The Rocky IV Shearling Jacket

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV (1985)

Vitals

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, two-time heavyweight world champion boxer

Krasnogorsk, Russia, Winter 1985

Film: Rocky IV
Release Date: November 27, 1985
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Costume Designer: Tom Bronson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“New year, new you” messaging seems to dominate the beginning of every January, and what character better embodies getting in shape than the Italian Stallion and his famous training montages?

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Don’t Worry Darling: Harry Styles’ Blue Suit

Harry Styles as Jack Chambers in Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

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Harry Styles as Jack Chambers, “technical engineer”

The Victory Project, an American desert utopia modeled after late 1950s Palm Springs

Film: Don’t Worry Darling
Release Date: September 23, 2022
Director: Olivia Wilde
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
Tailor: Jack Kasbarian

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I had been among those who were anticipating the release of Don’t Worry Darling since long before the gossip, mostly excited to catch my faves Florence Pugh and Nick Kroll—supporting though his role may have been—against the lush ’50s-inspired style from costumes to cars as seen in leaked photos from the production in Palm Springs.

Much of the film’s attention has since been mired in controversy between behind-the-scenes issues and frustration over its plot execution, but I’d argue that credit is still considerably due to its showcasing the most aspirational aspects of mid-century life, including natty wardrobes, naughty cocktail parties, and Detroit’s chrome-detailed finest in every driveway. Indeed, you could say a little too much attention was paid to *clears throat* Styles over substance.

Okay, that was a cheap shot. While I won’t deny that I was frustrated by what felt like unnecessary red herrings and logistical storytelling holes that didn’t even last my trip to the fridge, Don’t Worry Darling was a dazzling spectacle anchored by a solid performance from the always-excellent Florence Pugh, who celebrates her 27th birthday today.

Florence Pugh as Alice in Don't Worry Darling (2022)

Happy birthday, Flo.

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The Poseidon Adventure: Ernest Borgnine’s Burgundy Dinner Jacket on New Year’s Eve

Ernest Borgnine and Stella Stevens in The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Vitals

Ernest Borgnine as Mike Rogo, a tough New York detective

Aboard the S.S. Poseidon en route Athens, New Year’s Eve 1972

Film: The Poseidon Adventure
Release Date: December 12, 1972
Director: Ronald Neame
Costume Designer: Paul Zastupnevich

Background

Happy New Year’s Eve! Fifty years ago, the holiday was celebrated in spectacular fashion aboard the S.S. Poseidon, the fictitious ship at the center of “Master of Disaster” Irwin Allen’s Academy Award-winning 1972 blockbuster The Poseidon Adventure, based on Paul Gallico’s novel on the same name inspired by a journey on the RMS Queen Mary, the now-defunct ship where parts of the movie were filmed. Following the example set by the subgenre-establishing Airport two years earlier, The Poseidon Adventure gathered a group of a stars in a perilous situation that picked them off one by one, allowing its substantial advertising campaign to ask audiences “who will survive?” Continue reading

The Holiday: Jude Law’s Brown Plaid Jacket and Tie

Jude Law in The Holiday (2006)

Vitals

Jude Law as Graham Simpkins, charming book editor and widowed father

Surrey, England, Christmas 2005

Film: The Holiday
Release Date: December 8, 2006
Director: Nancy Meyers
Costume Designer: Marlene Stewart

Background

Happy 50th birthday, Jude Law! The London-born actor has been frequently featured on BAMF Style before but today’s post offers a more practical look for those of us who aren’t regularly jaunting off the Italian coast or solving crimes in Victorian England.

In recognition of Law’s December 29th birthday landing directly between Christmas and New Year’s Day, it feels most appropriate on his milestone birthday to review his scarf-positive performance in Nancy Meyers’ yuletide romantic comedy The Holiday, which was incorrectly rumored this month to be receiving a sequel 17 years after its initial release. Continue reading

Glass Onion: Benoit Blanc’s Striped Sweater

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

Vitals

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, “in your words, the world’s greatest detective”

Spetses, Greece, May 2020

Film: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Release Date: November 23, 2022
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As its quick ascension to the #1 movie on the service suggests, many are spending their Christmas holiday and its surrounding days watching Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, which had only a one-week theatrical release earlier this year before it premiered on Netflix on December 23. My wife and I watched it last night and enjoyed yet another fun, stylish, and unorthodox mystery centered around Southern-fried investigator Benoit Blanc, reprised by Daniel Craig after his entertaining turn in Knives Out. Continue reading

Catch Me If You Can: Frank’s Fair Isle-Style Christmas Sweater

Leonardo DiCaprio and Nathalie Baye in Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Vitals

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr., suburban high-schooler

New Rochelle, New York, Christmas 1963

Film: Catch Me If You Can
Release Date: December 25, 2002
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres

Background

Merry Christmas!

Based on the now mostly debunked claims of fraudster Frank Abagnale Jr., Catch Me If You Can was released 20 years ago today on Christmas 2002, an appropriate opening date for a movie that benchmarks its protagonist’s status by how he spends each yuletide.

