By Daniel Bukszpan, CNBC.com
Every so often, a movie or television show depicts a character in an outfit that becomes iconic. It probably isn't the intention of most filmmakers to inspire fashion revolutions with their works, but the makers of "Flashdance" probably didn't mind when America's teenage girls started blowing their entire allowances on legwarmers.
Not every movie or television show can achieve such a feat on that kind of scale, but many try, with varying degrees of success. What follows is a list of those that made an article of clothing famous, made characters famous for fashion sense, or managed some combination of the two. Read ahead to see which ones made the list.
Stewart wore a Carolina Herrera wedding dress. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1"
Last year, fans of "Twilight" swarmed multiplexes to see "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1," the penultimate installment of the vampire series. The film depicted its star, Kristen Stewart, exchanging wedding vows with her undead suitor, played by Robert Pattinson.
Stewart wore a Carolina Herrera wedding dress for her character's big day, but "Twilight" fans who wanted the dress for their own nuptials were out of luck, as the dress was the only one made. However, they could buy a copy (as shown on the left) from bridal design house Alfred Angelo for $799.
The most famous piece of clothing in the movie is a black Givenchy dress. "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Holly Golightly in the 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is among her most famous performances. In the course of the movie, she sports unforgettable clothes and accessories, like a mammoth cigarette holder that featured prominently in the film's advertising.
The most famous piece of clothing in the movie is a black Givenchy dress worn by Hepburn in its opening scene. Though it was not the first "little black dress" in cinema history, it was instrumental in establishing it as an indispensible part of any woman's wardrobe. In 2006, it was sold to an anonymous bidder at Christie's auction house for $923,187.
The "Mad Men"
Ever since its premiere on AMC in 2007, the television show "Mad Men" has won rave reviews, and not just for its cinematography. The drama about the advertising firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has taken on a life of its own as a showcase for smart and stylish period fashions from the 1960s.
The show's status as prime fashion porn was bolstered by promotional partnerships with clothing retailers, such as Brooks Brothers. In 2011, the show's costume designer, Janie Bryant, created a clothing collection based on the show's fashions that was sold at Banana Republic stores. Those wishing to dress like Don Draper's ex-wife Betty can do so by wearing the "Betty Dress," (shown on the left) which retails for $150.
Gordon Gekko's white silk and cotton shirt sells for $450. "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is the 2010 sequel to the 1987 Oliver Stone film "Wall Street." In the sequel, the Ivan Boesky-esque corporate raider Gordon Gekko, portrayed by Michael Douglas, is released from prison after being incarcerated for insider trading.
The original costume designer, Ellen Mirojnick, returned for the sequel and dressed all of the main characters in clothes by Anto of Beverly Hills. "Anto of Beverly Hills has made the shirts for everyone in the film because it cuts a silhouette that I know is of a movie star, of a Hollywood wardrobe," she told Esquire magazine in a 2010 interview. Gordon Gekko's white silk and cotton shirt sells for $450.
For its wedding scene, the actress wore a now-discontinued Vivienne Westwood. "Sex and the City"
The first movie version of the HBO series "Sex and the City" was released in 2008 to reviews ranging from lukewarm to downright hostile. In the latter category was Rick Groen's zero-star write-up in The Globe and Mail, in which he said that the main characters were not so much portrayed by the actors as they were "fixed in their roles as semi-animated clothes hangers on a cinematic runway."
Much of the appeal of the show derived from fans wondering what Sarah Jessica Parker would wear in the next scene, so in that sense the movie delivered. For its wedding scene, the actress wore a now-discontinued Vivienne Westwood dress that retailed for $9,875.
The bridal battle royale showcases Hathaway in a traditional, vintage-style wedding dress. Bride Wars
"Bride Wars" is a 2009 comedy starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway as BFF's who turn against one another when their weddings fall victim to a scheduling snafu. The two declare all-out war against one another, which culminates in the two brides wrestling one another on the ground in their Vera Wang wedding gowns.
The bridal battle royale showcases Hathaway in a traditional, vintage-style wedding dress. The dress has since been discontinued, but when it was in production it sold for $4,990, Vera Wang public relations assistant Irina Binder said in an e-mail.
In "Quantum of Solace"
When it comes to characters that male moviegoers envy and emulate, it's hard to beat James Bond. For 50 years, the British secret agent with the license to kill has been foiling dastardly plots while drinking dry martinis and sporting a dapper wardrobe, courtesy of the Brioni fashion house in Italy.
That changed with 2008's "Quantum of Solace," in which Bond wore the suits of American designer Tom Ford. These were made-to-order items not available to the general public, so anyone wishing to dress like agent 007 has to go to one of the store locations and get personally measured for the suit. Representatives for the store's Madison Avenue location in New York would not disclose prices by telephone.
"J.Crew & The Man Who Dressed America" premieres Thursday, May 24 at 10 p.m. ET, with a re-air at 1 a.m. ET. For more show info, visit the show page.
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By Daniel Bukszpan, CNBC.com