With Racked magazine describing Kristen Stewart and Blake Lively as ‘retro fashion goddesses’ in Woody Allen’s new film, Café Society, set in 1930s New York (though filmed in LA), I thought it was time to look back over some of the best fashion moments in his back catalogue. So here’s a list of the top 10 looks from the Allen oeuvre that really inspired me. What would yours be?
- No.1 has to be Annie Hall (1977). A paean to 70s NYC boho style. Ruth Morely was the costume designer who worked with Diane Keaton. Ralph Lauren was the source for some of the clothes but you also get the feeling that there’s authentic Keaton style in here too and that is what makes it look so natural and easy.
- Play it Again, Sam (1972). One of my favourites and Diane Keaton again, this time rocking a series of more WASP-ish looks as the model-wife of a financier. I particularly love this beautifully-fitted jacket. Her beach outfits are pure Jackie O. The costume designer for this one was Anna Hill Johnstone.
- Manhattan (1979). Keaton again but this time the look is more dishevelled – the blazer less tailored but the dark denim razor sharp and long over her shoes. With his styling in this film, Albert Wolsky is leading us into the 1980s.
- Allen’s period pieces also need recognition here and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982) has some gorgeous sun-filtered white lace and broderie anglaise gowns, courtesy of costumer Santo Loquasto and worn by Mia Farrow and Mary Steenburgen.
- When it comes to a white cotton petticoat, no one wears it better than Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona (2009) and the pairing with a vintage black flamenco dancer’s hat was an inspiration. On this film and on others more recently, it is costumer, Sonia Grande we have to thank.
- Grande was also the source of the wonderful style in Midnight in Paris (2011). There is so much vintage fashion to love in that film but my absolute favourite is the beaded yellow flapper dress worn by Marion Cotillard.
- At the opposite extreme is Mia Farrow’s brassy styling in Broadway Danny Rose (1984). For me, this illustrates perfectly one of Diana Vreeland’s maxims that the opposite of good taste is not bad taste but no taste. A little bad taste in an ensemble goes a long way and I loved Jeffrey Kurland’s transformation of Farrow into a mobster moll.
- Squarely in minimalist territory is Interiors (1978), a cloud of soft greys and camel cashmere, khaki shirtwaisters and gorgeous coats that look like a Ralph Lauren advertising campaign. Joel Schumacher was the costumer and managed to nail the style of a design aesthete perfectly.
- Jeffrey Kurland’s costumes for Bullets over Broadway (1994) gained him an Oscar nomination and rightly so. Dianne Wiest dominates every scene as a grande dame of the screen in a succession of art deco ensembles. I wanted all the clothes on her back.
- Kurland actually won a BAFTA best costume award in 1987 for Radio Days (1987) and in it he shows us the full range of 40s fashion from full-beam Hollywood glamour to tea dresses. The gowns are drop dead gorge but even the ordinary daywear possesses a certain distinguished quality one rarely sees today.
Thank you, Woody and your wonderful costumers. You are a constant source of inspiration.