Casino – De Niro in Charcoal and Pink

Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in Casino (1995)

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, Vegas casino executive and mob associate

Las Vegas, Spring 1973

Film: Casino
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Rita Ryack & John A. Dunn

Background

Ever have one of those days where you just feel like you’re surrounded by idiots?

Welcome to the life of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, the meticulous gambler tasked by the Chicago mob with running the Tangiers casino in Las Vegas.  Of course, Rothstein is a fictional interpretation of the real-life Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, but the issues faced by Casino‘s Ace were all too real.

Despite the complications of running a Vegas casino, Ace still found the time to be a hell of a dresser, borrowing a sartorial approach from the real-life Lefty Rosenthal to create ensembles like this creative mix of somber charcoal and bold pastel pink.

Not even inept cowboys or psychotic gangsters can cramp Ace’s style.

What’d He Wear?

Ace wears a charcoal suit in the same style and from the same material, likely a linen/silk blend, as the dark blue suit he wore when kicking the two cheating gamblers out of his casino earlier in the film.

Although it incorporates many elements of '70s design, Ace's suit remains relatively timeless while Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) looks like a gaudy time capsule with his flashy silk earth tones and bold details like the excessive lapels and inverted box-pleat pockets.

Although it incorporates many elements of ’70s design, Ace’s suit remains relatively timeless while Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) looks like a gaudy time capsule with his flashy silk earth tones and bold details like the excessive lapels and inverted box-pleat pockets.

As one would expect of a perfectionist like Ace, his suit fits perfectly with the single button of his jacket fastening at the waist line, nicely unifying the jacket to the flat front trousers and preventing the unsightly triangle of shirt or tie material below the buttoned jacket. Beneath that, not much of Ace’s trousers are seen, although it’s reasonable to expect that they have slightly flared bottoms finished with plain hems.

The single-breasted jacket has a welted breast pocket, patch pockets on the hips, and a non-functioning single button at the end of each notched cuff. The double vents are appropriately long for the era.

The blue cast of the suit under certain light made me wonder if this was the same suit Ace wore when expelling the gamblers, but production photos and behind-the-scenes footage seem to prove it to be charcoal (or at least charcoal blue). Note details like the edge stitching on the lapels, the decorative single-button cuffs, and the long vents.

The blue cast of the suit under certain light made me wonder if this was the same suit that Ace wore when expelling the gamblers, but production photos and behind-the-scenes footage seem to prove it to be charcoal (or at least charcoal blue).
Note details like the edge stitching on the lapels, the decorative single-button cuffs, and the long vents.

The jacket’s edge-stitched peak lapels are wide with a full belly and convex break line. The edges of the lapel point to the padded shoulders that work in tandem with the single-button front to give De Niro a flatteringly powerful silhouette.

De Niro wears a pink silk display kerchief folded into his breast pocket, puffing out to call out the shirt and tie, all made by Anto for a coordinated match… again indicative of Ace’s methodical nature.

Ace has no time for petty squabbles in his casino.

Ace has no time for petty squabbles in his casino.

All of Ace’s beautifully colorful shirts, ties, and handkerchiefs were made by Anto Beverly Hills, the same shirtmaker that created Lefty Rosenthal’s original bespoke shirts. In this scene, Ace wears a pink soft silk shirt with a matching pink tie made from the shiny satin side of the charmeuse fabric.

The shirt has the same “1977” point collar as his other shirts in addition to a monogrammed breast pocket and “Lapidus” single-button tab cuffs. Based on these features, it likely has a plain front and epaulettes that remain unseen as Ace never removes his jacket or tie during the scene nor does he appear to wear the shirt elsewhere.

Ace puts Nicky in his place...as carefully as he can.

Ace puts Nicky in his place…as carefully as he can.

Ace’s jewelry is white gold with blue accents, from the 14-carat ring on his right pinky with an emerald cut aquamarine stone in a geometric polished shank to the 18-carat vintage Bueche Girod wristwatch with its blue square face.

One idiot at a time. Ace flashes his ring, watch, and lit Dunhill cigarette while telling Don Ward (Joe Bob Briggs) how it is.

One idiot at a time. Ace flashes his ring, watch, and lit Dunhill cigarette while telling Don Ward (Joe Bob Briggs) how it is.

Unseen through the sequence are Ace’s shoes, although Ibraheem Youssef’s poster depicts them to be pink to match his shirt, tie, and pocket square. Ace likely wore the black leather raised-heel loafers that he wears with many of his suits and sport jackets, but the pink shoes is inspired and certainly on brand with some of Ace’s louder ensembles.

Robert De Niro as Sam "Ace" Rothstein in Casino (1995)How to Get the Look

By keeping his color scheme limited to two colors – one muted, one bold – Ace can get away with flashy duds like this pink-on-pink shirt and tie combo and still be taken seriously… very seriously.

  • Charcoal (or charcoal blue) linen/silk tailored suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted 1-button jacket with wide peak lapels, welted breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 1-button cuffs, and double vents
    • Flat front trousers with side pockets and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Pink charmeuse silk dress shirt with long point collar, plain front, and single cuffs
  • Pink satin silk tie
  • White gold 14-carat cuff links with half bezel set, emerald cut aquamarine stone
  • Black leather horsebit slip-on loafers with silver horsebit detail and black raised heels
  • Black dress socks
  • Bueche Girod 14-carat white gold vintage wristwatch with blue square face
  • White gold 14-carat pinky ring with emerald cut, geometric shank-set aquamarine stone
  • Pink satin silk display kerchief

Pink is a fine color to channel spring as well as to incorporate into your wardrobe for any upcoming Mother’s Day dinner plans…

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the way that I do it.

10 comments

  1. Ryan Hall

    Hi Nick, to me the suit looks more dark blue to navy then charcoal. It could even be a charcoal blue colour. I very much doubt it’s a very dark grey. But there could be some lighting coming into play as well.

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      I address that in the post. There are some production photos where the suit’s charcoal and gray properties are most clearly evident. The blue-ish cast in certain light looks to be a result of the casino lighting and film processing. That said, I wouldn’t rule out the possibilities of charcoal blue. The best way to know would be to see the garment itself or get input from a member of the Casino costume team. Short of that, we’re SOL.

      Like

      • ryanhall18@hotmail.com

        I agree old man, I’d say the best bet is charcoal blue. Still depending of the type of wool charcoal could still be an option.

        Like

          • Ryan Hall

            We all would be happy with confirmation from someone who worked on the film. I can’t wait for some posts on Richard Gere’s great outfits from American Gigolo. I should mention quietly that YTS have a good copy of the film. I’m saying that quietly.

            Like

  2. Simon

    Great post and a great outfit.

    It isn’t just the lighting that can change the colour of the costumes. When they make a print of the film or release it on DVD or for TV they colour grade it. You can change the colours and luminance dramatically in grading.

    Like

  3. Wendi

    I went and visited the Harry Ransom Center last week! The most fascinating thing I learned about the Casino suits is the satin charmeuse was inverted so it would be laying against him on the inside.

    Like

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