Thursday, June 13, 2013

"The Look"

            This summer, I decided to take a short term class on fabric. The class is actually called "Fabric Glossary," it's sort of a beginners guide to the way fabric is made, behaves and what kinds are best suited for different types of garments.  I'm super excited!
            The first class was this week and my homework was to choose 3 "looks" that not only capture my designing "style" but work with specific fabrics that I will then analyze over the next couple weeks  According to my  professor, I should curate these looks as if part of a fashion spread.  Now for my reaction.  What in the world did she mean by "curate"???  Like a museum?  I wasn't even sure if I could claim to have a design style. After a bit of panic I realized that, in context, I would be organizing and working with a special design theme or trend, just communicating them in my own way.  That sort of clears things up, I just can't think about it too hard, if you know what I mean.
            Well, I decided I would try my best.  I have a few more days to find anything I want.  But, it's that thing about finding inspiration again.  I am not very mainstream, especially when it comes to fashion and trends.  The fact is, I am also taking this class to understand and identify fabric for all sorts of creative uses, one of them being costuming. My professor was very encouraging and told us all to just go for it!
            Just thinking of all my options and the films I'd seen and still wanted to see before making my choice were becoming cluttered in my mind.  That is, until I remembered someone I'd been inspired by just last weekend: Jay Gatsby.  I have a lot to say about that movie on many levels that I couldn't possibly get into here.  I will say that I loved the interpretation, it really drew out certain parts of the novel that I always felt had a special importance.   And, of course, the costumes were FABULOUS!  The dresses, millinery, jewels, makeup...everything was an ocular feast.   They were also very well suited to the characters in an over-the-top, Baz Luhrmann kind of way.

             Something that I didn't anticipate was my love for Gatsby's summer suits.  Growing up I never used to focus very much on men's clothing, especially not suits.  Now I realize that it's the subtle changes in detail and colour that are so striking.  I see now that the most simple characteristics of men's suiting can be more impressive than a dress made of diamonds and lace.  Just take Gatsby's pink suit.  Everything about the suit and the way he wears it tells you what you need to know about Gatsby and what an individual he is.  I wish I could have watched the movie in slow motion just to catch a glimpse of (and this includes everything else, actually) Gatsby's suits.  Just to see the detail on his bow ties would be enough.

         These may not be the exact looks that I will use but they certainly serve as a jumping off point.
On a side note, I recently found out that Luhrmann's wife, Catherine Martin (who also worked with Prada and Brooks Brothers on this film), is and always has been the costume designer for his all films starting with Strictly Ballroom.  Also, Fitzgerald wore Brooks Brothers suits while at Princeton which is why Gatsby wears them here.  Pretty cool, right?

Here are my top few ideas so far:

This has got to be the best white flannel suit I've ever seen!  I think the most interesting part of his getup is the vest which contrasts with the suit, making it more casual and much less intense. 

Ah, the pink linen suit.  There is nothing to say, really. I am still in awe of how perfectly this shade of pink goes with striped tie and pocket square.  So Gatsby.  (Carraway looks pretty sharp, too.)  

Sadly, there were no decent pictures of Gatsby in this suit.  None that I can find so far.  Most of them are either a bad shot of him mid speech or sitting down.  So, we'll have to enjoy this creepy Brooks Brother's model instead.  While watching the movie, I noticed that there were faint "plaid" teal pinstripes across the tan of the suit.  The boater hat and bow tie are a nice touch.  Love it.

          My other options would be another film's costumes that I'll write about next, maybe in the next couple days or so.  Thankfully, I have a few free blocks of time and writing about my ideas here is really helping me out.  Suggestions are extremely welcome :).

Until next time,


P.S. I can't believe how lengthy this post is!  I guess I have a lot to say about men's fashion.

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