Casino – De Niro’s Pink Robe
Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, Vegas casino executive and mob associate
Las Vegas, Spring 1978
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Rita Ryack & John A. Dunn
More than a year has passed since I last explored the expansive and flashy wardrobe worn by Robert De Niro as “Ace” Rothstein in Casino, so what better occasion than the real Ace’s birthday to take another look at the casino executive’s colorful attire.
Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal was born 90 years ago today—June 12, 1929—in Chicago, where he spent his formative years and early career until moving to Miami in the early ’60s. Within the decade, Lefty grew tired of the attention from local police and federal authorities and moved out to Las Vegas, where he swiftly and secretly established himself as the operator of the now-demolished Stardust Resort and Casino.
Lefty’s tenure in Vegas was plagued from the start due to his mob connections and the eventual arrival of his once-friend Anthony “Tony” Spilotro, a violent enforcer from the Chicago Outfit looking to make his own mark in Sin City. In Casino, Spilotro was renamed Nicky Santoro for Joe Pesci’s explosive portrayal of him.
What’d He Wear?
I lost control? Look at you! You’re fucking walking around like John Barrymore! A fuckin’ pink robe and a fuckin’ cigarette holder?
— Nicky Santoro
While not quite as opulent as the monogrammed dressing gown Barrymore wore in Dinner at Eight (1933), Ace’s pink silk robe with its violet-and-gold triple-prong repeating print is a far cry from anything that Nicky would feel comfortable wearing. The robe has a broad shawl collar, a breast pocket and two large hip pockets, and it ties around the waist with a sash made from the same fabric as the rest of the robe. The sleeves have wide self-cuffs at the ends, extending about six inches back from each wrist.
Ace wears the same light pink self-striped satin silk pajamas that he sported earlier with his similarly patterned navy silk robe. The pajama set has a button-up top with a plain front and breast pocket.
Ace completes his image of luxurious leisure with a pair of black velvet Prince Albert house slippers with hard soles, worn without socks. According to the De Niro movie costume archive at the Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas at Austin, these are likely the “black slippers with gold beaded embellishment on vamp” by Neiman Marcus.
Perhaps as he was planning to go to bed, Ace’s hands are bare of rings or excess jewelry and he instead wears only his 18-carat white gold vintage Bueche Girod wristwatch with its blue square dial tri-sected by thin white gold bars.
Go Big or Go Home
For the most part, Ace tries to stay out of his former pal Nicky’s profanity-laden tirade against mob-friendly banker Charlie Clark (Richard Riehle), instead supervising the conversation from behind his well-stocked home bar, a watering hole so exquisitely decorated that it is clearly the domain of the man in the immaculate silk dressing gown.
How to Get the Look
Lounging around the house in a pink satin robe and pajamas may not be an instinctive choice for your morning attire, but it certainly evokes the elegance of a bygone era… particularly in the right context; pink-on-pink loungewear may be best deployed for a comfortable breakfast in bed with a loved one and not for overseeing a gangster’s attempted extortion of a bank president.
- Pink patterned silk dressing gown/robe with wide shawl collar, breast pocket, hip pockets, wide-cuffed sleeves, and waist sash
- Light pink self-striped satin silk pajama set:
- Button-up pajam top with plain front and breast pocket
- Pajama pants with plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black velvet Prince Albert slippers with gold beaded embellishment and hard leather soles
- Bueche Girod 14-carat white gold vintage wristwatch with blue square face on link bracelet
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Listen, I would appreciate it if you’d stay out of my personal life, okay? You wouldn’t like it if I did it to you.
The Astro Zone
I should’ve never married him. He’s a Gemini. Triple Gemini. Duality. Gemini is the snake, you know. You can’t trust a snake.
— Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone)
Given the real Lefty’s birthday of June 12, Ginger’s frustrated reference to his being a Gemini is completely accurate, as is her judgement that the twins symbolize duality, though her ruling that “Gemini is the snake” is an inaccurate blending of Western astrology and the Chinese zodiac. (His June 12, 1929, birthdate also squashes her “triple Gemini” theory as his Moon sign would technically be Virgo… which makes sense.) However, it is true that the period of February 10, 1929, to January 29, 1930, is the year of the snake under the Chinese zodiac.
(The real Ginger, Geraldine “Geri” McGee, was born on May 16, 1936, thus sharing her Taurus sign with Tony Spilotro, the real Nicky. According to astrologer Joanna Martine Woolfolk, romance between Taurus and Gemini is “an unpromising match.”)
By the time we get to this scene to see De Niro in pink pajamas and a pink silk robe, we’ve seen so many other opulent outfits that we’re no longer surprised. The John Barrymore that Pesci delivers kind of shakes the audience out of that perspective.
All those lovable scenes were ad libbed by the actors. The “John Barrymore” reference was not in the script. Genius.
You do some great work. Can you do more on Lee Marvin in the professionals please