Tagged: What to Wear for Dancing

William Holden in Picnic

William Holden as Hal Carter in Picnic (1955)

William Holden as Hal Carter in Picnic (1955)

Vitals

William Holden as Hal Carter, aimless former college football star and Army veteran

Kansas, Labor Day 1955

Film: Picnic
Release Date: February 16, 1956
Director: Joshua Logan
Costume Designer: Jean Louis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This Labor Day, we celebrate one of the lesser-recognized cinematic holidays with a look at the Academy Award-nominated Technicolor hit Picnic. Continue reading

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The Band Wagon: Fred Astaire Dances in Beige and Yellow

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon (1953)

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon (1953)

Vitals

Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter, musical comedy star

New York, Spring 1953

Film: The Band Wagon
Release Date: August 7, 1953
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Mary Ann Nyberg

Background

On National Dance Day (July 27), who better to feature on BAMF Style than that most elegant, sophisticated, and talented of dancers, Fred Astaire. In particular, let’s look at an iconic dance sequence in The Band Wagon, that most homaged and visually spectacular of Astaire’s prolific filmography.

We encounter song and dance man Tony Hunter as he gets out his aggression about the Faustian creative direction of what was supposed to be his latest lighthearted musical comedy as well as his contentious relationship with his co-star, virtuoso ballerina Gabrielle Gerard (Cyd Charisse). Continue reading

Fred Astaire’s Stone “Girl Hunt” Suit in The Band Wagon

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon (1953)

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon (1953)

Vitals

Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter, musical comedy star

New York, Spring 1953

Film: The Band Wagon
Release Date: August 7, 1953
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Mary Ann Nyberg

Background

Today marks what would have been the 120th birthday of Fred Astaire, the renowned Nebraska-born dancer and singer whose prolific career on stage and screen extended more than three quarters of a century.

The Band Wagon (1953) is considered a highlight of the entertainer’s career, starring Astaire as a once-famous musical star who hopes to revive his career with a major Broadway production. Even if you’re not into musicals, it’s hard not to appreciate Astaire’s elegant footwork as he masterfully dances through the film’s culminating number, “Girl Hunt”, based on the novels of Mickey Spillane. Continue reading

Cary Grant’s Tuxedo in Indiscreet

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Indiscreet (1958)

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Indiscreet (1958)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Philip Adams, sophisticated playboy economist

London, Fall 1957 to Spring 1958

Film: Indiscreet
Release Date: June 26, 1958
Director: Stanley Donen
Tailor: Quintino

Background

Happy birthday to the great Cary Grant, born 115 years ago today on January 18, 1904, in Bristol, England. Born Archibald Leach before he assumed his catchier stage name, Grant’s signature screen presence blended his self-deprecating sense of humor with peerless suavity in both attitude and style. Grant’s popularity during the mid-20th century and the height of the dinner suit’s ubiquity meant the debonair actor would don a tuxedo almost as frequently as James Bond… and it’s not surprising to hear that Grant was an early contender for the role of 007, at least in the mind of the character’s creator Ian Fleming.

Between 1955 and 1962, Grant starred in seven contemporary-set films that didn’t require him to be in military uniform; of these, he sported a tuxedo in all but one (the lone exception, North by Northwest, featured the actor wearing arguably the most famous suit in movie history so there was little need for black tie.) In the middle of this impressive and stylish run of movies is Indiscreet, a Stanley Donen-directed romantic comedy that earned Grant his first of five Golden Globe nominations. Continue reading

Drunken Angel: Matsunaga’s Striped Jacket

Toshirô Mifune as Matsunaga in Drunken Angel (1948)

Toshirô Mifune as Matsunaga in Drunken Angel (1948)

Vitals

Toshirô Mifune as Matsunaga, tubercular Japanese gangster

Japan, Summer 1947

Film: Drunken Angel
(
Japanese title: 醉いどれ天使 Yoidore Tenshi)
Release Date: April 27, 1948
Director: Akira Kurosawa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Based on the intensity of his performance, it’s hard to believe that Drunken Angel was one of Toshirô Mifune’s first movies. His portrayal of the cocky, conflicted, and ultimately doomed yakuza gangster Matsunaga remains a highlight of crime cinema 70 years after the film was released. Continue reading

Viva Las Vegas: Elvis’ Beige Collarless Suit

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Vitals

Elvis Presley as “Lucky” Jackson, mechanic and aspiring race car driver

Las Vegas, Summer 1964

Film: Viva Las Vegas
Release Date: May 20, 1964
Director: George Sidney
Costume Designer: Donfeld (Donald Lee Feld)

Background

Regarded as one of the better movies of Elvis Presley’s acting career, Viva Las Vegas stars the singer opposite Ann-Margret, and it’s reported that the very real chemistry between the two was indicative of their off-screen friendship that briefly grew into romance.

