Category: Formalwear

The Lady Eve: Henry Fonda’s White Dinner Jacket

Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941)

Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941)

Vitals

Henry Fonda as Charles “Hopsie” Pike, brewery heir and ophidiologist

SS Southern Queen, sailing north from South America,
August 1940

Film: The Lady Eve
Release Date: February 25, 1941
Director: Preston Sturges
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Men’s Wardrobe: Richard Bachler

Background

To celebrate the birthday today of my wonderful, patient, and charming girlfriend, I’d like to highlight the elegant evening wear worn by Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve, a classic screwball comedy that I first discovered with her family. Continue reading

Bond’s White Dinner Jacket in Diamonds are Forever

Sean Connery and Lana Wood in the seventh James Bond film, Diamonds are Forever (1971), filmed and set in Las Vegas.

Sean Connery and Lana Wood in the seventh James Bond film, Diamonds are Forever (1971), filmed and set in Las Vegas.

Vitals

Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent

Las Vegas, Spring 1971

Film: Diamonds are Forever
Release Date: December 17, 1971
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Master: Ray Beck
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair

Background

It’s Friday the 13th! Considered an unlucky day by some, this summer occurrence feels like just the right time to follow James Bond as he tests his own luck in a Las Vegas casino in Diamonds are Forever, the 1971 film that convinced Sean Connery to portray the British secret agent one more time.

Luck appears to be initially on 007’s side as he wins $50,000 at craps and makes the acquaintance of the voluptuous Plenty O’Toole (Lana Wood).

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Reilly, Ace of Spies: A Notch-Lapel Dinner Jacket

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 6: "Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses")

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 6: “Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses”)

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd British agent and anti-Bolshevik

St. Petersburg, Russia, October 1910, and
London, November 1918

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episodes:
– “Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses” (Episode 6), dir. Jim Goddard, aired 10/5/1983
– “After Moscow”(Episode 9), dir. Martin Campbell, aired 10/26/1983
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Reilly: Ace of Spies fictionalizes the exploits of Russian-born spy Sidney Reilly, often cited as a real-life basis for Ian Fleming’s James Bond. While the showrunners must have been cognizant of the need to place their suave British secret agent in a tuxedo, the series’ narrative also coincided with the rise of the dinner jacket over the first quarter of the 20th century.

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Clifton Webb’s Tuxedo in Titanic (1953)

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges in Titanic (1953)

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges in Titanic (1953)

Vitals

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges, millionaire and estranged family man

RMS Titanic, April 1912

Film: Titanic
Release Date: April 16, 1953
Director: Jean Negulesco
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Before there was Kate and Leo, there was Barbara and Clifton.

To know me is to know my obsession with the Titanic and other maritime disasters of the early 20th century. SS ValenciaEmpress of IrelandLusitaniaPrincess SophiaTitanic‘s hospital sister ship Britannic… chances are that if it sank in the first few decades of last century, I know a thing or two about it.

It was today in 1912 that the RMS Titanic actually struck the iceberg that sank her. The collision happened around 11:40 p.m., North Atlantic time, on the night of Sunday, April 14. Compared to most of the other disasters in the previous paragraph, it took considerable time to sink, finally settling under the waves at 2:20 a.m. on the morning of Monday, April 15, 1912, ending more than 1,500 lives of the roughly 2,200 that had been aboard.

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The Last Tycoon: Monroe Stahr’s White Tie for Oscar Night

Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr on The Last Tycoon (Episode 9: "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar")

Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr on The Last Tycoon (Episode 9: “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar”)

Vitals

Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr, charming studio wunderkind

Hollywood, fall 1936 and March 1937

Series: The Last Tycoon
Episodes:
– “Pilot” (Episode 1, dir. Billy Ray)
– “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” (Episode 9, dir. Billy Ray)
Streaming Date: July 28, 2017
Developed By: Billy Ray
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

It’s Oscars night!

The Last Tycoon, Amazon Video’s gone-too-soon stylish ode to Hollywood’s Golden Age, ended its singular season during the 1937 Academy Awards. Interestingly, the 9th Academy Award ceremony was held on March 4, 1937, exactly 81 years ago tonight!

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After the Thin Man: White Tie for New Year’s Eve

William Powell and Myrna Loy in After the Thin Man (1936)... with Skippy as Asta

William Powell and Myrna Loy in After the Thin Man (1936)… with Skippy as Asta

Vitals

William Powell as Nick Charles, retired private detective

San Francisco, New Year’s Eve 1936

Film: After the Thin Man
Release Date: December 25, 1936
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Wardrobe Credit: Dolly Tree

Background

After the Thin Man was released on Christmas 1936 as a continuation of The Thin Man, as its title implies. The all-original story was drafted by Dashiell Hammett himself immediately after the success of the first film, although Hammett had first envisioned circumstances that would send his witty detective duo back to New York City. Eventually, the decision was made to have the Charles couple solving a crime in their hometown of San Francisco. Continue reading

Bond Style – Connery’s Navy Velvet Dinner Jacket

Sean Connery as James Bond in Diamonds are Forever (1971)

Sean Connery as James Bond in Diamonds are Forever (1971)

Vitals

Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent in repose

At sea, Spring 1971

Film: Diamonds are Forever
Release Date: December 17, 1971
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Master: Ray Beck
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair

Background

Sean Connery’s final scene as the official James Bond finds him in a quintessentially 007 scenario enjoying a romantic dinner with a beautiful woman. Having foiled the nefarious plans of Ernst Stavro Blofeld once more, Bond and Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) take to the sea for a leisurely cruise across the pond, reminiscent of the novel’s own passages set aboard the Queen Elizabeth. Continue reading