It seems like it was only yesterday that we were all in awe of Robert Pattinson. The British actor stunned us with his charm, good looks and sweet, saucy smile. But just as our fascination with the actor was beginning to wane, he pulled off one of the most amazing cameos we’ve ever seen.

The 39-year-old actor stepped out in a sheer black dress with diamond studs, completing the perfect Gothic glam moment. The actor’s character in the upcoming film, Twilight, is set in London, which is said to be one of Pattinson’s favourite cities. It seems fitting that the actor would choose to make his debut in a movie that takes place in his home city.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse features British actors alongside its main hunks, Robert and Chris. The franchise originally began with a French-dubbed movie, but with the recent surge in popularity of British accents, it’s no wonder that fans now want to see more English actors in future instalments of the saga.

A British Renaissance

With the news that Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James has written a Twilight prequel novel, it’s time for us to reflect on the changing face of British cinema. Just 20 years ago, a British Renaissance was taking place.

Actors like Jude Law and Kate Winslet were redefining the roles of the romantic lead and mistress/mistress, and multi-award-winning director Mike Leigh was changing the landscape of British cinema with his realistic and unpatronising portrayals of upper-middle-class life.

These days, it’s rarely that we see leading ladies that aren’t professionally trained in acting, and male leads are often required to have a good grasp of language and social skills. It’s almost as if the characters had to prove that they could navigate the modern world successfully.

But it’s not just in the acting that we see the change. British cinema has long been known for its costume design, and this year saw two high-profile costume dramas made in Britain: The Dress and Victoria & Abdul. Braveheart and Game of Thrones may have garnered Hollywood fame, but it’s the UK’s independent film scene that really shines through.

We’re used to seeing costume dramas set in the historical context of the early 20th century, but 2018 also saw a spate of films set in the present day, like the crime thriller Victoria & Abdul. The stunning costumes in the movie are the work of Christian Louboutin, and our girlie was left in no doubt as to which pair of shoes she needed to be wearing for the occasion:

  • Black tie – both at once
  • Silk dress
  • Diamond studs
  • Luminous jewellery

The film also features British Vogue founder and designer Christian Louboutin, and his beautiful and innovative shoes are featured as a set piece. It seems that the fashion industry is taking a keen interest in historic costume dramas as well as modern day thrillers.

Victoria & Abdul is the latest in a slew of big-name costume dramas set in the United Kingdom. But while the production designers of these films often have to source vintage pieces that were expensive to buy and maintain, the films themselves are often steeped in money. It’s almost as if the studios are courting favour with the big names in high fashion by putting them in their clothes.

A History Of Vogue

The influence of fashion and celebrity journalism on cinema is something that dates back to the very first feature films. The cinema magazine Kinema was first published in France in 1898, and became a British edition in 1902. The publication was initially aimed at men, but later became more of a women’s magazine.

One of the earliest examples of a film being used to promote a luxury brand is the 1922 classic The Divine Woman. Star Leslie Howard is pictured in a range of glamorous outfits and jewellery from the designer Tiffany& Co, as she promotes their goods. The brand became so associated with Howard that they named a style of jewellery after her: the Tiffany& Co. Howard is the only cast member to appear in the movie wearing pure white diamonds. It is estimated that she spent around £50,000 in total on her Tiffany& Co. costumes and jewellery in the film.

There have been many other notable instances of luxury brands harnessing the power of cinema to advertise their products. In 1930, the German company Schukau donated a complete set of Schukau jewellery to promote that year’s movie The Mad Empress, starring Renee Brunette. In the film, Brunette wears the Schukau Star of Africa brooch, which has a diamond flanked by sapphire and emerald.

In the 1960s, British actress Elizabeth Taylor became a bit of a style icon for her extravagant and flamboyant style. The famously expensive brand Christian Dior named a style of dress after her: the Dior Diorsignature Elizabeth Taylor.

The designer’s first choice of the time had been a yellow dress with matching accessories, as seen in the Taylor-Chaplin film Ben-Hur. But the star had her heart set on a white dress with pink and orange flowers, and so they made one for her. It was a great success, and the actress wore the dress in a number of films, including My Fair Lady.

Christian Dior has had a long-running partnership with the luxury company Montblanc, which has seen the designer outfit a number of famous faces over the years. British actress Helena Bonham-Carter appeared in a video advertisement in which she promotes the brand’s watches, and we see her in classic white Dior with a yellow satin dress and matching purse. The actress is shown wearing a large diamond ring, a matching necklace, a brooch and a wristwatch: all signs of a luxury brand fan.

What’s Next?

The UK’s independent film scene is one of the biggest in Europe, and is responsible for some of the biggest global hits we’ve seen. From 2007’s Happy-Go-Lucky (banned in several countries) to 2016’s Love, Rosie (& Pete), these films bring a unique mix of humour, romance and heartbreak. They’re often critical of social issues like class and gender, but never lose sight of the fact that it’s a love story at the end of the day.

We’ve seen many of our favourite actors grace the big screen in various roles, from Zara Stone and Jack Whitehall in 2008’s Butterflies to Dominçe Wirtz in 2017’s The Meyerowitz Stories (mostly). We want to see more of them on the big screen, preferably in costume, as it would bring such a thrill to our hearts!