Frank Sinatra, multi-talented entertainer
Hollywood, December 1957
Series: The Frank Sinatra Show
Episode: “Happy Holidays with Bing & Frank” (Episode 1.10)
Air Date: December 20, 1957
Director: Frank Sinatra
Wardrobe Credit: Morris Brown
Tailor: Sy Devore
Happy birthday, Frank Sinatra! To celebrate the 103rd anniversary of Ol’ Blue Eyes entering the world in a Hoboken tenement, let’s look back at a time when Frankie was sittin’ on top of the world: the late 1950s.
After the low point of his life and the prospect of his career in ruins, Sinatra bounced back with an Academy Award-winning performance in From Here to Eternity (1953) and a seven-year recording contract with Capitol Records that yielded an impressive string of concept albums that remain among the best popular music ever recorded.
Sinatra was one of the biggest stars of the world in 1957 when ABC signed him to a $3 million contract for The Frank Sinatra Show, a variety and drama series for which Sinatra would have almost total artistic freedom.
As the Chairman of the Board was a lifelong Christmas fanatic, it was unquestioned that the series would feature a special holiday episode, which Sinatra himself stepped up to direct, though he knew the show would need a guest worthy of the season he loved. Continue reading
Louis Jourdan as Marc Champselle, “a gigolo… a buffoon… a professional diner-outer… a notorious sponger!”
Heathrow Airport, London, Winter 1963
Film: The V.I.P.s
(also released as Hotel International)
Release Date: September 19, 1963
Director: Anthony Asquith
Costume Designer: Pierre Cardin (uncredited)
Happy December! For the first month of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, we look to the stylish 1963 film The V.I.P.s, a cinematic celebration of jet-age luxury starring an impressive international cast as a group of travelers stranded at London’s Heathrow Airport and the neighboring Hotel International for a cold but passionate January night.
Gregory Peck as David Pollock, American hieroglyphics professor
Oxford to London, Wednesday, June 16, 1965
Release Date: May 5, 1966
Director: Stanley Donen
Tailor: H. Huntsman & Sons, London
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Three years after helming “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made,” director Stanley Donen again returned to the romantic world of lighthearted espionage with Arabesque, based on Alex Gordon’s 1961 novel The Cypher. Like Charade before it, Donen brought two glamorous and popular stars together for a lighthearted and stylish spy story against a European backdrop.
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, war hero and Mafia son
New York City, December 1945
Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 15, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone
As we get closer to the holidays, today’s #MafiaMonday look from The Godfather is a fall-friendly approach to dressing for cooler weather and grayer days.
And the days are indeed gray for the Corleone family, particularly the recently returned Michael (Al Pacino). Continue reading
Steve McQueen as Eric “the Kid” Stoner, hotshot poker player
Louisiana, Fall 1936
Film: The Cincinnati Kid
Release Date: October 15, 1965
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Donfeld (Donald Lee Feld)
The Cincinnati Kid was released today in 1965 with Steve McQueen in the title role as the actor was paving his way to stardom through the decade with a string of iconic movie including The Great Escape (1963), The Sand Pebbles (1966), and finally Bullitt and The Thomas Crown Affair in his banner year of 1968.
McQueen’s timeless sense of cool adds an era-defying quality to his performance as poker prodigy Eric “the Kid” Stoner. The Kid’s simple, functional wardrobe was hip enough to be contemporary to the 1960s while also reflective of the film’s 1930s setting. Continue reading
Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes, Hollywood director and screenwriter
Portofino, Italy, Fall 1953
Film: The Barefoot Contessa
Release Date: September 29, 1954
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Rosi Gori (uncredited)
Humphrey Bogart’s role in United Artists’ 1954 Technicolor triumph The Barefoot Contessa was not dissimilar to the film’s director, writer, and uncredited producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who had been writing in Hollywood for a quarter century. Continue reading
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, adventurer and archaeology professor
India, Summer 1935
Film: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell
A memorable scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom finds the titular archaeologist and his two newly introduced companions, Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and Short Round (Ke Huy Quan), invited to a banquet at Pankot Palace hosted by the young Majarajah Zalim Singh (Raj Singh). The trio doesn’t take warmly to the feast, which includes such delicacies as “snake surprise” and chilled monkey brains.
One of my favorite aspects of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the alternative costumes that Indy sports when not in his signature leather jacket and fedora. In addition to a Casablanca-inspired (but ’80s-executed) white dinner jacket at the film’s outset, Indy uses this dinner as an opportunity to dress up his usual bush shirt and “pinks” trousers by donning a tweed sport jacket and bow tie.