When summer days get busy and vacation is either over or still a few weeks away, we turn to the movies for some creative inspiration. From epic blockbusters to bright and happy romantic comedies, summer movies offer that little escape that helps refresh you until the next time your toes can get into the sand. We have our own criteria when it comes to summer favorites. In particular, we love movies with style. From groundbreaking technological innovations to nostalgic stories of days gone by, we’re spending the rest of the summer giving a weekly look at the summer movies that have an imaginative sense of style at their core.
First up—the armchair vacation. If we can’t hop on a plane right now, then why not travel vicariously through a good flick? Here are some favorites films that make us want to get away.
5. Mamma Mia! (2008)
Fancy a trip to Greece? How about going along with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried? We love the light and airy wardrobe inspired by the Mediterranean location, where Sophie (played by Seyfried) searches for her real father as she prepares for her wedding. Add in music by ABBA and you have a movie-watching experience that transports you right out of your living room.
4. Amélie (2001)
Set in the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre (once home to renowned artists like Toulouse-Lautrec), this story of a humble waitress (played by Audrey Tautou) and her quiet quest for love weaves rich colors and vibrant music through its playful narrative. With bicycle rides, trips to the market, brightly colored interiors, and the title character’s cropped bangs, each scene is carefully curated to create a sense of romantic whimsy. Now 13 years since its first release, it has become a style classic.
3. Almost Famous (2000)
Take a road trip across America in 1973 for one of rock ’n’ roll’s last hurrahs. That this story of a young journalist’s first assignment for Rolling Stone will make you sing along to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” is memorable enough. When it comes to style, though, Kate Hudson defines effortless boho chic as muse Penny Lane. And let’s not forget Zooey Deschanel’s breakout roll as she rocked everything from rollers to a bright red stewardess uniform and reminded us all that “one day, you will be cool.”
2. North by Northwest (1959)
So maybe Mount Rushmore isn’t at the top of your list of dream destinations. Add to the mix Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and a suspenseful story of international intrigue, though, and South Dakota might not sound so bad—at least as long as you’re not the one dodging airplanes. This vintage Alfred Hitchcock film pairs rich, intense narrative with classic Hollywood style. From Grant’s perfectly tailored suits to Saint’s blond bob and gorgeous dresses, we can’t get enough.
1. Funny Face (1957)
As bookish beauty Jo (Audrey Hepburn) transforms into a stunning super model on the streets of 1950s Paris, this film defines midcentury fashion. With Hepburn’s cropped paints in the beat poetry scene, her fit and flair dresses while walking the Champs-Élysées, not to mention the haute couture evening dresses, Funny Face has it all. And that’s without even mentioning Fred Astaire’s dancing. That several of the photographs in the film were taken by fashion and portrait photography great Richard Avedon (on whom the story was loosely based) truly sets this movie apart as one of the greats for combining destination and style.