The kind of suit you wear defines who you are as a person. Throughout TV & Movie history fashion has always played an import part in defining a character or characters. I thought it would be cool to look at some of the most memorable suits from the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Tony Manero – Saturday Night Fever
Staying Alive. The 3 piece white suit worn by John Travolta was auctioned off for charity two years after the release of the 1977 classic movie and bought by US film critic Gene Siskel. The suit was personally inscribed with the words ‘To Gene, so here’s to a classic, your friend, John Travolta’, and when Siskel died in 1995 the suit was bought by a mystery buyer in London at an auction by Christies.
Designed by Patrizia Von Brandenstein, Travolta was originally against using the white shirt in the dance scenes and wanted to wear black. Eventually he was persuaded by the designer for two main reasons – First it symbolised Travolta’s characters journey through the movie, from ‘ignorance to enlightenment’ and secondly, and most importantly it reflected all the disco lights and mirror balls much better for the camera.
The white polyester two-button single-breasted suit with wide jacket lapels, matching waistcoat and 28-inch waist white flared trousers was displayed back in 2012 at the V&A as part of a Hollywood Costume exhibition together with it’s original black single-cuff shirt with pointed collar. Incidentally the signature from Travolta was still visible.
Crocket and Tubbs – Miami Vice
I can feel it coming in the Air Tonight. Discerning fashion conscious men looking for modern, stylish, business suits in 2018 should head over to www.suitsmen.co.uk, but when it came to style the 80’s were still a great time for fashion in the UK. Shoulder pads and big hair was ‘it’ for women, while men wore shell suits and mullets and all mobile phones we’re the size of a small child.
Over in the States a now classic TV show lead the way when it came to mens style. The shows two main characters were undercover Vice detectives and no-one epitomised cool sophistication more than Sonny Crockett AKA Don Johnson. They wore RayBan sunglasses and suits by Armani with white vests that were way beyond the salary of a normal detective.
Let’s go to work – The classic movie is notable for all its main characters (bank robbers) wearing black suits with white shirts and black ties.
Costume designer Betsy Heimann’s inspiration for the look was the cool classic French gangster movies of the 60’s and 70’s, where all the bad guys wore the same iconic uniform.
What you might not realise is that every one of the bank robbers were subtly different and two of them actually wore black jeans with a jacket (Mr Orange and Mr Pink).
Each of the suits, ties and footwear was chosen to highlight the personality of each villain. The width of the ties were different too, as were the collars of each shirt, these gave each character their individuality while still remaining part of the team.Looking back it’s hard now to imagine the film being so iconic without her fashion expertise.