Boogie Nights: Don Cheadle in Red Western-Inspired Leisurewear

Don Cheadle as Buck Swope in Boogie Nights (1997)

Don Cheadle as Buck Swope in Boogie Nights (1997)

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Don Cheadle as Buck Swope, porn actor and aspiring electronics store owner

San Fernando Valley, Summer 1977

Film: Boogie Nights
Release Date: October 10, 1997
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

In the mood for some midweek summer leisure looks, I was inspired by the parade of ’70s style in Boogie Nights. As with so many period productions set during the disco era, Boogie Nights features plenty of the big collars, flashy jewelry, and polyester we’ve come to associate with that decade, and its focus on the porn industry—despite Jack Horner’s insistence that his “pictures” may be a higher art than the era’s run-of-the-mill smut—takes us through the tackier side of a decade already oft reviled for its sartorial excess.

Among the sprawling ensemble cast, I’ve always enjoyed Don Cheadle’s performance as Buck Swope, the conflicted actor in Horner’s troupe constantly wrangling with his identity. Continue reading

Brando’s Gray Gambler Suit in Guys and Dolls

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955)

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955)

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Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson, smooth gambler

New York, Spring 1955

Film: Guys and Dolls
Release Date: November 3, 1955
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff

Background

I always found it interesting to watch a method—ahem, that’s Method—actor like Marlon Brando navigating the artificially staged Broadway of Guys and Dolls, the gangland-adjacent musical by Frank Loesser, which had been based on a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows… which had itself been based on several stories by Damon Runyon.

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Tequila Sunrise: Mel Gibson’s Post-Swim Herradura

Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer in Tequila Sunrise (1988)

Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer in Tequila Sunrise (1988)

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Mel Gibson as Dale “Mac” McKussic, retired drug dealer

Los Angeles, Summer 1988

Film: Tequila Sunrise
Release Date: December 2, 1988
Director: Robert Towne
Costume Designer: Julie Weiss

Background

Following his success as a screenwriter—credited and uncredited—on some of the most memorable movies of the ’70s, Robert Towne intended for his sophomore directorial film, Tequila Sunrise, to be something of a spiritual follow-up to Chinatown, which… it isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I did get some enjoyment out of Tequila Sunrise and there’s no denying that it’s refreshingly original—almost to a questionable degree—but I would argue it’s not even close to the same league as Chinatown, let alone Bonnie & ClydeThe GodfatherThe Last DetailMarathon Man, or the other excellent films that benefited from Towne’s contributions.

Several had recommended Tequila Sunrise to me for its style, and I’ll admit the name intrigued me, so I mentally scheduled to watch it and write about it in time for #NationalTequilaDay, celebrated annually on July 24… so happy National Tequila Day!

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La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty): Jep’s Hammock-Ready Blue Linen

Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella in The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) (2013)

Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella in The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) (2013)

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Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, cultured art critic and one-time novelist

Rome, Summer 2012

Film: The Great Beauty
(Italian title: La grande bellezza)
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Costume Designer: Daniela Ciancio
Tailor: Cesare Attolini

Background

Few images illustrate Gershwin’s celebrated concept of “summertime… and the livin’ is easy” as effectively as the hammock. Fittingly, #NationalHammockDay comes at us in midsummer, celebrated annually on July 22.

Paolo Sorrentino’s magnificent masterpiece La grande bellezza stars Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, the 65-year-old “king of the high life” whose opulent apartment on Piazza del Colosseo boasts a terrace overlooking the Eternal City. When not hosting his stylish coterie of fellow cultural critics, Jep often takes to the self-suspended hammock positioned on his terrace, drink in hand as he allows his mind to wander while basking under the Roman sun. Continue reading

My day as an extra in Adventureland

Adventureland (2009)

My blurry appearance as an extra in Adventureland.

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Me, evidently a fan of amusement parks

Pittsburgh, Summer 1987

Film: Adventureland
Release Date: April 3, 2009
Director: Greg Mottola
Costume Designer: Melissa Toth

Background

As today is my 32nd birthday (a day I share with Ernest Hemingway, Robin Williams, and Cat Stevens, to name a few) I’m going to exercise my blogger’s right to shift direction a bit and focus on… me!

In case my blog about style in the movies didn’t give it away, I’ve always been a fan of movies. While I never harbored dreams of stardom, there had always been a part of me that got a kick out of seeing myself on screen—which my fiancée attributes to my Leo ascendant—and I spent many a weekend in high school cajoling my patient friends into starring in some amateur production of mine, typically a half-baked story driven by gangsters, guns, and Goodwill-purchased suits.

It wasn’t until I entered college that I considered actually being part of an actual production, tossing my proverbial hat into the ring by registering as an extra with a local casting agency that has worked on several major productions filmed in Pittsburgh including The Dark Knight RisesJack Reacher, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Just two months into my freshman year at Pitt, the agency announced that extras of all ages would be needed for a day spent filming at Kennywood, the amusement park that had been the setting of many fond memories since early childhood. The park was being transformed back in time two decades for the 1980s-set comedy Adventureland, which would star Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart as college students spending their summer working at an amusement park. Continue reading

The Little Drummer Girl: Gadi’s Gold Beach Shirt

Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker in The Little Drummer Girl (2018)

Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker in The Little Drummer Girl (2018).
Photo by Jonathan Olley.

