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ARMANI AND THE MOVIES
STYLING CHRISTIAN BALE, LEONARDO DICAPRIO AND KEVIN SPACEY
For a while now I’ve been pondering how to tackle one of my all time favorite designers, Giorgio Armani. As long as I can remember his legendary career and work have resonated with me very strongly. But how to approach his designs? And how to pick one period or collection over another? So, when I ran across an interview he gave recently to the London Evening Standard about how he conceives his creations for the silver screen, I thought I would first approach this fashion Titan through his work for the movies.
Mr. Armani has graced the screen and their leading men with his creations spanning many different eras and atmospheres.
He created the wardrobes for Kevin Spacey and Sean Penn in Hurlyburly (1998) using an interesting understated touch, and for the Batman film, The Dark Knight (2008), he designed the everyday attire for Christian Bale, infusing a sense of sleek elegance in the character of Bruce Wayne.
For the recent The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Mr. Armani wanted to create the image of a financial tycoon that could subliminally remind us of a superhero. As a result, Leonardo DiCaprio is wrapped in conservative dark colored suits that create a V shape by having the shoulders a little exaggerated and a narrow waist, accentuating the powerfulness of his character.
But in American Gigolo (1980) and The Untouchables (1987), Mr. Armani gave his most unique personal rendering, designing the wardrobes for Richard Gere and Kevin Costner.
In American Gigolo not only did he introduce the world to his iconic style, consisting of soft textile suits that envelop the body of a man in a fluid and sophisticated embrace, but he also gave Mr. Gere unforgettable panache. And for Kevin Costner in The Untouchables, Mr. Armani adapted his couture to 1930’s menswear, designing Mr. Costner’s wardrobe in quite a stylized fashion, keeping both old and modern accents by again using soft fabrics which had become his undisputed trademark.
Both actors after these films were catapulted to mega stardom, becoming themselves icons of elegance and sexiness, and I like to think their fame came in part thanks to the wardrobes innovatively designed by Giorgio Armani.
*Illustration also by Stefano Imbert