Monday, April 30, 2012

60s fashion in Modern Movies

Hello! Today I have a very fashion informitive article by Edwin at Celebutaunt!

The '60s were an era that helped to define many styles. From music to clothing, the decade offered a distinctive feel that transcended from the tense '50s to the relaxed hippy mindset. Modern movies take different approaches to costuming. Often it depends on the taste of the director or the whim of the costume designer. Some movies make fashion part of the story while others make the era difficult to detect. Let’s take a look at five movies whose characters lived during the 1960s and their approach to period fashion. 

National Lampoon’s Animal House
Probably the most memorable fashion choice coming out Animal House was the toga, but if you look at the costumes you will see they scream of the early '60s and college. The film takes place at Faber College in 1962.

It was a challenge for Landis to represent the proper era while still depicting college life. The answer was found in school sweaters and letter jackets. The overall clothing choices stayed true to the transient '50s fashions found at the beginning of the decade. There were also subtle introductions of clothing for a '60s look such as thicker ties and turtleneck sweaters. 

Forrest Gump
“Forrest Gump” was a movie that followed one man from youth to raising his own child. If you are not watching the film closely, it is easy to miss the influence of '60s fashion. One place it becomes obvious is in the scene with President John F. Kennedy where Gump’s suit has thin lapels and a slim cut in the legs.

Forrest’s childhood friend and eventual wife, Jenny, gives you a clear glimpse of '60s style with a hippy fashion statement at the end of the decade. In this film, period costuming helps focus the viewer on that era of Gump’s life. 

Fashion was a large part of this movie. Costume designer Rita Ryack and her staff spent hours combing through high school yearbooks and magazines from the early '60s to get the look right. They ended up with a hybrid style that still had some of the flair from the '50s such as slicked back hair but was transitioning to the clothing of the 1960s. This was primarily done for effect, states hair and wig designer Judi Cooper-Sealy. They wanted the film to have a ‘big’ comedic feel and used hair and fashion for that purpose. 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” follows the life of a character just like “Forrest Gump,” but in this move, Button gets younger as the decades progress instead of older. The 1960s segment of the film is the decade Button lives with his childhood sweetheart, Daisy.

The award-winning costume design stands out in this film. The clothing is as reflective of the characters as much as the era. Designer Jacqueline West explains that she spent time learning about each character in the film. The challenge was to stay true to that personality regardless of the decade. Cate Blanchett’s Daisy was a strong woman, so her '60s fashion statement consisted of Capri trousers and tennis shoes. Button was a motorcycle rider and wore a leather jacket. You see changes in the fashions for each era, but they are subtle, so they enhance instead of distract from the story arcs. 

X-Men: First Class
The fashion goal for “X-Men: First Class” was '60s without necessarily looking like it. The costuming included a few odds and end of 60s fashion. In most scenes, it would be difficult to place the time of the film unless you happened to catch President John F. Kennedy on the old-style televisions. This was not an accident. Movie director Matthew Vaughn stated in the Behind the Scenes segments on the DVD he didn’t want the costumes to stand out as 1960s clothing though the film was set during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The scenes featuring the decor of Sebastian Shaw were meant to be old-school Bond. To correspond to this look, January Jones character had '60s Bond-girl outfits. The suits worn by Michael Fassbender have the slim cut legs and turtle neck shirts made popular during that era. Jennifer Lawrence and Zoe Kravitz wear the occasional mini skirt and Go-Go boot ensemble. That is the extent of the period costuming for this movie.

The era of “free love” was a time when attitudes and clothing all started to relax. That is reflected by the diverse trends you see in fashions of that time. Period movies require research and dedicated designers willing to dig for just the right look. Ten years are a long time in the world of fashion. There is no era that showcases that more than the 1960s or no better way to experience it then the cinema.

This guest post is by Edwin who regularly writes about celebrities, TV, movies, and fashion for the Celebutaunt blog on USDish.


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