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Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker, aka “Peter”, mysterious Mossad agent

Naxos, Greece, Spring 1979

Series: The Little Drummer Girl (Episode 1)
Air Date: 
October 28, 2018
Director: 
Park Chan-wook
Costume Design: Sheena Napier & Steven Noble

Background

Today marks the start of my beach vacation, an annual getaway that finds me clad almost exclusively in tropical-printed or terry cloth shirts as I laze about in the sun and sand with tequila in hand, trying not to think about the hundreds of emails amassing to greet me when I open my inbox exactly one week from now.

And then there are those lucky enough who actually get to do this for a living, particularly the globe-trotting super-spies penned by the likes of Ian Fleming and John le Carré, whose 1983 novel The Little Drummer Girl was recently re-adapted for the screen via a stylish six-part miniseries starring Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård. Continue reading

Don Draper’s Gingham Sports Coat in “Tomorrowland”

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 4.13: "Tomorrowland")

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 4.13: “Tomorrowland”)

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Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Madison Avenue ad man

Anaheim, California, October 1965

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Tomorrowland” (Episode 4.13)
Air Date: October 17, 2010
Director: Matthew Weiner
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Sixty-six years ago today, Walt Disney introduced the world to “the happiest place on Earth” during a televised press event on July 17, 1955. Disneyland Park opened just one year and a day after construction began in Anaheim, California, and the sprawling theme park remains the only one completed under Disney’s direct supervision.

“Tomorrow can be a wonderful age,” Disney began when unveiling Tomorrowland, one of the nine themed “lands” that Disneyland is comprised of. “The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future.”

While we never actually get to see the Draper family visiting the park during their vacation in Mad Men‘s fourth-season finale, the episode’s title that we’re seeing Don forming the living blueprint for his own future, most significantly by rejecting the smart and nurturing Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Buono) to propose marriage to his bright-eyed young secretary Megan (Jessica Paré). After all, this is the man who prides himself on the fact that his life only moves in one direction: forward. Continue reading

Michael Fassbender’s White Polo in X-Men: First Class

Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr in X-Men: First Class (2011)

Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr in X-Men: First Class (2011)

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Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, relentless mutant Nazi hunter to be christened Magneto

Villa Gesell, Argentina, Fall 1962

Film: X-Men: First Class
Release Date: June 1, 2011
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Costume Designer: Sammy Sheldon

Background

While I’m not traditionally a fan of superhero movies (at least as not as big a fan as some people!), I’ve appreciated how the recent stretch of Marvel movies have stretched across genres in its multi-billion-dollar appeal to varying audiences. For me, it’s been the entries rooted in history—like the MCU’s Captain America: The First Avenger and Fox’s X-Men: First Class, both released in 2011—that have had the most appeal of those I’ve seen. The latter, released ten years ago this summer, had been a subject of multiple requests since BAMF Style’s early years, so I hope I’m not too late in finally paying tribute to a briefly seen but timelessly stylish outfit from this Cold War-set adventure.

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Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky

Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky (2017)

Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky (2017)

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Harry Dean Stanton as “Lucky”, grizzled desert-dwelling nonagenarian

Piru, California, Summer 2016

Film: Lucky
Release Date: March 11, 2017
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Costume Designer: Lisa Norcia

Background

Today’s post celebrates the great Harry Dean Stanton, the craggy and unapologetically authentic character actor born 95 years ago on July 14, 1926. Stanton’s prolific filmography included few leading roles, aside from a memorable turn in Wim Wenders’ 1984 masterpiece Paris, Texas, and his final movie, Lucky.

Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja collaborated on the screenplay that would result in a cinematic love letter to Harry Dean Stanton, for whom Sparks had served as personal assistant for more than 16 years. Described by Movie Talk as “a poignant meditation on mortality”, Lucky provides a fitting swan song for the actor’s career, incorporating biographical details like Stanton’s Kentucky birthplace and service in the U.S. Navy, reuniting him with previous collaborators like David Lynch and Tom Skeritt, and even scored by harmonica riffs on “Red River Valley”, a song associated with his roles in Dillinger (1973) and Twin Peaks: The Return (2017), not to exclude the overall motif of roaming the southwestern desert that echoes his starring role in Paris, Texas.

The man at the heart of it all is “Lucky”, a cantankerous but not unkind 90-year-old who loves cigarettes, crossword puzzles, and coffee with plenty of cream and sugar. A man of routine, Lucky begins each day with a Natural American Spirit cigarette, his calisthenics (“five yoga exercises every day, 21 repetitions each”), and a glass of cold milk, before he slips into one of his identical shirts, jackets, and jeans to greet another day in the small desert town of Piru, California.

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Red Heat: Arnie’s Teal “Gumby” Suit

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Belushi in Red Heat (1988)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Belushi in Red Heat (1988)

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Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ivan Danko, disciplined Moscow police captain

Chicago, Summer 1987

Film: Red Heat
Release Date: June 17, 1988
Director: Walter Hill
Costume Designer: Dan Moore
Tailor: Tommy Velasco

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Thanks to a recommendation from Pete Brooker of the excellent From Tailors with Love podcast, I beat the summer heat by revisiting Red Heat, the buddy cop actioner that paired Arnold Schwarzenegger as a tough Russian police captain with Jim Belushi as the stereotypical cigarettes-and-coffee American detective, working together to capture the dangerous Georgian gangster Viktor “Rosta” Rostavili (Ed O’Ross).

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