As the glitz and glamour of the Oscars fades into distant memory, we are reminded of some of the classics that have inspired men’s style over the years. Here’s part 2 of our list of Hollywood movies that have shaped men’s style. Don’t forget to check out part 1.
The Great Gatsby 2013
“I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts before” claims Daisy Buchanan upon being shown into Jay Gatsby’s enviable wardrobe of colour-coordinated shirts stacked neatly on shelves. The fashion of the 1920s was the definition of dapper; lavish and opulent it was a time when designers began fusing practicality and luxury. Films such as the Great Gatsby – both the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and the more recent adaptation starring Leonardo di Caprio have definitely reminded gents of the elegance and style of the period and inspired many designers such as Ralph Lauren, Canali and Alexander McQueen to bring a little bit of the roaring 20s to the runway. Winning the Oscar for best costume design (in 1974 as well as 2013), expect plenty of regatta stripes, window checked and pinstriped suits with peaked lapels, herringbone tweed, pastels, linen, contrasting club collars and immaculate hair. Ol’ Sport Ralph Lauren can be credited for men’s costumes in the 1974 version and Brooks Brothers for the 2013 version.
A Single Man 2009
Directed and financed by Tom Ford. Need we say more? Few men on the brink of killing themselves look as good as Colin Firth does, playing the character of George Falconer, a gay professor who’s partner died in a car accident. The wardrobe is just about as important as anything else in the film and as you would expect from esteemed fashion designer Tom Ford, dark suits, crisp, white shirts and tautly tied ties feature heavily. Tom Ford designed every piece for Colin Firth and with set design by the same crew behind Mad Men, this film is one polished piece of work from the menswear designer come director.
Wall Street 1987
Gordon Gekko is one of the all-time great movie roles, played to perfection by Michael Douglas – who deserved the Oscar he won for Best Actor. Wall Street defines the 1980s corporate excess, fuelled by unrestrained greed, corruption and a healthy dose of some serious power-dressing. It’s the white collar and cuffs, vertical stripes, the red braces, slicked back hair and Michael Douglas’s ruthless “greed is good” attitude that has immortalised the character of Gordon Gekko in popular culture as the archetype of amorality. The wardrobe in Wall Street plays an important role in the movie; The ‘Gekko shirt’ as it’s become known, or contrasting white collar shirt worn by Gekko embodies the authority of a 1980s power outfit: practical, immaculate and striking enough to grab your attention. The rise and rise of aspirational stockbroker Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, to become a ‘mini-Gekko’ is also chartered through his changing wardrobe. Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick who designed Gordon Gekko’s entire look, chose Alan Flusser to tailor the suits and Alexander Kabbaz to provide Gekko’s shirts. The movie inspired a generation of gents to channel the iconic Gekko look.
How to Steal a Million 1966
A comedy heist set in Paris with Audrey Hepburn as the female lead, so you can tell it’s bound to be a stylish movie from the outset. It’s hard to outshine Audrey Hepburn in head to toe Givenchy, but Peter O’Toole gives it a pretty good nudge in his immaculately tailored suits, crisp white shirts and knit ties perfectly knotted. Although it’s not the best movie ever made in Paris, nor is it the best movie made by either of its stars or its director, the movie is highly watchable for the classic style alone. Peter O’Toole was an eccentric bon vivant who was probably best known for his role as Lawrence of Arabia. Both on and off the screen, Peter O’Toole had a distinctive style that was perfectly sartorial and yet he added his own little idiosyncrasies (such as always wearing green socks), which showed that rebellious part of his personality that was very much at ease with breaking the rules. It’s a confident man who can pull off such a look.
8 ½ 1963
Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni team up in this movie about making movies; a film director with a writer’s block. Marcello Mastroianni was to Italy what Cary Grant was to America; a magnetic star of the 1960s who knew how to rock a suit. It’s the simple elegance of a white shirt, black tie and sharp suit that ironically exudes confidence and masculinity, whilst the character is undergoing a creative crisis. Mastroianni’s suave look has inspired a generation of designers, none less than Domenico Dolce of D&G.
La Dolce Vita 1960
Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’ introduced the world to Italian fashion, style and elegance and Marcello Mastoianni’s character, Marcello Rubini, is perhaps responsible for creating what we recognize today as the “Latin Lover.” In tailored slim suits with single-breasted jackets and slim ties, fitted tuxedo and bow-tie, crisp shirts with peeking French cuffs, large cuff-links and Persol dark sunglasses, Mastroianni is the quintessential example of sartorial Italian masculine style. Dressed to perfection, yet not overly styled – it’s how we should all dress to live “la dolce vita.”
The Man in the grey flannel suit 1956
Set the scene for the work uniform of the 1950s and speaks volumes of the times. The search for purpose in a world dominated by business, the grey flannel suit serves as the prison garb of the white-collar worker, trapped in a less than desirable life; his dreams stifled or deferred every day he walks into a big modern office building to work for the man, all bundled up in the same grey flannel suit….wait, are we talking about the 1950s here? “You’ve got a clean shirt and you bathe everyday. That’s all there is to it.” If only that were true! Gregory Peck looks his usual impeccable self and carries a cultivated demeanor throughout; even when his character ‘finds himself’ he doesn’t shun the flannel suit. Bravo Gregory.
So, what men’s style inspirations will we have in store for part 3? Find out soon! Don’t forget to check out part 1 if you haven’t already.