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    The Sci-Fi Films That Shaped Our Vision of the Future

    Featuring the Balenciaga-inspired outfits of ‘Dune,’ the all-black materiality of ‘The Matrix’ and the pristine minimalism of ‘Gattaca.’

    WRITER: Marta Sundac

    Ever since cinema took hold as the dominant art form of the early 20th century, wildly inventive new ways of how society might transform have entered our collective imagination. Nowhere has this been expressed more clearly than in science fiction.

    Through pioneering films like Metropolis or the retro-futurist masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, costume and fashion designers have speculated about diverse worlds rooted in fantasy and spectacle. As the Information Age progressed, never-ending possibilities for storytelling opened up, as did increasingly creative executions of what these worlds might look like, populated by avant-garde outfits and experimental materials.

    As the boundaries between technology, culture and style continue to blur, we look back on the films that have helped shape our collective vision of the future.

    Milla Jovovich as Leeloo. Director Luc Besson tapped Jean Paul Gaultier to design costumes for the 'The Fifth Element,' combining elements of punk, lingerie and bondage to create the film's unique aesthetic.   
    Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus. Known for monochromatic leather, floor-length coats, big boots and tiny sunglasses, 'The Matrix' is considered a foundational movie for post-Y2K style.   
    The multiverse-jumping narrative in 'Everything Everywhere All At Once' allowed costume designer Shirley Kurata to tap into a diverse range of influences. Kurata's favorite look, featuring Stephanie Hsu as Jobu Tupaki, is a futuristic all-white outfit that combines leather, intricate beading, pearls and Elizabethan ruffs.   
    To match the intricate world building in 'Dune,' costume designer Jacqueline West went with a “mod-eval” approach, taking cues from medieval paintings, tarot cards, Balenciaga and the Bedouin and Tuareg people of North Africa.   
    Costume designer Jacques Fonteray took inspiration from the sensual motifs of fashion designer Paco Rabanne for 'Barbarella.' The film's iconic looks blend 1960s mod style with medieval elements like chain mail and capes.   
    A seminal piece of cyberpunk storytelling, both the original 'Blade Runner' film and its sequel blend motifs from noir, punk and ’80s pop culture to create outfits that are both unique and grounded in reality.   
    Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa. Costume designer John Mollo pulled from the past to shape the look of 'Star Wars,' finding inspiration in traditional Japanese robes, German military uniforms and the American West.   
    Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. While the crew on the USCSS Nostromo wore military-inspired uniforms and other functional garments, the Xenomorph, designed by artist H.R. Giger, later inspired the work of Thierry Mugler and Alexander McQueen.   
    Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' continues to influence our conception of the future nearly a century after its debut. Best known today for the "Maschinenmensch," the film directly impacted the designs of Thierry Mugler and Hajime Sorayama.   
    'Gattaca' envisions a future where eugenics weed out the imperfections of humanity. Costume designer Colleen Atwood tapped into the world's societal uniformity with a minimalist color palette and corporate-inspired aesthetics.   

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