Theadora Van Runkle
Prolific costume designer Theadora Van Runkle entered the movie business at the tail end of Hollywood's influence on fashion. Through her ingenuity and vision, the costumer made a name for herself in the business, becoming known for her consistent competence and remarkable take on the style of the recent past, with her work on films set in early to mid 20th Century America emerging as particularly strong examples. With the advent of the supermodel and the increased visibility of designers, the general public has become more aware of the fashion industry. In previous years, Hollywood films served as the major influence on fashion, Marlene Dietrich's trousers, Joan Crawford's shoulder pads, Rita Hayworth's strapless dresses and Elizabeth Taylor's gown in "A Place in the Sun" are all examples of how movie designs introduced new looks and set popular style parameters in previous decades. Van Runkle grew up in this fashion atmosphere and started in Hollywood when the trend was on the wane, but with her film debut "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), the designer managed to revive the influence of movie fashion. She outfitted Faye Dunaway in remarkable 1930s period costumes with a decidedly modern flavor that appealed to contemporary women, a look that gained international popularity. Van Runkle's designs for Bonnie consisted of loose fitting suits with unstructured soft lines, sleek maxi skirts and smart berets that added up to a look marrying classic sophistication to modern comfort and ease. The designer was nominated for an Academy Award for her work, and "Bonnie and Clyde" would remain the most significant example of film influencing fashion in later years.