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On View : Watch 'n' Wear : BY DESIGN OR HAPPENSTANCE, THE WORLDS OF FASHION AND FILM OFTEN INTERSECT: AMC SPECIAL THREADS THE RELATIONSHIP

August 20, 1995|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

From Clark Gable's no T-shirt look in 1934's "It Happened One Night" to Marilyn Monroe's white halter dress in 1955's "The Seven Year Itch" to Jennifer Beals' off-the-shoulder torn sweatshirt in 1983's "Flashdance," fashion and film have always fed off each other.

"The Hollywood Fashion Machine," premiering Tuesday on American Movie Classics and hosted by Jacqueline Bisset, examines the unique relationship between what people wear and what we see on the screen.

The one-hour documentary features clips from such trendsetters as "All About Eve," "Gilda," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Annie Hall" and "Bonnie and Clyde." Designers Isaac Mizrahi, Hubert de Givenchy, Bob Mackie, Theadora Van Runkle, fashion editor Polly Mellen of Allure magazine, director Stanley Donen and actress Ali MacGraw, who created her own fashion craze with her knit cap in 1970's "Love Story," offer their insight into the worlds of film and fashion.

"Both industries help each other," says "Fashion Machine" producer Marcia Ely. "If one of the characters [in a movie] is wearing something that can potentially be a new style [the movie marketeers] push that. Sometimes a movie will actually launch a look like 'Annie Hall.' "I know I wanted to look like that. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I love the baggy stuff and being able to go to thrift shops and dress in men's wear. I wanted to be Annie Hall." One of the high points of the special is a tribute to the late actress Audrey Hepburn and her professional relationship with designer Givenchy. Not only did he create her chic, sophisticated wardrobe for such films as 1957's "Funny Face," 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and 1966's "How to Steal a Million," he also was her personal designer.

"They had a perfect fit," Ely says. "I think she probably is the one person who was the most influential stylemaker women ever had. The reason why I say that is because a Greta Garbo or a Carole Lombard, all of these people had enormous influence on viewers, but Audrey Hepburn influenced the people who were influences for the rest of the world. She was the stylemaker who was influencing the stylemakers. That's why I really think she's in a class of her own. Givenchy clearly adored her and obviously that's why he participated in this. He is very moving when he speaks about her. She was like his muse."

"The Hollywood Fashion Machine" premieres Tuesday at 5 and 9:30 p.m. on AMC.

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