Christian Slater as Clarence Worley, comic store clerk and rockabilly enthusiast
Detroit, Winter 1992
Film: True Romance
Release Date: September 10, 1993
Director: Tony Scott
Costume Designer: Susan Becker
Happy Valentine’s Day! In the spirit of today’s love-centered holiday, it felt like the right time to start exploring the style of True Romance, specifically the slapdash quasi-rockabilly wardrobe worn by its leading character, the energetic comic enthusiast-turned-killer Clarence Worley (Christian Slater).
True Romance begins with Clarence striking out at a bar before celebrating his birthday in solitude at a local cineplex with a Sonny Chiba triple feature… instantly signaling writer Quentin Tarantino’s involvement to the informed viewer. Among the scattered audience, Clarence makes the acquaintance of the bleach-haired amateur call girl Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette). Despite Alabama’s post-coital admission that Clarence’s boss hired her to assuage Clarence’s birthday loneliness, the two almost immediately fall in love and impulsively marry, appropriately scored by Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”. Continue reading
Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, cultured art critic and one-time novelist
Rome, Summer 2012
Film: The Great Beauty
(Italian title: La grande bellezza)
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Costume Designer: Daniela Ciancio
Tailor: Cesare Attolini
Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, and whether you’re celebrating with a great beauty in your life or observing Singles Appreciation Day, you may want to have some eye-catching red ready to wear in the spirit of the season.
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.
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
Mickey Rourke as Robert “Boogie” Sheftell, part-time law student, hair stylist, and degenerate gambler
Baltimore, Christmas 1959
Release Date: March 5, 1982
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Designer: Gloria Gresham
This Car Week segment ends with a holiday-focused look at the ’57 Chevy driven by Mickey Rourke in Diner. Continue reading
Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, Vegas casino executive and mob associate
Las Vegas, Fall 1980
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Rita Ryack & John A. Dunn
It’s now December, a chilly month that means seeing plenty of red everywhere to celebrate the holiday season. For my office’s upcoming Christmas party, I’ll be choosing to channel the memorable red-and-black custom-made ensemble that Robert De Niro wore as idiosyncratic casino executive Sam “Ace” Rothstein in Casino.
The real Ace – Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal – was reportedly a loud dresser himself, known for sporting loud pastels and bold earth tones. Rosenthal’s shirtmaker, Anto Beverly Hills, was even contracted by the filmmakers to delve into its own archives to recreate Lefty’s distinctive shirts and ties for De Niro to wear on screen. Continue reading
Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, Jersey mob associate and aspiring screenwriter
New York City, Spring 1998
Series: The Sopranos
Episodes: “A Hit is a Hit” (Episode 1.10) and “D-Girl” (Episode 2.07)
Air Dates: March 14, 1999 (1.10) and February 27, 2000 (2.07)
Directors: Matthew Penn (1.10) and Allen Coulter (2.07)
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
Although a bit late for this Valentine’s Day (and my self-proclaimed #MafiaMonday), this post explores a creative integration of red into a man’s outfit. While some – and, likely, most – will consider it over-the-top, the character in question isn’t exactly known for his good taste.
For date nights in New York City with Adriana, Chris likes to show off his gangster status by donning his two favorite wardrobe colors: red and black. The pairing of a red sport coat with black trousers and shirt evokes a look made famous by Robert De Niro in Casino. Given Christopher’s obsession with mob movies (and Martin Scorsese), it would make sense that he would choose to mimic an outfit from one of the best-known mob movies sported by the genre’s undisputed maestro. Continue reading