Tagged: Los Angeles

Brad Pitt’s Diagonally Cut Suits in Ocean’s Eleven

On Brad Pitt’s 58th birthday, I’m pleased to present another guest post contributed by my friend Ken Stauffer, who had also covered George Clooney’s fashionable suit in Out of Sight.

Brad Pitt as "Rusty" Ryan in Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Brad Pitt as “Rusty” Ryan in Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Vitals

Brad Pitt as Robert “Rusty” Ryan, poker pro and casino heister

Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Spring 2001

Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: December 7, 2001
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland
Tailor: Dominic Gherardi

Background

Happy Birthday, Brad Pitt! The Academy Award-winning actor and producer turns 58 today, and to celebrate, we’re taking a look back at one of his most fashionable roles, Rusty Ryan, in Ocean’s Eleven. Believe it or not, Steven Soderbergh’s reimagining of the Rat Pack caper, which resuscitated the heist film genre in 2001, celebrated its 20th anniversary this month. I think we can all agree that both actor and film have aged well.

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Frank Sinatra’s 1971 Retirement Concert Tuxedo

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra sings his ’40s-era hit “All or Nothing at All” during his June 1971 retirement concert in L.A.

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Frank Sinatra, multi-talented entertainer facing retirement

Los Angeles, Summer 1971

Series: Sinatra: All or Nothing At All
Air Date: April 5-6, 2015
Director: Alex Gibney

Background

Born December 12, 1915, Frank Sinatra had recently turned 55 when he started talking seriously with close friends about retirement. For more than 30 years, the entertainer had enjoyed a landmark career, beginning with his days as a pop idol, then a career downturn in the early ’50s that was reinvigorated by an Oscar win for From Here to Eternity and a series of concept albums for Capitol Records that launched him to massive success.

Throughout the ’60s, Sinatra evolved from one of the most popular entertainers in the nation to one of the most influential entertainers across the world. He had founded his own record label with Reprise Records, been a confidante of a sitting U.S. President (before their famous falling-out), and continued to prove his success on the charts with songs like “My Way” (despite his resentment for this particular tune.)

Like so many successful 55-year-old Americans, Ol’ Blue Eyes decided to hang up his tilted hat and retire, with his final performance to be June 13, 1971, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Alex Gibney’s 2015 HBO documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing at All was framed around the singer’s hand-chosen setlist for the concert, and how the eleven musical milestones Sinatra selected essentially told the story of his life to that point. Continue reading

Devil in a Blue Dress: Easy’s Champion Aircraft Jacket

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

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Denzel Washington as Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, laid-off aircraft mechanic and World War II veteran

Los Angeles, Summer 1948

Film: Devil in a Blue Dress
Release Date: September 29, 1995
Director: Carl Franklin
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Like a man told me once: you step out of your door in the morning, and you are already in trouble. The only question is are you on top of that trouble or not?

With its dark themes and moral questions, film noir emerged as a cinematic sanctum for depicting the struggles of returning World War II veterans. Movies like Crossfire (1947), Act of Violence (1948), and Thieves’ Highway (1949) showcased the psyche of servicemen who had been to hell and back, depicting them not solely as one-dimensional heroes but as three-dimensional humans whose postwar life requires them to come to terms not just with the trauma encountered overseas but also the impact of returning to a changed home. (I recommend reading more about the connection between veterans and noir in James Barber’s recent article “How the Struggles of WWII Veterans Came to Life in Film Noir” for Military.com.)

Protagonists made cynical by their experiences continued as a theme through the development of neo-noir, whether that’s J.J. Gittes trying to put Chinatown out of his mind or Easy Rawlins, whose lifetime has seen his mother’s early death, his father forced to leave, racial inequities, the scars of wartime service, and—where we find him at the start of Devil in a Blue Dress—just having lost his job at the Champion Aircraft assembly plant. Continue reading

Night Moves: Gene Hackman’s Brown Suede Jacket

Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby in Night Moves (1975)

Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby in Night Moves (1975)

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Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby, private detective and former professional football player

Los Angeles to New Mexico, Fall 1973

Film: Night Moves
Release Date: June 11, 1975
Director: Arthur Penn
Costumer: Arnie Lipin
Costume Supervisor: Rita Riggs

Background

He may wear rollnecks and drive a green ’68 Mustang, but Harry Moseby ain’t no Frank Bullitt. Five years earlier, this type of character may have been styled in the manner of the cooler-than-cool Steve McQueen archetype, but the tumultuous half-decade that passed between the production of Bullitt and Night Moves saw waves of political assassinations, civil unrest, disillusionment in Vietnam, and post-Watergate paranoia that shifted the zeitgeist to a pessimistic cynicism that permeated much of ’70s cinema.

A decade after his career with the Oakland Raiders, Harry Moseby’s best days are well behind him as he continues eking out a living as a shabby Hollywood private eye, entertaining himself by playing chess on the passenger seat of his Mustang. Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Leo’s Black Airport Attire

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lorenza Izzo in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lorenza Izzo in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

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Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, re-energized movie and TV star

Rome to Los Angeles, Summer 1969

Film: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips

Background

I recently had the good fortune to rejoin my friend Peter Brooker on his excellent podcast, From Tailors With Love, joined by John Williams of James Bond Radio to talk about the style in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Tarantino’s ode to the movie industry at the close of the 1960s.

