Brad Pitt as John Smith, suburban assassin
New York City, Fall 2004
Film: Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Release Date: June 10, 2005
Director: Doug Liman
Costume Designer: Michael Kaplan
Pitt’s Costumer: Myron Baker
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
There have been quite a few requests from readers hoping to see some of Brad Pitt’s sharp attire from Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and I think enough time has passed since his notorious divorce from Angelina Jolie last fall that a post featuring the very movie that brought them together won’t look too opportunistic… although being posted a week after Valentine’s Day may look suspicious!
Mr. & Mrs. Smith stars Pitt and Jolie as the titular couple, a seemingly banal set of suburbanites shielding their secret side careers as professional contract killers from each other. Continue reading
Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran
Birmingham, England, February 1924
Series: Peaky Blinders
Episode: Episode 3.01
Air Date: May 5, 2016
Director: Tim Mielants
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Alexandra Caulfield
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today’s Week of Weddings post focuses on the sadly short-lived union of Tommy Shelby and Grace Burgess that kicked off the third season of Peaky Blinders.
This is the second Peaky Blinders wedding to be featured on BAMF Style after the first season nuptials of John Shelby and Esme Lee. While that first wedding was considerably spontaneous (at least for the groom), this union had been in the fire since Tommy and Grace first laid eyes on each other across the Garrison in 1919. Five years and one dead Irish investigator later, the two are finally tying the knot.
Grace’s family is comprised of several members of the “King’s Irish” cavalrymen that nearly abandoned the Peaky Blinders on the battlefield a decade earlier, so Tommy is forced to lay down some relatively unorthodox rules for a wedding:
No cocaine. No sport. No telling fortunes. No racing. No fucking sucking petrol out of their fucking cars… But the main thing is, you bunch of fuckers, despite the provocation from the cavalry, no fighting!
Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, groundbreaking R&B musician
Indianapolis, Fall 1961
Release Date: October 29, 2004
Director: Taylor Hackford
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis
On a suggestion from a great reader of this blog, I revisited Jamie Foxx’s Academy Award-winning performance as Ray Charles in 2004’s Ray and noticed the abundance of excellent period costumes that Foxx wears as the titular virtuoso.
In addition to Foxx’s Oscar for acting, the 2005 Academy Awards also gave a well-deserved nod to costume designer Sharen Davis, who beautifully recreated the era through Ray’s natty attire both on and off the stage. One outfit that particularly stood out was the black satin-trimmed stage suit in blue flecked silk that Ray wears during a couple of early 1960s gigs across the Midwest. Continue reading
Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd anti-Bolshevik and former British agent
New York City and London, Fall 1924
Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “The Trust” (Episode 10)
Air Date: November 2, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
Throwback Thursday is always a great opportunity for BAMF Style to revisit Reilly: Ace of Spies, the fictionalized miniseries that depicts the life of Sidney Reilly, an early 20th century master of deception. This post will examine Reilly’s frequent wearing of black lounge, a semi-formal day dress known in the U.S. as a “stroller”. Black lounge makes quite a few appearances in the latter episodes, first seen for Reilly’s day in London court in “After Moscow” (Episode 9) and, finally, during his third and final wedding in “The Last Journey” (Episode 11).
The tenth episode, “The Trust”, finds erstwhile government agent Reilly in New York City, desperately trying to finance his friend Boris Savinkov’s anti-Boleshevik movement. Part of Reilly’s fundraising includes selling off his vast collection of antiques, art, and priceless Napoleona… all while being courted by a secretive Russian organization known as The Trust. Continue reading
Gabriel Byrne as Tom Reagan, pragmatic Irish mob fixer
Upstate New York, Fall 1929
Film: Miller’s Crossing
Release Date: September 21, 1990
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Miller’s Crossing is one of my favorite Coen Brothers movies as well as one of my favorite crime films. Perhaps overshadowed the year it was released by higher pedigree mob flicks like Goodfellas and, uh, The Godfather Part III, the Coens’ neo-noir black comedy has gained a cult following in the years since for its spirited tribute to the works of Dashiell Hammett, particularly Red Harvest (1929) and The Glass Key (1931). Continue reading
Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin, American government agent
Miami and Rio de Janeiro, Spring 1946
Release Date: September 6, 1946
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
It’s impossible to over-celebrate the elegant yet understated sartorialism of Cary Grant, born this day in 1904. One of my favorite of Grant’s movies is Notorious, the 1946 espionage adventure that paired him with Ingrid Bergman as a pair of American spies tasked with exposing Alexander Sebastian, a former Nazi played with charmingly evil affability by Claude Rains.
Notorious was the second collaboration between Grant and director Alfred Hitchcock, and it marked the start of a string of wildly successful and ultimately timeless movies that Hitch would direct over the next two decades. Continue reading
Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman
Los Angeles, September 1937
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert
J.J. Gittes begins his final day investigating the Mulwray case in Chinatown with his usual cheekiness, even when surprised by walking into a murder scene. He trades barbs with increasingly suspicious detectives, including the pugnacious Detective Loach (Richard Bakalyan) who inquires about Gittes’ sliced-up nose; Edward Norton’s character in Rounders would pay homage to Gittes’ response of “Your wife got excited. She crossed her legs a little too quick.”
But Gittes’ good humor wears off by the end, following a series of misadventures – mostly at gunpoint – involving sisters, daughters, and a shot-out eyeball. As his assistant Walsh (Joe Mantell) sagely – and now famously – advises him:
Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.