Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown, millionaire criminal mastermind
Switzerland, June 1968
Film: The Thomas Crown Affair
Release Date: June 19, 1968
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Alan Levine
Tailor: Douglas Hayward
I recently had the pleasure to join Pete Brooker and Matt Spaiser (of Bond Suits) on their excellent podcast From Tailors with Love for an entertaining and informative discussion of Steve McQueen’s suits and style in The Thomas Crown Affair. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can follow the fun via iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher, and check out highlights from yours truly’s appearance on the latest episode here. Continue reading
Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent presumed dead
Tokyo, Summer 1966
Film: You Only Live Twice
Release Date: June 13, 1967
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Master: Eileen Sullivan
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond.
Sean Connery’s fifth film as James Bond was the first of the franchise to considerably depart from Ian Fleming’s source novel, though it retains the title, the basic plot line and characters, and the Japanese setting. In fact, while most Bond films are continent-hopping travelogues, Japan hosts the majority of the action in You Only Live Twice aside from the pre-credits sequence, set in Hong Kong where Bond is ostensibly murdered.
Of course, it’s hardly a spoiler to reveal that the assassination is a ruse to fool Bond’s enemies into thinking he is out of the picture while the agent himself lives to die another day… in fact, you could say he lived twice! Presumed dead by his enemies after his burial at sea, Bond is free to be sent to Japan to investigate a mysterious spacecraft that has seemingly landed in the Sea of Japan. Bond soon makes contact with his lovely ally Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), who drives him around Tokyo in a sporty Toyota 2000GT that had been customized by the production to accommodate Sean Connery’s height.
I had long wanted to cover this sequence as I love Bond’s tailoring, Aki’s Toyota, and the trio of drinks he imbibes with varying degrees of satisfaction, but it felt particularly appropriate to write about for a #CarWeek post this 00-7th of July given James Bond’s safe pro-masking message…
Frank Sinatra as Dan Edwards, workaholic advertising executive
Los Angeles, Fall 1965
Film: Marriage on the Rocks
Release Date: September 24, 1965
Director: Jack Donohue
Costume Designer: Walter Plunkett
On this #SinatraSaturday, we celebrate the famous singer’s favorite color by commemorating his appearance on the cover of LIFE magazine 55 years ago this week when he was photographed by John Dominis in an orange cardigan, white turtleneck, and houndstooth trilby for a cover story titled “Sinatra Opens Up”.
Around the same time, Frank Sinatra was filming the amusing ’60s romp Marriage on the Rocks with his friends and occasional co-stars Dean Martin and Deborah Kerr. The movie also provided Nancy Sinatra with her first opportunity to act opposite her father, playing his daughter on-screen as well. (The original title was Divorce American Style until Cy Howard’s original screenplay was deemed too offensive, resulting in rewrites under the title Community Property before all settled on the Rat Pack-friendly title Marriage on the Rocks.)
Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, determined psychiatrist
Illinois, Halloween 1978
Release Date: October 25, 1978
Director: John Carpenter
Wardrobe Credit: Beth Rodgers
Based on a timely recommendation that I received from my friend @agentlemansarmour leading up to Halloween last year, I’d like to commemorate October 31 this year with a look at John Carpenter’s Halloween, the influential 1978 horror flick cited as kicking off the “Golden Age” of slasher movies and one of the most successful and profitable independent films of all time, grossing more than $70 million with a budget of less than $325,000. The suggestion particularly requested a look at the fall-friendly tweed jacket and raincoat worn by the movie’s ostensible protagonist, knowledgable psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis as portrayed by Donald Pleasence, who would reprise the role four more times before Malcolm McDowell took over for Rob Zombie’s 2007 reboot.
Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs, Philadelphia homicide detective
Sparta, Mississippi, September 1966
Film: In the Heat of the Night
Release Date: August 2, 1967
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Alan Levine
Happy birthday to the great Sidney Poitier, born 92 years ago today on February 20, 1927. The actor’s personal favorite among his prolific filmography is In the Heat of the Night, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1967, a year that found him pulling off a peerless hat trick that included that film as well as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and To Sir, with Love. Continue reading
Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, New York mob associate and ex-con
Queens, NY, December 1978
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno
Following the record-breaking Lufthansa heist on December 11, 1978, Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) hosted a few of his nearest, dearest, and soon-to-be-deadest Mafia pals over to Robert’s Lounge for some Christmas cheer.
