Tagged: New York City

Goodbye, Columbus: Neil’s Date Night Seersucker

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

Vitals

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman, listless library employee and Army veteran

Westchester, New York, Summer 1968

Film: Goodbye, Columbus
Release Date: April 3, 1969
Director: Larry Peerce
Costume Designer: Gene Coffin

Background

In addition to today being the birthday of star Richard Benjamin—born on this day in 1938—today also marks three years since the death of Philip Roth, who died of congestive heart failure on May 22, 2018. Roth’s novella Goodbye, Columbus provided the source material for Ali MacGraw’s major screen debut acting opposite Benjamin.

Goodbye, Columbus has been favorably compared to The Graduate, inviting parallels with its similar-looking leads: a somewhat awkward, naive, and listless young man romancing a dark-haired “princess” against her parents’ wishes (though for a dramatically different reason than the Robinsons had), scored against the backdrop of a hip band from the late ’60s, in this case The Association as opposed to Simon & Garfunkel’s famous soundtrack for The Graduate.

Continue reading

A New Leaf: Walter Matthau’s Gray Pinstripe Suit

Walter Matthau as Henry Graham in A New Leaf (1971)

Walter Matthau as Henry Graham in A New Leaf (1971)

Vitals

Walter Matthau as Henry Graham, self-serving profligate

New York City, Summer 1969

Film: A New Leaf
Release Date: March 11, 1971
Director: Elaine May
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert
Tailor: Roland Meledandri

Background

I’d long been intrigued by Elaine May’s directorial debut A New Leaf, released 50 years ago this spring, but it was an Instagram story posted by my friend Jonathan (@berkeley_breathes) showcasing Walter Matthau’s dapper wardrobe that finally prompted me to watch this offbeat classic.

Matthau brings his characteristically cantankerous charisma to to role of Henry Graham, a wasteful heir gradually blowing his family fortune on capricious spending from his immaculately tailored wardrobe to weekly maintenance for his Ferrari. The wry family lawyer Beckett (William Redfield) is tasked with managing the unmanageable Graham, who ducks Beckett’s calls of cautions as long as he can… until his last check bounces.

Continue reading

The Seinfeld Suede Jacket

Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld (Episode 2.03: "The Jacket")

Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld (Episode 2.03: “The Jacket”)

Vitals

Jerry Seinfeld, observational comedian

New York City, Winter 1990

Series: Seinfeld
Episode: “The Jacket” (Episode 2.03)
Air Date: February 6, 1991
Director: Tom Cherones
Creator: Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
Costume Designer: Llandys Williams

Background

Happy birthday, Jerry Seinfeld! Admittedly, the comedian typically doesn’t come to mind as a style icon; in fact, he may have been consistently the worst-dressed of the four leads on his eponymous ’90s sitcom, swimming in oversized sport jackets often paired with the incongruous combination of printed neckties, “dad jeans”, and white sneakers.

Having been a fan of the series since it was still airing new episodes (despite most of the jokes likely going over my head at that age), it wasn’t until rewatching the series beginning-to-end with my fiancée during one of my our many quarantine-inspired “comfort TV” marathons that I noticed just how frequently clothing drove the plot of the “show about nothing”, a series always propelled by the minutiae of everyday life.

Continue reading

Mad Men: Roger Sterling’s First Navy Blazer (and LSD Trip)

John Slattery as Roger Sterling on Mad Men. (Episode 5.06: "Far Away Places")

John Slattery as Roger Sterling on Mad Men. (Episode 5.06: “Far Away Places”)

Vitals

John Slattery as Roger Sterling, Madison Avenue ad executive

New York City, Fall 1966

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Far Away Places” (Episode 5.06)
Air Date: April 22, 2012
Director: Scott Hornbacher
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

Tomorrow may have a storied association with cannabis, but today—April 19—has been deemed “Bicycle Day”, recognizing that wild Monday night in 1943 when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann recognized the highly potent psychoactive properties of LSD during a mind-bending bicycle ride home from his Basel lab.

