Finally, I’ve stopped merely citing "Sliding Doors" as a favourite style film, and actually got down to screen-capping the film to illustrate why it left such a lingering impression on me.
I’ve actually forgotten most of the finer points of the movie (I didn’t realise Gwyneth’s
Behind some of the great minimalist film wardrobes in the 90s were some of the designers that greatly influenced me at the time: Michael Kors (then at Celine) was behind Gwyneth's bluestocking chic in "Possession", Calvin Klein did "Sliding Doors", Donna Karan was behind Uma Thurman's glacial cool in "Gattaca" and also Gwyneth's look in "Great Expectations".
I grew up in the heyday of Calvin Klein (when the man himself was designing) and I’ve always loved his brand of street-influenced minimalism. It isn’t the stark, conceptual minimalism we see today – there’s a sensuality and attitude to it, clothes made to be worn in an urban environment. It's hard to picture the Calvin Klein woman today as a real person, but the Calvin Klein of my teen years created a look a woman could truly identify with, and in which she could define herself while she went about her business. It’s a leather peacoat, or calf-skimming trench, oversized enough to give a woman room to move, but cut with high armholes to keep the look neat and sharp. Turtlenecks worn in two ways – clean and fitting for a sleek look, or chunky and oversized to relax in. Sharp black suits when she means business, t-shirts and loose trousers to curl up in. Even her waitressing uniform of an oversized denim shirt was a lesson in slouchy chic. Watching the film at age 14, I felt inspired by this vision of “grown-up dressing”, the next stage from the grunge years.
These are clothes made beautifully enough to signal discernment and a distinct point of view on the part of the wearer, but they don’t claim the spotlight. 15 years on (15!), I still want them.