors for them. Most notably, are the “four identical sacks” that the Lisbon sisters wear to Homecoming, with their girlish flutter sleeves and delicate babydoll necklines. Nowadays nostalgic prairie looks are making a comeback of sorts, but naturally, they weren’t having it. Lux (Kirsten Dunst) manages to give hers a subtle, playful twist, writing her date Trip’s name on the outside of her underwear and dotting the letter “i” with a heart like a true Homecoming Queen.

Charlotte singing karaoke in Lost in Translation
This iconic scene is instantly recognizable for two reasons: Charlotte’s pink bobbed wing and her convincingly lusty performance of “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders. “'Cause I’m gonna make you see/ There's nobody else here/ No one like me,” she sings, her coiffed hair offset with a classic black shift dress. Though Charlotte, who was played by an 18-year-old Scarlett Johansson, certainly grabs the audience’s attention. “Sofia's pretty classic and kind of not showy, but always beautiful and we wanted Scarlett to feel like that, too, like she was effortless,” costumer designer Nancy Steiner said.


"The Bling Ring" (film still).

Nicki’s courtroom look in The Bling Ring
The Bling Ring is inspired by a series of IRL burglaries in the Hollywood Hills that were carried out by a group of fame-obsessed teens. However, the film is also an ode to the terribly fantastic fashion of the aughts, popularized by the robbery victims themselves like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. The era is distilled onscreen in the form of Ugg boots, Juicy Couture tracksuits, and Tiffany charm necklaces. Nicki, who’s played by Emma Watson, wears a courtroom look that predates the discussion of inimitable scammer style, but it’s almost more memorable than her constant lip gloss application throughout the film. Outside the courthouse, with half her face obscured by her oversized sunglasses, she says, “I’m a firm believer in karma and I think this situation is a huge learning lesson for me to grow and expand as a spiritual human being. I want to lead a country one day for all I know.”

Kirsten Dunst’s boudoir moment in Marie Antoinette
There’s an endless supply of lavish style inspiration in Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, where she reimagines the story of France’s ill-fated Queen in the form of a pastel-colored, saccharine fantasy. Corsets aside, there’s one particular scene where the lack of period fashion itself defines the iconic fashion moment. After a night of revelry at the Château de Versailles, Marie Antoinette takes to her bedroom to await her lover Axel von Fersen (Jamie Dornan), wearing only a feather atop her head and white over-the-knee-socks tied up with pale blue satin ribbons. Oh, and lest we forget the artfully placed fan.


Cleo goes ice skating in Somewhere
Before the allure of Margot Robbie’s sequins and glittering spandex in I, Tonya, and the ice skating obsession that ensued (and even trickled onto Balenciaga’s runway) there was a young Elle Fanning playing Cleo in Somewhere. Her look of choice? A light blue skirted leotard in a glittering velvet, which pairs well with her routine performed to Gwen Stefani’s “Cool.” Cleo completes her jumps, turns, and swirls, in an ethereal manner, as if she’s floating amongst the clouds.

Trip Fontaine as the ultimate 70s stud in The Virgin Suicides
While we’ve focused mostly on the leading ladies of Coppola’s films, it’s impossible to compile this list without revisiting Josh Hartnett’s portrayal of Trip Fontaine in The Virgin Suicides. He’s the quintessential 70s heartthrob that gives Michael Kelso a run for his money. Naturally, all the girls at school love his luscious long locks, tinted aviator sunglasses, and dopey brown eyes. And let’s not forget that puka shell necklace. For Homecoming, he dressed it up with a custom look. “I designed that burgundy velvet suit,” Steiner explains. “We made that so that he could stand out from the other boys because he was just so hot.”


"The Beguiled" (film still).

Alicia all dressed up in The Beguiled
Coppola’s latest film, The Beguiled, is another period piece though this time the auteur takes us on a journey back to the American Civil War. When a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell) turns up on the doorstep of an all girls school in Virginia, it sends Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) and her pupils into Southern gothic frenzy. While the cast of Coppola’s favorites rock some pretty modest 19th century threads, mixing prints like something out of Batsheva’s catalog, we’re smitten with the soft pink, lace trimmed dress that Alicia wears to their dinner one night. “With Elle [Fanning as Alicia], I wanted her to feel flirty, so she has a lot of ruffles and pastels. She was the flirtiest character,” costume designer Stacey Battat said.