Steve McQueen, iconic American actor
Fall 1964, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Photographs by William Claxton
Happy birthday to Steve McQueen, born March 24, 1930, in Beach Grove, Indiana, then a small town of barely more than 3,500 people. By the age of eight, he had already received his first bike (well, a tricycle) and his first watch (a gold pocket watch from his uncle), two items that would become very important to his life and legacy. By the time McQueen died of cardiac arrest in November 1980, the “King of Cool” had cemented a place among the greatest American icons of screen and style through his performances in films like The Great Escape, Bullitt, and The Thomas Crown Affair, and his lifelong passion for racing and rebellion.
Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, “celebrity” gangster and casino builder
Los Angeles, Spring 1945
Release Date: December 13, 1991
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
BAMF Style goes green for the first #MafiaMonday after St. Patrick’s Day!
We catch up with Ben “don’t-call-him-Bugsy” Siegel in the middle of realizing his dream – the Flamingo Hotel and Casino and, by extension, Las Vegas. Continue reading
Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960
Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood
“In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy,” heralded Hunter S. Thompson’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in November 1957, a considerable understatement given the iconic writer’s eventual symbolic anti-authoritarian status.
Following his discharge, Thompson tried a few journalistic stints in New York but was fired by Time (for insubordination) and the Middletown Daily Record (for damaging a candy machine) and moved to Puerto Rico in 1960.
Having failed to procure a position with the San Juan Star, Thompson wrote for the El Sportivo sporting magazine… though it folded quickly after his arrival. His experiences in San Juan formed the basis of The Rum Diary, a novel that he penned shortly after his return to the U.S. the following year, although it wasn’t published for more than three decades.
While it would be inaccurate to describe The Rum Diary as a strict roman à clef, its morose, restless narrator Paul Kemp is clearly modeled on Thompson himself, and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp was naturally tapped to play the role in the film adaptation. Continue reading
Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown, millionaire playboy and heist mastermind
Salem, New Hampshire, Summer 1968
Film: The Thomas Crown Affair
Release Date: June 19, 1968
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Alan Levine
In 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair, the titular millionaire is every bit the sportsman that you’d expect a Steve McQueen character to be. A brief scene shows Crown spending his weekend recreationally gliding a Schweizer SGS 1-23H through the skies over Salem… although it was actually local pilot Roy McMaster who rode in the cockpit during the actual scenes in flight.
This vignette also featured Steve McQueen sporting casual outerwear that was also a real-life favorite of his: a classic Harrington jacket. Continue reading
Clint Eastwood as Insp. Harry Callahan, reassigned San Francisco inspector
San Francisco, Summer 1976
Film: The Enforcer
Release Date: December 22, 1976
Director: James Fargo
Costume Designer: Glenn Wright
After all the romance of Valentine’s Day, Clint Eastwood is bringing some toughness back to BAMF Style as one of his most iconic characters, “Dirty Harry” Callahan. The third film in the “Dirty Harry” series, The Enforcer, finds Harry teamed up with tough rookie detective Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) against a gang of militant revolutionaries.
Harry begins the final day of his investigation roughing up a massage parlor, noting that it’s the sort of place where “for $75, you get to make it with a rubber dolly.” A tip leads him to a gunfight in a church which ultimately leads to a gunfight at Alcatraz. Continue reading
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, suave semi-rogue British government agent and “ornithologist”
Havana, Fall 2002
Film: Die Another Day
Release Date: November 20, 2002
Director: Lee Tamahori
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
For this 00-7th of June, BAMF Style is honoring a request from Troy Swezey to analyze how the world’s least secret secret agent dresses casually for a warm afternoon under the Cuban sun.
After his release from North Korean captivity and subsequent escape from British medical captivity, James Bond follows a lead to Havana to get some answers. While there, he meets fellow badass Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson (Halle Berry), an American NSA agent who is able to meets him toe-to-toe when it comes to trading liquor shots, gunshots, or innuendo-laced wit. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as James Bond, rogue British secret agent
Bolivia, Summer 2008
Film: Quantum of Solace
Release Date: October 31, 2008
Director: Marc Forster
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley
Recently, I covered Butch Cassidy’s attire while in Bolivia. Exactly 100 years later, James Bond was wreaking havoc on the country in Quantum of Solace. Of course, real Bond fans know that the film’s version of “Bolivia” was actually filmed in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
Some have complained about Bond wearing jeans for these scenes, but it’s actually very utilitarian and – come on already, people – this was 2008, not 1958. With some jeans costing thousands of dollars, albeit impractically, denim has come a long way from being the domain of the laborer. Continue reading