David Warner as Lawrence Beesley, serious and sensitive schoolteacher
North Atlantic Ocean, April 1912
Film: S.O.S. Titanic
Air Date: September 23, 1979
Director: William Hale
Costume Designer: Barbara Lane
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Nearly twenty years before he chased Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet through the flooding corridors of the sinking ship, the late David Warner made his first foray in Titanic cinematic lore in S.O.S. Titanic, a made-for-TV movie that aired on ABC in September 1979.
A far cry from the cynical, pistol-packing Spicer Lovejoy, Warner starred as Lawrence Beesley, a real-life passenger who sailed on RMS Titanic during her fateful maiden voyage 111 years ago this week in April 1912. Continue reading
Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, substance-abusing country-rock star
Los Angeles, Spring 2017
Film: A Star is Born
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Director: Bradley Cooper
Costume Designer: Erin Benach
As the 65th annual Grammy Awards are tonight, I wanted to revisit a request from my friend @thestyleisnotenough to write about the country rock style from Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, the third remake of A Star is Born. I’ve already waxed poetic about his tan Runabout Goods trucker jacket, so—in the spirit of tonight’s music industry awards—let’s dive into the suit that Jackson Maine (Cooper) wears for the 2018 movie’s in-universe Grammys where his wife Ally (Lady Gaga) is being honored as the Best New Artist… quite possibly the very worst opportunity for a drunk and drugged-up Jack to clamber onto the stage and pee his pants as she accepts the award. Continue reading
Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, debonair and deadly vampire
Transylvania, Spring 1885
Film: Dracula, aka Horror of Dracula
Release Date: May 7, 1958
Director: Terence Fisher
Wardrobe Credit: Molly Arbuthnot
With less than a week until Halloween, I was inspired by a request from BAMF Style reader Jonathan last month to bite into the Hammer horror films, specifically Christopher Lee’s iconic debut as Count Dracula in the 1958 adaptation of Dracula, also released as Horror of Dracula in the United States to avoid confusion with the 1931 movie starring Bela Lugosi.
Lee makes the most of his scant seven minutes of screen-time, speaking only sixteen lines for the entirety but re-establishing Bram Stoker’s famous vampire as a tragic romantic anti-hero, albeit still the embodiment of evil that Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) and Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) seek to destroy. Continue reading
Tim Roth as Freddie Newandyke, aka “Mr. Orange”, member of an armed robbery crew with a deep secret
Los Angeles, Summer 1992
Film: Reservoir Dogs
Release Date: October 9, 1992
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This month marks the 30th anniversary since the wide release of Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino’s influential debut that introduced many of the director’s own cinematic trademarks and has been described as one of the greatest independent films of all time.
As we’ve come to expect from QT, Reservoir Dogs pays homage to classic noir and crime films, including Kansas City Confidential (1952), The Big Combo (1955), and—most specifically—The Killing (1956), with a plot centered around a gang of tough guys hired for a what should be a straightforward diamond heist… only to be stymied when it becomes evident that a member of their crew is an informant. Continue reading
David Hemmings as Thomas, hip London photographer
Swinging London, Fall 1966
Release Date: December 18, 1966
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Costume Designer: Jocelyn Rickards
Some people are bullfighters, some people are politicians… I’m a photographer.
August 19 being World Photography Day feels like an apt opportunity to delve into Blowup, Michelangelo Antonioni’s enticing and meandering mystery that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and was nominated for two Academy Awards despite its then-unprecedented sexual content that defied the mainstream movies released under the aging Motion Picture Production Code that had been enforced in Hollywood for over three decades. Indeed, Blowup‘s critical popularity and box-office success has been credited as one of the final blows that killed the restrictive “Hays Code” once and for all, in favor of the MPAA rating system that ushered in a new, uninhibited era of American cinema.