Robert’s Lounge was a real-life mob hangout in South Ozone Park, Queens, only a few miles away from the Lufthansa terminal at JFK International Airport (formerly Idlewild) from which Jimmy’s crew had just stolen more than $5.8 million in cash and jewels. Robert’s Lounge hosted both the planning and the celebration of the crime. Continue reading
Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British government agent
Oxfordshire, England, Fall 1986
Film: The Living Daylights
Release Date: June 27, 1987
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Costume Supervisor: Tiny Nicholls
For the 00-7th of March, I’m finally getting around to my first post celebrating Timothy Dalton’s brief tenure as James Bond. After a few tumultuous years for the Bond franchise which saw Roger Moore going head to head with Sean Connery’s Never Say Never Again, Pierce Brosnan briefly signed to take over the role before Remington Steele came calling back, and a geriatric Roger Moore going head to head with Grace Jones in A View to a Kill, the franchise gave itself its first attempt at a reboot.
Timothy Dalton had long been considered for the Bond role, first approached nearly 20 years earlier when Sean Connery walked away after You Only Live Twice. Dalton made the mature decision of realizing that – not yet 25 years old – he wasn’t old enough for every man’s dream role nor did he want to try to steal the spotlight from Connery. After Moore’s retirement and Brosnan’s recall to TV in 1986, Dalton was again approached and finally decided to take the role.
Dalton had been a fan of Ian Fleming’s novels, so his portrayal meant a return to the basics: less lavish outrageousness and more grounded seriousness. Dalton’s Bond was a seasoned, professional spy who shared his predecessors’ appreciation – if not weakness – for fast cars, women, and martinis.
In this scene, Bond is called to MI6’s Blayden House (actually Stonor House in Oxfordshire), where his superiors are debriefing with General Georgi Koskov, the loquacious ex-KGB official played by Jeroen Krabbé, the Dutch actor who seemingly specializes in playing charmingly eccentric villains whose treachery is always discovered in the final act. Continue reading
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, suddenly honest Madison Avenue ad man
New York City, Fall 1968
Series: Mad Men
Episodes: “Favors” (Episode 6.11) & “In Care Of” (Episode 6.13)
Air Date: June 9, 2013 (Episode 6.11) & June 23, 2013 (Episode 6.13)
Directors: Jennifer Getzinger (Episode 6.11) & Matthew Weiner (Episode 6.13)
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
After Winter Storm Jonas had most of us on the East Coast huddling in whatever warmth we could find this weekend, it’s time to head back to work. In the spirit of Jon Hamm’s recent Golden Globe win for the final season of Mad Men, let’s head back to the office appropriately suited up. Continue reading
James Dean as Jim Stark, confused suburban high school student and loner
Los Angeles, Spring 1956
Film: Rebel Without a Cause
Release Date: October 27, 1955
Director: Nicholas Ray
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Car Week concludes with a look at one of the most iconic drivers to ever speed across the silver screen: James Dean.
In Rebel Without a Cause, the second of Dean’s three credited films as an actor, Dean played the archetypical angsty teen Jim Stark. After a drunkenly difficult Easter Sunday that landed him in some hot water with the local fuzz, Jim begins his first day at Dawson High School and finds himself also at odds with most of his fellow students – particularly a bully who is, of course, named Buzz.
During a field trip that day to the Griffith Observatory overlooking the city, Jim further antagonizes his new enemies by… uh… existing? Buzz isn’t a very understanding sort of person.
After slashing the tires of Jim’s ’49 Mercury coupe and trying to get a knife fight going, Buzz challenges him to a “chickie run” at Millertown Bluff, setting the stage for the film’s climactic stolen car race. Continue reading
Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean, smooth-talking con man and casino heister
Phoenix to Las Vegas, December 1959
Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: August 10, 1960
Director: Lewis Milestone
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Tailor: Sy Devore
Just because a man is legendary for his tux doesn’t mean he can’t rock a comfortable sweater for more casual activities. When it comes to the Chairman of the Board, there’s no argument.
What’d He Wear?
It may surprise many to know that Frank Sinatra loved the color orange. Continue reading