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Five New Period Films With Fashion to Drool Over

Knightley as Anna Karenina

Spanning from early 19th century Europe to the 1960s America, the season's most fashion-y films are as packed with eye candy as they are plot points. Whether you prefer the rags of Les Misérables or the riches of Anna Karenina, read on to discover the inspiration and secrets behind these five films’ superior costume design.

1. Les Misérables (December 25th)
You know the lyrics, you know the all-star cast, but you haven’t seen this musical quite like this. Les Misérables, based on Victor Hugo’s novel, tells the story of a former prisoner, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who decides to turn his life around by becoming mayor of a French town. Despite his progression, Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) persistently tries to imprison Valjean again. The film focuses on Valjean’s struggle against Javert, as well as his relationship with other characters like Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), a young girl he cares for. Because the film is set in post-revolutionary France at its most squalid, the wardrobes mostly consist of ragged frocks and worn-in military wear, created by Paco Delgado. With perfectly-imagined costumes, a talented director, (Tom Hooper of The King’s Speech), and talent including Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, Les Misérables is a must-see.

2. Anna Karenina (Out now)
Based on Leo Tolstoy’s acclaimed novel, Anna Karenina is set during the 1870s in tsarist Russia and is about the human capacity for passion. Director Joe Wright worked with Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice, as well as Atonement, so safe to say we expect big things from this romantic adaptation. The film’s costumes have received plenty of attention, thanks to its costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, who used two million dollars’ worth of Chanel jewelry and Balenciaga-inspired gowns.

3. Lincoln (Out now)
Any Steven Spielberg film is sure to be a success, and with Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, the cast is a recipe for how to rack up the wins during award season. (Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Lincoln’s son Robert, just in case you needed another incentive to go.) The film is set during the Civil War, so expect phenomenal military wear, as well as voluminous hoop skirt floral gowns in lace, sheer cottons and silks. Perhaps you’ll even be unexpectedly inspired by the top hats, pilgrim-esque shoes and 19th century American fashion. We know Marc Jacobs was!

4. Hyde Park on Hudson (December 7th)
This comedy-drama tells the story of the budding, yet scandalous romance between Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and his confidante, Margaret Suckley (Laura Linney), centering around a visit by King George VI (Samuel West) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) to upstate New York. Look forward to pearls, big hats embellished with flowers and, of course, bow ties. The Queen wears one beautiful periwinkle cardigan and dress combo that's very Kate Middleton.

5. Hitchcock (Out now)
Between The Girl and Hitchcock, Hollywood has horror stories and Hitchcock’s twisted brain on its mind. The film follows Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) during the making of his 1960 hit Psycho. From '50s cupcake dresses to '60s shifts to regal skirtsuits, the film’s leading ladies, Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) and Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), ooze old Hollywood glamour.

Check out some shots from each movie below.


Les Misérables