Blowup centers around Thomas (David Hemmings), a stylish young photographer living the swinging London dream, though kept so busy that he bemoans “I haven’t even got a couple of minutes to have my appendix out.” Continue reading
Brad Pitt as Will Colbert, commodities broker
New York City, Thanksgiving 2001
Episode: “The One with the Rumor” (Episode 8.09)
Air Date: November 22, 2001
Director: Gary Halvorson
Creator: David Crane & Marta Kauffman
Costume Designer: Debra McGuire
Whether it’s Ross fighting his way out of a pair of shrinking leather pants or Joey layered like a snowman in his roommate Chandler’s clothing, Friends isn’t exactly the first series that comes to mind when thinking of stylish menswear. On the other hand, the show’s female cast—particularly Jennifer Aniston as the boutique-obsessed Rachel—was a major influence on fashion of the ’90s, whether that meant an enviable wardrobe or an iconic, era-defining haircut.
From the beginning, Friends was meant to depict that period in people’s lives where we build our own “family” of chosen friends, particularly when living away from home. The first season’s Thanksgiving episode found the six leads enjoying Turkey Day together, the first time for many without their family, echoing the “Friendsgiving” traditions that would emerge among real-life groups of friends shortly after the series ended.
Thanksgiving episodes became a tradition on Friends as well, with memorable moments like the impromptu men vs. women football match in the park, Chandler telling Monica he loved her… while she was dancing with a raw turkey on her head, and Rachel’s revolting trifle that also included the ingredients for shepherd’s pie thanks to a sticky cookbook.
And then there was The One with Brad Pitt. Continue reading
Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, a “damn good pilot”
Fort Knox, Kentucky, Fall 1964
Release Date: September 18, 1964
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Supervisor: Elsa Fennell
Today would have been the 96th birthday of the late Honor Blackman, best known for her role as Cathy Gale on the second and third seasons of The Avengers, which she left to star in her iconic performance in Goldfinger as Pussy Galore, the assertive aviator who transforms from enemy to ally of Sean Connery’s James Bond.
Arguably one of the most famous (and most famously named) women of the Bond franchise, the high-flying judo expert Pussy Galore established a new type of “Bond girl”, a tough, action-oriented equal rather than the demure damsel in distress. Pussy also nearly equals the stylish secret agent with her strong wardrobe, primarily comprised of tailored jackets and slacks, apropos her profession that still carried masculine connotations in the early 1960s. Continue reading
Mike Myers as Austin Powers, swingin’ secret agent
Las Vegas, Summer 1997
Film: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Release Date: May 2, 1997
Director: Jay Roach
Costume Designer: Deena Appel
Tailor: Tommy Velasco
Several weeks ago, I delighted in the opportunity to rejoin the estimable Pete Brooker and Matt Spaiser of Bond Suits on the From Tailors with Love podcast, this time talking with Deena Appel, the prolific costume designer who created the shagadelic looks of all three Austin Powers movies. (You can find the episode split into two parts—Part 1 and Part 2—as well as Pete’s “show notes” here.)
Pete concluded our conversation by asking each participant which costume resonated most with us, and my answer—which surprised Deena at least—was the red velvet double-breasted suit that the cryogenically frozen Austin wears when re-entering the world by way of late ’90s Las Vegas in the first movie, which was released 24(!) years ago today on May 2, 1997. Continue reading
Michael Douglas as Nick Conklin, loose cannon NYPD detective
Osaka, Japan, Winter 1988
Film: Black Rain
Release Date: September 22, 1989
Director: Ridley Scott
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy birthday, Michael Douglas! To commemorate the 76th birthday of this acclaimed actor and producer, I’m addressing a request I received from BAMF Style reader Ryan to take a look at Douglas’ wardrobe in Black Rain as loose cannon cop Nick Conklin.
Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent
New Mexico to French Riviera, Summer 1966
Film: Murderers’ Row
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Henry Levin
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Tailor: Sy Devore
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is National Wear Red Day, observed the first Friday of February to raise awareness of the dangers of the heart disease. In recognition, I wanted to feature an example of a movie or TV character prominently wearing red beyond just the usual red shirts, sweaters, or ties. Enter Matt Helm.