The Aviator: Leo’s Navy Jacket and White Slacks

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004)

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004)

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Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, eccentric and ambitious aviation and movie mogul

Los Angeles, Summer 1935

Film: The Aviator
Release Date: December 25, 2004
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell

Background

Almost five years after the success of his World War I epic Hell’s Angels, Howard Hughes lands his seaplane at the beach to the tune of Bing Crosby crooning the 1933 ballad “Thanks”, backed by “musical host of the coast” Jimmie Grier and his Orchestra. The graceful approach of the Sikorsky S-38 “Flying Boat” and the dapper Hughes deplaning from it dazzles the cast and crew of Sylvia Scarlett, Katharine Hepburn’s first of four films with director George Cukor and co-star Cary Grant.

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John Wayne in True Grit

John Wayne as Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn in True Grit (1969)

John Wayne as Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn in True Grit (1969)

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John Wayne as Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn, tough Deputy U.S. Marshal

Fort Smith, Arkansas, into Indian Territory, Fall 1880

Film: True Grit
Release Date: June 12, 1969
Director: Henry Hathaway
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins
Wardrobe: Luster Bayless (uncredited)

Background

To commemorate John Wayne’s birthday 113 years ago today on May 26, 1907, let’s take a look at one of Duke’s most enduring roles and the one that won him the Academy Award after more than forty years making over 200 movies.

Swiftly adapted from Charles Portis’ source novel of the same name, True Grit follows 14-year-old Mattie Ross as she seeks the help of a drunken U.S. Marshal, chosen by virtue of his reputation as the meanest marshal, to avenge the murder of her father. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Aloha Panel-Print Shirt in “Irregular Around the Margins”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 5.05: "Irregular Around the Margins")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 5.05: “Irregular Around the Margins”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

Newark, New Jersey, Spring 2004

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Irregular Around the Margins” (Episode 5.05)
Air Date: April 4, 2004
Director: Allen Coulter
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Memorial Day weekend has traditionally been the unofficial start of the summer season with cookouts and amusement park openings, despite the solstice itself still being a month away. (Today also concludes Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, highlighting a topic that anchors to The Sopranos‘ central narrative.)

Many spent time during self-isolation this spring to catch up on classic TV shows, with The Sopranos frequently cited as a show that people were re-watching or discovering for the first time. As we’re hopefully moving away from the weeks and months of social distancing, I want to take a look at one of many summer-friendly looks from the show’s central character, conflicted Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano played by James Gandolfini, who deservedly racked up three Emmy Awards among other accolades for his portrayal. Tony brings a summery sartorial spirit to a moment of isolated indoor frivolity in “Irregular Around the Margins”, the memorable fifth episode of The Sopranos‘ fifth season.

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Grand Prix: James Garner’s Derby-Style Jacket

James Garner as Pete Aron in Grand Prix (1966)

James Garner as Pete Aron in Grand Prix (1966)

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James Garner as Pete Aron, determined Formula One driver

Monaco, Spring 1966

Film: Grand Prix
Release Date: December 21, 1966
Director: John Frankenheimer
Costume Supervisor: Sydney Guilaroff

Background

The 2020 Monaco Grand Prix was to begin today, which also commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Monaco Grand Prix’s first inclusion in the inaugural FIA World Championship. Unfortunately, the spread of the dangerous coronavirus pandemic resulted in the race being cancelled for the first time since the 1954 Formula One season.

“In my opinion, still the best picture ever made about auto racing,” wrote James Garner in his memoir, The Garner Files, an opinion into which I put a lot of stock given the actor’s real-life passion for racing and his characteristic modest regarding his own cinematic career. Continue reading

Jurassic Park: Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm

Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park (1993)

Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park (1993)

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Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, “rock star” chaos theorist

“Isla Nublar”, 120 miles west of Costa Rica, Summer 1993

Film: Jurassic Park
Release Date: June 11, 1993
Director: Steven Spielburg
Costumes: Mitchell Ray Kenney, Sue Moore, Kelly Porter, and Eric H. Sandberg

Background

International Dinosaur Day is celebrated twice a year, always on June 1st but also the third Tuesday in May, making today—May 19, 2020—the first observance of Dinosaur Day for the year. Why the chaotic timing?

The answer to questions like that may rest with a chaos theorist like Dr. Ian Malcolm, the swaggering, skeptical, and somewhat frantic mathematician portrayed by Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, adapted from Michael Crichton’s novel.

“I bring the scientists, you bring a rock star,” the park’s exuberant founder John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) comments upon the first impressions that Dr. Malcolm makes on Hammond’s distinguished guests from the scientific community, Drs. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern).

“You’ll have to get used to Dr. Malcolm, he suffers from a deplorable excessive personality… especially for a mathematician,” Hammond adds. “Chaotician,” Ian corrects.