Though Once Upon a Time in Hollywood cycles through the orbit of real-life stars like Sharon Tate, Steve McQueen, the Mamas and the Papas, and James Stacy—to name just a few—the central story focuses on the dynamic between the fictional actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his best friend, the laconic stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

The movie begins with Rick coming to terms with his “washed-up” career, his desperation leading to a meeting with talent broker Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino), who suggests spaghetti westerns as the gateway to the next phase of Rick’s career. Following Rick’s impressive performances on episodes of The F.B.I. and Lancer, Schwarz books him four back-to-back gigs in Italy, where he also meets and marries the beautiful starlet Francesca Capucci (Lorenza Izzo) as his stardom climbs to new heights. Continue reading

Inherent Vice: Doc’s Jungle Jacket

Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello in Inherent Vice (2014)

Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello in Inherent Vice (2014)

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Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello, hippie private investigator

Los Angeles County, Fall 1970

Film: Inherent Vice
Release Date: December 12, 2014
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

One of my favorite “new watches” over the last year was Inherent Vice, adapted from the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. Inherent Vice follows “Doc” Sportello, a stoner private eye dwelling in the fictional hippie enclave of Gordita Beach in southern California at the end of the ’60s. Like the best of P.I. pulp fiction, Doc’s case begins with a late visit from a young woman, in this case his ex-girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston) seeking his help investigating land developer Mickey Wolfmann. When another client’s request also intersects with Wolfmann, Doc’s “paranoia alert” is triggered as he’s set on a path that intersects him with an aggressive detective, a plum-suited dentist, and a drug counselor who “[tries] to talk kids into sensible drug use.”

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Blow: Manhattan Beach, 1968

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

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Johnny Depp as George Jung, burgeoning pot dealer

Manhattan Beach, California, Summer 1968

Film: Blow
Release Date: April 6, 2001
Director: Ted Demme
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

Blow presents the story of real-life drug smuggler George Jung (1942-2021), presented not unlike Goodfellas: beginning in media res at a crucial turning point in our anti-hero protagonist’s life, reaching back into his childhood, and then following his criminal career over the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s until it descends into a cocaine-fueled nightmare of betrayals and bad hair, all set to a packed soundtrack of hits and deep cuts from the era.

After meeting the adolescent George, raised by an attentive Ray Liotta and a neglectful Rachel Griffiths, we skip ahead to young adulthood as a twentysomething George and his oversized pal Tuna (Ethan Suplee) as they relocate across the country from Massachusetts to Manhattan Beach:

I moved to California in the summer of 1968 with the Tuna. We had $300 and a black TR3. There sure was nothin’ like this back home. It was paradise… and everyone was getting stoned.

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Boogie Nights: Don Cheadle in Red Western-Inspired Leisurewear

Don Cheadle as Buck Swope in Boogie Nights (1997)

Don Cheadle as Buck Swope in Boogie Nights (1997)

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Don Cheadle as Buck Swope, porn actor and aspiring electronics store owner

San Fernando Valley, Summer 1977

Film: Boogie Nights
Release Date: October 10, 1997
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

In the mood for some midweek summer leisure looks, I was inspired by the parade of ’70s style in Boogie Nights. As with so many period productions set during the disco era, Boogie Nights features plenty of the big collars, flashy jewelry, and polyester we’ve come to associate with that decade, and its focus on the porn industry—despite Jack Horner’s insistence that his “pictures” may be a higher art than the era’s run-of-the-mill smut—takes us through the tackier side of a decade already oft reviled for its sartorial excess.

Among the sprawling ensemble cast, I’ve always enjoyed Don Cheadle’s performance as Buck Swope, the conflicted actor in Horner’s troupe constantly wrangling with his identity. Continue reading

Tequila Sunrise: Mel Gibson’s Post-Swim Herradura

Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer in Tequila Sunrise (1988)

Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer in Tequila Sunrise (1988)

Vitals

Mel Gibson as Dale “Mac” McKussic, retired drug dealer

Los Angeles, Summer 1988

Film: Tequila Sunrise
Release Date: December 2, 1988
Director: Robert Towne
Costume Designer: Julie Weiss

Background

Following his success as a screenwriter—credited and uncredited—on some of the most memorable movies of the ’70s, Robert Towne intended for his sophomore directorial film, Tequila Sunrise, to be something of a spiritual follow-up to Chinatown, which… it isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I did get some enjoyment out of Tequila Sunrise and there’s no denying that it’s refreshingly original—almost to a questionable degree—but I would argue it’s not even close to the same league as Chinatown, let alone Bonnie & ClydeThe GodfatherThe Last DetailMarathon Man, or the other excellent films that benefited from Towne’s contributions.

Several had recommended Tequila Sunrise to me for its style, and I’ll admit the name intrigued me, so I mentally scheduled to watch it and write about it in time for #NationalTequilaDay, celebrated annually on July 24… so happy National Tequila Day!

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Don Draper’s Gingham Sports Coat in “Tomorrowland”

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 4.13: "Tomorrowland")

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 4.13: “Tomorrowland”)

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Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Madison Avenue ad man

Anaheim, California, October 1965

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Tomorrowland” (Episode 4.13)
Air Date: October 17, 2010
Director: Matthew Weiner
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Sixty-six years ago today, Walt Disney introduced the world to “the happiest place on Earth” during a televised press event on July 17, 1955. Disneyland Park opened just one year and a day after construction began in Anaheim, California, and the sprawling theme park remains the only one completed under Disney’s direct supervision.

“Tomorrow can be a wonderful age,” Disney began when unveiling Tomorrowland, one of the nine themed “lands” that Disneyland is comprised of. “The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future.”

While we never actually get to see the Draper family visiting the park during their vacation in Mad Men‘s fourth-season finale, the episode’s title that we’re seeing Don forming the living blueprint for his own future, most significantly by rejecting the smart and nurturing Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Buono) to propose marriage to his bright-eyed young secretary Megan (Jessica Paré). After all, this is the man who prides himself on the fact that his life only moves in one direction: forward. Continue reading