Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley Is My Summer 2018 Style Icon


(Image credit: Rex Features)

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m kind of obsessed with watching old movies, and The Talented Mr. Ripley is hovering at the top of my list for all-time favorites. The plot, though kind of haunting, is riveting, but the real reason I keep coming back to it is the seriously dreamy aesthetic. It makes me want to impulsively buy a ticket to Italy, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s iconic outfits play a big role.

What strikes me every time I watch the movie is the timeliness of all her looks. Paltrow plays a well-to-do American vacationing in Italy in the late 1950s, so everything her character wears captures the fashion of that time. But also, it was filmed in the late 1990s, so there are nods to what was happening in fashion then. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for ’90s fashion and thus can’t help but draw a connection between her black evening dress and one Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.

And even though the film is straddling fashion between those two decades, it still feels amazingly right for 2018. The puff-sleeve top (arguably one of the biggest trends of the moment), high-waisted bikini, cat-eye sunglasses, and everything else Paltrow wears in the film could easily be sold in stores today. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see me wearing each of these outfits very soon.

A high-waisted bikini


(Image credit: Rex Features)

Easily the most flattering swimsuit style you can wear, a pair of high-waisted bottoms and a matching top feels retro but still modern and cool. Currently plotting how I can find this exact spot on the beach in Italy to wear one.

A bandeau top and floral skirt


(Image credit: Rex Features)

Now, this outfit alone makes me want to buy a ticket and hop on a plane to Italy. What I love is that these pieces are timeless and versatile enough that they look equally relevant for the late 1950s (when the film is set) as they do today.

A puff-sleeve top


(Image credit: Rex Features)

This top looks like it could have been plucked from the current runways. Puff sleeves are sure to be the It trend this summer.

The perfect outfit for an alfresco dinner


(Image credit: Rex Features)

This is when things are bright and happy in the movie, and her outfit mirrors that. Don’t be surprised if I start planning rooftop dinners this summer and start wearing something suspiciously similar to this look.

An LBD worth repeating


(Image credit: Rex Features)

Okay, this is where the carefree days on the Italian coast come to an end. As the film gets darker, so do the outfits. Even though the film was set in the ’50s, this feels like a nod to the style of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy in the ’90s, when it was filmed. And yes, I would wear this exact outfit today.

A truly Hitchcockian outfit


(Image credit: Rex Features)

Toward the end of the movie, things have turned really dark, and she looks more like the heroine from a Hitchcock movie—a trench coat and cat-eye glasses included—than an American on vacation. But her look is no less stylish.

You can bet I'll be wearing each of these outfits this summer.

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.