On screen, however, Elvis played “Lucky” Jackson, a mechanic who wins – then literally loses – the money he had hoped to use to finance his own race car. To raise the money back, he takes a part-time gig in the Fabulous Flamingo casino in Las Vegas, where he meets sultry swimming instructor Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret, of course).

Continue reading

Saturday Night Fever: Travolta’s White Disco Suit

John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney in an iconic promotional image for Saturday Night Fever (1977).

John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney in an iconic promotional image for Saturday Night Fever (1977).
In the film itself, Gorney wore a white dress rather than the red of the poster. “We shot me in every color dress under the sun… Red sells. I think that’s why it was used for the poster,” she explained in a 2011 interview with Media Mikes.

Vitals

John Travolta as Tony Manero, aimless paint store clerk and disco god

Brooklyn, Spring 1977

Film: Saturday Night Fever
Release Date: December 14, 1977
Director: John Badham
Costume Designer: Patrizia Von Brandenstein

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Saturday Night Fever, the definitive film of the disco era. Often remembered for its soundtrack and street style, a closer look reveals an uncompromising film that wasn’t afraid to explore the dark themes that lurked beneath the era’s glittery polyester veneer, all propelled by an equally uncompromising star turn from a 23-year-old John Travolta. Continue reading

Brad Pitt’s Black Suit in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as Mr. * Mrs. Smith (2005)

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

Vitals

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!

Background

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

Vincent Vega’s Western-Inspired Casualwear

John Travolta as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (1994).

John Travolta as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (1994).

Vitals

John Travolta as Vincent Vega, laidback mob hitman and self-described “Elvis man”

Los Angeles, Summer 1992

Film: Pulp Fiction
Release Date: October 14, 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann

Background

With Halloween around the corner, I’m revisiting one of my favorite Halloween costumes: Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction. It’s a great chance for a couple’s costume, whether your significant other is a Mia or a Jules.

Pulp Fiction‘s colorful, sprawling cast of characters and famously non-linear timeline makes Vincent an even more interesting character when you realize that he is the only one to appear in each segment of the film. The role marked a rejuvenation for John Travolta, whose career had gone stagnant during the ’80s with the only real commercial success coming from Look Who’s Talking. Established and rising actors including Alec Baldwin, Daniel Day-Lewis, James Gandolfini, Andy Garcia, Michael Keaton (aw!), Gary Oldman, Jason Patric, Sean Penn, Tim Roth, and Denzel Washington had all been either interested in or considered for the role, and even Michael Madsen would go on to regret not reprising his Vega brother role when offered.

Vincent Vega was the laidback yin to Jules Winnfield’s fired-up yang. While Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) would intimidate a target with his fire-and-brimstone brand of furious anger, Vincent would merely slump against a wall, puffing one of his hand-rolled cigarettes and debating whether or not to voice a situational complaint of his own. It might have been his easy temperament that led Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) to tap Vincent as the henchman-of-choice to entertain his wife Mia (Uma Thurman) when Marsellus was called out of town. Continue reading

Steve Martin’s Red Silk Suit in My Blue Heaven

Steve Martin with Rick Moranis in My Blue Heaven (1990). Sadly, this is just a promotional photo and Steve's rad Ray-Ban sunglasses didn't make it into this scene.

Steve Martin with Rick Moranis in My Blue Heaven (1990). Sadly, this is just a promotional photo and Steve’s rad Ray-Ban sunglasses didn’t make it into this scene.

Vitals

Steve Martin as Vinnie Antonelli (aka Tod Wilkinson), ex-Mafia informant

New York City, Early Winter 1990

Film: My Blue Heaven
Release Date: August 17, 1990
Director: Herbert Ross
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi

Background

This week’s focus on dupioni silk continues with the loud red suit worn by Steve Martin in My Blue Heaven, posted today to celebrate my sister’s birthday as this flick is a family favorite that she and I are frequently quoting to each other.

Although Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill provides himself the living epigraph of living the rest of his life “like a schnook” at the end of Goodfellas, the story really didn’t end there. Loosely based on Hill’s post-mob life in the witness protection program, My Blue Heaven was written by Nora Ephron, who had been inspired by her husband Nicholas Pileggi’s interviews with Hill. Through the interview process, it was discovered that a career criminal like Hill didn’t reform himself immediately (if at all) and was often getting into trouble with authorities – returning to his old criminal ways, maintaining a high profile, and even entering a bigamist marriage under his “new” name – all depicted in My Blue Heaven. Continue reading