American Gangster: Frank Lucas’ Wedding Suit
Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas, heroin kingpin
Harlem, Summer 1971
Film: American Gangster
Release Date: November 2, 2007
Director: Ridley Scott
Costume Designer: Janty Yates
Tailor: Leonard Logsdail
For BAMF Style, the week leading up to Valentine’s Day always means a Week of Weddings, focusing on how some of the greatest on-screen tough guys dress up for their big day.
American Gangster depicts the rise and fall of heroin trafficker Frank Lucas and his disputed claims of smuggling dope home in the caskets of American servicemen who had died during the Vietnam War. He meets the Puerto Rican beauty queen Eva (her real name was Julianna) at his nightclub, and the two are soon married.
What’d He Wear?
If Casino and American Gangster tell us anything, it’s that gangsters in the early ’70s wore white-on-white ties under black peak-lapel single-breasted suits for their nuptials.
Frank Lucas walks down the aisle in a very distinctive black wool dinner suit with satin accents at nearly every turn. The single-breasted jacket has sharp peak lapels with satin facings. Both the welted breast pocket and the rear-slanted welted hip pockets have satin-faced besoms. To provide some extra celebratory pop to his jacket, Frank has a white boutonnière pinned to his left lapel and a white silk handkerchief – with black edges – folded into his breast pocket.
All of the buttons on Frank’s dinner jacket are flat plastic with a metallic sheen. The jacket is worn closed in the front with a single button, and there are four buttons on each cuff.
The flat front suit trousers have side pockets. They have a large, comfortable fit throughout down to the slightly flared plain-hemmed bottoms which have a full break over Frank’s black leather slip-on loafers, a surprisingly informal choice of footwear for such an important day in Frank’s life.
In honor of the traditional purity symbolized in most weddings, Frank wears all white beneath his suit. His textured dress shirt has a large spread collar and French cuffs. This appears to be the same shirt he had worn earlier with a brown suit during his arrest.
Frank’s silk necktie is an ivory shade warmer than his white shirt and waistcoat. He ties it with a wide Windsor knot and fastens it into place high on his chest where the vest breaks. His tie pin, like his cuff links, is round and black with silver edges.
Although false-back vests were already popular by the time of Frank’s wedding in the summer of 1971, his white silk paisley-printed waistcoat appears to be the real deal with a high-fastening 6-button single-breasted front and a full back.
When he’s sitting in front of the fire at home after having taken off his jacket, the shoulders appear to have the thin straps indicating a false-backed vest, but the shot of Frank ascending his spiral stairs clearly shows a fully-backed vest.
The actual wedding suit, tailored by Leonard Logsdail and worn by Washington in American Gangster, is now for sale at SARTORIALE for $2,421.90.The link contains many helpful details and photos that reveal the interesting black Jacquard wool-silk texture of the suiting.
The sale details confirm that the fully-lined jacket has a single back vent and “working sleeve buttonholes”, also known as “surgeon’s cuffs”.The jacket size is 42-44 Long with a length of 34.5″ from the top of the collar to the bottom of the jacket and 26″ sleeves.
The trousers are shown to be beltless, appropriately for a formal suit, with added fabric to expand the 36.5″ waistband to 40″ if desired. The inseam is 34.5″.
Go Big or Go Home – Wedding Edition
Frank and Eva enjoy a nice service at a Baptist church and Harlem until…
…that bastard Detective Trupo shows up and ruins everything with his veiled threats.
How to Get the Look
Frank’s wedding attire is far more black and white than his dubious morality.
- Black textured Jacquard wool-silk formal suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted 1-button dinner jacket with satin-faced peak lapels, satin-faced welt breast pocket, satin-faced slanted welt hip pockets, single rear vent, 4-button “surgeon’s cuffs”
- Flat front trousers with adjustable waistband, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Ivory paisley-printed silk single-breasted 6-button vest with notched bottom
- White textured silk shirt with large spread collar and double/French cuffs
- Ivory silk necktie, tied in Windsor knot
- Silver-edged black round cuff links
- Silver-edged black tie pin
- Black patent leather plain-toe loafers
- Black dress socks
Although not typically one for flashiness, Frank lets himself enjoy the celebratory nature of the day by pinning a white boutonnière to his lapel and folding a black-trimmed white silk display kerchief into his jacket breast pocket.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.
Before you say anything about me or about my wife, understand this is the most important day of my life, detective.