When we first meet Frank in late 1963, he’s a relatively well-adjusted teen with plenty of charisma if perhaps a bit precociously streetwise for a 15-year-old in the suburbs of New Rochelle, no doubt a byproduct of his artful father Frank Sr. (Christopher Walken), depicted passing on several lessons in minor larceny to his son. Before Frank Jr.’s first Pan Am uniform fitting or check forgery, we spend one last idyllic holiday with the Abagnale family in their New Rochelle home during Christmas 1963, as both Frank and his father take turns dancing with his Algerian-born mother Paula (Nathalie Baye), reminiscing about Frank Sr.’s courtship of the “blonde bombshell” Paula while he was serving in France during World War II. Continue reading

L.A. Confidential: Bud White’s Brown Flannel on Bloody Christmas

Russell Crowe as Wendell “Bud” White in L.A. Confidential (1997)

Vitals

Russell Crowe as Wendell “Bud” White, tough yet justice-minded LAPD plainclothes officer

Los Angeles, Christmas Eve 1952

Film: L.A. Confidential
Release Date: September 19, 1997
Director: Curtis Hanson
Costume Designer: Ruth Myers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, L.A. Confidential chronicles a faction of cops and crooks in the City of Angels through the early 1950s, with Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson’s Oscar-winning screenplay adapted from James Ellroy’s sprawling pulp novel of the same name. The movie begins on Christmas Eve 1952, based on a real-life episode known as “Bloody Christmas” when seven prisoners were abused while in LAPD custody on the morning of December 25, 1951, resulting in a wave of indictments, suspensions, and transfers of the more than four dozen officers involved.

“You’re like Santa Claus with that list, Bud… ‘cept everyone on it’s been naughty,” observes corrupt LAPD Sergeant Dick Stensland (Graham Beckel) of his crusading partner, Officer Wendell “Bud” White, who watches an abusive husband ruin his wife’s Christmas through gritted teeth. Continue reading

Carol: Jake Lacy’s Plaid Coat

Jake Lacy as Richard Semco in Carol (2015)

Vitals

Jake Lacy as Richard Semco, affable painter and Navy veteran

New York City, December 1952

Film: Carol
Release Date: November 20, 2015
Director: Todd Haynes
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell

Background

It takes a lot for new movies to break through the cinematic ice to enter people’s Christmas viewing rotations. For decades, there were the classics like It’s a Wonderful LifeMiracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas, then a boom through the late ’80s and ’90s with newer entries like National Lampoon’s Christmas VacationHome Alone, and—yes—Die Hard. After Elf and Love Actually were released in 2003, it seemed like the proliferation of Hallmark holiday movies so saturated the market that it would be nearly impossible for a modern movie to make its yuletide impression… let alone an adaptation of a book published more than a half-century earlier about a fictional lesbian romance. Enter Carol.

Seventy years ago, suspense writer Patricia Highsmith followed up her debut novel—the smash-hit Strangers on a Train that had already been adapted for the screen by Alfred Hitchcock—with The Price of Salt, chronicling the relationship between aspiring set designer Therese Belivet and housewife Carol Aird, whom Therese meets working at a Manhattan toy store in the days leading up to Christmas, inspired by a brief encounter that Highsmith experienced while working in Bloomingdale’s toy department during the 1948 holiday season. Due to the impact that the novel’s sapphic content may have had on her career, Highsmith was credited under the alias “Claire Morgan” when The Price of Salt was first published in 1952.

Surprisingly, there was an attempt to adapt The Price of Salt for the screen not long after it was published, but the tight restrictions of the Production Code immediately enervated the script, which was renamed Winter Journey and centered around Therese’s romance with a man named… Carl. Luckily, wiser minds evidently prevailed and allowed for the first major screen adaptation to be Todd Haynes’ thoughtful Carol in 2015 starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as Carol and Therese, respectively.

We meet Therese while she’s working at the fictional Frankenberg’s department store in Manhattan, casually dating her cordial co-worker Richard Semco (Jake Lacy). A Navy veteran with artistic aspirations, Richard has grand plans for his future with Therese, even if she doesn’t outwardly share his enthusiasm. Unfortunately for Richard, his dreams of marriage, shared holidays, and European travels with “Terry” are increasingly dashed after she meets the elegant and enigmatic Carol while working at the toy counter.

After a pair of misplaced gloves and some creamed spinach over poached eggs, Therese makes a plan to visit Carol at her home in the country, scheduling it in her calendar for Sunday, December 21, 1952, seventy years ago today, and—in the years since the movie’s release—December 21 has become an unofficial celebration for fans celebrating “Carol Day”. Continue reading

Mad Men: Pete Campbell’s Burgundy Blazer at Christmas

Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell on Mad Men (Episode 4.02: “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”)

Vitals

Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell, ambitious advertising accounts manager

New York City, Christmas 1964

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Christmas Comes But Once a Year” (Episode 4.02)
Air Date: August 1, 2010
Director: Michael Uppendahl
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

Welcome to BAMF Style, Pete Campbell! Long-ignored as I had reserved Mad Men‘s sartorial spotlight on his colleagues Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Sterling Cooper’s ambitious accounts man finally gets his time to shine on this #MadMenMonday less than a week before Christmas. Rather than his bright blue suits from early seasons or the uniquely cut waistcoats from his three-piece suits in later seasons, Pete’s inaugural BAMF Style post explores how he dresses for the inaugural SCDP holiday party. Continue reading

The Man Who Came to Dinner

Monty Woolley as Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

Vitals

Monty Woolley as Sheridan Whiteside, catty, cantankerous, and “celebrated author and critic”

Ohio, Winter 1941

Film: The Man Who Came to Dinner
Release Date: January 1, 1942
Director: William Keighley
Costume Designer: Orry-Kelly

Background

Based on a play of the same name by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, the holiday-centered screwball comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner was released 80 years ago this year. Inspired by Hart’s own experiences with critic and writer Alexander Woollcott, the eponymous “man” is Sheridan Whiteside, an acerbic radio personality whose well-publicized national tour includes a stop in the invented town of Mesalia, Ohio, where his prestige has preceded him more than his condescending attitude. Continue reading