Continue reading

Mad Men: Don’s Embroidered Brown Shirt for the First of “Three Sundays”

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 2.04: "Three Sundays")

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 2.04: “Three Sundays”)

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious ad man and wannabe family man

Ossining, New York, Spring 1962

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Three Sundays” (Episode 2.04)
Air Date: August 17, 2008
Director: Tim Hunter
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The anthological fourth episode of Mad Men‘s second season checks in with our regulars—particularly Don Draper and Peggy Olsen—with explorations of parenting and piety leading up to Easter Sunday 1962.

Continue reading

Gregory Peck as The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

Vitals

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath, hardworking business writer haunted by his war service

New York City and suburban Connecticut, Fall 1955

Film: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Release Date: April 12, 1956
Director: Nunnally Johnson
Wardrobe Director: Charles Le Maire

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Born 105 years ago today on April 5, 1916, Gregory Peck enjoyed one of his most celebrated—and notably tailored—performances in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Nunnally Johnson’s 1956 adaptation of the Sloan Wilson novel of the same name.

Continue reading

Snake Plissken in Escape from New York

To celebrate Kurt Russell’s 70th birthday, please enjoy this submission from BAMF Style reader and contributor “W.T. Hatch” featuring a frequently requested character said to be the actor’s personal favorite from his filmography.

Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (1981)

Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (1981)

Vitals

Kurt Russell as S.D. “Snake” Plissken, “cycloptic cynic ’80s cyberpunk” as one reader eloquently described

Manhattan Island Maximum Security Prison, Summer 1997

Film: Escape from New York
Release Date: July 10, 1981
Director: John Carpenter
Costume Designer: Stephen Loomis

Background

Call me Snake.

Set in John Carpenter’s dystopian vision of the future, Escape from New York is the story of a one-man rescue attempt to save the President of the United States from a maximum security penitentiary located on Manhattan Island. Police Commissioner Bob Hauk, played by the legendary Lee Van Cleef, offers recently captured bank robber S.D. “Snake” Plissken a deal: save the President (Donald Pleasence) in under 24 hours and receive a full pardon. Continue reading

The Awful Truth: Cary Grant’s White Tie and Tails

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth (1937)

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth (1937)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Jerry Warriner, witty divorcee

New York, Fall 1937

Film: The Awful Truth
Release Date: October 21, 1937
Director: Leo McCarey
Costume Designer: Robert Kalloch

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Archibald Leach was born 117 years ago today on January 18, 1904. Though he’d established his now-iconic stage name just before his film debut in This is the Night (1932), I consider Leo McCarey’s 1937 screwball comedy The Awful Truth to be the symbolic start of Cary Grant’s screen persona as a stylish yet self-deprecating gentleman with a remarkable penchant for physical comedy as well as wit. Continue reading

Mad Men: Don Draper’s Decade of Black Tie

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 1.05: "5G").

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 1.05: “5G”).

Vitals

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious and award-winning Madison Avenue ad man

Series: Mad Men
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

Only three days left in 2020! The tradition of gents wearing black tie on New Year’s Eve, popularized in movies like the 1960 Rat Pack classic Ocean’s Eleven, seems to have fallen out of favor among the general population as standards of formality have decreased. However, given how excited many will be to see 2020 come to an end may herald a resurgence in dinner jackets and tuxedoes as many celebrate the new year in private.

On #MadMenMonday, we can take a few style tips from the enigmatic Don Draper on assembling a classic black tie ensemble from his half-dozen screen-worn dinner jackets. Continue reading

Donnie Brasco: Pacino’s Red Christmas Tracksuit

Al Pacino as Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero in Donnie Brasco (1997)

Al Pacino as Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero in Donnie Brasco (1997)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero, washed-up Mafia soldier

New York City, Christmas 1978

Film: Donnie Brasco
Release Date: February 28, 1997
Director: Mike Newell
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard & David C. Robinson

Background

Like The Godfather and GoodfellasDonnie Brasco follows the tradition of great Mafia movies by featuring some Cosa Nostra Christmas celebrations. The frequency with which the holidays appear in mob cinema is no coincidence, as Catholic traditions are very important to we Italian-Americans.

Donnie Brasco features a casual Christmas on Mulberry Street, perhaps more reflective than the Phil Spector-scored Goodfellas party of how many yuletide observances will look in 2020. Continue reading