When pop culture meets fashion, designers respond
TORONTO — Filmgoers are buzzing about the upcoming release of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, while fashionistas are clamouring to recreate the dazzling period costumes that colour the movie.
Well before the movie’s original release date last Christmas, runways were rife with styles channelling inspiration from the Roaring ’20s. Designers including Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren were seen embracing the esthetic, and items such as cloche hats, tiered skirts and drop-waist dresses re-emerged.
Gatsby costume designer Catherine Martin worked in tandem with Brooks Brothers, which manufactured more than 500 ensembles for the film, mining the archive of the menswear brand for designs from which many of the movie’s 1920s items were based. Tuxedos, sport coats, linen suits, boater hats and wingtip brogues are among the designs donned by Jay Gatsby and Co. in the film.
The creative collaboration has led to a collection inspired by the opulent tale, the latest in a line of stylish period dramas and frothy guilty pleasures whose fashions have been coveted by consumers and inspired designers.
“The whole idea behind this capsule collection is to take the era inspiration and really make it very modern for today,” Deepak Chopra of Brooks Brothers said of the brand’s limited-edition Gatsby line.
Signature style touches indicative of the era such as peaked lapels, rounded-collar shirts, regatta blazers and art deco-inspired patterns are present. But Chopra said there are modifications in keeping with a contemporary take on the ’20s, including lighter-weight linens used in ivory-hued and pinstriped suits, a mid-rise fit on pants and a modernized silhouette for suits.
Well before the medium of TV even existed and film was in its infancy, viewers have been mimicking styles donned by stars originally featured onscreen.
“Historically, the elites of pre-World War I were socialites and aristocrats. But after the ’20s, it starts to be movie stars. It starts to be the celebrity culture in terms of Hollywood glamour,” said Alison Matthews David, assistant professor in the school of fashion at Ryerson University.
“Young women and young men would aspire to look like stars they saw on the silver screen — even in a period like the Depression.”
Matthews David recalled the 1932 drama Letty Lynton and the famed gown worn by Joan Crawford as the film’s titular character. The Adrian-designed white cotton organdy frock with its elaborate, fancifully ruffled sleeves became widely copied, with some 500,000 replicas sold at U.S. department store Macy’s.
Viewers can emulate the debonair, daring ’20s styles sported by The Great Gatsby’s Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton (from left).