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Fashion in Film: Diverse Iconic Style Figures as Seen by HUES BOA

Movies have always been major cultural trendsetters, shaping the fashion and taste of America through the killer style of the leading ladies and men on the screen. In this article, we want to spotlight a few of the diverse iconic style figures. These were actresses and actors who influenced audiences through their flair for fashion. Beyond earning awards for their acting talent, these film stars set major fashion trends and cultural perceptions throughout the years.

From Sidney Poitier to Bruce Lee to J-Lo herself, icons like these inspire the unity and diversity HUES BOA uses every day in its ethos. We’re not just a brand; we’re a movement that stands for more than just style—it stands for change, inclusivity, and community. Join us in redefining fashion, making it a force for good, and celebrating the beauty of all HUES. Remember, HEAVEN UTILIZES EVERY SHADE!

Read on as we pay homage to the screen’s diverse, iconic style figures, who made their mark with fashion in film and redefined the boundaries of style and representation.


●      Film: “Shanghai Express” (1932)

●      Role: Hui Fei

Fashion Influence: Anna May Wong portrayed Hui Fei, a mysterious character who showed American audiences a blend of styles unfamiliar in the U.S. Her striking costumes were a mix of Eastern and Western aesthetics. Her lavish dresses, intricate hair ornaments, and rich accessories showed exotic glamor. Female audiences became fascinated with these new East Asian-inspired styles.


●        Film: “Carmen Jones” (1954)

●        Role: Carmen Jones

Dorothy Dandridge made history as the first African-American film star to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for the role.

Fashion Influence: Dorothy Dandridge’s portrayal of Carmen Jones, a sultry and seductive character, set a style trend that epitomized the femme fatale. Her form-fitting dresses, off-the-shoulder tops, and accessories exuded sophistication and allure, inspiring fashion trends for years to come. Women everywhere wanted to wear the form-fitting suits, elegant jewelry, and feminine silk gowns Dorothy wore on screen.


●       Film: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967)

●       Role: Dr. John Prentice

Fashion Influence: Sidney Poitier’s portrayal of Dr. John Prentice, a distinguished and progressive Black doctor, epitomized a refined style that countered racial stereotypes of that age. He was the very definition of sharp: Tailored suit, button-down crisp shirts, and quiet elegance that all became the “look” of Black sophistication and influenced men everywhere. His style broke barriers by shifting cultural ideas about how Black men should look.


●     Film: “Enter the Dragon” (1973)

●     Role: Master Lee

Fashion Influence: Bruce Lee’s portrayal of martial arts master Lee in “Enter the Dragon” showed the audience a new view of Asian masculinity. Bruce gave us a minimalist approach to style, with fitted tracksuits and martial arts attire.  He also made that famous tracksuit the most loved outfit of the decade for men who wanted to look cool. Athleisure wear had its first moment in that film, and American culture has been eating it up ever since.

Bruce inspired a generation of fashion wanna-be’s and laid the groundwork for the athleisure style trend that continues to permeate the fashion scene.



●     Film: Malcolm X (1992)

●     Role: Malcolm X

Fashion Influence: Denzel Washington played the historic civil rights leader in this biographical film. Malcolm’s tailored suits and knit caps were influential then and renewed with Denzel’s portrayal. The look was black single-breasted suits, white tab-collar shirts, and skinny black neckties. The iconic square glasses became a hot item. Denzel’s outfits gave off a sophisticated intellectualism that men wanted to copy.



●     Film: Selena (1997)

●     Role: Selena

Fashion Influence: Jennifer Lopez– hardly known at the time– portrayed the beloved Tejana singer Selena in this biographical movie about her life. Her costumes kicked off clothing trends based on Selena’s signature style of bejeweled bustiers, sparkly jumpsuits, and leather jackets. In fact, decades later, fashion editorials still show how to copy “Selena’s look” as Jennifer wore.

It’s clear that diverse, iconic style figures redefined what it means to be fierce and fabulous fashion-wise, all while slaying the screen. We still look to these beautifully diverse stars of the movie screen to inspire and inform our style and the way we think about fashion at HUES BOA today.


What an honor to be able to reflect on these straight-up legends of the screen and remember: When it comes to style, these diverse film stars weren’t just setting trends and influencing culture; they were making history.


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