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Mad Men, 1970 Style – Don’s Finale Flannel

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 7.14: "Person to Person")

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 7.14: “Person to Person”)

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Jon Hamm as Don Draper, former ad man in search of himself

“Somewhere in California”, Fall 1970

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Person to Person” (Episode 7.14)
Air Date: May 17, 2015
Director: Matthew Weiner
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Five years ago today, Mad Men‘s final episode “Person to Person” aired on AMC, concluding a decade’s worth of storytelling as we followed advertising director Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his family and colleagues as they navigated the tumultuous 1960s.

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Goodbye, Columbus: Neil’s Corduroy Blazer

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

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Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman, listless library employee and Army veteran

Radcliffe College (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Fall 1968

Film: Goodbye, Columbus
Release Date: April 3, 1969
Director: Larry Peerce
Costume Designer: Gene Coffin

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Based on a novella by Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus marked the first major screen appearances for both Richard Benjamin and Ali MacGraw, who would receive a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer and a Laurel Award for Female New Face.

Goodbye, Columbus was released two years after The Graduate (though Roth’s source novella was published four years before Charles Webb’s The Graduate), and the similarities invited comparison between the two, with some critics like Dennis Schwartz favoring Goodbye, Columbus though it would be far lesser-known in the decades to follow. Continue reading

Pam Grier’s Black Suit in Jackie Brown

Pam Grier as Jackie Brown in Jackie Brown (1997)

Pam Grier as Jackie Brown in Jackie Brown (1997)
(Note that this shot is a mirror image in the film, so I flipped to reflect how Jackie actually looked in this scene.)

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Pam Grier as Jackie Brown, flight attendant and money courier

Los Angeles, Summer 1995

Film: Jackie Brown
Release Date: December 25, 1997
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Mary Claire Hannan

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today marks a BAMF Style first, focusing on a badass woman from the movies: Pam Grier as the eponymous lead in Jackie Brown, adapted by Quentin Tarantino from Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch. QT had long been a fan of Grier—and rightly so!—including a reference to her in his debut feature, Reservoir Dogs (1992). He had hoped to secure a role for her in Pulp Fiction (1994) until he realized that the actress’ strong presence would make it difficult for audiences to accept Eric Stoltz yelling at her on screen.

After Tarantino and Roger Avary acquired the film rights to three of Elmore Leonard’s novels, the director reportedly “fell in love” with Rum Punch, selecting that as his next feature. In the hopes of hiring Grier for the lead, he changed the character from the white Jackie Burke to the black Jackie Brown, her new surname alluding to Pam Grier’s famous role in Foxy Brown (1974). This character modification wasn’t Tarantino’s only homage to Grier’s career, as the soundtrack also included pieces from Roy Ayers’ original score for Coffy, the blaxploitation classic that provided Grier with her star-making role upon its release 47 years ago on May 13, 1973. Continue reading

Henry Hill’s Cadillac – May 11, 1980

 

Goodfellas fans likely recall that 40 years ago today was full of manic mayhem for mob associate Henry Hill. Check out this throwback Car Week post for a look at Henry’s oversized striped knit shirt, pounds of gold jewelry, and his saddle-colored Cadillac from this famous sequence!

 

BAMF Style

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990) Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990)

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Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, coked out Mafia associate

Long Island, NY, Spring 1980

Film: Goodfellas
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

Background

First things first, the scene is actually set on Sunday, April 27, 1980. For some reason, Goodfellas chose to re-date Henry’s arrest to two weeks later. Okay, glad we got that cleared up.

Yesterday, we saw a mobster’s luxury car during the post-war era. Thirty years later, the “Lincoln vs. Cadillac” debate (made famous by Donnie Brasco) rages on. While a boss like Sonny drove a Lincoln in 1947, a street guy like Henry is even able to get behind the wheel of a Cadillac in 1979. And not just any Cadillac, but a “Special Edition” Coupe de Ville Phaeton! These were not small cars, and I can’t imagine trying to…

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The Band Wagon: Fred Astaire in Brown and Pink

Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter in The Band Wagon (1953)

Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter in The Band Wagon (1953)

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Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter, musical comedy star

Washington, D.C., to Baltimore via train, Spring 1953

Film: The Band Wagon
Release Date: August 7, 1953
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Mary Ann Nyberg

Background

In addition to being Mother’s Day, today also commemorates the birthday of the multi-talented song-and-dance legend Fred Astaire, born May 10, 1899, in Omaha. To honor this elegant dance legend and suggest an outfit that your mother may appreciate as you’re delivering flowers (or communicating via FaceTime, depending on your level of pandemic-informed social distancing today), let’s take a look at a pleasant but all-too-briefly featured outfit from Astaire’s 1953 musical The Band Wagon.

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