Richard Gere as Julian Kaye, high-price L.A. escort
Los Angeles, Spring 1980
Film: American Gigolo
Release Date: February 8, 1980
Director: Paul Schrader
Costumer: Bernadene C. Mann
Costume Coordinator: Alice Rush
Richard Gere’s Costumes: Giorgio Armani
“The worlds of cinema and fashion are very close, the one constantly communicating with the other,” wrote Sophia Loren in her recent memoir, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. “Richard Gere knows something about this, having been the first to introduce Giorgio to the world by wearing Armani fashions from head to toe in American Gigolo.”
Having emerged as a suspect in the murder of one of his clients, escort Julian Kaye (Richard Gere) finds himself being questioned for a second time by LAPD detective Joe Sunday (Hector Elizondo), who is convinced of Julian’s guilt and put off by the swaggering hustler’s offer of seduction tips.
What’d He Wear?
The first outfit I covered from American Gigolo was a palette of greens and grays, anchored by a gray sport jacket with unique shoulder yokes. For his shoe shine and second meeting with Detective Sunday, Julian’s outfit falls on the warmer end of Armani’s signature “greige” spectrum with a number of gold, tan, and brown tones.
Julian’s camel-colored double-breasted jacket has long and slim peak lapels – with a buttonhole through each – that roll down to the low buttoning stance of the 4×1-button front. Although it’s double-breasted unlike many of Julian’s other tailored pieces, this narrow-fitting jacket still has the “second skin” presence and silhouette of his single-breasted jackets rather than the fuller wrap associated the double-breasted style heyday of the 1930s through 1950s.
The jacket also has a welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, two-button cuffs, and a ventless back.
By nature, camelhair sport jackets have a soft texture, but the fleece-like “fuzzy” texture of Julian’s camel tan Armani jacket in this scene takes this to the extreme, more resembling a rough terry cloth towel than any traditional suiting. The suiting is likely a brushed blend of alpaca and mohair, indicating luxurious exclusivity.
Julian’s shirt has thin brown stripes on a white ground with a narrow point collar, front placket, and mitred button cuffs. He wears an “old gold” tie with small, widely spaced dots, a print consistent with his other dotted Armani ties.
The notch in Julian’s mitred shirt cuff offers a glimpse of the smooth black leather strap of his yellow gold tank watch that he wears with the black dial facing inward. This method has been notably employed by men with military experience, although it’s a surprising choice for someone like Julian who would prefer to flaunt the fact that he wears a luxury watch likerather than hiding it on the inside of his wrist.
Both Omega and Cartier have been suggested as brands for Julian’s sleek watch. The Cartier would be a suitable option for a professional lover like Julian as it was first famously worn on screen by Rudolph Valentino, one of the most notorious lotharios of early Hollywood. Valentino reportedly insisted on wearing his Cartier Tank in the 1926 silent “desert romance” film The Son of the Sheik. Cartier’s site offers the delightfully droll remark: “This was the Tank’s first movie role.”
Julian wears taupe brown trousers with a high rise and a darted front, worn with a brown leather belt that has a small, rounded gold single-prong buckle.
Julian’s shoes are dark brown leather cap-toe oxfords with four eyelets, worn with thin dark brown silk socks that continue the leg line from his taupe brown trousers into his shoes.
Roots has been credited with Gere’s footwear and belts in the movie, though the brand seems to have evolved away from the dressier offerings showcased in American Gigolo.
How to Get the Look
- Camel tan alpaca/mohair double-breasted 4×1-button Armani jacket with long peak lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and ventless back
- White brown-striped shirt with narrow point collar, front placket, and mitred button cuffs
- Gold micro-dotted silk tie
- Taupe brown darted-front trousers with belt loops, straight/on-seam side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Brown leather belt with small rounded gold single-prong buckle
- Dark brown leather 4-eyelet cap-toe oxford shoes
- Dark brown silk socks
- Gold tank watch with a black dial on smooth black leather strap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Giving pleasure to women… I’m supposed to feel bad about that?