The link between fashion and film seems an obvious one. We drool over our matinée idols on screen; we must want to emulate them. Remember the desperate yearning of women everywhere for a copy of that green silk dress worn by Keira Knightley in Atonement? Exactly. A couple of decades before, there was a stampede of women to the shops in the late 1970s, intent on rifling out waistcoats and kipper ties in an effort to look like Diane Keaton's Annie Hall. Next, Saturday Night Fever instilled a virulent, male penchant for white suits paired with black shirts. And then Flashdance encouraged us to don ripped sweatshirts and leg-warmers. None of those, however, were licensed, collaborative efforts between the film and fashion industries. The films appeared, the fashion industry quickly churned out copies. (The white sundress worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1951 film A Place in the Sun was reportedly one of the most-copied prom dress styles that year.) But official link-ups are something of a newer phenomenon - a canny marketing ploy. After all, an official fashion line not only helps promote the film, but keeps clothing stores happy and means we, the aspirational consumers, can buy into a little bit of the glamour. The forthcoming Julia Roberts movie Eat Pray Love, has prompted the most recent collaboration, with a line of clothing inspired by the film to be launched shortly in several big American fashion chains, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, although not in their UAE stores. Increasingly, though, it's not just the big screen that's joining hands with the fashion industry. Television is getting involved too. Think Gossip Girl and Glee. The ratings figures for hit series such as these reach several million. That's another powerful group of consumers just ripe for marketing. Which is why Banana Republic, another major American fashion chain, is shortly launching its second Mad Men collection, timed to coincide with the premiere of the show's fourth series in the US tonight. QVC has signed up the show's costume designer, Janie Bryant, to create a 20-piece capsule collection, which is out at the end of September. Why wouldn't you want to dress like Don or Betty Draper? Michael Kors and Prada have infused recent collections with Mad Men influences. Now you can follow, er, suit. The history of official collaborations such as these doesn't go back far. Sure, Audrey Hepburn effectively served as a Givenchy clothes-hanger in Breakfast At Tiffany's, but there was no direct, commercial collaboration with the film. Hepburn was Hubert de Givenchy's muse, so she wore Givenchy for several of her films, including Sabrina and Charade. But by modern-day standards, it was more product-placement for Givenchy than anything official. Tiffany & Co won't have done too badly out of it, either. Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus were among the first stores to embrace an official film fashion collection, with the launch of a Great Gatsby line in 1974. It was fashioned by a rising American designer called Ralph Lauren, who had a hand in the design of the male costumes in The Great Gatsby (and went on to design several for Annie Hall four years later). So into the stores went pink and pale pink linen suits, detachable collars and candy-striped shirts. "I don't ever want to be Mr Trendy," the designer said to New York Magazine at the time. "I don't want to be known as 'the guy that did Gatsby, the guy that did last year's look'." How happily he avoided that. It's a very different style to the Eat Pray Love collection that will shortly be on the racks of the same stores. Based on Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling book, the film sees the heroine suffer a vague mid-life crisis and take a year out while travelling from Italy to India and from there to Indonesia. The fashion collection going into stores (other pieces will be available on the shopping channel HSN) has been created by the Chinese-born, American designer Sue Wong. Heavily influenced by the Indian and Indonesian parts of the story, Wong has created a range of silk jackets, trousers and dresses with gold embroidery and bead-detailing. "I was able to create a collection that was striking, exotic, and timeless, and organic to the journey in the book and forthcoming film," Wong said, modestly, in an announcement of her designs. Wong has been busy, because the Eat Pray Love spin-off line is her second film collaboration this year. In February, she launched a collection to coincide with the release of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Sold, again, through big chains such as Bloomingdale's, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Macy's, it featured dresses in a variety of lengths with details inspired by the film, such as lace hems, empire waistlines and decorative floral appliqués. "The classical story, along with Tim Burton's inspired interpretation, lends itself especially well to my design aesthetic, which is whimsical and fun," she explained, just as modestly. They're both collections, however, that have been and will be touted to the mass market. Alice in Wonderland dresses start at around $300 (Dh1,100) and so concerted is HSN's Eat Pray Love effort that a marathon three-day shopping extravaganza is being held on the channel to celebrate each of the book's three stages through Italy, India and Indonesia. Quite different was the 2008 collection launched with the opening of Baz Luhrmann's Australia. A project helmed by the Australian clothing label RM Williams, it featured heritage-type stuff such as leather "drover" jackets and riding boots, along with women's pieces designed by the film's costumier, Catherine Martin. It's still available online, but the prices are punchier. A mere 10 copies were made of Martin's Merinda silk chiffon gown. Decorated with Australian floral patterns and held up by plaited, kangaroo-leather shoulder-straps, it retails at a mighty Au$7,900 (Dh29,000). A Howard Springs tote bag will set you back Au$5,500 (Dh20,200). A pussy-bow riding blouse with mother-of-pearl buttons, such as the one worn by Nicole Kidman, stands at Au$790 (Dh2,900). In comparison, the nature of their audiences means that certain television shows have to be more affordable for the pocket-money spending power of their young followers. Although Anna Sui designed last autumn's Gossip Girl line, it was a partnership launched with Target. Miss Selfridge then teamed up with Warner Bros to offer its own Gossip Girl collection, launched earlier this year, that retailed from £39 (Dh220). Think ruffles, shift-dresses, leggings and tutus. The forthcoming Glee fashion collection is expected to target a similar, young demographic. Licensed by Fox, it will be sold through Macy's. No word or sight yet of what it will offer, but it's expected to be released this autumn. "We didn't want to just slap a Glee logo on a shirt. The product has to reflect the creativity of the show," said Robert Marick, the executive vice president of Fox Licensing, of the deal. If you can't sing, you can at least buy a part of the action, hey? Although not launching here ("The buyers don't think it'll fit in our market," said a store representative), Banana Republic has gone into overdrive for the launch of their second Mad Men collection in the US. The clothes themselves - both male and female - have been compiled into a "Mad About Style" guide - "whether you're a Joan or Don, Peggy or Pete," according to the creative director, Simon Kneen. So there are slick, charcoal suits, plaid ties, crisp chinos and penny loafers for the boys, and tulip skirts, waisted sheath dresses, ruffled shirts and platform pumps for the girls. But that's not all. They've also teamed up with the show to offer the chance to win a walk-on part, because, as ever with fashion and screen collaborations, it's never just about the clothes.